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For hunting game, the range and penetration needed to assure a clean kill is considered. Shot loses its velocity very quickly due to its low sectional density and ballistic coefficient see external ballistics. Birdshot sizes are numbered similar to the shotgun gauges. The smaller the number, the larger the shot except in the Swedish system, in which it is reversed. Generally birdshot is just called "shot", such as "number 9 shot" or "BB shot".

That is because some systems go by diameter in inches American , some go by diameter in millimeters European , and the British system goes by the number of lead shot per ounce. Australia has a hybrid system due to its market being flooded with a mixture of British, American, and European shells. For American shot, a useful method for remembering the diameter of numbered shot in inches is simply to subtract the shot size from The resulting answer is the diameter of the shot in hundredths of an inch.

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B shot is. Number 11 and number 12 lead shot also exists. Shot of these sizes is used in specialized shotshells designed to be fired at close range less than four yards for killing snakes, rats and similar-sized animals. Such shells are typically intended to be fired from handguns, particularly revolvers. For hunting, shot size must be chosen not only for the range, but also for the game. The shot must reach the target with enough energy to penetrate to a depth sufficient to kill the game. Lead shot is still the best ballistic performer, but environmental restrictions on the use of lead, especially with waterfowl, require steel , bismuth , or tungsten composites.

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Steel, being significantly less dense than lead, requires larger shot sizes, but is a good choice when lead is not legal and cost is a consideration. It is argued that steel shot cannot safely be used in some older shotguns without causing damage to either the bore or to the choke due to the hardness of steel shot.

However, the increased pressure in most steel cartridges is a far greater problem, causing more strain to the breech of the gun. Since tungsten is very hard, it must also be used with care in older guns. Tungsten shot is often alloyed with nickel and iron, softening the base metal. Bismuth shot falls between steel and tungsten shot in both density and cost. The rule of thumb in converting appropriate steel shot is to go up by two numbers when switching from lead.

However, there are different views on dense patterns versus higher pellet energies. Larger sizes of shot, large enough that they must be carefully packed into the shell rather than simply dumped or poured in, are called "buckshot" or just "buck". Buckshot is used for hunting medium to large game, as a tactical round for law enforcement and military personnel, and for personal self-defense. Buckshot size is most commonly designated by a series of numbers and letters, with smaller numbers indicating larger shot.

Sizes larger than "0" are designated by multiple zeros. The British system for designating buckshot size is based on the amount of shot per ounce. The Australian system is similar, except that it has SG, a small-game shell filled with 00 buckshot. Reduced-recoil 00 buckshot shells are often used as tactical and self-defense rounds, minimizing shooter stress and improving the speed of follow-up shots.

Most modern sporting shotguns have interchangeable choke tubes to allow the shooter to change the spread of shot that comes out of the gun. In some cases, it is not practical to do this; the gun might have fixed choke, or a shooter firing at receding targets may want to fire a wide pattern immediately followed by a narrower pattern out of a single barrelled shotgun.

The spread of the shot can also be altered by changing the characteristics of the shell. A buffering material, such as granulated plastic, [12] sawdust, or similar material can be mixed with the shot to fill the spaces between the individual pellets. When fired, the buffering material compresses and supports the shot, reducing the deformation the shot pellets experience under the extreme acceleration. Antimony-lead alloys, copper plated lead shot, steel, bismuth, and tungsten composite shot all have a hardness greater than that of plain lead shot, and will deform less as well.

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Reducing the deformation will result in tighter patterns, as the spherical pellets tend to fly straighter. One improvised method for achieving the same effect involves pouring molten wax or tar into the mass of shot. Shooting the softest possible shot will result in more shot deformation and a wider pattern. This is often the case with cheap ammunition, as the lead used will have minimal alloying elements such as antimony and be very soft.

Spreader wads are wads that have a small plastic or paper insert in the middle of the shot cup, usually a cylinder or "X" cross-section. When the shot exits the barrel, the insert helps to push the shot out from the center, opening up the pattern. Often these result in inconsistent performance, though modern designs are doing much better than the traditional improvised solutions. Intentionally deformed shot hammered into ellipsoidal shape or cubical shot will also result in a wider pattern, much wider than spherical shot, with more consistency than spreader wads.

Spreader wads and non-spherical shot are disallowed in some competitions. Hunting loads that use either spreaders or non-spherical shot are usually called "brush loads", and are favored for hunting in areas where dense cover keeps shot distances very short. Most shotgun shells contain multiple pellets in order to increase the likelihood of a target being hit.

A shotgun's shot spread refers to the two-dimensional pattern that these projectiles or shot leave behind on a target. The use of multiple pellets is especially useful for hunting small game such as birds, rabbits, and other animals that fly or move quickly and can unpredictably change their direction of travel. However, some shotgun shells only contain one metal shot, known as a slug , for hunting large game such as deer. As the shot leaves the barrel upon firing, the three-dimensional shot string is close together. But as the shot moves farther away, the individual pellets increasingly spread out and disperse.


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To control this effect, shooters may use a constriction within the barrel of a shotgun called a choke. The choke, whether selectable or fixed within a barrel, effectively reduces the diameter of the end of the barrel, forcing the shot even closer together as it leaves the barrel, thereby increasing the effective range. The tighter the choke, the narrower the end of the barrel. Consequently, the effective range of a shotgun is increased with a tighter choke, as the shot column is held tighter over longer ranges. Hunters or target shooters can install several types of chokes, on guns having selectable chokes, depending on the range at which their intended targets will be located.

For fixed choke shotguns, different shotguns or barrels are often selected for the intended hunting application at hand. From tightest to loosest, the various choke sizes are: full choke, improved modified, modified, improved cylinder, skeet, and cylinder bore. So, an ideal choke would be a cylinder bore the loosest as the hunter wants the shot to spread out as quickly as possible.

This would waste virtually all of the meat for a hit, as the little amount of meat remaining would be overly-laden with shot and rendered inedible. By using a cylinder bore, this hunter would maximize the likelihood of a kill, and maximize the amount of edible meat. By using a full choke for targets that are farther away, the shooter again maximizes the likelihood of a kill, and maximizes the amount of edible meat.

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This also guarantees a swift and humane kill as the target would be hit with enough shot to kill quickly instead of only wounding the animal. Shotguns having fixed chokes intended for geese, in contrast, are often found with full choke barrels, in longer lengths, and are much heavier, being intended for fixed use within a blind against distant targets. Defensive shotguns with fixed chokes generally have a cylinder bore choke.

Likewise, shotguns intended primarily for use with slugs invariably also are found with a choke that is a cylinder bore. The higher the colored bar, the more costly shipping is for this retailer relative to other retailers when shipping the same or similar products More info on our shipping estimation system. As far as we have been able to determine, this product has More info on our shipping estimation system. This product appears to have free shipping based on a specified order amount.

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