Top Picks in Pump-Action Rifles From Classic to Modern
Bolt actions continue to advance and evolve with hair-splitting accuracy. Semi-automatic rifles hold the fascination of high-volume hunters. Even single shots are on the rise thanks to cost savings and new calibers. But what about the good old slide action?
They seem nearly forgotten, with few new models on today’s gun store shelves. Still, Guns.com has wrangled up a pretty impressive list of pump-action rifles, both new and vintage. These rimfire and centerfire guns are sure to punch either your hunting tag or holes in backyard tin cans.
Ask almost any American deer or big game hunter, and odds are good they – or somebody in their hunting party – used either a semi-automatic Remington 742 or 7400 or the more affordable Remington 760 and 7600 pump-action rifles. These centerfires dominated the woods for years, yet it is the pump-action Models 760 and 7600 that have shown the durability to last for generations of regular shooting.
The model 760 was Remington’s first iteration, introduced in the early 1950s. It was succeeded by the Model 7600 in the early 1980s, with several improvements to the bolt design. These rifles use a detachable box magazine and featured calibers like the .30-06 Springfield, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, and .280 Remington, among many others. While most wore walnut stocks, the 7600 offered a black synthetic option during later production. Carbines in both models are especially sought after these days.
Aficionados of centerfire pump-action rifles like the 760 and 7600, especially for deer hunting. Many will likely also recognize the Savage Model 170. With calibers like the .30-30 Win and .35 Rem, these slide guns were once purely practical, but are since growing in collectibility and found in many of the same circles as the 760/7600.
Some of the most instantly recognizable pump-action repeating rifles of all time are the Remington Model 14 and 141 families. The spiral magazine tube – intended to keep bullet tips from contacting primers – gave the guns their noteworthy looks. Partner that with the inset brass “shell casing” on the receiver, which indicated caliber, and these rifles had aesthetics licked. More than that, though, the Remington Model 14 and 141 accounted for plenty of varmints, deer, and big game in their heyday.
Production of these slim centerfires began in 1913 with the Model 14 and continued until 1950 with the Model 141. Both the takedowns and carbines made these models popular at a time when Remington was struggling to compete with Winchester’s booming lever guns. The most popular calibers in the 14/141 lineup were certainly the .30 Remington and .35 Remington, but others, namely the .25 Remington and .32 Remington, are desired in collections today. In fact, many gun gurus spend significant time and money building a complete compendium of these vintage beauties.
Henry Pump Octagon
One of the few pump-action rifles in current production, the Henry Repeating Arms Pump-Action Octagon has the corner on the American-made rimfire pump market. Though known primarily for their lever-action excellence, Henry’s octagon-barreled slide-action guns have a quiet but loyal following. Chambered for .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle or .22 WMR, Henry’s pump comes ready for plinking or small game hunting.
The 20-inch – or 20.5-inch, in the case of the magnum – octagon barrel gives the gun its old-fashioned good looks. There’s a 3/8-inch grooved receiver for optics mounting, but the rifle is also dressed with traditional fully adjustable semi-buckhorn rear and brass front sights. Like all Henry firearms, the pump is completely made in America, right down to the American walnut stocks, and carries the company’s unbeatable warranty and customer service.
There are many classic rimfire pump-action rifles, including so many choices from Winchester that it’s difficult to choose only one. One of the most plentiful, shootable, and innovative is Winchester’s successful Model 61. Springing from the earlier Winchester Model 1890 and 1906 pumps with external hammers, the Model 61 launched Winchester’s slide-action rimfires into the modern era with a sleeker design that offered an internal hammer.
These lightweight, short-throw slides featured a tubular magazine and packable takedown design. Released in 1932, rimfire Model 61s were steadily produced until 1963. They could be had as single caliber rifles in rounds like .22 Short, .22 LR, or .22 WRF. Rarer smoothbore options were available as well as a .22 WMR. While pre-war versions may be the most collectible and nicely patinaed of the bunch, magnum chambered variants are hot as well. Find a model with special features like engraving, upgraded stocks, or inlays for a rare gem that likely still shoots as well as it looks.
Rossi Gallery 22
The only other modern pump that makes our list is also the most affordable of the bunch. Budget-minded brand Rossi recently introduced their rimfire remake line of gallery rifles designed to remind shooters of the old carnival plinking days. Rossi’s Gallery 22 can be had in one of two stock configurations – German beechwood or black polymer.
Each of these value-priced rimfire repeaters wears an 18-inch barrel and holds 15 rounds of .22 LR. Unlike the Henry with its quarter-cock safety, Rossi uses a manual crossbolt safety. While the wood-stocked Rossi uses more traditional buckhorn iron sights, the synthetic version is dressed in fiber optics. Could this, at long last, be a sign of returning interest in pump action rifles? We hope so.