While most of us who’ve hunted are familiar with a pump shotgun, not many (myself included) have ever seen the innards of the gun or know much about exactly what goes on when the slide is racked. I stumbled onto this video and really enjoyed seeing, on a cutaway gun, precisely what happens when it’s pumped. The presenter, gunsmith Hunter Roosevelt, actually cuts away parts of a Winchester Model 12 pump and proceeds to walk the viewer through what’s going on when the slide is racked.
The one really sore point that comes to mind whenever I read or see the term “pump shotgun” is the iconic sound that racking the slide makes. If a pump shotgun appears in a movie (and they’re everywhere in action movies), you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll hear that iconic sound. The problem is, in most cases, the shotgun was probably carried at the ready or even pointed at someone as if ready to shoot – but then the slide is racked. And since no round was ejected, that points out that the gun was empty before racking the slide. So, our hero (or villain) was parading around making threatening or menacing moves, all the while sporting a shotgun with an empty chamber – hardly a smart move. But no matter, it’s all for effect anyway. Gotta hear that dreaded “CHK-CHK” sound to show that someone is in deep trouble.
Mr. Roosevelt gives us a brief history of the Model 12 and then proceeds to disassemble it before milling away metal to yield a cutaway of a real, honest-to-goodness, pump shotgun. ENJOY!
And here’s a final bit of interest. All gun nuts eventually learn what specifications refer to when discussing pistol or rifle ammunition (calibers, millimeters, grains, etc.), but how many of us know where the “gauge” measurement used for shotguns came from? I didn’t.
Gauge is determined from the weight of a solid sphere of lead that will fit the bore of the firearm and is expressed as a fraction of a pound. Thus, a 12 gauge identifies a bore that is designed to fire a ball that weighs 1/12 of a pound. And this was derived from the measurement of cannon, which were also measured by the weight of their iron round shot; an 8 pounder would fire an 8 lb. spherical cast iron ball.
Like the old saying goes, we learn something new every day. I hope that this little post was your “something new” for today, I know it was for me.