Shotguns come in various types, each designed for specific purposes and shooting applications.

Here are some of the most common types of shotguns...

These are the primary types of shotguns, each tailored to suit different shooting needs and preferences. The choice of shotgun type depends on factors like intended use, personal preference, and local regulations.

Author holding Citori Gran Lightning Over and Under Shotgun on Walking Trail

Break-Action Shotgun

Break-action shotguns are known for their simplicity and reliability. They have a hinged action that opens to expose the breech, allowing for easy loading and unloading. There are two subtypes within break-action shotguns:

  • Single Shot Single Barrel: These shotguns have a single barrel and fire one shot at a time.
  • Over-Under Shotgun: These shotguns have two barrels stacked vertically on top of each other.
  • Side-by-Side Shotgun: These shotguns have two barrels positioned side by side horizontally.

Pump-Action Shotgun

A pump-action shotgun is one of the most popular and widely used types of shotguns. It features a manually operated pump or forend that allows the shooter to cycle the action, eject the spent shell, and chamber a new round. Pump-action shotguns are versatile and can be used for hunting, home defense, and sport shooting.

Example of Pump Shotgun
1960 Winchester Model 42 Pump

In my collection, I have examples of semi-automatic, pump, break-action, over and under, combination and specialty shotguns. I do not have a bolt-action or lever-action shotgun.

Author holding Citori Gran Lightning Over and Under Shotgun on Walking Trail

My favorite shotgun (right now) is my Citori Gran Lightning. However, I must say that the purpose of the shotgun dictates the characteristics, and for certain purposes, I would have to choose another shotgun as my favorite.

Author holding Citori Gran Lightning Over and Under Shotgun on Walking Trail
Old Browning A-5 Auto

Semi-Automatic Shotgun

Semi-automatic shotguns, also known as autoloading shotguns, automatically eject the spent shell and chamber a new round with each pull of the trigger. They are prized for their rapid-fire capability and reduced recoil compared to pump-action shotguns. Semi-autos are commonly used in hunting and sport shooting, including clay target sports.

Son-in-law firing old Colt Auto Shotgun
Son-in-law firing old Colt Auto Shotgun

Bolt-Action Shotgun

Bolt-action shotguns have a manually operated bolt mechanism that requires the shooter to cycle the action by turning a bolt handle. They are less common than other types and are often used for specialized applications, such as slug hunting.

Lever-Action Shotgun

Lever-action shotguns are relatively rare compared to lever-action rifles, but they operate similarly. The shooter uses a lever to cycle the action and load a new round. They are not as common as other types of shotguns.

Combination Guns

Combination guns are firearms that have both a shotgun barrel and a rifle barrel, allowing the shooter to use different types of ammunition for different purposes. These are often used for hunting in areas where both rifles and shotguns are needed.

Citori Gran Lightning Over and Under Shotgun with Buffalo Hide Leg-O-Mutton Case

Specialty Shotguns

here are specialty shotguns designed for specific purposes, such as: Tactical Shotguns: Designed for self-defense and law enforcement applications, these shotguns often feature extended magazines, pistol grips, and other tactical accessories. Sporting Shotguns: These are designed specifically for clay target sports, including trap, skeet, and sporting clays. They often have longer barrels, adjustable chokes, and other features optimized for these sports. Slug Shotguns: These shotguns are designed for firing shotgun slugs, which are large, single-projectile rounds. They are often used for hunting big game.

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