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Types Of Shotgun Shells

Shotguns are likely the most helpful type of gun and we discuss here Types Of Shotgun Shells. They can be used to hunt big and small games, shoot birds, and play clay games (like a trap, skeet, or sporting clays) for defence, tactical use, and as a multi-gun. One thing that makes shotguns so valuable is that they can be used with many kinds of ammunition. Let’s talk about the most common types of shotgun ammunition.

Suppose we ignore “specialty” rounds such as “less-lethal” (used for riot control) or the multitude of exotic or novelty rounds such as the flame-throwing “dragon’s breath,” flechettes (tiny steel darts), ball-and-chain or “bolo” rounds (and the list goes on). In that case, we can classify nearly all shotgun ammunition into one of these three categories: birdshot, buckshot, or slugs. Buckshot is the most common type


At the bigger end of the range, FF shot measures.23 inches in diameter, while at the most minor end of the spectrum, #12 shot measures.05 inches. A birdshot shotshell consists of an exterior hull made of plastic, typically packed with tiny metal pellets of varying size. The most common sizes of birdshot cartridges sold in the United States range from size T (each pellet having a diameter of approximately.20 inches) to BBB (.19), BB (.18″), B (.17″), and then progressively smaller pellets numbered 1 through 9, with number 9 shot pellets having a diameter of.08 inches.

If you want your shotshells to be as successful as possible, you should always fire them from a shotgun barrel that is not rifled (i.e., smoothbore). When a shot is fired via a rifled bore, a spin is imparted on the shot cloud, which causes the shot to spread out much too rapidly and leaves behind a pattern in the form of a “ring” with vast open gaps in the centre, which renders the shot ineffectual. Only slugs are designed to work correctly in shotgun barrels that have been rifled (usually sabot slugs; see below).

The size of the shot used in birdshot shotshells is determined by several criteria, including what you are hunting or which targets you are firing at, the intended effect, the distance to the targets, and other elements. For instance, if you are using your shotgun for hunting light-skinned birds or small animals (or shooting clay targets), you might choose birdshot with a number 7, which contains hundreds of smaller pellets. On the other hand, you might select birdshot with a number 5 if you are hunting larger, wild pheasants later in the season when their feather coat is thicker, and you require more penetration for an ethical kill. For more giant ducks and geese, for which steel shot is necessary for most regions, you may use BB, BBB, or even T shot to get the effective penetration with the lighter steel shot. Steel shot is often required for hunting more giant ducks and geese.


A buckshot cartridge is built in a manner very similar to that of a birdshot cartridge; however, the pellets in a buckshot cartridge are substantially bigger and far fewer. In contrast, a standard load of “double-aught” (00) buckshot may only include eight or nine lead balls measuring.33 inches in diameter, yet a shotshell of #8 birdshot may often contain hundreds of tiny lead pellets. Buckshot got its name because it was initially developed to hunt more giant animals, such as deer (buck). Still, it is also quite effective when used as a defensive or tactical cartridge.

The most common sizes of buckshot in the United States vary from #4 buckshot, which has a diameter of.24 inches, to 3, 2, 1, then 0 at.32″, 00 at.33″, and finally “triple-aught” (000), which has a diameter of.36 inches for each pellet. These sizes increase in size from smallest to largest.

Slug cartridges

Instead of tiny, spherical lead pellets, slug cartridges include a single, massive metal bullet inserted in a plastic hull. These cartridges are often employed for hunting large animals or for self-defence. You should never shoot at an aerial target with a slug since the “bullet” travels on a trajectory similar to that of a bullet fired from a rifle or pistol and may stay dangerous for hundreds of yards beyond the point of impact. (Depending on the size of the shot, birdshot pellets have a much lower mass, and therefore lose their ability to cause fatal injury after around 80 to 100 yards.)

Two basic types of slugs may be purchased: “rifled” or “Foster-type” slugs are made of soft lead and have angled riflings molded into the sides to securely swag down through a shotgun choke. Other types of slugs do not have these riflings. (Despite the misleading nomenclature, “rifled slugs” are designed to be shot in smoothbore barrels, and contrary to what the experts who lurk about your local gun store may tell you, the “riflings” do not impart any spin to the projectile.)

“Sabot” (pronounced “SAY-bow”) slug cartridges feature a projectile with a smaller diameter that is housed inside a plastic housing or “sabot” that separates from the slug after it has exited the barrel. Typically, these projectiles have a hollow tip. This makes it possible for sabot slugs to be fired via rifled shotgun barrels, and the resulting accuracy may be rather impressive.

When hunting big game, deer hunters in some states are compelled to use shotguns rather than the customary rifles permitted in such jurisdictions, particularly in regions with a higher population density.

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