There are three main types of shotguns that are used in hunting. These three shotguns are the autoloader, the pump-action, and the break-open shotguns. All of these shotguns are good and in the end it comes down to personal preference, especially when it comes down to the game one is pursuing. Here is an in-depth look at the hunting shotguns pros and cons.
Sometimes called autoloaders or, incorrectly, automatic shotguns, harness power from the shotshell in order to eject the spent round, reset the firing pin, and load a new round from the magazine. Autoloaders used to have a reputation for malfunctioning and frequent jamming, but newer models are much more reliable.
Pump-action shotguns, sometimes known as slide-action shotguns, are operated by a manually sliding forearm that ejects the spent shell, cocks the firing pin, and loads a new shell from the magazine. The number-one selling shotgun of all time is the Remington 870, a pump-action shotgun.
Also called break-action, shotguns have a barrel or barrels set on a hinge so that gun literally breaks open at the receiver to enable the manual loading of shotshells. Some break-opens have only a single-barrel, though those are generally regarded as beginner-level shotguns for kids.
Most serious hunting shotguns are fitted with two barrels, mounted either horizontally or vertically. Shotguns with horizontally paired barrels are called side-by-side or double-barrel shotguns, and shotguns with vertically paired barrels are called over/under shotguns. While there is a lot to be said for the old-timey look and feel of a double-barrel shotgun, functional differences between the two are really quite small. It should be said, however, that most serious wingshooters who use break-open shotguns stick to the over/under configuration.