It is hard to believe, but there are some really cool pump-action shotguns out there that you have neither in your gun safe nor even heard off. They are rugged and reliable. You can carry them through the wilderness all day or even use them as a paddle for your boat if you have too, and they still go bang when you want to shoot a duck.
Pump action shotguns are in general very popular, and the reason for this is very simple: they work. Not for nothing are the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 sold by the millions, but that does not mean that all pump shotguns get the kind of attention they deserve.
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8. The Ithaca Model 37
The Ithaca 37 was developed by John Browning and introduced as the Remington 17. When the patent for it ran out, Ithaca produced it as the Model 37. These days, it is famous for being the longest production run pump shotgun.
It is easy to remove the barrel from the action. Just unscrew the nut at the end of the fore-end. Then you twist off the barrel. Do the same in reverse order to put it back on.
The Ithaca Model 37 is a bottom feeder, and it also ejects to the bottom. The Browning BPS was designed from this model. This design makes for solid sides, which keep debris out of the chamber.
This gun is still in production and available in many variants with different gauges and barrel lengths. This includes also trench guns, clay guns, deluxe models, and a deer gun.
7. Winchester Model 25
Shotguns are not necessarily the most expensive guns on the market but also not the cheapest. For that reason, manufacturers have tried to build more affordable versions of their best-selling shotguns. Mostly, such undertakings end up in a failure. Shooters are willing to spend a little bit more for a better product. That holds especially true for shotguns. By now, the vintage Model 12 of Winchester have reached price levels, that are just too high. Here, the Model 25 should allow for a more affordable version while essentially being the same gun as the Model 12.
The main difference between both is the frame. The 12 is a takedown, while the 25 is solid. It comes with a plain pistol grip stock and a slide handle sporting grooves. The barrel length is either 26 or 28 inches. Produced only from 1949-1954, just 88,000 were sold. This explains why it was discontinued. However, if you find one today, take it. It is still quite affordable.
6. The Winchester Model 1897
The Winchester Model 1897 can be had with a solid frame or as a takedown. Also, there is a long barrel option for hunters and a version as a trench gun. The latter would be a great gun for home defense nowadays.
To make it even better in its role as a trench gun or if you so wish as a home defense gun is that there is no interceptor built into it. What this means might not be apparent at first, but imagine you pull the trigger and hold it pulled while working the slide. The moment a new round is chambered, it is fired. That allows for a very rapid fire sequence effectively ending every attempt of a home invasion and makes quick work of every foe encountered in a trench.
The magazine holds 6 shells, and it comes with an exposed hammer. Working the fore-end pushes the slide backwards, cocking the hammer. You load this beauty from the bottom, and the empty shells are ejected to the side. The butt plates are normally made of rubber, but there were a few made from steel.
5. The Mossberg 200K
The Mossberg 200K looks at first like a rifle or more precise like a bolt action rifle. In reality, however, it is the first magazine fed shotgun Mossberg ever made. The magazine is detachable and holds 3 12-gauge shotgun shells. If you like, you can as well load it from the top without removing the mag, but then you can insert only 2 rounds.
Of course, you can also load only single rounds before you shoot. For that, you just drop a round directly into the chamber. The barrel is ported and comes with a flat rib. Also, it sports a tang-mounted safety.
On the muzzle, you find an adjustable choke. You can choose between different positions, which are full, modified, improved cylinder, and full cylinder. The fore-end does look different from other pump actions as it does not slide along under the barrel. Instead, it is a piece of steel which is integrated into the stock, making it even more look like a rifle.
4. Smith & Wesson 3000
The Smith & Wesson is a pump-action shotgun produced by Howa in Japan. Introduced in 1980, it came in 12 or 20 gauge. There were not many produced, but by itself, the gun was a solid construction, and deserved a longer production run. It came in a sporting version as well as in a black synthetic tactical variant which also sported a folding stock. That would make this gun also a good option for a truck gun.
All models come with a fixed choke, but there are two options for them. They are improved cylinder as well as modified and full in 20 gauge. For deer hunters, there is a tapered slug barrel available. For waterfowl, you can get a fixed full choke.
The gun shoots 3-inch magnum shells. The barrel is made from hammer forged steel so that it lasts almost forever.
3. The Remington Model 31
The Remington 31 made a name for itself as a trench gun and a sporting model. It was based on the M17 platform from Remington with quite some changes. For example, the 31 came with a side loading gate, while the M17 was bottom fed.
At first, the 31 was available only in 12 and 16 gauge, but later 20 gauge was added. The gun weighs less than 7 pounds making it easy to carry it around all day. The barrel is threaded. That way, you can unscrew it for cleaning.
All in all, 190,000 of them were made until 1949. It was meant to compete with Winchester`s M12, but from the latter, more than half a million were made leaving Remington with an OK gun that did not make it into a market leader.
2. The Marlin 19
The Marlin 19 as a special look that betrays its age as it is more than a century old. It was produced for just one year, but that does not diminish its coolness as it is a hammer gun. When you slide the fore-end, it does not only load another round but also cock the hammer. When you pull the trigger, the hammer is released. It strikes the firing pin, and this beauty goes bang.
Making this gun even cooler is the fact that it is a takedown. You can remove the barrel and make it easier to carry the gun. That does come with a downside. The technology then was not as advanced as today, making the process of actually taking it down a little bit complicated. First, you pull the fore-end all the way back. Then you have to flip a switch and push the fore-end forward. Next, you unscrew the barrel from the chamber, and it is done.
The Marlin 19 was an upgrade of the Marlin 1898. It sports a matte barrel finish to have a better appeal to the hunters of these days. Shooting it, you need to be a little bit careful as it shares one important downside with other hammer guns of these days. Make sure that you pull the trigger only after the slide is fully engaged in the chamber to avoid a misfire.
The price for this beauty is not very high and well below $1000. You can load it with 2¾-inch shells and have a nice day hunting.
1. The Marlin 120
The Marlin 120 is a nice gun, but it never caught on like other models. Its look resembles that of a Winchester Model 12 what was probably intended in order to help with sales. Being produced in the 1970s and 80s, it just did not manage to convince the average shooter. One reason for that was its weight. The variant in 12 gauge with a barrel length of 30 inches weighs 8 pounds making it a little bit harder to carry then other, lighter models.
As if the weight was not enough, there was also the stigma that it came with a cheap action that would break. The only way to repair it was a welder who could work with a very high precision. Then there was a really quirky variant with a barrel length of 40 inches. That made it unwieldy, but also quite accurate for those who could handle it. However, that size also turned it into a gun nobody wanted to carry around all day. A model with a 26-inch barrel can be found for less than $300 nowadays.
There you have it, the most underrated shotguns that deserved more fame. If you see one of them, do not hesitate to buy it. If you think we forgot one, put it into the comments and let us all know why you think it should make the list.