How to Load a Shotgun

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Shotguns are widely used for a variety of activities, including hunting, target shooting, and self-defense in the home. They shoot rounds of metal shot, which are typically loaded one at a time, as opposed to being placed into a clip. Even though improvements in shotgun technology have been made over the years, loading the majority of shotguns is still a straightforward process.

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Loading a Pump-Action Shotgun

1. Verify that the safety is engaged, that the chamber is empty, and that the barrel is aimed in a direction that is safe and away from you. When loading a gun or otherwise handling one, this is always the first step to take. Find the safety feature by looking in the instruction booklet that came with your firearm.

2. Find out the gauge (the diameter of the barrel) of your shotgun so that you may choose the appropriate size rounds. The 10, 12, 16, 20,.410 bore, and 28-inch barrel lengths are the most common shotgun sizes. It is possible to fire shotshells designed for one gauge through a shotgun designed for a different gauge, although doing so requires the use of a specialized tube. In such case, it is preferable to just choose the ammunition that is the right size for your firearm.

3. While you are seated, position the butt of the stock on the inside of your left thigh. There is also the option of tucking the stock under your arm while holding the rifle in a slant position. Check to verify that the trigger and the trigger guard are mounted on the side of the shotgun that is pointing away from you.

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4. Position a single shell such that it is pressed up against the loading flap immediately in front of the trigger guard. It is important that the “business end” of the shell be facing in the direction of the end of the gun barrel. The end of the shell that the shot comes out of is called the business end. This end of the shell is opposite the end of the shell that has a metal cap on it and is where the explosive charge is located.

5. Put some pressure on the shell with your thumb and push it vertically upward into the loading flap. Keep doing this until you hear and feel a clear click. When you hear that click, the magazine catch should have been cleared by the rim of the shell.

6. Continue doing so until the magazine tube is completely loaded. When you try to put a shell into the tube, but it won’t go in, you will know that the tube is full.

7. To load the chamber, keep your finger pressed firmly on the action release button as you forcefully pump the slide in both directions, first backwards and then forwards. By pressing this button, a round will be removed from the magazine and loaded into the firing position. The shotgun is now in firing position and ready to discharge.

Loading a Break-Action Shotgun

1. Check that the gun’s safety is engaged and that it is pointing in a direction that keeps it away from you. Always handle a firearm as if it were loaded, even if you are aware that it is not now loaded.

2. Locate and activate the lever, clasp, or button that controls the barrel breach. This is often found on the right side of the firearm, at the point where the barrel and the stock meet.

  • A shotgun with a break action, as opposed to one with a pump-action, does not have a magazine tube that can hold many rounds at once. Instead, the rifle opens up to reveal a chamber that is directly connected to the barrel, allowing you to load shells without having to move them (or barrels). This indicates that you will need to reload your weapon after each shot, or after every two rounds if you are using a shotgun with a double barrel.
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3. Release the break-action, then move the barrel away from the body of the shotgun as you lower it.

4. Casings that are no longer needed should be removed and discarded. Caution is advised since they might still be hot if the gun had just been discharged. Make every effort to keep your hand from coming into contact with the metal of the barrel.

5. It is important to use a new shell for each used case. It should be possible for the pointed end of the shell to enter the barrel.

6. Raise the barrel to its original position, then slowly and carefully shut the break until you hear and feel it click. You may now load your rifle, and it is ready to shoot. 

What way do shotgun shells go?

Position a single shell such that it is pressed up against the loading flap immediately in front of the trigger guard. It is important that the “business end” of the shell be facing in the direction of the end of the gun barrel. The end of the shell that the shot comes out of is called the business end. This end of the shell is opposite the end of the shell that has a metal cap on it and is where the explosive charge is located.

What is the load in a shotgun cartridge?

The weight of the shot contained inside the cartridge is referred to as the load weight, and it is measured in grams. A clay load will typically weigh between 21 and 28 grams. A standard wildfowl cartridge may hold up to 36 grams of shot, whereas a game cartridge would often hold between 30 and 32 grams. On the left is a representation of a conventional shotgun cartridge.

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Does red dot mean safety on or off?

If you notice a dot that is colored red, the safety on your weapon has been removed, and it is now ready to fire. When the lever safety is engaged, the firing pin is prevented from moving because it is located either on the bolt itself or immediately behind the bolt handle on the frame of the receiver. On some types of rifles, the safety lever is positioned on the bolt, and it has three different locations.

What are snap caps for shotguns?

Snap caps were developed specifically for break-open shotguns with the purpose of releasing tension in the trigger springs located inside the action of the gun while it was being stored. Some people refer to snap caps, which have the form of a shotgun shell, as dummies. The shape of snap caps is identical to that of a shotgun shell.

How many shells can a shotgun hold?

Unlike most hunting shotguns, which hold between two and five shells (often three shells, to comply with U.S. regulations for hunting migratory birds), riot shotguns can have a magazine tube that is as long as the barrel, which enables them to load anywhere from six to ten shells depending on the model, barrel length, and type of shells that are loaded. Most hunting shotguns hold between two and five shells.

What are the parts of a shotgun called?

Shotguns. The stock, the action, and the barrel are the three fundamental components that make up a shotgun. Both the portion of the shotgun that you hold in your hand and the section that rests against your shoulder are considered to be the Stock. The Action is the component of the firearm that is responsible for loading, firing, and disposing of spent shotgun rounds.

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