How Finicky are Semi's with Light Loads?

Discussion in 'Shotgun Forum' started by ulflyer, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. ulflyer

    ulflyer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Messages:
    680
    Location:
    Lexington NC
    Although I own a Rem 870 Police, I know very little about shotguns in general. I think I'd like to have a semi-auto and prefer to shoot light loads just for fun; however, I've read that often semi-auto's can be finicky unless full power shotshells are used. Is this often true? Isn't there a way to "set" them for soft loads?

    I know the answer is stick with a pump, but for some reason, a 20 ga semi interests me.
     
  2. chiefjason

    chiefjason Vendor Vendor

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Messages:
    8,206
    Location:
    Hickory, NC
    Some require a break in before they run light loads well. My daughters 1100 20 ga would not run anything under 1250 fps consistently for a while. It runs about any factory load now. How light are we talking?
     
  3. Remshooter

    Remshooter Club Subscribed Club Subscribed

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,728
    Location:
    Stoneville
    It takes about 8 lbs of gas pressure to cycle a 12 ga. gas operated semi auto and about 6 lbs on the 20 ga. (So depending on the gas port sizes, how light a load will produce the needed pressure). But the good thing about gas semi's is they are taking a lot of the kick out to cycle the action. So even with a heavier load, it is usually less felt recoil. And as stated, the more broke in, the lighter load they can run. Have an old 11-87 that will cycle 1 oz Estate shells no problem, which is much lighter than the recommended load for the gun. Not sure what it takes to cycle inertia operated, but you will have more felt recoil
     
  4. Climberman

    Climberman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2014
    Messages:
    2,549
    Location:
    Gone
    I have never seen my shotgun fail to cycle a factory load.
     
  5. ulflyer

    ulflyer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Messages:
    680
    Location:
    Lexington NC
    I've been shooting Nobel & Clover Italian made shell, #8 7/8 oz , one at 1150 other 1200 fps. I've shot a few OO and #1 Bucks and they are no fun at all! Was sort of thinking a 20ga might suit me better, but it seems they are rated pretty much the same in terms of Oz of shot and FPS....so, wouldn't these produce the same relative kick?

    Also thinking, as Remshooter said above, a semi would absorb some of the recoil.
     
  6. chiefjason

    chiefjason Vendor Vendor

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Messages:
    8,206
    Location:
    Hickory, NC

    Not even close. I shoot 12 ga 1 1/8 oz loads at about 1300 fps. Daughter shoots 20 ga 7/8 oz loads at 1250 fps. Big difference in felt recoil between my OU and her 1100. After shooting the 12 ga I barely feel the recoil in the 20 ga. Part because its a gas operated semi, and part because a lighter shot load with less powder.

    Let's take Unique powder. To get 1200 fps in a 12 ga you need 22.5 gr of powder. To get 1200 fps in a 20 ga you need 16.5 gr of powder. Less powder tends to mean less pressure and less felt recoil. That's a bit of an oversimplification, but you get the idea.
     
  7. Slacker

    Slacker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    5,382
    Location:
    Durham, NC / Mebane, NC
    My Versamax has never not cycled any wally world type bulk 12ga.
     
  8. trcubed

    trcubed well...bye Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Messages:
    10,210
    Location:
    None of your business, eh!
    Neither my 1100 nor my Versamax care one whit what I feed them.
     
  9. 47D

    47D All I had today is six gummy bears & some scotch Club Subscribed

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2010
    Messages:
    503
    Location:
    Raleigh
    My Benelli Super Vinci has had cycling issues with really light 2 3/4" loads. I think the inertia design along with being able to run 2 3/4", 3", or 3 1/2" shells limits how light a load you can use. The manual says to use 3 dram equivalent shells or better. When I've done this, I haven't had any problems.
     
  10. Mad Dawg

    Mad Dawg Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    N. Raleigh, NC
    Some semi's will cycle light loads right out of the box, others require a short break-in period using heavier loads before they will reliably cycle light loads.

    Go visit this forum. There are tons of discussions in regards to semi-auto shotguns and using different loads.

    http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/
     
  11. ulflyer

    ulflyer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Messages:
    680
    Location:
    Lexington NC
    I traded a pistol for a Rem 1100 20 ga LT-20 Magnum today at the Salisbury show. Extra nice gun, doesn't look to have been used much. Wouldn't eject at all until I checked the port and found it clogged. I cleaned the port with a large needle, but will give it a more thorough cleaning tomorrow. After that, th Win Buck 1200fps I bought at the show functioned nicely, but when I tried Walmart Win 7 1/2 1275 fps it wouldn't fully eject or feed. I've since read that a Magnum barrel with one port, instead of two, sometimes does not handle 2 3/4 shells well. I picked up a box of Federals that are 1220 fps when I got the Win's.... but figure I better return them to Walmart and get something stronger if it won't hand the Win 1275.

    One other thing; it only holds 2 shells in the mag, plus one in the chamber. I assume this is some sort of "plug" that can be changed so that it holds four?

    If I come across a used barrel suitable for cutting down to 18" I'd like to use that and make this a house gun, keeping the original barrel for the day I might want to sell it.

    I started this thread about guns being finicky and looking for lighter recoil. The 1100 20ga is definitely light on the recoil and more pleasant for me to shoot. One way or the other, I'll get it up and running to suit me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  12. Cochise

    Cochise Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2016
    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Cary, NC
    A couple of things to consider. There are 2 kinds of semi-autos. Benelli's are mostly inertia driven and usually require heavier loads to cycle. They are seldom used in target sports. Beretta, Remington and many others make a gas driven semi-auto. Gas guns absorb recoil so have lighter felt recoil. The 1100 is a very soft shooting gun and at one time that's all you saw in the gun rack at Skeet tournaments. Shooters owned one in each gauge. Pumps like the 870 kick worse that any semi-auto. There are 3 elements in the physics formula for free recoil, 1) Ejecta (the load basically) 2) Velocity and 3) Weight of gun. It's the weight of gun that confuses people. A 12 gauge shooting a 1 ounce, 1200fps load may have the same felt recoil as a lighter 20 gauge shooting a 7/8 oz load at 1200 fps (see the formula) . You can also download a 12 gauge to 7/8oz or less if you can get it to cycle. You want lighter recoil, the then either reduce the load, reduce the velocity or increase the weight of the gun. A few guns like the Beretta offer different exhaust springs that let less gas escape and therefore accommodate lighter loads. You can install Wolfe springs in a Benelli to shoot lighter loads. You can have gas ports drilled on any gas gun but only by a gunsmith. My advice is buy an inexpensive Berreta A300 12 gauge and shoot 1 oz or 7/8 oz loads. I hope some of this info helps.
     
  13. GregB72

    GregB72 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Messages:
    288
    Location:
    Lenoir, NC
    I've had several 930's that weren't 100% on the light stuff. Just got another one and it seems fine so far, but I'm going to buy one of these (www.or3gun.com) and shoot all the cheap stuff I can.
     
  14. JGrigg86

    JGrigg86 Shameless Glock Fanboy Club Subscribed

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,514
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Nice I like the look of that Marine spacer tube. May have to get one of those.
     
  15. ulflyer

    ulflyer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Messages:
    680
    Location:
    Lexington NC
    Not familiar with the workings of the 930, but if it uses O rings like the Rem 1100, put a second O ring on and try the light stuff. Worked for me.
     
  16. NJSC

    NJSC Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,022
    Location:
    Rock HIll
    I've got a viper g2 that has gladly shot everything I have fed to her. I was really surprised with the price of the gun how well it functions. It's a pretty blatant rip off of the SX3, but I don't mind when it kills birds.
     
  17. Larry Kool

    Larry Kool Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2016
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Charlotte
    I have an 11-87 that seems to cycle any brand of ammo except for Winchester White box (WWB). The problem is not one of too little extraction force though, I suspect the WWB shell is getting caught in the chamber somehow. The extractor will actually rip a slot in the WWB rim. Other than WWB, I've put every cheap (and not so cheap) ammo that I can find at a bargain and it cycles it all without a hitch. This includes such "cheap" brands as Estate, Rio and Monarch.
     
  18. Silver_Bullet

    Silver_Bullet Staff

    Joined:
    May 12, 2012
    Messages:
    10,098
    Location:
    SC / NC State Line (Eastern Carolina)
    There are some semi's that will cycle everything out the box from 2&3/4 1oz dove loads to the hardest hitting 3&1/2 mags. They cost a bit more than a pump. First thing you need to do is figure out what your use is going to be for the shotgun, then pick one that serves that purpose that also fits and feels good to you. A shotgun needs to feel good, fit proper, and point natural.
     

Share This Page