12 gauge shotgun is how many millimeters

Shotgun - Shotgun

Firearm for firing a bolus of small pellets

A Shotgun (also known as a scattergun or historically as Bird gun ) is a long-barreled firearm designed to fire a straight-walled cartridge known as shotgun, which usually discharges numerous small pellet-like spherical sub-projectiles called a shot, or sometimes a single solid projectile called a snail. Shotguns are most commonly smooth-barreled firearms, meaning their cannon barrels do not have a rifle on the inner wall, but rifle barrels for shooting slugs (snail barrels) are also available.

Shotguns come in a variety of calibers and thicknesses from 5.5 mm (0.22 in) up to 5 cm (2.0 in), although the 12-gauge (18.53 mm or 0.729 in) and 20-gauge (15.63 mm or 0.615 in) holes are by far the most common. Almost all of them are breech-loaders and can be single-barreled, double-barreled or in the form of combination pistols. Like rifles, shotguns come in a variety of action types, both single-shot and replay. For non-repetitive designs, shotguns with over and over breaks are by far the most common variety. Although revolving shotguns have existed, most modern bolt action rifles are either pump-action or semi-automatic and, to a lesser extent, fully automatic, lever-action, or bolt-action.

Previous smooth weapons (such as the musket) were widely used by armies in the 18th century. The mundleloading blunderbuss, the direct ancestor of the shotgun, was also used in similar roles from self-defense to counterinsurgency. Shotguns were often preferred by cavalry troops in the early to mid-19th century for their ease of use and generally good effectiveness on the move, and by coachmen for their considerable power. By the late 19th century, however, these weapons were largely replaced on the battlefield by breech loading rifles that fired spin-stabilized cylindrical-conoidal bullets that were far more accurate at greater effective ranges. The military value of shotguns was rediscovered during World War I when American forces used the 1897 Winchester model with great effect in trench warfare with pumping action. Since then, shotguns have been used in a variety of close-range functions in civil, law enforcement, and military applications.

The smooth-barreled shotgun barrel creates less drag, allowing larger fuel loads for heavier projectiles without the risk of overpressure or squib load, and is also easier to clean. The shotgun pellets from a shotgun shell are flung indirectly through a piece of cotton wool in the shell and scatter when leaving the barrel, which is usually smothered at the muzzle end, in order to control the projectile scattering. This means that each shotgun discharge creates a collection of points of impact instead of a single point of impact like other firearms. Having multiple projectiles also means that the muzzle energy is split among the pellets so that each individual projectile has less penetrating kinetic energy. The lack of spin stabilization and the generally sub-optimal aerodynamic shape of the shotguns also make them less accurate and decelerate fairly quickly in flight due to air resistance, giving shotguns short effective ranges. In a hunting context this makes shotguns useful primarily for hunting birds and other agile small / medium fast flying games without risking too deep penetration and stray shots into distant bystander and objects. In a military or law enforcement context, however, the high blunt repulsion force and a large number of projectiles briefly suffices as the shotgun useful for door breaching tool, a crowd control, or melee defensive weapon. Militants or insurgents can use shotguns in asymmetrical combat, as shotguns are in the possession of civilian weapons in many countries. Shotguns are also used for targeting - shooting sports such as skeet, trap and clay pigeons that fly involve clay discs, known as "clay pigeons", thrown in various ways by a dedicated launcher called a "trap".


Shotguns come in a variety of shapes, from very small to massive punt cannons, and in nearly all types of firearm actuation mechanisms. The common features that make a shotgun unique focus on the requirements of the shot. These features are typical of a shotgun cartridge, namely a relatively short, wide, straight-walled cartridge that operates at relatively low pressure.

Shotgun ammunition is known in the US as shotgun shells, shotgun shells, or just plain grenades (unless it is likely to be confused with artillery rounds). The term cartridges is standard in the United Kingdom.

The shot is usually fired from a smooth bore barrel. Another configuration is the rifled slug barrel, which fires a more accurate single projectile.


Series of single 1 / 1,000,000 second exposures shows shotgun shot shot and batting separation

The typical use of a shotgun is against small and fast moving targets, often in the air. The spread of the shot allows the user to point the shotgun close to the target rather than aiming exactly as with a single projectile. The disadvantages of the shot are the limited range and penetration of the shot, which is why shotguns are used at close range and typically against smaller targets. Larger shot sizes up to the extreme case of the single projectile projectile load lead to increased penetration, but at the expense of fewer projectiles and a lower probability of hitting the target.

Aside from being most commonly used against small, fast-moving targets, the shotgun has several advantages when used against still images. First, it has tremendous stopping power at close range, more than almost all handguns and many rifles. While many believe the shotgun is a great weapon for inexperienced shooters, the truth is that the range of gunshots at close range is not very great at all and that targeting skill is still required. A typical self-defense charge of shot contains 8-27 large lead bullets, which leaves a lot of wound marks on the target. Unlike a fully jacketed rifle bullet, each shot pellet is less likely to penetrate walls and hit bystanders (although in the case of the conventional 00-Buck, getting over soft and hard targets can be an issue). It is preferred by law enforcement agencies for its low penetration and high stopping power.

On the other hand, the hit potential of a defensive shotgun is often overrated. The typical defensive shot is fired at close range, with the shot charge expanding no more than a few centimeters. This means the shotgun still needs to be aimed at the target with some care. Compensating for this is the fact that the shot spreads further as it enters the target and the multiple wound channels are far more likely to create an obstructive wound than a rifle or pistol.


Some of the most common uses of shotguns are in the sports of skeet shooting, trap shooting, and sports clay. Clay disks, also called clay pigeons, are thrown in by hand and by machine. Both skeet and trap competitions are featured at the Olympics.


The shotgun is popular for bird hunting (called "game shoot" in Great Britain, where "hunting" with a pack of hunting mammals referred to), it is also used for more general forms of hunting especially in semi-populated areas where the Reach of the bullets can be dangerous. Using a smooth barrel shotgun with a rifle weapon or, alternatively, a rifle barrel shotgun with a sabot bullet improves accuracy to 100 m or more. This is in the range of most kill shots by skilled hunters using shotguns.

Given the relatively slow muzzle velocity of projectile ammunition, typically about 500 m / s (about 1600 feet per second), and the blunt, poorly streamlined shape of typical projectiles (which cause them to lose speed very quickly compared to bullets) a must Hunters pay close attention to the ballistics of the respective ammunition in order to ensure an effective and humane launch.

At any reasonable range, because of their enormous mass, shotguns cause effective fatal wounds, reducing the amount of time an animal could suffer. For example, a typical 12-gauge shotgun is a blunt piece of metal that can be referred to as 18mm caliber weighing 28 grams (432 grains). For comparison, a common deer hunting rifle cartridge is a 7.62 mm (0.308 in) auger weighing 9.7 grams (150 grains), but the dynamics of the rifle cartridge allows for a different type of wound and much wider range.

Shotguns are often used with rifle barrels in places where hunting with a rifle is prohibited. A sabot auger is typically used in these kegs for maximum accuracy and performance. Shotguns are widely used to hunt white-tailed deer in the thick bushes and briers of the southeast and upper Midwestern United States, where the range is typically close to 25 m or less due to the dense coverage.

Sabot rounds are essentially very large hollow spheres and are optimized for maximum spin and accuracy when shot through a gun barrel. They have longer ranges than older Foster and Brenneke snails.

People often use semi-automatic or pump-action shotguns to hunt waterfowl through to small game.

A Gurkha contingent soldier in Singapore armed with a folding shotgun


In the United States and Canada, shotguns are widely used by the police as a backup weapon. One of the reasons shotguns are issued is because, without much training, an officer will likely be able to hit targets near medium range as the shot "spreads". This is largely a myth as the spread of the shot averages 8 inches at 25 feet, which is still very capable of missing a target. Some police forces are replacing shotguns in this role with carbine rifles such as the AR-15. Shotguns are also used in road closure situations where police are blocking a freeway to search cars for suspects. In the US, law enforcement agencies use shotguns extensively, especially for crowd control and riot control, where they can be loaded with less lethal cartridges like rubber bullets or bean bags. Shotguns are also widely used as breakthrough devices to defeat locks.


Shotguns are common weapons in military use, especially for special purposes. Shotguns are found aboard naval ships for safety on board, as the weapon is very effective at close range in repelling hostile shipboard parties. Stainless steel shotguns are often used in a marine environment because normal steel is more susceptible to corrosion in the marine environment. Shotguns are also used by military police units. US Marines have used shotguns since their inception at the squad level, often in the hands of NCOs, while the U.S. Army often issued them to a squad point man. Shotguns were modified and used for World War I trench warfare, WWII jungle warfare, and the Vietnam War. Shotguns were also used in the Iraq war and were popular with soldiers in urban combat environments. Some US units in Iraq used shotguns with special fragile breakthrough projectiles to blow the locks on doors if they unexpectedly entered an apartment.

Home and personal defense

Shotguns are a popular home defense tool for many of the same reasons that they are preferred for close-range attacks in law enforcement and the military.

Design features for different purposes

Compared to handguns, shotguns are heavier, larger, and not as maneuverable in tight spaces (which is also a major retention problem), but have the following advantages:

  • They are much more powerful in general.
  • The average shooter can attack multiple targets faster than with a pistol.
  • They are generally found to be more intimidating.
  • On average, a high-quality pump-action shotgun is generally cheaper than a high-quality handgun (self-loading shotguns are generally more expensive than their pump-action counterparts).
  • When a shotgun is loaded with a smaller round, it will not penetrate walls as quickly as rifle and pistol projectiles, making it safer for noncombatants when fired in or around populated buildings. This comes at a cost, however, as a smaller shot may not penetrate deep enough to create an instantly incapable wound. Those who recommend Birdshot to minimize wall intrusion recommend using a larger buckshot if the first shot doesn't stop the threat.


The variety of shapes that the shotgun can take creates some significant differences between a technical shotgun and a shotgun legally recognized as a shotgun. A fairly extensive attempt to define a shotgun is made in the United States Code (18 USC 921), which defines the shotgun as "a weapon that has been designed or redesigned, manufactured or newly manufactured, and fired and designed, or from the shoulder to be redesigned and made or redesigned to use the energy of the explosive in a solid shotgun cartridge to fire either a number of bullets through a smooth bore or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger. "In English law is it even broader: "A smooth-barreled pistol is not an air pistol" (see 1 (3) (a) Firearms Act 1968).

An example of a single projectile is a rifle slug with a rib rifle that can be used to safely fire the projectile through a clogged barrel. Some shotguns have rifle barrels and are designed for use with a "sabotaged" bullet, usually made by a two-piece plastic ring ( Sabot ), which comes off after exiting the barrel and leaves the bullet going through the gun barrel to continue towards the target. These shotguns, while having rifle barrels, still have a shotgun cartridge instead of a rifle cartridge, and can actually still fire regular multi-shot shells, but the rifle in the barrel affects the pattern of firing. The use of a rifle barrel blurs the distinction between a rifle and a shotgun. The hunting laws can distinguish between cannons with a smooth barrel and a gun barrel.

Combat shotgun is a shotgun designed for offensive purposes, typically the military.

The riot shotgun has long been synonymous with a shotgun, especially a short barrel shotgun. During the 19th and early 20th centuries these were used to disperse protesters, rioters and revolutionaries. The long shot caused a large group to be hit, but the light shot caused more wounds than deaths. Often times, if the ground is paved, police officers would ricochet the shot off the ground, slow the shot, and even spread further patterns. To this day specialized police and defensive shotguns are called riot shotguns. The introduction of rubber bullets and beanbag bullets largely ended the practice of using gunfire, but shotguns are still used to fire a variety of less lethal counterinsurgency shots.

A sawed off shotgun (or "sawed off") refers to a shotgun whose barrel has been shortened, making it more maneuverable, easier to use at close range, and easier to conceal. Many countries have a legal minimum barrel length that prevents it from being easily concealed (this length is 460 mm in the US and 24 inches in the UK). The sawed-off shotgun is sometimes called "Lupara" (in Italian a general reference to the word " Lupo "(" Wolf ")).

Carriage rifles are similar to sawed-off shotguns, except that they are made with a 46 cm barrel and are legal for civilian possession in some countries. Carriage rifles are also more commonly associated with American Old West or Australian colonial times. and often used for hunting in bush, scrub, or marshland where a longer barrel would be unwieldy or impractical.

Snake Charmer shotguns are often used by gardeners and farmers for pest control. They have short barrels and either a full size supply or pistol grip, depending on the legislation in the designated markets. The total length of these weapons is often less than 90 cm, with some measuring less than 63 cm. These weapons are typically single-shot break-action .410 caliber "caliber" (caliber) that may or may not hold additional shotgun shells in the stock. They typically have a cylinder bore and are sometimes available with a modified throttle. Snake Charmers are popular for "home defense" purposes and as "survival" weapons.

Other examples include a variety of .410 / rifle "survival" pistols manufactured in superstructures / substructures. In the combination weapon arrangement, a rimfire or center fire rifle barrel is located under the barrel of a .410 gauge shotgun. Generally there is a manually cocked external hammer and an external selection lever to select which caliber of cartridge to fire. A notable example is the Springfield Armory M6 Scout, a .410 / .22 issued to US Air Force personnel as a "survival cannon" in the event of an emergency landing or accident in a wilderness area. Variants were used by Israeli, Canadian, and American forces. Shotgun and rifle combination weapons with two, three and occasionally even four barrels are available from a number of manufacturers, mainly in Europe. These provided flexibility and allowed the hunter to effectively shoot blushing birds or distant small mammals while carrying only one weapon.


Most early firearms, such as the blunderbuss, arquebus, and musket, were large-diameter, smooth-barreled, and could fire both bullets and solid bullets. A firearm intended for bird wing shooting was known as the Designated piece of poultry . The Cyclopaedia of 1728 defined a Piece of poultry as:

Fowling Piece, a portable firearm for shooting birds. See firearm.
Of the fowling pieces, the best are those that have the longest barrel. from 5 1 ⁄ 2 feet to 6; with an indifferent hole under Harquebus: Tho 'for different occasions they should be of different types and sizes. But overall it is important that the barrel is well polished and smooth inside. and the boredom of great size, from one end to the other ...

For example, the Brown Bess musket, which was in service with the British Army from 1722 to 1838, had a 19 mm smooth-barreled barrel roughly the same as that of a 10-gauge shotgun and was 157 cm long, just before the above recommended 168 cm (5 1/2 feet). On the other hand, records from the Plymouth Colony show a maximum length of 137 cm (4 1 ⁄ 2 feet) for pieces of poultry shorter than the typical musket.

Shot was also used in warfare; Bucket and ball loading, which combined a musket ball with three or six shotgun pellets, has been used throughout the history of the smooth-bore musket. The first use of the term Shotgun was recorded in Kentucky in 1776. It was noted as part of the "Frontier Language of the West" by James Fenimore Cooper.

With the introduction of smaller bores and rifle barrels, the shotgun developed into an independent unit. Shotguns have long been the preferred method for sport hunting birds, and the largest shotguns, the punt guns, were used for commercial hunting. The double-barreled shotgun has changed little since the development of the boxlock in 1875. Modern innovations such as interchangeable chokes and subgauge inserts make the double-barreled shotgun the shotgun of choice in action skeet, trap-shooting and clay pigeons as well as with many hunters.

Since wing shooting was a prestigious sport, special gunsmiths such as Krieghoff or Perazzi made unusual double-barreled weapons for wealthy European and American hunters. These guns can cost $ 5,000 or more. Some elaborately decorated presentation weapons have sold for up to $ 100,000.

Throughout its long history, the shotgun was preferred by bird hunters, guards, and police officers. The shotgun has fallen in and out of favor with military forces several times in its long history. Shotguns and similar weapons are simpler than long-range rifles and were developed earlier. The development of more accurate and deadly long-range rifles minimized the use of the shotgun on the open battlefields of European wars. But armies have "rediscovered" the special-purpose shotgun many times.

19th century

During the 19th century, shotguns were mainly used by cavalry units. Both sides of the American Civil War used shotguns. The US cavalry used the shotgun extensively during the Indian Wars in the second half of the 19th century. Mounted units preferred the shotgun for its effectiveness on moving targets and its devastating firepower at close range. The shotgun was also favored by civic militias and similar groups.

With the exception of cavalry units, the shotgun was used less and less on the battlefield in the 19th century. However, it remained popular with guards and lawyers as a defensive weapon, and the shotgun became one of the many symbols of the American Old West. Lawman Cody Lyons killed two men with a shotgun; The only confirmed killing of his friend Doc Holliday was with a shotgun. The weapon these two men used was the short-barreled version, which was preferred by private vault guards on stages and trains. These guards, called express messengers, were known as shotgun messengers because they rode with guns (loaded with shot) to defend against bandits. In vans with a safe, there was usually at least one private security guard armed with a shotgun and driving in front of the bus next to the driver. This practice survived in American slang; The term "riding shotgun" is used to refer to the passenger sitting in the front passenger seat. The shotgun was a popular weapon for personal protection in the American Old West and required less skill on the part of the user than a revolver.

Hammerless shotguns

The origins of the hammerless shotgun are European but otherwise obscure. The earliest breech-loading shotguns came from France and Belgium in the early 19th century (see also History of the Pinfire), and some of them, such as those made by Robert and Chateauvillard in the 1830s and 1840s, did not use hammers. Indeed, during these decades a variety of ingenious weapons, including rifles, have used what is known as a needle-fire method of detonating the charge, with a firing pin or longer, sharper needle providing the required impact. The most widely used British hammerless needle shotgun was the unusual fixed-barrel hinged bolt loader designed by Joseph Needham, manufactured in the 1850s. By the 1860s, hammerless weapons were increasingly used in Europe in both war and sport, although hammer weapons were still in the majority. The first significant encroachment on hammer pistols was a hammerless patent that could be used with a conventional sidelock. This was the action of the British arms manufacturer T. Murcott in 1871, which was known as the "mousetrap" because of its loud snap action. The most successful hammerless innovation of the 1870s, however, was the Anson and Deeley Boxlock patent of 1875. This simple but ingenious design used only four moving parts to make cheaper, more reliable shotguns.

Daniel Myron LeFever is credited with inventing the American hammerless shotgun. He worked for Barber & LeFever in Syracuse, New York, and introduced his first hammerless shotgun in 1878. This weapon was cocked with external cocking levers on the side of the breech. In 1883 he patented the first truly automatic hammerless shotgun. This weapon cocked automatically when the breechblock was closed. He later developed the mechanism to automatically eject the shells when the shutter is opened.

John Moses Browning

One of the men most responsible for the modern development of the shotgun was the prolific gun designer John Browning. While working for Winchester Firearms, Browning revolutionized shotgun design. In 1887 Browning introduced the Lever Action Repeating Shotgun Model 1887, in which a fresh cartridge was loaded from the internal magazine by operating the action lever. Prior to that time, most shotguns were of the "pry" type.

This development was overshadowed by two other innovations that he introduced at the end of the 19th century. In 1893 Browning produced the Pump Action Shotgun Model 1893 and brought the now well-known Pump Action onto the market. And in 1900 he patented the Browning Auto-5, America's first semi-automatic shotgun. The world's first semi-automatic shotgun was patented by the French Clair brothers in 1891-1893. The Browning Auto-5 remained in production until 1998.

World wars

The decline in the military use of shotguns was reversed in World War I. The American forces under General Pershing used 12-gauge pump guns when they were used on the Western Front in 1917. These shotguns were fitted with bayonets and a heat shield so that the barrel could be gripped while the bayonet was in use. Shotguns equipped in this way have been recognized by the US Army as Trench rifles known . Those without such modifications were considered Readiness cannons designated . After World War I, the U.S. military designated all shotguns as Readiness cannons .

Because of the cramped conditions in trench warfare, American shotguns were extremely effective. Germany even submitted an official diplomatic protest against their use for violating the laws of war. The judge's attorney general reviewed the protest and it was denied because the Germans protested the use of lead shot (which would have been illegal), but the military shot was plated. This is the only occasion that the legality of the shotgun's use in warfare has been questioned.

During World War II, the shotgun was not used heavily by official armed forces in war in Europe. The shotgun, however, was a favorite weapon of allied partisans like the French resistance. In the Pacific theater, on the other hand, dense jungles and heavily fortified positions made the shotgun a favorite weapon of the United States Marines. Marines tended to use pump shotguns as the pumping action was less likely to block in the humid and dirty conditions of the Pacific Campaign. Similarly, the United States Navy used pump shotguns to guard ships in port in Chinese ports (e.g. Shanghai). The U.S. Army Air Forces also used pump guns to protect bombers and other aircraft from saboteurs when parked at air bases over the Pacific and on the west coast of the United States. Pump and semi-automatic shotguns were used in marksmanship training, particularly for bomber guns. The most common pump guns used for these tasks were the Winchester models 97 and 12 of 12 gauge. The breakable action single barrel shotgun was used by the British Home Guard and US security forces. Industrial centers in particular (such as the Gopher State Steel Works) were guarded by National Guard soldiers with Winchester Model 37 12-gauge shotguns.

End of the 20th century until today

The shotgun has remained a specialty weapon for modern armies since the end of World War II. It was used for special tasks where its strengths were used particularly well. It was used to defend machine gun emplacements during the Korean War, American and French jungle patrols used shotguns during the Vietnam War, and shotguns were used extensively as door openers and melee weapons in the early stages of the Iraq War, and were used only to a limited extent in tank crews. Many modern navies use shotguns extensively by personnel boarding enemy ships, since all shots fired will almost certainly be over a short range. Nevertheless, shotguns are far less common in military use than rifles, carbines, submachine guns or pistols.

On the other hand, the shotgun has become a standard in law enforcement use. A variety of less lethal or non-lethal specialty ammunition such as tear gas cartridges, bean bags, flares, explosive silencing cartridges, and rubber bullets, all packaged in 12-gauge shotgun cartridges, are made specifically for the law enforcement market. Recently, Taser International introduced a self-contained electronic weapon that fires from a standard 12-gauge shotgun.

The shotgun continues to be a standard weapon for hunting all types of game around the world, from birds and small game to large game such as deer. The shotgun's versatility as a hunting weapon has steadily increased as firearms and more advanced rifle barrels have given shotguns greater range and greater killing power. The shotgun has become a ubiquitous firearm in the hunting community.

Design factors


The action is the actuation mechanism of a weapon. There are many types of shotguns, usually categorized according to the number of barrels or the way the gun is reloaded.

Break action

A break action view of a typical twin barrel shotgun shown with the action open

For much of the history of the shotgun, the break-action shotgun with a breechblock was the most common type, and double-barreled variants are by far the most commonly encountered today. These are usually divided into two sub-types: the conventional "side-by-side" shotgun has two barrels mounted horizontally side by side (as the name suggests), while the "over-and-under" shotgun has both Barrels are mounted vertically one above the other. Side-by-side shotguns were traditionally used for hunting and other sporting activities (early long-barreled side-by-side shotguns were referred to as "pieces of poultry" for hunting ducks and other waterfowl, as well as some land birds) -and- under-shotguns are more commonly associated with recreational use (e.g. clay pigeon shooting). Both types of double barrel shotguns are used for hunting and sporting purposes, with individual configuration being largely a matter of personal preference.

Another, less common type of break-action shotgun is the combination pistol, which is an over-and-under design with a smooth barrel and rifle barrel (more commonly rifle on top, but not uncommon on the bottom). There is also a class of break-action cannon known as the Holes are designated and contain three barrels, usually two smooth-barreled barrels of the same thickness and one rifle barrel, although the only common theme is that at least one barrel is smooth-bored. The most common arrangement was essentially a side-by-side shotgun with the rifle barrel underneath and centered. Normally a bore would contain more than one rifled barrel, both rifled barrels would have the same caliber, but examples exist with different caliber barrels, usually a .22 long rifle and a centerfire cartridge. Although very rare, holes with three and even four ( four of a kind ) Shotgun barrels performed.

Pumping action

A Winchester M1897, one of the first successful pump-action shotgun designs

Pump-action shotguns use a linear sliding front handguard (i.e., a pump ) manually moved back and forth like a hand pump to perform the action of pulling out the spent grenade and introducing a new round while cocking the hammer or firing pin. A pump gun is typically fed from a tube magazine under the cylinder, which also serves as a guide rail for the pump. The cartridges are fed individually through an opening in the receiver, where they are activated by a lever, the Elevator, lifted and pushed forward by the bolt into the chamber. A pair of latches on the back of the magazine hold the cartridges in place and make it easy to feed one tray at a time. When the pistol is to be fully loaded, a cartridge can be loaded directly into the chamber through the ejection opening or driven out of the magazine, which is then refilled with another cartridge. Well-known examples are the Winchester Model 1897, Remington 870 and Mossberg 500/590.

Pump-action shotguns are common hunting, poultry, and sport shotguns. Hunting models generally have a barrel between 600 and 700 mm (24 "-28"). Tube-fed models developed for hunting are often supplied with a dowel rod or other stop that is inserted into the magazine and reduces the capacity of the weapon to three cartridges (two in the magazine and one with a chamber), as required by U.S. federal law migratory birds are compulsory for hunting. They can also be used as a single-shot weapon with an empty magazine, simply by dropping the next round to be fired into the open ejection opening after the used round has been ejected. For this reason, pump actions are often used to teach inexperienced shooters under supervision, as the trainer can load each round faster than with a break action, while the student can keep grip on the weapon and unlike a break action can concentrate with proper handling and firing of the weapon.

Pump-action shotguns with shorter barrels and little or no throttle are very popular for use in central defense, the military, and law enforcement agencies and are commonly referred to as riot guns. The minimum barrel length for shotguns in most of the United States is 460 mm (18 inches). This barrel length (sometimes 470-510 mm (18.5-20 inches)) increases magazine capacity and / or ensures that the gun is legal regardless of the measurement differences) is the first choice for shotguns. The shorter barrel makes it easier to maneuver the gun around corners and in tight spaces, although slightly longer barrels are sometimes used outdoors for a narrower spread pattern or greater accuracy of the projectiles. Central defense and law enforcement shotguns are usually designed for 12-gauge grenades that offer maximum firing power and the use of a variety of projectiles such as shotgun, rubber, sandbag, and slug cartridges, but 20-gauge shotguns (common in bird hunting -Shotguns)) or .410 (common on youth-sized shotguns) are also available in defense-type shotgun models which are easier to use for beginners.

A shotgun has many advantages over a pistol or rifle. Compared to handguns with "defense caliber" (chamber for 9 mm Parabellum, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and the like), a shotgun has a much higher power and damage potential (up to 10 times the muzzle energy) of a .45 ACP cartridge), which enables a "one-shot-stop" which is more difficult to achieve with typical handgun loads. Compared to a rifle, riot shotguns are easier to maneuver due to the shorter barrel, still offer better damage potential at internal distances (usually 3 to 5 meters / meter) and reduce the risk of "overrun". That is, the bullet or shot goes all the way through the target and continues beyond, which puts those who are behind the target through walls at risk. The long range of the shot reduces the importance of shot placement compared to a single projectile, which increases the effectiveness of "point shooting" - quick aiming by simply pointing the weapon at the target. This makes it easy and quick to use by beginners.


Early attempts to replicate shotguns invariably focused on bolt or lever rifles, drawing inspiration from contemporary bolt action rifles. The earliest successful shotgun was the Winchester M1887 with leverage, designed by John Browning on behalf of the Winchester Repeating Arms company.

Lever shotguns, though rarer, were popular in the late 19th century, with the Winchester Model 1887 and Model 1901 being the best examples. Initially very popular, demand for the introduction of pump-action shotguns waned in the early 20th century, and production eventually ceased in 1920.

A major problem with lever actions (and to a lesser extent with pumping actions) was that early shotgun shells were often made of paper or similar fragile materials (modern hulls are made of plastic or metal). As a result, loading grenades or the shotgun functioning can often result in cartridges becoming crushed and unusable, or even damaging the weapon.

However, lever shotguns have seen a return to the gun market in recent years when Winchester manufactured the Model 9410 (.410 power chambered shotgun cartridge and use of the Winchester Model 94 series lever rifle, hence the name). and a handful of other gun manufacturers (mainly Norinco of China and ADI Ltd. of Australia) making versions of the Winchester Model 1887/1901, which is designed for modern 12-gauge smoke-free shotgun shells with more durable plastic casings. Since 1997, when pumping operations were effectively banned, there has been a remarkable surge in sales of leverage shotguns in Australia.

Bolt action

Bolt-action shotguns are uncommon, but exist. One of the most famous examples is a 12-gauge magazine with a 3-round magazine made by Mossberg, which was marketed in Australia shortly after gun laws were changed in 1997 and which increased the ownership and use of pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns restricted. They weren't a great success as they were a bit slow and awkward to use and the rate of fire (on average) was noticeably slower than that of a double barrel weapon. The Ishapore Rifle Factory in India also manufactured a .410 bore single-shot shotgun based on the SMLE Mk III * rifle. The Russian Berdana shotgun was practically an obsolete single-shot repeating rifle that was later converted to chamber 16-gauge shotgun cartridges for civilian sales. The US military M26 is also a bolt action weapon. Bolt-action shotguns have also been used in the "goose gun" application to kill birds such as geese from a greater distance. Typically, goose pistols have long barrels (up to 36 inches) and small, bolt-fed magazines. Bolt-action shotguns are also used in conjunction with projectile cartridges to achieve the maximum possible accuracy of a shotgun.

In Australia, some straight-pull bolt-action shotguns, such as the Turkish-made Pardus BA12 and Dickinson T1000, the American C-More Competition M26, and the locally designed SHS STP 12, have become increasingly popular alternatives to lever action shotguns, mainly due to better ergonomics with less strain on the trigger hand and fingers of the shooter when cycling the action.


Colt briefly manufactured several rotating shotguns that had mixed success. The Colt Model 1839 shotgun was manufactured between 1839 and 1841. Later, the Colt Model 1855 Shotgun, based on the Model 1855 rotary rifle, was manufactured between 1860 and 1863. Due to their low production numbers and their age, they are among the rarest of all Colt firearms.

The Armsel Striker was a modern version of the revolving shotgun that held 10 rounds of 12-gauge ammunition in its barrel. It was copied from Cobray as Streetsweeper.

Taurus, together with its Australian partner company Rossi, known as Taurus / Rossi Circuit Judge, made a carbine version of the Taurus Judge Revolver. It comes in the original combination chamber from .410 bore and .45 Long Colt as well as the .44 Remington Magnum chamber. The rifle has small explosion protection shields on the barrel to protect the shooter from hot gases that escape between the barrel and barrel.