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'This video addresses conventional, specialty, and exotic shotgun ammunition. It describes the capabilities and shows the effects of the various rounds on an assortment of substances.' Includes firing demonstrations of conventional shotgun shells (bird shot, buck shot, & rifled slug) specialty shotgun shells (flares, CS tear gas, smoke, & dustbusters), and exotic shotgun shells (dragon's breath, dragon slug, armor piercing, fletchette, buck & ball, and strung buck).

Public domain film from the US National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied. The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

A shotgun (also known as a scattergun and peppergun, 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, semi-automatic, and even fully automatic variants...

Specialty ammunition

The unique properties of the shotgun, such as large case capacity, large bore, and the lack of rifling, has led to the development of a large variety of specialty shells, ranging from novelties to high tech military rounds. Hunting, defensive, and military

Brenneke and Foster type slugs have the same basic configuration as normal slugs, but have increased accuracy. The hollowed rear of the Foster slug improves accuracy by placing more mass in the front of the projectile, therefore inhibiting the "tumble" that normal slugs may generate. The Brenneke slug takes this concept a bit further, with the addition of a wad that stays connected to the projectile after discharge, increasing accuracy. Both slugs are commonly found with fins or rib, which are meant to allow the projectile to safely squeeze down during passage through chokes, but they do not increase stability in flight.

Flechette rounds contain aerodynamic darts, typically from 8 to 20 in number. The flechette provide greatly extended range due to their aerodynamic shape, and improved penetration of light armor. American troops during the Vietnam War packed their own flechette shotgun rounds, called beehive rounds, after the similar artillery rounds. However, terminal performance was poor due to the very light weight of the flechettes, and their use was quickly dropped.

Frag-12 shotgun rounds are a series of special purpose shotgun grenades, including high explosive blast, fragmentation, and HEAP grenades intended to be fired from any 12-ga shotgun. They are distinguished from regular shotgun rounds by a green hull. It has been proposed as an armament for modern UAVs and is currently being tested for military deployment.

Grenade rounds use exploding projectiles to increase long range lethality. These are currently experimental, but the British FRAG-12, which comes in both armor penetrating and fragmentary forms, is under consideration by military forces...

Novelty and other

Bolo rounds are made of two or more slugs molded onto steel wire. When fired, the slugs separate, pulling the wire taut creating a flying blade, which could theoretically decapitate people and animals or amputate limbs. However, many active shotgun users consider this to be overstated, and view bolo shells as being less effective than conventional ammunition. Bolo shell rounds are banned in many locations (including the US states of Florida and Illinois) due to concerns about their potential lethality. The round is named in reference to bolas, which use two or more weighted balls on a rope to trap cattle or game.

Dragon's Breath usually refers to a zirconium-based pyrotechnic shotgun round. When fired, a gout of flame erupts from the barrel of the gun (up to 20 ft). The visual effect it produces is impressive, similar to that of a short ranged flamethrower. However, it has few tactical uses, mainly distraction/disorientation.

Flare rounds are sometimes carried by hunters for safety and rescue purposes. They are available in low and high altitude versions. Some brands claim they can reach a height of up to 200 m (660 ft).

Appears on these pages

  • Fleshettes

    A flechette (/flɛˈʃɛt/ fleh-shet) is a pointed steel projectile, with a vaned tail for stable...

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