The entire Ballistics Series was great and it was the first time that the science behind shooting was explained in a way that made sense. What makes shotguns unique among other firearms is the wide variety of projectiles that can be fired from the same platform. This includes everything from a slug and a sabot round through buck shot, bird shot, and a number of less-than-lethal options. Since slugs and sabot projectiles are single solid projectiles, their ballistic characteristics are very similar to the pistol and rifle projectiles covered in the Ballistics Series. Therefore, I will focus the majority of this article on buckshot and birdshot.
By Randy Wakeman The literature is riddled with confusing descriptions of what a pellet must do to be effective on game birds. You've heard many of the windy, gushing, bombastic and meaningless comments. These are largely colorful terms applied to shotguns and shells that have no basis and become more meaningless as the colors of the terms become louder, yet more shrill. While amusing, they are meaningless.
Today's shotgun shells consist of a plastic case referred to as the hull, with the base covered in a thin brass covering. The brass does little for strength, the appearance simply provides shooters with a way to quickly differentiate between high and low shot weight ammunition. Illustration Courtesy of Winchester Ammunition. The hull holds the primer, powder, wad, and shot pellets.