Rambling thoughts on the H&R Pardner Pump
by Greg Ritchie
I needed a shotgun for an impromptu dove shoot that presented itself at the last minute. Off to the local big box sporting goods store to see what they had cheap. The one that struck my fancy was the H&R Pardner Pump in 20 gauge.
The Pardner Pump is a Remington 870 clone. I knew about the Pardner Pump, having collected H&R's for a while. But my interest was in the break action single shots. I just was not interested in a Chinese made pump action shotgun. Nevertheless, I asked to see the Pardner Pump. It looked almost like an 870, with a small bit of the Remington M11 thrown in (the abbreviated humpback) which are my favorite repeating shotguns. Plus it was a H&R......sort of.
Long story short. I bought the Pardner Pump. I'm glad I did. We rushed it home where we had just enough time to shoot some hand tossed clay targets. Hits were surprising easy. The shotgun fit me well, as the 870 always has. I especially liked the "hump" at the rear of the receiver. The Remington M11/ Browning Auto 5 were always easy for me to shoot well. I believe the hump has something to do with it. Helps me to align the bead I think. The Pardner Pump was no exception. The next day at the shoot, my belly full of a late breakfast of bacon, eggs, and grits, I was eagerly awaiting the 1 o'clock start of the season. By 2:30, my hunt was over. Limited out, and did not even shoot a single box of shells. Not too shabby using a shotgun I had only ever put 12 rounds through the evening before!
I liked it so well that I went out and bought another Pardner Pump. The 12 gauge Pardner Pump Protector, fondly referred to as the P3 in some circles. I added a plus 1 magazine extension and a anti jam follower put a set of Hogue over molded stocks on it and proceeded to use it for the informal 3 gun matches we have around here. Yes, I shot 3 gun with a DPMS Oracle, Taurus PT809, and the P3. No, I never won. Mostly because I was busy loading the P3 while those who won were still shooting. Even with a 6 plus 1 capacity, it's hard to compete with a 8 plus 1 or the 10 plus 1 that a lot are using. Still, the P3 made a good showing for itself. I am toying with the idea of buying another barrel and cutting it to 22" or maybe 24" and installing a longer magazine. But at the price point, it would be almost as cheap to purchase another whole gun!
How about parts interchangeability? As I noted earlier I added an aftermarket mag extension to the P3. Made for the Remington 870. It fit with no modifications at all. The Hogue stock set. It did require some very minor fitting. Even then the polymer to metal fit is not good. I can live with it just because I hear extra grip I get with the rubber over mold compensates for it, but still, it bothers me. But I believe every part on the 870 will interchange with the P3. They may require some minor fitting, but I can keep the P3 running I think. How about the barrels? The 870 has a shorter magazine, 4 rounds vs 5 rounds for the Pardner Pump, so the Remington magazine ring is in the wrong spot. But the Remington barrel will fit the H&R if you use a spacer.
The 20 gauge does not have the same interchangeability I think.There are differences in most of the parts.
Speaking of parts. The Pardner Pump is a very well built shotgun. Most compare it with the 870 Express. I think this is wrong. The 870 Express is full of plastic and MIM parts. The Pardner Pump is all metal and machined parts. The butt stock I exchanged for the Hogue is a prime example. The Hogue is a molded plastic stock, full of hollow spaces with the recoil pad screws simply screwed into the plastic. The Pardner Pump is likewise molded plastic. But the internal are solid. The stock bolt goes through a solid piece. The hollow of the stock is much smaller. The stock walls are about three times as thick, ant the recoil pad screws are machine screws that attach to brass inserts let into the stock. The holes in the recoil pad are filled with rubber. The Pardner Pump stock is a much better stock, but also much heavier and not as grippy.
Would I recommend the Pardner Pump over the 870? Depends. I would rather own the 870 Wingmaster over the Pardner Pump. The Pardner Pump will never be as classy. And the 870 Wingmaster is a much smoother operating shotgun. Same thing for the 870 Police. The 870 Police has proven itself over the years with countless Police departments. But I think the Pardner Pump is a better shotgun than the 870 Express.