You nailed it. Gas operated will yield less precieved recoil. But a lot of shooters think that all semi autos are softer shooting, not true. Recoil operated or inertia operated will kick like a fixed breech.
Go with a semi w/ ported barrel and nice recoil pad.
Try using a 20guage if your worried about recoil. You might not be taking those geese at 60 yards, but you'll gettin the job done. Using 2-3/4" shot will make a big difference also. Some of those new magnum loads will have you hurtin the next day.
I've owned and used the Remington 11-87 in 3 inch magnum since 1994 and have been completely happy with it. It's my primary waterfowl shotgun and of all the guns I own this is the one that sees the roughest and heaviest use in the field. It's functioned totally reliable in all weather and tempuratures under all huntable conditions.
The problem with jaming is that people just don't keep their shotguns as clean as they should. In over 30 years I have never had my Mag 10 jam because of dirt or the weather. But I do agree that the pump is easier to keep working.
Accuracy. What an incredible way to give yourself a true advantage.
Go to your club and get a bunch of guys together - and put a target out there at 250 meters. Break out the deer rifles and see who can shoot a decent group, even off of the bench, at this distance. I think you will be shocked at how few can do it.
So - with that in mind, I recently set out to try to develop a semi-custom rifle that I could afford and that would shoot - repeatedly - at MOA.
I started with a platform that I love...