How Do Guns Work? Slide/Pump-Actions

A uniquely American operating system.

by
posted on May 15, 2023
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The slide- or pump-action rifle or shotgun is a uniquely American operating system. While it has only a handful of devotees in the rifle category, a high percentage of shotgunners prefer this system. For this reason, there are presently only a few manufacturers of slide-action rifles, with Remington and Browning being the major brands. Others have come and gone. On the other hand, nearly every major manufacturer, both domestic and foreign, offers a pump-action shotgun. Most pump-action guns have a tubular magazine under the barrel. 

Operation is by means of sliding a fore-end that travels back and forth under the barrel and parallel to the bore axis. Action bars cycle the bolt. Often nicknamed a trombone- or pump-action. The receiver may be stressed or unstressed, with the latter the  most popular. 

Advantages: Reliable operation; inexpensive to manufacture; popular type offered in many brands; can handle high-pressure cartridges.

Disadvantages: Dual operating rods needed to avoid binding; may prove too noisy in some scenarios; operation difficult for some shooters. 

Pump-action shotguns are a very popular choice for home defense. Click here to read an article from our friends at Shooting Illustrated on the subject!

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