Shotguns are a type of firearm. Military and law enforcement personnel use them for control and self-defence. Sportsmen use them for game shooting and target practice. There are many types of shotgun cartridges available, each specific to a particular make and model of shotgun and its intended use.
Buckshot cartridges are used for hunting game, riot control and self-defence. The cartridge shell is comprised of a number of metal peletts, which are released when the gun is fired. Pellets can be large or small, depending on the intended use of the shotgun. For example, buckshot cartridge pellets used to hunt larger game such as deer are larger than those used for smaller animals. Buckshot cartridges are manufactured in sizes running from 00 to 4, the numbers representing the size of the buckshot cartridge.
Birdshot cartridges are smaller than their buckshot counterparts and are used primarily to hunt game birds. A birdshot cartridge is comprised of a number of "shots" -- or metal spheres. When the shotgun is fired, the spheres are released towards their intended target. Tungsten, steel and lead are used to make the birdshot spheres. A birdshot cartridge comes in a variety of sizes, depending on the size of the target.
Shotgun slugs are typically made of lead. Their steel and rubber varieties are also produced but are not as common as their predominant lead type. Slugs enable a shotgun to perform like a rifle. They allow the gun to fire one solid projectile instead of a large number of fine pellets. Shotgun slugs are used in riot control due to the control and accuracy they provide. Hunters use them to accurately hunt prey in populated areas. Different types of slugs include lead spheres, Brenneke and Foster slugs and saboted slugs. The use of slugs is banned in many regions of the world, including most of the European nations due to their safety risk.
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