Basics of Looking at Shotguns For Sale

Shotguns for sale

Shotgun Basics | Shotguns for Sale

Understanding shotguns is confusing to many people. Shotgun ammunition is sized right the opposite of other firearms’ ammunition. Rifle and pistol ammunition are not hard to understand, it is simply the bigger the bullet, the larger the caliber.

Shotguns are right the opposite. Shotguns are sized by gauge and the lower the gauge of the shotgun, the more powerful it is. The more powerful it is, the greater the recoil. A 12 gauge shotgun for sale, is more powerful than a 20 gauge, which is more powerful than a 28 gauge.

The three most commonly available gauges in the United States are 12, 20, 28 and .410. Once common, 10 gauge and 16 gauge ammunition can still be found in specialty stores, but newly manufactured shotguns for sale in these gauges are extremely rare.

Gauge is the number of lead balls in the diameter of the shotgun bore that equal 1 pound. In other words, 12 lead balls with the exact diameter of a 12 gauge shotgun bore (.73″) weigh 1 pound. The exception to this rule is the .410; technically it is a 68 gauge, although this name is never used.

The .410 shotguns are quite useful for very young, handicapped or small shooters, but most adults have no problem handling a 20 gauge shotgun. The 20 gauge is significantly more powerful and has more uses than a .410 gauge. It is the better choice for survival purposes. It should however, be considered that the skill of the shooter is an element that technical data can’t account for. For defense or survival a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun for sale is the best choice.

Shell Length

Each gauge of shotgun for sale has required shell lengths. These numbers are defined as the length of the shell after it has been fired when the shell to become longer.

Shotguns are stamped with the length of shells they can fire. For example, 12 gauge ammunition is referred to as “2 3/4 inch” or “3 inch”. A common name for a shotgun that can fire a 3 inch shell is Magnum, while shotguns capable of firing 3 1/2 inch shells are called Super Magnum. Shotguns may fire a shell that is shorter than what is specified on the barrel, but should never be loaded with longer than what is specified. Ensure the proper ammunition is purchased when shopping for shotguns for sale.

Types of Shotshells

There are three basic types of shotgun shells – birdshot, buckshot, and slugs. Birdshot shells are loaded with hundreds of tiny projectiles that vary in diameter. Buckshot shells fire between a few and a few dozen smaller projectiles of various diameters. Slug shells fire one large projectile called a slug.

The amount and size of the shot depend on the gauge of the shotgun and the length of the shotshell. The choice of shotshell will depend upon the intended use.

Uses of Shotguns for Sale

Shotguns are extremely versatile, and have far greater range than many people realize. With some slugs, hunters take game like deer from hundreds of yards away with shotguns every year. Most people use shotguns for more typical activities such as bird hunting or home defense. The versatility of the shotgun for sale is even greater if the model enables you to exchange barrels, a factor to consider when shopping for a shotgun for sale.


Slugs are used for hunting and defensive purposes. Consisting of one large projectile, they do a large amount of damage with one well-placed shot.

Slugs are referred to by weight, typically in ounces. The heavier and faster the slug, the more damage it will do, and the more recoil that will occur. Rifled slugs are designed to be compressed through a shotgun choke tube.

The sabot slug consists of a lead or copper projectile which is held inside a plastic “sabot” that flies apart when it exits the barrel, leaving the smaller projectile to travel towards the target with a higher velocity than a larger and heavier slug. This type of shotshell is generally intended for rifled shotgun barrels, and is surprisingly accurate at 200 or 300 yards. To give you an idea of the massive trauma that a slug can inflict, consider that a common 30-06 bullet weighs 150 grains, yet the lightest common 12 gauge shotgun slug weighs approximately 383 grains, more than twice the weight of a powerful 30-06.

Slugs typically penetrate thick barriers such as car doors and windshields without being deflected or slowing as much as pistol bullets and some rifle bullets. They can enter one steel door, and exit the other.


Buckshot, like slugs are used for hunting as well as defensive purposes.
However, buckshot does not significantly spread at close range, despite the myth of not needing to aim a shotgun.

Buckshot is referred to by number, as the number decreases, size increases. Buckshot sizes include 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 00, 000, and 0000.You can roughly compare buckshot to bullets, #4 buckshot is slightly larger than .22 ammunition, while “0000 buck” is almost as big as .40 caliber ammunition.


Birdshot is generally used for bird hunting and is referred to by numbers or letter. It gets bigger as the numbers get smaller. Birdshot is generally very small, with some of the most common shot of 7 and 8, being around .1″ in diameter.

While buckshot shells are described with the size and number of pellets, birdshot is measured in weight as it uses tiny pellets in each shell. For example, a “1 oz. #8 shotshell” contains 410 pellets that are .09″ in diameter.

Birdshot is designed to humanely kill birds and other small game with minimal tissue trauma enabling the meat to be eaten.

The largest birdshot sizes, F and FF, stop just short of #4 buckshot in size comparison, and are intended for larger birds such as turkey and goose.

Rifled and Smoothbore Barrels

In addition to chamber length, shotguns for sale have either rifled or smoothbore barrels as well as various choke tubes.

Rifled barrels are intended to shoot certain types of slugs, and will provide very poor patterns and accuracy even at very close range if birdshot or buckshot is used. However, with slugs, rifled barrels are extremely accurate. For other purposes, choose a smoothbore barrel when shopping for a shotgun for sale.

Choke Tubes

The purpose of a choke tube is to force the spread of shot to a smaller diameter as it travels through the air. Choke varies from cylinder bore, which is the same diameter as the barrel, to extra full, which provides a significant constriction of barrel diameter. Some of the more common choke sizes are improved cylinder and modified, which are useful for skeet and trap shooting as well as hunting small birds at medium range.

Shot that spreads too much becomes much less effective as range increases, using a choke tube decreases the width of the shot pattern providing more hits to the target. A wide pattern may not provide enough hits, and can cause unintended damage or injuries beyond the target.

If you intend to fire slugs, choose a shotgun for sale that has a fixed cylinder bore choke, or purchase a shotgun with a threaded barrel and install cylinder bore or skeet choke tubes.


While the operating system of the firearm has an effect on recoil, the most common way to reduce recoil with the shotgun is to choose a type of shot or slug loaded with a lighter or slower projectile or number of projectiles. Low recoil ammunition will have less shot, and travel slower. Practice with your shotgun is the best way to gain experience and accuracy and improved handling.

GrabAGun’s shotgun inventory includes more than 1,800 models of shotguns for sale. With so many to choose from we are sure to have a shotgun for your budget. We offer layaway and financing for your convenience. After shopping our shotguns for sale if you fail to find the model you seek give us a call. We will locate the desired model and provide the GrabAGun price discount. That’s the GrabAGun advantage.

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