12 Gauge Ammo - History
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Used by hunters, sport shooters, military and law enforcement – the 12 gauge is the most used shotgun to this day, and it has existed in its current cartridge configuration since the late 1800s.
Shotgun shell casings were originally full-length brass or paper hulls with a brass base. Some were sold loaded, but it was also possible to buy them primed and unloaded (which allowed the shooter to load the shell as they desired). In 1884, Frank Chamberlin patented a machine with the ability to load 1,500 shotshells per hour, a remarkable feat at the time. Within 10 years, Chamberlin had become a direct competitor with Winchester and the Union Metallic Cartridge Company. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of the end for Chamberlin, as he was competing against his suppliers. Chamberlin left the ammunition industry by 1900, and focused instead on trapshooting devices.
Shotgun ammo technology grew by leaps and bounds in the first 50 years of the 1900s. Brass hulls were replaced by paper hulls, and smokeless powder (cleaner and more powerful) replaced black powder. Remington blazed the trail with new products for shotgunners, including the introduction of its Model 870 shotgun in 1951. Nine years later, Remington introduced shotgun shells with plastic hulls – which featured a more robust case and kept the contents of the case dry even in the field. Within the next year, O.F. Mossberg & Sons introduced their iconic pump shotgun, the Model 500.
The use of the 12 gauge for self defense is once again on the rise, and specialty ammunition is being produced – including options for low recoil, and combinations of buckshot and smaller pellets. Proficiency with a shotgun for self defense comes more quickly than it does with a handgun, due to the greater inherent accuracy of a long gun. Additionally, 12 gauge shotguns enjoy the advantage of imparting greater energy than a handgun, as well as having decreased issues with over-penetration.
From personal protection to many different types of hunting, the 12 gauge is a good choice for many tasks – which is why this shotgun ammunition will likely remain popular for a long time to come.
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