Between my time as a peace officer and attending numerous high-round count shotguns courses — as well as time on my home range and hunting — I have not witnessed a single malfunction with a pump-action shotgun which wasn’t shooter-induced by “short stroking” the action. The reputation they have for reliability is legendary.

While carbine payload choices are basically limited to bullet weight, the selection of ammunition capable of being fired from a 12-gauge pump is staggering. They include slugs, buckshot, birdshot (for training and hunting), gas rounds, less-lethal rubber balls and beanbags, breaching rounds, flares and more. Personally, I avoid the 3" Magnum shell. While you do get more bang for the buck, this is one case where its bite is worse than its bark.

There is a common myth buckshot will spread one inch per yard. My “social” shotguns are all cylinder bore and they will shoot Federal Premium 00 buckshot with FLITECONTROL wads into 8" at 35 yards and almost as well with Hornady 00 buckshot with Versatite wads. Shotguns, even those with consecutive serial numbers, may prefer one brand of ammo to another. I recommend patterning your shotgun with several different brands, find out what it likes, and stick to the same brand and type.