What makes a good 3 gun shotgun?
A good semi-auto 3 gun shotgun has to be reliable and fast. A semi-auto that is not reliable will cost you precious time during a stage when having to cycle the bolt manually. A reliable shotgun will never need you to manually operate the bolt, and will not have failures that could result in failing to finish a stage. A fast shotgun will reduce the time between shots, finishing the stage faster. A fast shotgun will have fast target acquisition between shots, and will cycle fast enough that the operator cannot outrun the cycle. There are a lot of shotguns on the market, and many of them make good 3 gun shotguns when set up correctly.
There is a definite inverse relationship between reliability and speed – to pick a shotgun with the best reliability requires the owner to give up speed, and to pick the fastest shotgun results in a less reliable shotgun. The two main types of semi-auto shotgun actions, Recoil and gas operated. Recoil operated includes the Benelli “inertia driven”, which is also includes the Franchi I-12 and Stoeger Model 2000. Recoil operated shotguns are generally known for their extreme reliability, but are slower cycling and kick harder than gas guns. Gas operated shotguns are generally known for light kick, fast cycles, and less muzzle rise, but that comes at the expense of lower reliability.
A 3 gun shotgun has to be reliable, above all else. You can’t have any jams, failure to eject, failure to load, or any part breakages. It needs to cycle all types of shotshells you will use, with a consistent pattern. Some reliability issues are a result of poor maintenance, and some part breakages can be avoided through regular part replacement.
A 3 gun shotgun also needs to be fast. The cycling rate of a shotgun is the least important attribute towards a fast shotgun for 95% of all shooters; most shooters will never be able to outrun the cycle rate of the action. A fast shotgun will allow for fast target acquisition when shooting a course. This is a result of low recoil, low muzzle rise, good weight balance, and light weight.
On the next page, we will discuss what makes you an extremely fast 3 Gun shotgun shooter
3 Gun Shotgun Speed>