A shotgun (also known as a scattergun, or historically as a fowling piece) is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug. Shotguns come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 5.5 mm (.22 inch) bore up to 5 cm (2.0 in) bore, and in a range of firearm operating mechanisms, including breech loading, single-barreled, double or combination gun, pump-action, bolt-, and lever-action, revolver, semi-automatic, and even fully automatic variants.
A shotgun was originally a smoothbore firearm, which means that the inside of the barrel is not rifled but later rifled shotgun barrels and slugs become available. Preceding smoothbore firearms, such as the musket, were widely used by armies in the 18th century. The direct ancestor to the shotgun, the blunderbuss, was also used in a similar variety of roles from self-defense to riot control. It was often used by cavalry troops because of its generally shorter length and ease of use, as well as by coachmen for its substantial power. In the 19th century, however, these weapons were largely replaced on the battlefield with breechloading rifled firearms, which were more accurate over longer ranges. The military value of shotguns was rediscovered in the First World War, when American forces used 12-gauge pump action shotguns in close-quarters trench fighting to great effect. Since then, it has been used in a variety of roles in civilian, law enforcement, and military applications.
The shot pellets from a shotgun spread upon leaving the barrel, and the power of the burning charge is divided among the pellets, which means that the energy of any one ball of shot is fairly low. In a hunting context, this makes shotguns useful primarily for hunting birds and other small game. However, in a military or law enforcement context, the large number of projectiles makes the shotgun useful as a close quarters combat weapon or a defensive weapon. Militants or insurgents may use shotguns in asymmetric engagements, as shotguns are commonly owned civilian weapons in many countries. Shotguns are also used for target shooting sports such as skeet, trap, and sporting clays. These involve shooting clay disks, known as clay pigeons, thrown in various ways.

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  1. Dust2Dollars

    The Cadillac of shotguns

    The Cadillac of shotguns!! I understand the rules of the forum were designed in such a way to keep listing for items being offered for sale here would be "USER FRIENDLY"! I also agree with them up to a point. However, there are times it seems a user might have been given the wrong information...
  2. JRuby

    Quality older double barrel shotguns

    I am begining to look for a couple of nicer older double shotguns. I would use these for hunting pheasants, quail, and grouse as well as use them for trap shooting. I know very little about double barrel side by side shotguns. I am looking between two to three grand a piece. I have been looking...
  3. S

    Red dots on shotguns growing

    Curious everyone's through on red dots becoming more accepted on shotguns? I think its just another progression as it offers the same advantages as a red dot does on a rifle or pistol. I understand its not everyone's thing but i'm curious what everyone's exposure is like. For me a shotgun is a...
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