What You Should Know About Shotguns
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What You Should Know About Shotguns

Oct 27 2020

Shotguns serve a niche function in the firearms industry. Unlike nearly all other types of firearms, they fire a specialized shell that works well in a specific set of conditions and does a job that other firearms cannot. When gun enthusiasts look for a firearm at a used gun shop, shotguns are often a part of the conversation due to their utility, effectiveness, and notoriety. However, most gun enthusiasts know relatively little about shotguns. Before you go shopping for one, here is what you should know about shotguns.

Action Type

Shotguns come in many variations, but most know shotguns from their loading action. You have to “pump” the slide in order to reload, which is fairly unique among mid-range and close-range firearms. There are three main types of action: lever-action, pump-action, and automatic. Automatic shotguns do not require a reload action and are usually limited to precision tactical uses like police and military applications.

Lever-action shotguns use a lever that pivots below the trigger. The first lever-action shotgun was developed by Winchester Repeating Arms in 1887. The most important thing to note about a lever-action firearm (regardless of type) is that it is levered with the trigger hand. Pump-action firearms almost exclusively pump with the support (off/non-dominant) hand. It is important to remember this distinction when you are trying to choose the right shotgun for your needs.

Shell Type

Shotguns are designed to fire buckshot, which uses a shell that contains many small pellets rather than a single bullet. Modern shotguns can fire other types of projectiles in specific cases, like bean bags or rubber bullets for non-lethal options. However, scatter-type shells are almost exclusively used in shotguns.

It is important to remember this when purchasing a shotgun because you also need to buy the specific type of ammo that your shotgun fires. While shotguns can share cartridges of specific types, that ammo cannot be used in other types of firearms. Many gun owners choose firearms so that they only need to stock one type of ammo. Know that if you have a shotgun and another type of firearm, you cannot share ammo between them.

Best Uses

Shotguns are best used in close-range and mid-range applications. Scattershot becomes ineffective at longer ranges and spreads over a distance. To get the most out of a shot, you want to keep the shot condensed to a small target area by being closer to it. With this in mind, one of the best uses for a shotgun is home defense. Buckshot has high stopping power, but low penetration power. It won’t pass through walls and put your family at risk and can take someone down with one shot.

Ask an Expert

If you are considering adding a shotgun to your collection, discuss it with an expert at Lakeshore Guns first. We can give you detailed advice and help you find the right shotgun for your needs. Lakeshore Guns is one of the best places to sell or buy used shotguns near you. Call us at (269) 857-2248 to discuss your new and used gun needs.

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