Semi-Auto Shotguns

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Benelli M2 Tactical


The first mass production semi-automatic shotgun was the Browning Model 5 first produced in 1902.  There are two primary types of semi-automatic actions in use today, gas and inertia.   All the major manufacturers offer gas operated shotguns but the inertia drive system is only used by Benelli and its sister company Franchi.

Semi-auto shotguns have been less popular than pump actions, due to costs that are typically 3 to 5 more than a pump-action and lower reliability.  The wide variety of shotgun shell loads can cause problems with all of the semi-auto designs, while a standard pump action works with anything it can chamber.  However, good semi-auto will still work with a wide variety of ammunition once the guns particular characteristics are determined.

In spite of these reliability challenges, many military and law enforcement organizations have switched to semi-autos  because no other gun can match the close range firepower, of a semi-auto shotgun.  Each 00 buckshot round is similar to firing 9, .38 special shots at close range.   A semi-auto can fire 5 or more of these rounds in as fast as one can pull the trigger, putting over 40 lethal projectiles down range in a second or two.

Benelli 2

Benelli Nova 12 Gauge pump-action, top, and Benelli M2 Tactical semi-auto inertia drive, below.


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