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Cutaway: Shell inserted in chamber
A shotshell is inserted into the chamber. Closing the action pushes the firing pin back and holds it under spring tension.
Cutaway: The firing pin strikes the primer and produces sparks
Pulling the trigger releases the firing pin. The firing pin strikes the primer producing sparks.
Cutaway: Expanding gas forces the wad and shot out of the plastic body of the shell
Heat and sparks from the primer ignite the gunpowder. Gas converted from the burning powder expands in the shell. The expanding gas forces the wad and shot out of the plastic body of the shell.
Cutaway: The wad and shot leaving the barrel
The escaping gases produce a "bang" as the wad and shot leave the barrel. The wad quickly opens and falls away. The shot cluster spreads. This spread is called the shot string.