Shotgun Ammo / Shotgun Shells


Shotguns are the most versatile firearms on the market. They can be used for competitions of all kind, for home defense, and hunting almost any animal in the United States. The difference all lies in the ammunition you choose for the job. At Ammunition Depot we carry all popular calibers and have a wide selection or buckshot, birdshot, and slugs. We also carry some more exotic mixtures for the most discerning shotgunners. We sell by the box, or you can always buy shotgun shells in bulk, so you always have the right amount on hand for the task.


How many shells can a shotgun hold?

Shotguns vary in capacity depending on the type of action they use and how many barrels they have. There are single shot break-action, double barrels and pump-action or semiautomatics. Because of that, capacity can vary from as low as one shell to as many as 10 or more.

Where can you buy shotgun shells?

Shotguns are common worldwide, even in countries with heavy gun restrictions, so finding shotgun shells is easier than finding most other types of ammunition. Shotgun shells are available at various retailers — even some general-purpose big box stores. As with other kinds of ammo, though, for best quality and availability, online retailers like Ammunition Depot are often the best solution.

How old do you have to be to buy shotgun shells?

Shotguns are considered long guns in general classification. This means they’re under the same regulations as rifles in regard to age restrictions. Ammunition is restricted under those same classifications, so the age to purchase shotgun shells is 18 years old — the same as purchasing a shotgun.

What is gauge for shotgun shells?

Gauge is used for a shotgun like the caliber is on other guns. Gauge is a measurement of the shotgun’s bore, which is the empty space of the barrel’s interior. It isn’t a measurement like inches or centimeters; it’s related to the amount of weight that can pass through. It’s based on a lead ball that fits the bore and how many of them it would take to make up one pound. The lower the gauge number, the larger the barrel’s diameter.

How much do shotgun shells cost?

The price for shotgun shells is fairly consistent and not as subject to fluctuations as other ammunition, but it's also not completely immune to market forces. Price varies depending on gauge, with the more common gauges being cheaper. Cost can also vary based on the type of shot — buck, slugs, etc. Depending on supply and demand, the prices can range from $0.50 per round to a couple dollars depending on shot type and gauge.

What is the best shotgun ammo?

Shotgun ammo is incredibly diverse. It can be used for everything from small game to self-defense. The best ammo for a shotgun will vary depending on that use. Small game loads are best for hunting waterfowl and handling rodent issues, whereas rifled slugs are best for most defensive situations. However, individual situations will vary, so the best shotgun ammo depends on your circumstances and preferences.

When do shotgun shells go bad?

There’s no set timeline on when a shotgun shell will go bad. As with most other ammunition, manufacturer recommendations suggest shotgun shells are good for around 10 years. However, proper storage can extend that for an indefinite amount of time. Shotgun shells are slightly more vulnerable to the elements than other types of ammo due to the casing construction. Proper storage is key to maintaining their life.

How do you store shotgun shells?

Shotgun shells should be stored in a cool, dry location that is free from extreme changes in temperature. The plastic casings of the shells are more vulnerable than the brass of rifle and handgun rounds, so maintaining even conditions is a little more important. However, while they are more prone to changes in adverse conditions, they are by no means weak and can still handle basic temperature changes. If shotgun shells are stored with other ammo free of heat, moisture and drastic temperature changes, they will last as long as other ammunition.

Where can you buy shotgun shells in bulk?

While shotgun shells are common among several types of retailers, bulk options are not. Many gun stores and other sellers tend to keep a full supply, but only of smaller boxes. For bulk buying, online sellers like Ammunition Depot are recommended because they have a larger supply of bulk ammunition.

How do you read shotgun shells?

When looking at the box, the first number from left to right will usually be the gauge of the shells. The next number will be the length of the shell; this is important because shotguns can vary in their chamber size. After gauge and length, the next number listed is the weight of the shot in the round, followed by the size of the shot.

Finally, there is information on the velocity of the projectile at the point it leaves the barrel. This information might be listed in feet per second (FPS) or in the dram equivalent. Typically abbreviated as “Dr. Eq.,” the dram equivalent harkens to a time when black powder was used for firearms. Back then, black powder was measured in volume or “drams.” Some will forgo this listing in favor of “max” or “mag” to indicate it’s at the highest end of the spectrum.

The order can vary slightly, but each box will have this same information.