Jessie Duff Shotgun loading technique


The Outdoors Channel has this little segment going around about Jessie Harrison-Duff, a renowned USPSA competitor and Cowboy Action shooting participant demonstrating a pretty unique and cool way to hand feed a pump action shotgun. She uses the top load technique with a support hand, in addition to holding two shells in her firing hand, one shell in between her pointer and index fingers, and the other between her ring and pinkie finger. She says she learned this technique from her ex husband, Bill Abbate. The two split after Bill was convicted of child molestation charges back in 2013.

Although this segment was filmed back in 2009, I think it is a very worthy training technique for anyone dealing with shotguns. Competitively it has it’s advantages, but in an actual stressful situation like home defense, or what LE might face, this is a pretty tricky maneuver to accomplish with a million other things going on around you. In addition the technique isn’t taking into account any jams or malfunctions that occur and having to deal with them while also having shells in one’s hand. It’s probably best to stick to using shell pouches or holders to train with. The other thing I like about it is that it is applicable to all pump action shotguns, not just Western reproductions.


This is her “indexing” the last shell with her pinkie finger. The amount of training needed to get to this point of speed and precision is quite amazing to say the least. She’s already pumped, extracted, loaded, and fired by the time the first shell has even reached the ground. 


In this photo she’s completing the last top load before she transitions to the next two shells.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • Herr Wolf

    nice rack

  • M.M.D.C.

    Is that an 1893? Could be a non-takedown 1897.

  • Vitsaus

    Mmmmm couldn’t stop staring at that Winchester.

    • DIR911911 .

      did u misspell winCHESTer ? 🙂

  • J-

    That is an old, old, old technique. The “reloads between fingers” was employed by British Soldiers with their Martini rifles against Zulus. It was adapted for use by dangerous game hunters with single shot and double rifles. I used it myself with a Ruger No. 1 tropical. Now I’m nowhere near as fast as that, but that method of reload it’s not as unique to her as the article makes it seem.

    • Dan

      It is pretty common throughout cowboys action shooting

      • J-

        Not saying that it is not. Just giving historical perspective that the “fist full of reloads” goes back to military techniques that are as old as the self contained cartridge. I think even Mathew Quigley used this technique in one of his shootouts.

        • Dan

          Oh i know, I was just putting that out there for those that are unfamiliar with C.A.S. not many shooters look as good as Jessie when reloading though so there’s that.

    • Hey thanks for adding that to the discussion! Whenever I post something like this I try to research it beforehand to make sure I’ve got some background and in this case I didn’t come across the British using it.

      • PeteEllis

        Miles as former infantry Marine what is your opinion of using either the Carl Gustav 84 mm man-portable reusable anti-tank recoil-less rifle or the Amerikanski” RPG-7 rocket launcher as the TO weapons for one fire-team of the Marine infantry squad? The other two members of the fire team would be carrying the G240 with an iron man pack and an AA-12 shotgun with FRAG-12 grenades. I imagine these folks would also be carrying an M4 carbine but I don’t know.

        Semper Fi!

        • That’s a ton of weight to begin with. What’s the point of all this extra stuff anyways? An AA12 shotgun? Medium machine guns, and an anti tank rocket launcher? This is why 0311s will carry LAWs instead of the SMAW, which is what the assualtmen carry, and are trained in. The fireteam doesn’t need a medium machine gun, it needs a light machine gun. All these weapons you’re mentioned are crew served, they aren’t one man portable like a SAW or M27. Plus this just factoring in the weapons and ammunition, you’re forgetting about armor, water, comm gear, food, and any other mission essential gear.

          • PeteEllis

            The point is assault in built up areas, that includes the farms and villages in AF. The AT4 replaced the LAWs a long time ago and the Carl Gustav is a replacement for the AT4, one man can carry it, the ammunition and fire it, at least on a short day long patrol. If a faster rate of fire is required then a squad mate can help out. The Carl Gustav has a range of ammunition types and can take out vehicles at 1000m if they are standing still. A G240 gives the Squad the reach and fire power required to punch through many of the fortifications made of mud and dirt at 500 -600 yards, With the Iron man pack it is a one man weapon system, until you have fired your thousand rounds and need to reload . It is also invaluable for taking out vehicles as they move from a position up hill and 800 yards or more out. the AA-12 shotgun with FRAG-12 grenades allow for grenades to used as recon by fire when you come up to a mud hut complex or a set of building that could be a trap, this save your 40mm grenades for the real work of killing larger groups.

            Since I wrote that last post I have confirmed that one fire team in three carries these weapons with both a M4 and pistols. Yea, it a big load but that especially equipped fire team is an incredible base of fire for the other two fire teams. Hummers carry most of he logistics, at least in Iraq and AF. So, the load is manageable.

  • Don Ward

    Looks like some of the commenters prefer the pump action technique…

    • jrb122

      Probably experiencing issues with short stroking though…

  • Ted

    I’ve never understood why they don’t just rewrite the rules to either fully exclude the 1897 if they hate it so much, or fully include it. But this middle ground of handicapping it to force the implementation of an utterly useless real world technique like this is mind numbing…

    • Giolli Joker

      It works well for the show so, why not?
      Under the same reasoning it could be argued that competing with cowboy guns is utterly pointless as well… 😉

    • I…. I thought I was the only one who thought this.

  • USMC03Vet


    Also, nice reloading.

  • word up

    Catholic. yeah- I thought so- doesn’t need approval

  • word up

    nice rack on this wh#re- I would love to ream out her stink hole with my SS-helmet-topped meat pole

  • Snakes on a Car

    Is progressiveism a war on western civilization?
    Yes it is.

    • Don Ward

      You’re tired of the Flo from Progressive commercials too I see.

  • ghost

    I read the article, honest.

  • StoictheVast

    Won’t work with an Ithaca 37.