Shotgun Shells for Sale – Buy Shotgun Shells Online
Shotgun shells are for sale every day at GunBroker.com. You can buy shotgun shells made by major shotgun ammo manufacturers like Winchester, Hornady, and more through one of the many sellers listing their products here at GunBroker.com, the world's largest gun auction site.
Construction of Shotgun Shells
Early shotgun ammo was made with a brass shell, and had portions and dimensions similar to the rifle ammo of the time. Wads made of felt, leather, cork, even paper board were sealed tight within the brass shell by Waterglass. The primers were identical to the pistol primers of the era.
From the late 1800s to the 1960s, paper hulls replaced brass shotgun shells, pistol primers were replaced by a taller primer containing the priming charge and an anvil, and gradually all wads were constructed of plastic. Starting in the 1960s the paper hulls began turning into plastic and in the 1980s, almost all shotgun ammunition were constructed of plastic casings.
Today, shotgun shells consist of a plastic case with a thin brass colored base. More powerful loads command more brass along the casing. The primer has grown but modern smokeless powders have made it more efficient. Modern wads consist of a powder wad, the cushion, and the shot cup. The powder wad acts as a paper or plastic gas seal. The cushion, often made of biodegradable fiber, is a shock absorber while the plastic shot cup helps the shot maintain structural integrity through the barrel.
Shotgun Shell Sizes
Shotgun shell sizes are measured by gauge, or bore, which is the weight in fractions of a pound of a pure lead round ball that is the same diameter as the internal diameter of the barrel. So, a 12-gauge shotgun is called so because a lead ball that fits the inside diameter of the barrel weighs 1/12 of a pound. This practice of measurement is derived from that when cannons were in use.
The most popular size of shotgun shells is the versatile 12 gauge, and larger "magnum" 12 gauge. The 20 gauge shotgun is more popular for smaller game or trap and skeet shooters looking for a challenge. Other commercially produced shotgun shell sizes include 16 and 28 gauge, as well as .410.
Shotgun Shot Sizes: Birdshot vs. Buckshot
Shotgun shells are loaded with various sizes of shot depending on the range and target. For example, skeet shooting will use a smaller shot than trap shooting because trap requires accuracy at longer ranges. Birdshot is numbered similar to shotgun gauges; the smaller the number, the larger the shot. Buckshot is much larger than birdshot and are often used for self-defense and big game hunting.
The most commonly produced buckshot shell is a 12 gauge, 00 buck shell with 9 pellets. Loads can be tailored by altering the size of the shot, pellet count, length of the shell and powder charge to fit the weapon or purpose.
A slug is a single, solid, copper-covered heavy bullet used to hunt large game. Shotgun slugs are often used when hunters are restricted by law because of a concern over the range of modern rifles. The slug provides a longer range than a buckshot load. Shotgun slugs also be of the non-lethal variety; often comprised of rubber or a bean bag.
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