How-to Store a Pump Action Gun in a Safe Yet Ready to Use Manner

Published by the Author on May 18, 2008 at 9:58 am > How-To Guides and Other Info > How-to Store a Pump Action Gun in a Safe Yet Ready to Use Manner

Pump action shotguns and rifles are well suited to home defense, due to their reliability. An added benefit of pump action is that it makes storing the firearm in a relatively safe yet ready to use fashion easier. While this practice is likely obvious to those experienced with pump action firearms, it may not be as obvious for those more familiar with other action types, or those new to firearms. This article describes how to store a pump action firearm in a safe yet ready to use manner.

Remington 870 XCS Marine Magnum

Step 1:
Completely unload the gun. This means ensure that the chamber is empty, and that the magazine is empty. This is important.

Step 2:
Hand load a dummy round directly into the chamber. The dummy round is a plastic or metal place holder for a real round. It is inert but is shaped like the real thing. The purpose of loading a dummy round is to prevent damage to the gun’s firing pin that could result if the gun were firing on an empty chamber. Make sure this is a dummy round, not a live round!

Step 3:
Point the gun in a safe direction and pull the trigger, being sure that you loaded only a dummy round into the chamber, rather than a live round. Even though we have only a dummy round in the gun, it is always important to follow the gun safety rules and keep the gun pointed away from people or things you don’t want to shoot. I can’t over stress the importance of ensuring that Steps 1 and 2 were followed, and that the gun is pointed in a safe direction. After pulling the trigger do not pump the slide (leave the dummy round in the chamber).

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Step 4:
Load the magazine with live rounds of the appropriate type for home defense.

Your pump action firearm now has only a dummy round in the chamber, and a full magazine. In an emergency, you can pick up the shotgun and pump the slide to make it ready to fire (please remember to store your guns safely).Because you pulled the trigger with the dummy round in the chamber, the slide will move freely, and you won’t have to fumble with the action release bar during an emergency. The lack of a live round in the chamber means that an accidental pull of the trigger will not fire the gun (unless it is pumped first).

From a mechanical standpoint, the only part of the gun that is under any tension is the magazine spring, but the magazine spring can take years and years of storage like this, especially if you occasionally remove the shells from the magazine, such as when transporting the gun to the range for some target practice. Even if you keep the shells stored in the magazine for years and eventually wear out the spring, it will only cost about $15 to replace.

Again, I can’t over stress the importance of gun safety, along with safe and responsible gun storage, not to mention personal responsibility.

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  • Huck

    Thank You for the tip on how to store a shotgun and yet have it be available to use in case of emergency… This is a very helpful tip for those of us just starting up.

  • Wilsonsez

    This is with out a doubt the best way to store a shotgun loaded for personal defense as is suggested by Eric. I truly think the magazine coil spring will likely last a mans lifetime even in this loaded condition. Just a simple matter to check it every year or so to be positive it will feed correctly. I have slightly stretched the coil spring on a Winchester model 12 20 ga. that was made about 1950 and it has never failed me yet but it is not kept loaded today. Be sure to measure it before you stretch it and only lengthen it an inch & a half if appears weak. I use another method on a 12 ga. Win model 1200 that I keep behind my bedroom door in a loaded position. There are no children in my house & the only teen that does visit is gun savvy & schooled on firearm safety. Since this pump action shotgun is occasionally used in the field or at a clay shoot it is legally plugged for a capacity of three rounds only. Therefore not wanting to put a dummy shell in the chamber I just fully load all three shells in it making sure the safety is on and I push the slide release and pull the slide back until I can see half the shell exposed then I sit it behind the door. If I or my wife were in need to use it quickly simply push the slide closed & push the safety off & fire. Just remember not to rack it before firing or you will only have two rounds in it & it could be you were counting on three rounds. I have used this method several years now & feel it will provide me protection if it is ever called on. I also have a fully loaded .40 Glock with a laser holstered between the mattress's
    under the valance. My wife has a loaded air weight S&W .38 spl. in the drawer in her nightstand. This is our safe room you might say since the gun vault is on the other end of the house. In this rural area there are no specific laws on loaded guns but it is common sense that guns are to be rendered childproof where children are present. Just remember to be aware of the condition and the location of every gun that may be used in an emergency & please use all caution so that you and only qualified family members can get access to any gun loaded or not. It's our parental obligation to teach safety & firearm proficiency. A family that hunts shoots & collects guns together and excercises proper safety will be a close happy family with responsible members through adulthood & the rest of their life. I see it every day. JD

  • Ralph McLaney

    This ready condition for pump shotguns is known as "cruiser ready" in police circles. However, given the rugged design of pump shotgun firing pins and the fact that police do not use dummy firing pin protector rounds, there is virtually no mechanical risk in dropping the internal hammer on an empty chamber.

    As for magazine spring compression concerns, just change out the magazine spring every few years. Magzine springs are inexpensive and easy to change out. in most shotguns. Along the same lines, take the magazine capacity limiter plug out of your hunting shotgun if it is used for home defense – this only takes a few seconds accomplish..