What are shotguns?
Shotguns are long guns with smoothbore barrels developed in the first half of the 17th century. In Europe, they are primarily used as hunting and sporting weapons, as they can be used to fire shotgun ammunition over short distances (≈10-50m). In addition to shotgun shells of various grain sizes, shotgunshells can also be fired from shotguns.
Buck shotguns and cross shot guns are mainly used for hunting. For the shooting sports there are extra sporting shotguns adapted to its needs. Especially in the USA, self-loading shotguns are very popular.
What is the difference between shotguns and rifles?
Shotguns have smoothbore barrels and are designed to shoot buckshot. Rifles, on the other hand, are designed for bullet shooting and have rifled barrels. Visual differences, which immediately catch the eye of the observer: Shotguns are usually longer than rifles and have much thicker barrels than rifles. A shotgun in the most common shotgun caliber 12 has so the inner diameter of the barrel of 18.53 mm, the other calibers that are still widespread to any significant extent, 16 and 20 come barrel inner diameters of 16.84 and 15.63 mm - even the extremely rare and extremely large hunting caliber .416 Rigby has "only" a bullet diameter of 10.54 mm.
The longer barrel length for shotguns is about between 64-78 cm- shorter barrels are more guideable, but longer ones swing better. For rifles, a barrel length of 50-65 cm is common, depending on the caliber.
What does a shotgun cost?
As with all weapons, shotguns come in different price ranges. Used shotguns to a reasonable condition are already available for under 500 euros, new models start from about 1000 euros, the limit upwards is of course open.
What is a double barrel shotgun?
A double barrel shotgun is a shotgun with two adjacent barrels, it is also called a transverse shotgun in distinction to the buck shotgun or buck double barrel shotgun.
What is a double barrel shotgun?
A double-barreled shotgun is a shotgun with two barrels, one above the other, i.e. "jacked up". The term Bockflinte is much more common than Bockdoppelflinte, which sounds a bit bulky.
What is a self-loading shotgun?
A self-loading shotgun is also called a semi-automatic shotgun. After firing, it automatically ejects the empty case, feeds a new cartridge into the chamber from the magazine, and cocks again-it is immediately ready to fire again. Self-loading shotguns can be used in hunting and sport shooting- however, they are somewhat frowned upon in hunting and accepted by most hunters only for crow hunting. However, a self-loading shotgun is not a fully automatic weapon - the trigger must be pulled again before each individual shot.
What is a pump gun?
Pump-action shotguns are often referred to as fore-end repeating shotguns. By repeating the forearm back and forth, the fired cartridge case is ejected after the shot and a new cartridge is inserted into the chamber. Fore-end repeating shotguns are used in the civilian sector by hunters and in many countries by police authorities. The main reason for this is their high deterrent effect, which is also reflected in the martial and intimidating repeating action of the weapon. For this reason, certain conditions apply to fore-end repeating shotguns in order to be allowed to be purchased by private individuals:
- The overall length of the weapon in the shortest form of use must be at least 95 cm
- The barrel length must be at least 45 cm
- The buttstock must not be replaced by a pistol grip (for example, by sawing off the regular stock)
What types of shotguns are there?
In addition to the above-mentioned types of shotguns double-barreled shotguns, buck shotguns, self-loading shotguns and fore-end repeating shotguns, there are also single-barrel shotguns and repeating shotguns, which are repeating other than at the fore-end. In addition, when considering this (and if you want to buy a shotgun) should also be noted that triplets are actually double shotguns, which were supplemented by a ball barrel.
How to aim a shotgun?
With shotguns, one usually shoots at moving targets at relatively close range. This applies to both hunting shotgun shooting at flying or predatory game and sport shooting at clay targets - also called "clay pigeon shooting". For this type of shooting, sighting via rear sight or through a telescopic sight is not suitable. Instead, the aiming in shotgun shooting is done via barrel rail and front sight. Therefore, in shotgun shooting, even more than in rifle or handgun shooting, the aiming is decisive: it is correct when the front sight is pointing at the target and the barrel rail is not visible - because only in this case the shooter "aims straight across the shotgun". Targets in shotgun shooting often appear quickly and unexpectedly, and the time span in which a safe and accurate shot can be applied is very short - therefore, the stop must be correct and the quick going to the stop must be a movement that becomes second nature.
What do the shot calibers mean?
The starting point for determining the shot caliber is one English pound = 453.6 grams. If 12 balls of the same size are formed from 453.6 g of lead, such a ball has the diameter of caliber 12 (18.2 mm). If, on the other hand, 16 or 20 balls are made from it, they are naturally smaller than if only 12 balls are made from it - for this reason, the higher the number, the smaller the shot caliber. The most common shot caliber is 12- followed by 16 and on the third place 20. The other shot calibers hardly play a role in hunting and sport shooting - besides, ammunition for weapons in these calibers is not easy to find, which is why we advise to choose 12 or 16 when buying a shotgun.
What does 12/70 or 12/76 mean?
12 stands for the caliber - in this case the inner diameter of the shot barrel. 70 or 76 stands for the length of the chamber. Shotguns may fire cartridges that are exactly as long as the chamber when fired as well as cartridges that are shorter. For example, if a shotgun is fired in 12/76 caliber, 12/70 caliber cartridges may also be fired. Longer cartridges, on the other hand, may not be fired under any circumstances - there would be danger to life and limb of the shooter and bystanders.
What is an ejector?
An ejector is an automatic case ejection device for break-barrel shotguns (ejector). The ejector ejects the fired cartridge case when the gun is bent, allowing faster reloading than if the cartridge case had to be removed manually. You can tell if a gun has an ejector by its split extractor.
What does "cover" mean when shooting buckshot?
Coverage means the more or less uniform distribution and number of shot grains on a target of a certain size at a certain distance, e.g. on the 16-field target with 75 cm diameter at 35 m distance. In simple terms, this means how much shot will arrive at the target and how widely the shotgun will spread.
How does the scattering result?
The spread of shotguns results from their bore at the muzzle, the so-called choke. If the barrel narrows toward the muzzle, this compresses the shot sheaf and it becomes more "compact" and scatters less. Modern shotguns usually have interchangeable chokes, which can be used to influence the spread at the gun.
In addition to chokes, there are also different labors of the ammunition that affect scatter. For example, many shotgun shells have a shot cup, which is a plastic cup inside the cartridge where the shot is stored. When shot is fired, the pellets first fly out of the gun still in the cup and are thus held together longer.
What are chokes in shotguns?
A choke is a narrowing of the shot barrel in the muzzle area of a shotgun. The choke causes the shot grain to hold together better when leaving the barrel and thus provides better coverage while simultaneously increasing the effective shot distance.
What are interchangeable chokes?
Shotguns with interchangeable chokes have a screw thread at the muzzle into which attachments, the interchangeable chokes, can be screwed. This makes it possible to influence the coverage of the shot grain.
What is the advantage of interchangeable chokes?
Shotguns with interchangeable chokes can be adapted and can be used universally - thus they can be used at short distances as well as at long distances for shotgun dimensions.
What is the advantage of single trigger shotguns?
Most traditional double barreled shotguns and buck shotguns have two triggers. This has the disadvantage that the trigger has to be changed between two shots. With a single trigger, the same trigger releases the second shot: It can be shot faster.
Which shotgun for young hunters?
Young hunters have not yet explored their preferences in detail, moreover, financial resources often have to be managed - also because at the beginning of the hunter's life many expensive investments are essential- these include, in addition to the rifle, an optic that is as universally usable as possible, a mount, clothing and, in many cases, a thermal imaging camera. We therefore advise to invest about 500-1000 euros for the first shotgun. In addition, the shotgun should be versatile - nowadays buck rifles with ejectors are common for small game hunting as well as on the shooting range - therefore we advise such a model, if possible with interchangeable chokes to be able to re-equip for any hunting situation. In addition, we recommend the caliber 12/70 or 12/76 - it is the most common, which not only means that every gun store has ammunition in this caliber - even on social hunts, a hunting friend can help out with ammunition when their own cartridges are already shot. A situation that occurs more quickly than one might have thought in advance. Finally, we recommend choosing a shotgun with steel shot. Whether a shotgun is proofed for steel shot can be seen by the lily engraved on the shotgun. A ban on lead ammunition is now unfortunately foreseeable in the EU - shotguns without steel shot, which in many areas may no longer be used for hunting, will then be banned everywhere in the EU.
The most important manufacturers of shotguns
The most popular shotguns on Gunfinder
Shotguns, like all firearms, are best found directly on Gunfinder and can also be purchased directly through the marketplace. Some dealers we recommend directly:
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