View Full Version : Reliability Comparison: Remmington 870 vs Benelli Gas Operated M4
I'm stuck between the Remmington 870 and the Benelli Gas Operated M4. Can anyone comment on the reliability of one above the other? I have heard that even though the Benelli M4 is semi-auto and the Remmington 870 is a pump, the Benelli M4 is more reliable than the 870.
I heard a 10 year shotgun competitor say (over at shotgunworld.com) that in his 10 years, ironically he had seen more malfunctions due to short stroke on a pump than on any of the semi-autos. You have to remember, semi-autos of today are not the same as 20 years ago where the reputation of semi-autos being unreliable started. A pump action is only as reliable as the person using it.
I say get both. I have my favorite pump (Benelli SNT) and my favorite semi-auto (Mossberg 930SPX)...I am in shotgun heaven as far as I am concerned.
Nothing is more reliable then a pump shotgun except a double barrel shotgun.
Simply by design no semi auto can be more reliable as it takes the last round fired to cycle the weapon. So you are not only trusting your life to the action of the weapon but the ammo because it takes a perfect round to have have enough gas to cycle the weapon. With a pump, as long as the round pushes the lead out the end of the barrel you rack the damn thing and are ready to fire the next round.
As for short stroking. That is pure operator malfunction and I have never, not one single time short stoked a pump, not on the range, not hunting not any time. I have fired tens of thousands of shotgun rounds in the past 45 years (shot my first pump at 12) and not one single issue with the operation of that weapon. The fact that some people can not operate their weapon should not be a deciding factor on your decision.
^ Of course you can pump a shotgun with not a single short stroke as a hunter or at a static range. When hunting or at a range you are not under any stress or experiencing an adrenaline dump. Ad in fear of death and rounds shooting back at you and short stroking becomes a reality. Take a defensive shotgun course and tell us how perfect your results are afterward?
Try taking shots laying on your right or left side, in the dirt, from behind the cover of a vehicle with the clock running and the target moving?
Hunting and static range shooting is not the same as home defense and combat shooting.
If you rack a pump with authority every time you fire one you will rack it the same no matter what the situation. How is it that these weapons have been used for over 100 years by millions of people without issues in combat, law enfocement and sporting use and now you have these people who can't operate a pump shotgun effectively? Become proficient with the weapon and operator issues do not exsist.
years ago as a firearms trainer I stood behind the fireing line for years watching new officers fire the 870 for the first time. And yes, some did not listen and had issues but after understanding the weapon and how to operate it they qualified, used these on duty and re-qualed every year (now 6 months). So learning the weapon, training and a little bit of common sence = no short stroking the pump shotgun.
I am totally proficient with a pump shotgun and have 100% confidence in it and my ability with it in any circumstance. It is unwise to think that simply going to a semi auto is going to eliminate shooter error or mistakes. You will find the semi-autos have their own list of disadvantages and are in no way superior to the pump shotguns. If anyone thinks they simply buy a weapon, shoot it a few times then put it up and one day when they need it things are going to go right for them, they are foolish. No matter what weapon you choose it is only as reliable as your ability to operate it effectively.
This is going to be a This -V- that thread and those kind bring out little more then opinion, very little in the way of useful information and even some BS. So I end my input with the information I have posted that was gained by many years of being involved with these weapons, ten's of thousand's of rounds through them and knowing these weapons inside and out.
No one is saying pumps are inferior and that semi-autos are superior and flawless? I must have missed that comment somewhere if they did (or if I did???)
I clearly said pump shotguns are only as reliable as the person using it. That being said many folks simply do not take the time to "get proficient" with the shotgun platform. If you think qualifying on a pump twice a year is "enough" to get good with it...well good luck with that and I hope the best. I can tell you that I have used the Mossberg with the marines and the Remington with my current dept. and both military and police personal need more training than the academy and twice a year to get "good" with any shotgun.
You have to train train train...with any firearm (pump or semi-auto) and no one here is saying anything otherwise. Semi-autos malfunction when they arent shouldered solidly. Kind of like limp wristing I guess you could say? So you are absolutely correct that buying a gun and setting it in the closet is in no way "being ready". You have to train!
Again...no one said semi-autos are "better" than pumps.
It's easy to short-stroke an 870 when engaging multiple targets at high speed, for example, in a steel match. Assuming the semi does not malfunction, it's likely going to be faster than the pump.
The consequenses of shorting the 870 are not that great, though - as long as the shooter understands what's going on. I've never been in a shotgun fight, but presumably the stress there presents a little differently than in a match. I would think slowing down a few tenths is a little more intuitive in the fight.
I'm looking forward to being able to run my 870 as fast as a competent shooter with a semi. Even at my early stage of development with the shotgun, I'd rather have the 870 than a semi in an HD situation. I think the 870 is more likely to run a little slower than the semi, but a lot less likely to have a more serious problem.
I have spent alot of time with my 590 pump (and previous pump SG's). I would not hesitate to reach for it in an HD situation. I am not afraid to admit I have short-stroked before in the many years of shooting pump shotguns. It's happened particularly when I am trying to engage multiple targets as quickly as possible. It's operator error and I'm human so I just learn how to recognize and recover as quickly as possible.
Now that I have my 930 SPX, I would not hesitate to reach for that as well for HD once I have spent some quality time with her. I would make sure I am familiar with possible issues/failures and learn how to clear them with the same proficiency as I clear my semi-auto pistols.
I think alot of folks are saying the same thing, whatever your designated HD weapon is, just make sure it is maintained, functions reliably, and that you are familiar and train with it.
As for the OP - I don't think it's a straighforward answer unfortunately. The only fair and objective answer is: "...the one you train with and maintain...."
Operator variables aside and mechanically speaking, it may even come down to the particular specific samples of 870 vs. M4 being compared. A well maintained 870 will be more reliable than an abused M4 and vice versa.
I personally would trut my life to any platform that "I personally" have trained on and tested. That being said my personal 930SPX will get used for HD without a shadow of a doubt because I have personally ran it through hell and back with not one malfunction. I have to set up malfunctions to practice those drills but so far its been 100% at almost 1500 rounds now. Would I trust my life to a $1500 brand new Benelli M4 that I have not personally field tested? NO way. Would I trust someone elses 930? NO way!!!!!
I dont even trust Glocks right out of the box. You gotta test them and break them in before they serve as life saving tools. And thats with any firearm!
Consider a SuperNova Tactical - the perfect combo - nearly identical in appearance and feel to the M4, but its a pump; pistol grip, ghost ring sights, extension tube available, picatinny rail available, etc. I have one and love it. I bought mine new about 2 years ago, $369 out the door. It does have some limitations for accessories, but I use a quick sling swivel mount that has a small rail the opposite side of the sling (barrel mounted, for a light or whatever you like), and a 6-shell holder with a pic rail that goes on top of the receiver. The M4 is what - about $1600? And if you want the collapsible stock - that's another $600 when you can find one. Benelli recently had a rebate - $100 off an M4...might have ended in December. I was itching to buy one, especially when ****** had a sale on them - about $1300; minus $100 rebate - pretty good deal for an M4, but I had to pass it up. All I've ever heard people say who have shot the M4 is "it's the most fun I've ever had with a shotgun." Fast, reliable, available - what's not to like? For that type of gun, though, I have, thus far, settled for the under $400 pump nearest equivalent in the SuperNova Tactical.
Remington 870 is a popular gun, lots of accessories available, piles of them around - nice guns, too.
I have been in two deadly force situations where officers short stroked a pump shotgun and they both were on the first round. One officer had been in a prior shoot out and had killed a suspect with a revolver, the other officer it was his first time. There is no way training is ever going to eliminate the problem, there is just no way to simulate the stress of combat at short shotgun ranges. In one case the officer just looked down staring at the shotgun in shock. This was bad because he was being shot at. By the time he recovered the bad guy had emptied his gun and ran back inside. Back in the day there was no option but the pump shotgun due to the unreliability of the autos of that time. The problem resolved it self when we switched to semi-auto pistols and assault rifles.
Thank you very much for your responses. In any case, if any of you are wondering, my only two shotgun options (for reasons I'll spare you) are the Remmington 870 and/or Benelli M4. And, yes, either (or both :2gun::supergrin:) will be maintained well. Although I may compete, competition would be to train for a the higher purpose of self defense.
I have heard from two independant sources: Benelli M2 outlasted Remmington 870; Benelli M4 outlasted Remmington 870. They both sounded like things on the Remmington 870 broke.
Pump shotguns do fine as long as the position you are in isn't too awkward. Try lying behind an 18" barrier, working a pump shotgun without exposing something to incoming fire. Semi's definitely have their place.
I own both the Benelli M-4 and also the Remington 870 Police, 18" barrel, extended mag tube, wood stocks.
The Benelli is a sexy shotgun, but, I noticed when I fired low powered rounds thru it, it appeared the Benelli was struggling to cycle them. The Benelli is a firearm that will function well with full power loads (slugs & buckshot) but in a defensive situation it may turn into a risky situation if you happen to feed this shotgun rounds that did not have enuf "oomph" in them to cycle the action.
no such problems with the Remington 870. So long as you do your part and use your muscle power to cycle the action.
The other thing I really love about the 870 is the simplicity of it all.
For non-mechanical, non-gunsmith people like me,...In a worst case scenario....
Its so simple to get up and running. If for some reason you had a problem barrel? just remove the barrel and drop in a new one. Bad magazine spring? remove the spring and drop in a new one. Broken/cracked stock, remove the stock, put on a new one. Bad springs in the trigger group? Take the bad springs off and put in new ones. If that dont work, you can go to the extreme and pop those 2 pins, drop the entire trigger group and drop in a new trigger group. Ect, ect,...ect.
at this point in time, I cant say the same for the Benelli.
I'll throw another twist on this discussion...might or might not have some value.
Several years ago, after my agency switched over to semi-auto handguns we decided to switch out our older 870's. They had been in use for many, many years and were just plain worn out!
We did T & E on Benelli M-1 Entry shotguns and decided to purchase the Benellis. Training was a large factor in this decision. We wanted to be as consistent as possible for all of the firearms we utilized and the Benelli semi-automatics allowed for us to design a program that fit our needs. There were many areas where we were able to utilize the same handgun techniques (shooting/stoppage drills/handling/movement) to the semi-auto shotguns. Training (and real experiences) had shown us that even the most experienced officers sometimes created stoppages with the 870's during the stress of a deadly force incidents and in training.
Our program developed that consistency...our officers became more comfortable with the shotguns which in turn equated to better efficiency and handling of the shotguns.
That being said...I still own an 870 and if I do my part it runs just fine!
Go to any tactical shotgun course and you will see students that have trouble running pump shotguns and students that have trouble with semi-autos. The weak link likely isn't the gun its the trigger jerker.
I'm not a fan of the Benelli M4 because I think it is overly complicated and it doesn't take advantage of the inertia technology that has earned a reputation for reliability that other Benelli shotguns enjoy. Never owned an M4 so I can't comment on it from experience and most people here making comments would do well to let others know what their experience with a particular gun is before they run off at the mouth about it.
I have a Benelli M2 Tactical that has been flawless over a couple of months and about 350 rounds. I've shot Benelli inertia driven shotguns in some of the worst field conditions imaginable (sub zero temps, cold, snow, dropped in the river, so much mud on it that I had to wipe off the barrel to get a decent sighting plane etc etc) and they have been tougher than you would expect and completely flawless in operation including light target loads.
Again, the weak link in the equation with any weapons choice is invariably the shooter. In my experience shooting hundreds of thousands of rounds from shotguns...good semi-autos don't give up anything in terms of reliability to pumps.
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