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Shotgun shells (shotshells) use different projectiles and come in different sizes.

  • Shotshells use a slug or shot as the projectile(s).
    • A slug is a solid projectile, usually of lead, used for hunting big game with a shotgun.
    • Shot are multiple pellets fired through a shotgun barrel. Shot size is adaptable to the game being hunted. This type of projectile is used typically to hunt game birds and small game animals.
  • The shotshells must match exactly the gauge and shell length specified by the manufacturer. This information usually is found on the barrel of the shotgun. Shotguns may be chambered for 2½-inch, 2¾-inch, 3-inch, or 3½-inch shells. This refers to the length of the shell after it has been fired. Never load a shotshell that exceeds the approved shell length stamped on the barrel of your shotgun.
Cutaway view of shotshells
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