Pros and Cons of Pump Action Rifles

Pump Action Rifles

A pump action rifle tends to be rarer than its semi-auto or bolt action counterparts, but that does not mean it’s any worse for shooting, whether you’re hunting or skeet shooting. Many well-respected manufacturers, including Remington and Troy, make popular pump action rifles.

You can find a pump action rifle for sale at most reputable gun shops.

You may be asking yourself: why would I ever want a pump action rifle? Well, there are two main reasons.

Firing Speed

The biggest advantage a pump action confers is reduced downtime between shots.
Simply put, you’ll get your subsequent shots off much faster with a pump action rifle than you would with a bolt or lever action rifle. For context, the firing speed of a pump action rifle is just slightly less than that of a semi-auto.

Think about it: increased firing speed could be the difference between merely wounding that 12-pointer and watching it hobble out of sight, or scoring it with a well-timed follow-up shot. Which outcome would you prefer?


The other main advantage of a pump action rifle is your potential familiarity with the pump action maneuver. Pump action shotguns are a classic, famous choice for the American marksman. If you’re a seasoned gunslinger, you’ve probably used a pump action shotgun before—maybe you even own your own. In that case, a pump action rifle might make sense for you.

There can be a moderate learning curve for mastering the pump action motion (see below), but if you already have experience with the motion, you’re basically mitigating one of the biggest downsides of a pump. You already know how to complete the pump action, and so a pump action rifle will feel all but natural to you.

This leads us nicely to the two cons of choosing a pump action rifle instead of a bolt or lever:


Don’t get me wrong: the accuracy of most pump action rifles is more than good enough for most hunting purposes, and in almost all cases a gun is only as accurate as its shooter. But for those of you who want ultra-precise shots at over 500yds or who are interested in Benchrest competitions, perhaps you’d be better off with a bolt-action.


If reload speed is a matter of life or death, you might not opt for a pump action rifle. Most use tube magazines, which means you’ll have to reload cartridges one-by-one, significantly belaboring the reload time.

Still, some of the most popular pump-action rifles, such as the Remington 7600, take advantage of box cartridges, negating this issue.

Final Thoughts

A pump action rifle is not only a quality piece of equipment, but it is also a lot of fun to shoot.

There are plenty of good online stores that carry a variety of pump action rifles, one of which will almost certainly suit your needs.

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