While I was dealing with the death of my Charles Daly 601 DPS, I realized that I needed another shotgun. I had acquired nearly 3000 rounds of ammunition, and needed a blaster to put that through. Lo and behold, I ended up purchasing a Blue Line Pump shotgun, which turned out to be something that I was very familiar with. What are my first impressions of it?
What Is The Blue Line Pump?
The Blue Line Pump is a 12 gauge shotgun, imported from China by Blue Line USA. It is sold as a "Blue Line Solutions LLC" product, however, Blue Line is just the importer. This is actually a Chinese produced copy of the Remington 870. The Blue Line Pump is a Hawk Industries Type 97, exported by Norinco Firearms. Most recently, these were imported into the US as the Hawk Industries IAC 981/982 shotguns, about half a decade ago.
So, the Blue Line Pump is a Chinese produced 870 copy. It is advertised as being able to take 870 furniture and some parts too, which would make accessorizing it a fair bit easier. The last time these were imported as Hawk 982s, they had a reputation for being on par, if not outright better than many of the Remington produced 870s of the time. This is both sad, and extremely hilarious to me. I had an 870 Express Tactical back when I was younger, and the quality given its price was terrible. It had horrid finish, was finnicky with certain specific target loads, and generally felt cheap.
I ended up deciding to purchase a Blue Line Pump to both see if it was as good as I had heard, and to shoot through my remaining 12 gauge ammo. I would provide MSRP for the Blue Line Pump here, but I can't find it on their website. Street price tends to run between $180 to $200 bucks, and I personally got mine for about $215 after shipping and transfer fees. What features do you get for that chump change?
Features of the Blue Line Pump
This Hawk shotgun is an 870 copy, through and through. It has the same form factor, same controls, and same furniture options as an 870. It sells with a standard sporting furniture configuration, and has a 5 round magazine tube. The Blue Line Pump has an 18.5" cylinder bore barrel that has no provisions for chokes, and uses a standard bead for aiming. It has a 2 & 3/4" and 3" chamber, and isn't drilled or tapped for an optic rail. The finish on the Blue Line Pump is a rough matte bluing, but it is serviceable enough.
If you are familiar with the 870, you are familiar with this shotgun. That being said, there are some changes to the gun, that reflect a different manufacturing technique. Most notably, this shotgun uses a metal trigger guard, and has non MIM'd parts.
Working from reverse order, let's begin with the lack of MIM'd parts. Metal Injection Molding (MIM) is a process in which hot metal is poured into molds to make parts. It is a process that when done well, can create cheap, strong parts. However, when done poorly, it is terrible. Remington started using MIM to make 870 parts, most notably, extractors. These were not done well, and were a failure point in the design. Hawk Industries machines out their extractors from steel, rather than MIM'ing them.
The trigger guard is also made from metal, rather than plastic. The vast majority of 870s come with plastic trigger guards these days. They were advertised to be more shock resistant to drops, but in reality, it just cuts cost.
So this is kind of like an old school 870, but made in China. How did it perform on the range?
Shooting the Blue Line Pump
I took the Blue Line Pump on two different range trips, firing about 375 rounds of 12 gauge through it. One range trip was on an overcast day, and the other was on a very wet, rainy day.
I'm happy to report that the Blue Line Pump performed excellently. No malfunctions to report, no parts breakages, and no rusting.
I shot the following loads through the Blue Line Pump:
- Federal Game Load, 2 & 3/4" #6 Shot, 1oz (150 rounds)
- Federal 2 & 3/4" Foster Slug, 1 oz (20 rounds)
- Black Aces 2 & 3/4" Foster Slug, 1 oz (10 rounds)
- Federal 2 & 3/4" 9 Pellet 00 Buckshot, Standard and Low Recoil (30 rounds)
- Federal Turkey Load, 3" #5/6/7 Shot, 1 3/4 oz (5 rounds)
- Winchester 2 & 3/4" #7 Shot, 1 1/8 oz (150 rounds)
- Winchester 3" #4 Shot, 1 7/8 oz (10 rounds)
Again, no malfunctions or failures to report. I'm used to some occasional stuck casings with certain types of bird loads, but none to report here! I was not surprised by this good performance, but I was happy with it.
One of the things that I really like with the Blue Line Pump is the stock. I'm so used to standard shotguns coming with stocks that are far too long, and make the LOP awkward while trying to shoot quickly. The Blue Line is a teeny bit shorter for the LOP, which makes it nicer. I'm still looking at replacing the stock with a Magpul one in the future, but I'm content with it for now.
The (Short Term) Verdict on the Blue Line Pump
So far, I am quite pleased with the Blue Line Pump shotgun. It has been reliable, hasn't had any parts breakages, and shoots quite well. It takes universal 870 furniture, so accessorizing it should be pretty easy. I won't be giving a recommendation right now, but if the Blue Line Pump continues to perform as it has, I can be confident in my future recommendation. Once I pass 1000 rounds fired through the shottie, I should be more solidified in my opinion of it. Tune in down the line!
Funny my 870 recently stopped ejecting spent wintchester shells, have no problem with any other brand, but refuses to eject winchesters. Thanks for the review on the blueline, I was considering buying one but was nervous because of the cheap price tag, but I think I will give it a try.
I recently bought a Blue Line 12ga and am very pleased. This gun is well made and is accurate. The price may be inexpensive, but this is in no way a cheap gun. The trigger group is all metal. Trigger pull is about 5 pounds with a little creep but perfectly acceptable for a smoothbore defense shotgun. The stock is nice but the handgrip while comfy, is wearing the bluing from the corner of the receiver where it overlaps. It's also doing the same on the barrel and will be replaced with a Magpul foregrip today. This blue line makes a great foundation for a low cost, high quality custom 870 build. I have added a Wilson Combat +1 mag extension and big head safety. Like the author, I may add a Magpul stock in the future but the Blue Line stock feels and works well for me. It brings my eye to the proper place on the receiver and the recoil pad is quite effective.
HAHAHA! That was worth the read alone right there!
Anyways, another good shotgun read. Looking forward to the follow-up to this.
The cop-out reply is that, "It's a pump shotgun. Of course it's going to run." But as you've stated, Remington 870's (from about 2006 & on) have had their share of issues. Savage's imported Chinese-made Stevens shotguns from around 2012 had well documented weld issues with the forearms & action bars. So yes, pump shotguns can be manufactured subpar.
>>>I'm used to some occasional stuck casings with certain types of bird loads, but none to report here!
Maybe it's just me but in 25+ years of upland bird and waterfowl hunting, I've never come across stuck shell casings in a pump shotgun or semi-auto when using bird hunting loads. I've seen semi-autos not cycle certain loads but never seen them stuck in the chamber. Is there a particular ammo make, a particular shotgun make, or a combination of both you've witnessed this on with any sort of regularity?
The only major mechanical (not manufacturing, i.e. a part breaking) issue I've see with 870's is if a shell gets past the magazine stop when the action is closed. The shell will be stuck between the bolt & the lifter thus rendering the gun pretty much inoperable. I've seen this happen twice. Different 870's and persons for both incidents. Both happened when putting a shell into the magazine. Both incidents I'd attribute to 'operator error'. It was not something I would have ever thought about until I seen it happen.
For the bird load comment, I used to have repeated issues with (specifically) Winchester #7.5 birdshot in my 870 Express that I had bought in 2012 new. It would stovepipe out of the side of the ejection port, hanging onto it with the rim. Looking into the manual, it was recommended to AVOID Winchester birdshot in that gun. Something about that seems absurd to me, as it does to you too. Either way, this shotgun has been running better than my newer made 870s did!
Thanks for the comment! Always appreciated!