HOW TO READ A BOX OF AMMO:
- Gauge: This will indicate what gauge the shotgun shell was intended for.
- Hull size: This is the overall length of the shell. Most common shells for clay shooting are 2 3/4″. You will also find 3″ or 3 1/2″ (magnum) shells which are usually used for hunting.
- Shot Amount: Bird shot is normally displayed in weighed ounces. Lighter loads being 1 ounce or less to heavier loads being over an ounce. Buckshot and turkey loads may have a select pellet count displayed instead of ounces. (for example 00 buckshot will usually have 9 pellets displayed in the shot amount)
- Shot Size: This will display the size of shot that is loaded in the shell. From Slugs to #9 bird shot.
- Dram EQ: the weight of a smokeless shotgun powder that gives the same shot velocity and the same approximate gas pressure as a given weight in drams of black powder. In older days item number 6 (FPS) was not listed on shotgun shell boxes so shooters would plug the dram eq (plus additional values) into a formula or table to find out the FPS of a specific load. Most manufactures now list it directly on the box to make our lives easier.
- Muzzle Velocity (MUZ VEL)/Feet Per Second(FPS): Shows the fps of the round. Some shooters like to use faster moving shot to match faster moving targets at long distances. However, more fps is usually accomplished by a harder recoiling round. So take that in to count if you are a recoil sensitive shooter.
- Manufacture Item Code: Item codes are placed on most shell boxes to allow for easy reordering for both the consumers and the retailers.
- Brand: Who is making the shells you are buying or if you hit the professional level it’s the company that is sending you free shells and swag to sponsor you with. (arghhh One can only hope and dream || and or work hard to accomplish that dream)
- Load Name: Some companies will give each shell load combination a unique name so it makes it easy to determine the best use for that type of shotgun shell and to make re ordering easy.
ANATOMY OF A SHELL
Shotgun shells are made up of 6 major components:
- Brass: The metal base of the shell and holder of the primer
- Hull: The plastic outer sleeve of the shell. Attaches to the brass and is crimped at the other end to allow the wad and shot shell to exit.
- Primer: Ignites the gun powder when punched by the action of the gun on a trigger pull.
- Powder: The propellent that pushes the wad and shot out of the shell once the primer is ignited.
- Wad: Holds the shot together and allows smooth travel down the barrel.
- Shot: The BBs or projectiles that are used to hit the target.
Here is a photo to help visualize the inside of a shell…
Shotguns come in all gauges and sizes. The most used for clay shooting are 12 gauge and 20 gauge.
Most common shotgun gauges are:
I believe there is a 8ga and 4 ga as well but I wouldn’t recommend it if you have any respect for your shoulder and breast plate muscles.
SHOT TYPES & SIZES:
Most common shot size types:
- #1 Thru #12 (The higher the number the smaller the pellet size)
- B, BB, BBB, T
- Buckshot: 4, 3, 1, 0, 00, 000
- Slugs: Rifled, Sabot
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