12 Gauge Ammo Shells

Whether you're hunting or protecting your home, a good 12 gauge shotgun will serve you well. 12 gauge ammo is available in many different varieties to suit your purposes. 12ga shotguns have a bore of approximately .73 inches (18.53mm) and come in shell lengths ranging from 2-1/2" to the most common 2-3/4" and magnum shells of up to 3-1/2". Some shotguns can only fire shells of a certain length, so make sure you get the right ones!

12 gauge ammo used for hunting larger game fires buckshot (00 being the most common) at a relatively high muzzle velocity of around 1,325 feet per second. This gives it good reach and terminal ballistics. In a self-defense situation, such a setup produces a bit too much penetration and recoil and slows the effective rate of fire. Defensive loads (sometimes advertised as "reduced recoil" ammo) fires a similar payload to hunting ammo but with a muzzle velocity of about 1,200 feet per second or less.

Other types of 12 gauge ammunition include birdshot and slugs. Birdshot fires dense columns of small pellets. It has low penetration and is not much use for defense, but excels at taking feathered or clay targets. For waterfowl, steel or other non-lead shot is usually required. Slugs fire larger, heavier projectiles at long range and can be used to take animals such as deer at 100 yards and beyond. If that's not enough, saboted slugs and rifled barrels can push this range even further.

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