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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. Pahonix

    Armelegant shotguns?

    Does anyone have any experience with this company or handled their firearms? I always wanted a bullpup 12g and this price is pretty amazing but never heard of this company.
  2. Reno

    Researching Shotguns, input request.

    Against better judgement, I placed an order for a Salvo 12. It will live on a SBS Saiga clone primarily. It’s given me thoughts about getting a decent pump action. Most likely candidate is the KS7. With Remington dead, I don’t think anything 870 is much of an option anymore. I don’t even see...
  3. CountryGent

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  4. aksu747

    For fun: do you prefer to shoot handguns or rifles/shotguns more?

    I ask mostly out of curiosity. My father got me started shooting at the age of 13 after I had proven I could be safe with a bb gun for a year. We went out to my old family cabin in Lassen National Forrest and drove a few miles out to a good spot to shoot. He had my shoot his Ruger 10/22, his...
  5. oldcorpgunny

    Chinese Shotguns

    Several years ago, I bought two Chinese shotguns at BiMart. I was looking for something really inexpensive for my neighbor. These fit the bill at something like $150 each. They appear to be copies of the Remington 870 pump. One is a 12 GA and the other is a 20 GA. They are heavy as heck and were...
  6. ilikegunspdx

    Anyone in the house knowledgeable about old side by side shotguns?

    Found one of these I would like to buy but don't know anything about them. For example are they reliable. Are parts interchangeable or do they have to be made by a gunsmith? Let me know please if anyone has knowledge about them. Thanks!
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