First shotgun: O/U vs. Pump

1_pointer

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Since the youth pheasant day, my oldest is showing a much great interest in shotgun shooting and bird hunting. Thus, I want to get him his first shotgun. He shoots LH so some of the standard answers as to make/model don't really apply (eg. 20ga 870). He did well enough with my 870 and also liked a couple of the O/U he was able to try.

Which brings me to the question; which do you like for a first shotgun an O/U or a Pump and why?

One of the main reasons I'm leaning towards either of these types is that I find them easier to be taken out of battery and easier for dad (me) to see that he has them out of battery. One thing my research has shown is that when you ask about O/U you get all kinds of suggestions that have a comma in the price tag! That's probably not going to happen. Having never even shot an O/U I have a hard time understanding any benefits/pitfalls of using one. Use, regardless of type, will be some informal clay shooting, upland bird and small game (squirrel and rabbit) hunting.

Since I fully expect this discussion to morph into a list of make/model suggestions I've listed the front runners below, all in 20ga:

O/U:
-Mossberg Silver Reserve II
-CZ Teal Southpaw

Pump:
-Ithaca 37 Featherweight
-Browning BPS
-Mossberg 500
 

noharleyyet

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Mossy500 pump. Coz it was my first. Sturdier slide engineering today. Affordable.

...that is all.
 

Mallardsx2

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If you plan to waterfowl hunt I would get the pump. Having 3 shells sure is nicer than only having 2.
 

wllm1313

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Mossberg 500

I'm an adult onset hunter and the first gun I bought was a Mossberg 835, I have killed everything from Ptarmigan and grouse to Turkeys and Whitetails with it. That gun has taken all kinds of abuse, it spends half of duck season in the bottom of a canoe with a couple inches of water in it and has been dropped in the river twice. Never had any mechanical problems and shoots great.

I'm a lefty as well so I have issues with the 870, I know you can get the finger saftey flipped but that's a pain, the tang safety on mossbergs is great for us left eye dominate guys.

I don't have a ton of experiences with O/U but I have been told by numerous shooters that a cheap pump will out shoot a mid-grade o/u any day of the week, also a pump is going to be a bit heavier so therefore less recoil, also they have less complicated trigger systems so it's going to be easier to clean and deal with etc.

I say all this but I have always wanted an O/U and there are a couple i have my eye on, but I would go reliable pump for a youngsters first gun.
 

BrentD

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The only thing I like about a pump over a double gun is simply that the gun cannot be fired a second time without some deliberate actions being taken. An O/U or SxS has a hot barrel that is immediately available to fire. In the excitement of shooting at something resafing the gun can be forgotten or overlooked. I just like having the gun relatively safe after each shot with a pump - for a new shooter.
 

Crumb

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I think I would go with a pump for first shotgun. Probably lighter with one barrel instead of two, and you can get more than two shots. As for which one, being a lefty the bps is nice since it ejects out the bottom, and it was my first shotgun. I have a buddy that had a mossberg 500 in college and it served him well. I don’t know much about the Ithaca, good luck in your choices. It’s always fun shopping for guns!!
 

pabearhunter

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Single shot 20 gauge. He will kill more game with it then any other shotgun. Once he figures out that he has ONLY one shot he will be deadly !
 

300stw

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o/u, and never look back, as young experienced people are around me, its east to tell if they are safe, o/u is broke open, everyone is safe, hard to see if the action is open on a pump, 3 shells, did I unload all three, ect,,,I run a bunch of kids thru the youth hunter situations, with pointing dogs, until the dogs point action is open,, when in a duck blind I rarely see the 3rd shot bag a duck usually a wasted shot,,, 2 different chokes also helps,,,,,
 

1_pointer

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Thanks for the suggestions and thoughts. All the suggestions for the Mossberg make me chuckle as it's running a distant 3rd for me. And I've hunted more with a Mossberg 500 than any other shotgun. Maybe that's why it's running behind the others. Not being available in LH with wood stocks is part of it too...

Brent- The point about a deliberate action after firing is one I need to ponder on a bit more as it's one of the reasons for not really considering a semi-auto.

VG- He'll be 11 in June. He's not small for his age; 5'2" and 130#.

300- Watching him and another youngster follow dogs after some pheasants made some of the points you made very apparent.
 

VikingsGuy

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Thanks for the suggestions and thoughts. All the suggestions for the Mossberg make me chuckle as it's running a distant 3rd for me. And I've hunted more with a Mossberg 500 than any other shotgun. Maybe that's why it's running behind the others. Not being available in LH with wood stocks is part of it too...

Brent- The point about a deliberate action after firing is one I need to ponder on a bit more as it's one of the reasons for not really considering a semi-auto.

VG- He'll be 11 in June. He's not small for his age; 5'2" and 130#.

300- Watching him and another youngster follow dogs after some pheasants made some of the points you made very apparent.
While not giving you the visual out of battery of a break-action, something like a mossberg sa-20 compact/youth will give him a softer shooting gun. You can easily add a longer dowel in the magazine to prevent the chambering of any shells and it is essentially a single shot gun that will grow with him. My son's first upland hunt was with the long dowel and I handed him 1 shell when we got out of the truck. I assumed armed until I heard the shot or I saw him unload at the truck. Even did this for sporting clays at first. As he grew in ability I let him carry his own shells and then later cut the dowel back to allow a shell in the mag, and finally back to factory dowel. And then added a a few spacers to the stock as he grow. Took him from 11 to 15 and now he shoots a full-seized semi-auto.
 

Ben Lamb

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Browning BPS is a bottom loader and ejector - great for lefty's and it's a solid gun that comes in many configurations.

For an O/U - look at a used CZ or Huglu. The Turkish guns are great for their price point, and used can be had for well under $1K.

You know your kid better than we do, so I think the advice given by Brent & others is worthwhile when considering.
 

Matty B

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Pump, as it will allow for growth. I have supervised many young inexperience shooters through sporting clay courses and other than a single shot, nothing is safer than a pump. As VikingsGuy pointed out you can put a dowel in the magazine tube to make it a single shot until the you decide it is safe enough to use a magazine tube. Plus you get all 3 rounds for waterfowl and turkey, you may not always need 3 but when you do need a 3rd round, it's awfully frustrating if you only have 2. As far as visually confirming that weapon is unloaded, seeing the forearm slide in the rear position is ALMOST as easy as seeing the O/U open. In my opinion a pump is safer, more fun and easier shooting especially for youth hunters.
 

Don Fischer

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What does he seem to like? My first shotgun was a single barrel 16ga. Then I up graded to a bolt action Mossberg 16ga. For a lot of my hunting life I shot mostly pump's, Mossberg 500's. Why? I could afford them and had no idea what I might be missing with something else. For close to 35yrs now I have used SxS's. 12, 16, 28 and 410. Mostly these day's the 28. Unless he reloads, 28 and 410 should be out, to expensive to shoot. But action's, depend's on what you can afford and what he likes!

I have never seen the O/U's you mentioned. Have seen years ago a Mossberg Pederson from their custom shop. Beautiful gun and the guy that owned it liked it really well. The pump's. The mod 37 loads and eject's from the bottom. I think they are still made but pretty expensive. Never even seen a Browning. Not big on Browning other than their very old double auto! The Mossberg 500 was my choice of a pump, didn't break the bank and always shot it well. Felt really good in my hands.

Something just occurred to me. When I was young, value meant nothing to me. Pretty much a shotgun was a shotgun and in time I though the only one worth having was a Mossberg 500. Not true of course! My step father was not much of a hunter, big game or birds. I was seldom in a position to experience a really good gun! So it was easy to choose a favorite action. Have to say though that the finest shotgun I ever owned or used was that old Browning Double Auto! It was my introduction to fine shotguns! Let the son decide. In the end, it's what he like's and you can afford! Nothing else count's!
 
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blue devil

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Stoeger Condor over/under is inexpensive and really straight shooting shotgun. No self ejectors, which is a pain, but for $400 new, can't beat it. I shot and probably owned about every shotgun made or so it seems. If you are worried about a 3rd shot opportunity, I look at it as unless there are that many roosters flying, it's a wasted shot while pheasant hunting.

Pump is great for dove, duck, and goose hunting, since typically the birds are coming from every direction and that third shell capacity can come in handy. Browning BPS loads and ejects from the bottom and the safety is on top, so it can be used by both righties and lefties, just the same as an over/under. Either way you go, just make sure the gun fits well and is not either too short or long as accuracy will suffer
 

2dogs

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O/U You can get into an ATI for about $550 in any gauge you want. If you can't kill it in 2 the third probably won't matter. Choke each barrel differently. Comes in a youth size stock if needed. Can have him load one barrel only if safety is a concern. Selectable barrel. Extractors. walnut stock. Very nice gun for the $$. Some youngsters have trouble working the slide on a pump due to reach. I have that problem on some pumps. I do have a BPS that I have no issues with.
I have a 28 and 410. The 410 has been my pheasant gun for the last 2 seasons.
 

NCSU_Lewis

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I'll put in a vote for the pump, and the BPS would be hard to beat with the bottom eject, it could be passed around if need be for others. I have hunted and shot with folks who didn't start on a pump, and can't shoot one because of it. I learned on one, and feel it made me more versatile in the gun type department.
 

BrentD

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While I have already voted for the pump, I highly recommend that it is one that fits. A full sized Rem 870 is a totally different beast than a Youth or Ladies Ithaca 20 gauge. If it don't fit, he won't hit. And so, he may be discouraged and lose interest.

There is a ton of value in used shotguns. I do not know why anyone would even consider a new one. You might get an extra buttstock to swap for as he grows.
 

kansasdad

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The Mossburg 500 youth model I have came with shims to up the stock LOP in 1/2 increments, and a coupon for a full size stock. The tang safety works well for my left eye dominant son, with no issues with right side shell ejects.

It is not ruggedly built with a crack in the plastic near an action bar almost out of the box. One issue that makes the Mossburg less handy is the more complex action bars, slides, various smaller parts, and hooks into blocks that must line up precisely........makes for a nervy moments reassembling the various parts at the cleaning table. I don't ever want to have to field strip and clean, which is easy peasy with my Winchester.

The Browning load/unload straight down does seem to be a plus for a lefty shooter, as does the tang safety. It does feel more solid and so it is not surprising that it weighs 12-18 oz more that the Mossburg (various model options)
 
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