Check out our large selection of shotgun ammo at Armory Shop 45. Shotguns are the most versatile firearms on the market. They can be used for competitions of all kind, for home defense, and hunting almost any animal in the United States. The difference all lies in the ammunition you choose for the job. At Armory Shop 45, we carry all popular calibers and have a wide selection or buckshot, birdshot, and slugs. We also carry shells ranging from 12 ga to 410 ga shotgun ammo. We sell by the box, or you can always buy shotgun shells in bulk, so you always have the right amount on hand for the task.

Shotgun Ammo Explained

The shotgun is designed to throw a group or “pattern” of many small pellets called “shot,” which makes hitting a flying or moving target much more feasible than using a single projectile, as fired by a rifle or pistol. Because it utilizes numerous pellets instead of a single bullet, a shotshell is constructed differently than a cartridge for rifles or pistols. So, instead of the rifle or pistol cartridge’s brass case that contains primer, powder and bullet, the shotgun’s shotshell consists of a hull that contains the primer, powder, shot wad and an amount of shot. There are many different shotgun bore sizes or “gauges” (much like rifle and pistol caliber size), and gauges of differing shell length and all can be loaded with a wide variety of shot sizes. Let’s break down some of these terms so you can better understand your shotgun or make a well-informed and safe purchase the next time you head to your favorite gun store or range.

Shotgun Ammo by Gauge


The term “gauge” is an old one. It refers to the measure of the bore diameter of the shotgun. With the exception of the .410-bore, which is not a gauge at all (it’s actually a caliber) but often mistakenly called one, the gauge number is equal to the number of lead balls of that bore diameter that add up to weigh one pound. For example, 12-gauge, the most common shotgun gauge today, is the diameter of a ball of lead weighing 1/12-pound of lead, while a 20-gauge is the diameter of a lead ball weighing 1/20-pound of lead.


The bunch of little pellets a shotgun fires are collectively called “shot.” They are often pure lead, sometimes lead coated with another material like copper, or of non-lead components such as steel, bismuth, tungsten and other materials. The shot sizes are numbered beginning with the smaller “birdshot.” Eventually, the sizes are stated in letters. Finally, there are the largest “buckshot” sizes, popular for use on deer in the southern U.S., for hunting furbearing varmints and for self-defense.


So far I’ve talked about a shot being a group of pellets, and it is. But shotshells also fire single projectiles called “slugs.” Generally reserved for big-game hunting such as deer and sometimes bear, slug shotguns can have a traditional smoothbore like all shotguns that fire shot pellets, but most slug shotguns used for hunting big game or for use in some competitive shooting such as 3-Gun have “rifled” barrels, just like the barrel on, well, a rifle! Such barrels have twisting lands and grooves cut into them that help spin and stabilize the shotgun slug to enhance accuracy. Slug shotguns are specialized shotguns and a class unto themselves.

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