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Hunting and Shooting

Is a 16 gauge shotgun more powerful than a 12 gauge shotgun?


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2010-03-07 00:17:22
2010-03-07 00:17:22

No. A 12 gage shotgun shoots a larger charge than a 16 gage. Shotgun sizes were designated according to the number of steel balls that could be dropped into the barrel that would weigh a pound. 12 steel balls weighing one pound would be dropped into a 12 gage shotgun. Thus it is a larger size than a 16 gage.

(Do not waste your money on a 16 gage shotgun, at least in the United States. You will have difficulty finding shells. You should get a 12 gage or a 20 gage.)


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This is a shotgun with an internal barrel diameter (called the "bore) of approximately .410" which shoots a shell which is about .410" in diameter. It is the only shotgun shell size that uses this convention. A 12 gauge shotgun, for example, does not have a bore of "12". A 20 gauge shotgun has a smaller bore than a 12 gauge and a 10 gauge has a bigger bore than a 12. Gauge size is based on the number of lead balls of the bore diameter which are required to make a pound (16 ounces). 10 balls, 12 balls, or 20 balls.

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