8 Different Types of Shotguns

Different Types of Shotguns
Image Credit: Pixabay / AlLes

When you talk about shotguns, people first think about a huge brown hunting gun. However, you can find different types of shotguns on the rack when you visit a firearm store.

Shotguns are characterized by their ability to fire multiple projectiles simultaneously. Shotguns are less precise than rifles when firing a single round because of their smoothbore.

Because of this, you have a better chance of hitting your target with a more significant quantity and broader distribution of projectiles.

This makes them suitable for fast-moving and close-range targets. Many gun owners prefer this weapon because of its adaptability.

Shotguns are a popular choice for hunters and can be used to hunt anything from upland birds to monster whitetail deer with the correct ammo. In addition to being used for self-defense, shotguns can also be utilized in the home.

Here are different types of shotguns you should be familiar with.

Table of Contents

1. Semi-Automatic Shotgun

The most common type of a shotgun is the semi-automatic shotgun. These weapons are easy to use and require no special skills or training. Semi-automatic shotguns use the recoil energy stored in the shell casing to reload each shell after being fired.

The shells are loaded into a magazine that holds up to 12 rounds of ammunition. The action cycles through all the chambers when the trigger is pulled until the last shell is fired. After the last shell has been fired, the magazine will automatically eject and load another shell.

The semi-automatic shotgun is very versatile. They are great for both home defense and recreational shooting. Most models come equipped with either a pistol grip or a stock, giving the shooter an improved hold on the weapon.

2. Pump Action Shotgun

Pump-action shotguns are similar to semi-automatic shotguns, but they require two hands. The user must pump the action manually after every shot. Some pumps are gas-operated, while others utilize spring power.

Pump-action shotguns are typically more expensive than semi-automatics. They usually offer higher quality parts such as better barrels and stocks.

3. Double Barrel Shotgun

Double barrel shotguns are similar to pump actions, except they have two barrels and two separate triggers instead of just one. One trigger fires the left barrel, and the other fires the right barrel. It fires twice as many shots per pull of the trigger.  

This type of shotgun is best suited for those who want to shoot two shots at once. It allows the user to hit two targets simultaneously without switching between the two barrels.

Double-barrel shotgun has a revolving cylinder that holds all the shells in place until it’s ready to shoot. After each pull of the trigger, the shell slides out of the chamber and into the barrel, where it is fired.

4. Over/Under shotgun

Over/under shotguns are designed so that the barrel lies above the receiver. The top barrel is located farther away from the shooter than the bottom.

Over/under shotguns are designed to allow the shooter to choose whether he wants to shoot over or under the intended target. The shells are placed above or below the barrel’s centerline, depending on the user’s preference.

It is designed so that the barrel is above the receiver. This allows the shooter to see if the shot is going high or low without looking down the barrel.

When using an over/under shotgun, the shooter should always watch the upper barrel. If he looks down at the lower barrel, he may accidentally fire the lower barrel first. This could cause serious injury, if not fatal.

5. Single Shot Shotgun

Single-shot shotguns are the simplest form of shotgun. There is only one chamber in the barrel. This means that only one bullet can be fired at any given time.

Unlike double-barrel shotguns, single-shot shotguns do not have any revolving cylinders.

A single-shot shotgun is ideal for close-range combat. The advantage of this type of firearm is that it does not jam easily and can be used when there is no time to reload.

Single-shot shotguns aren’t accurate and are not best for hunting small game like rabbits and squirrels.

6. Side by Side Shotgun

Side-by-side shotguns are also known as double-barreled shotguns. These guns are designed to allow the user to fire two rounds at once.

The gun consists of two barrels that lie next to each other. Side-by-side shotguns are also known as side-by-side doubles. These guns are similar to over/under, except the barrels are positioned next.

Side-by-side shotguns are typically smaller versions of double-barreled shotguns. They are often found mounted on a tripod stand so that the shooter can position himself correctly.

7. Bolt action

Bolt action shotguns are one of the oldest firearms still in production today. Many of these weapons were designed during the Civil War era.

These guns feature a rotating bolt that moves back and forth inside the barrel chamber. As the bolt rotates, it pushes cartridges down the barrel. Once the last cartridge has been made out of the barrel, the bolt locks open and allows the next round to move forward.

Bolt actions are generally slower to shoot than other types of shotguns. They do not cycle through each shell-like semi-autos or pump action. Instead, the user must pull the trigger once per shell.

Bolt action shotguns are the most popular among athletes. They are easy to use and maintain.b Also, the bolt action design makes them more reliable than pump-action firearms.

8. Lever action

Lever action shotguns are usually considered the fastest shooting type of shotgun. The lever-action system cycles through each shell quickly.

This type of shotguns is excellent for shooting birds because you can load it with multiple shots before being released.

However, the drawback to lever-action shotguns is that the shells tend to fall out of the magazine faster than others because the covers slide down the tube rather than being held in place.

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