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Where Has the Pump Action Rifle Gone?

Is it just me or is the pump action rifle is fading into obscurity?

I recently looked at my Gun Wish List and it contained three items, the most interesting of which is a pump action deer rifle.

I did my due diligence. I have been told by all the bolt action fans, and the lever fans, and even the semi auto fans, how I was making a poor choice. But in all the discussions not one person came up with one concrete reason why I should NOT own a pump action rifle.

I have had success harvesting big game with just about every conventional weapon allowed. I grew up bow and shotgun hunting in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, where the flatness of the land combined with housing growth made it unsafe and illegal to hunt with a long rifle. I now live in a rifle environment, and have been experimenting with what I want to be my “everyday deer gun.”

The pump action shotgun is arguably the most popular small game or wingshooting gun coast to coast. So why is it that the concept of the pump action rifle has been banished into obscurity?

I’ve tried to find the answer everywhere, from local gun shop owners, to other lifetime hunters. The reasons are astonishingly unclear.

If you have ever been on a group dove or small game hunt, you probably looked around and saw a lot of pump action shotguns. It seems those of us that learned from a young age graduated from the single shot to the pump action.

“In the 15 years I have owned this gun shop I might have ordered five pump action high caliber rifles,” my local gun store owner told me. While recently shopping for a new .22 rifle, I brought up the pump action deer rifle with him, and there were some strange looks I got upon such an inquiry.

It seems to me a shooter can work a pump as fast or faster than a bolt or even a lever. Why all the somber talk when it came to a pump action .30 caliber rifle? Well, to make a long story short, no one, not one person came up with a technical or viable reason why pump action rifles were substandard.

In my recent quest, I have found that you can’t find used pump action rifles in local gun shops here in southwest Virginia. I found one for sale at a recent auction, a Savage Model 170 .30/.30 with a Simmons Scope on it. The condition as very good. The gun opened at $350 and sold for $430. With taxes and auction fees the gun left the venue for a little over $500 dollars.

This left me wondering: If I left the used market and delved into the new, what would be my best choice? I found the Remington Model 7600 pump action in .30-06 Springfield to be the best option. This is the newest model from a time-tested line of Remington pump action deer rifles, and it seems to be continuing the long standing tradition of Remington firearms quality and durability.


Ordering new in box of course allows the buyer to get any special upgrades or additions to the gun. The basic model without a scope retails in the $850-$900 range and has received mostly positive reviews.

The strangest thing my search revealed to me was that your choices for quality pump action rifles are limited. It does not take one long to know the models and makes that provide the most excitement.

I am not sure why the pump action high caliber rifle has developed a sort of stigma. There is no physical or performance related down side to a gun with this action. It seems the bolt guns have taken over as the main weapon of choice.

I’m going to pull the trigger on my purchase this summer and will keep you posted on my honest reviews of the pump action deer rifle I choose.



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Where Has the Pump Action Rifle Gone?