16 gauge: features, shells and ballistic performance



If you take a close look at a 16 gauge shell, you’ll see a shotgun shell that looks just perfect for hunting; it’s slender but you wouldn’t call it small. Quite the contrary, the “business-like” size gives you peace of mind; it’s a shell that’ll give you all the performance you’ll ever need, even for larger game.
It’s well-conceived dimensional (length/diameter) ratio, lets you use loads that range from 25 to 40 grams in standard cases, although the ideal load range is 27 – 34 grams.

Very popular and widely used in the not-too-distant past, from early to the middle of the last century, it can be used on equal terms with the ubiquitous 12 gauge. In fact in the decades in which it was popular, it was both constantly and frequently used in many different types of guns.

In the early 900s, the Browning Auto 5 automatic was the gun that made the 16 gauge popular with both European and American hunters. For 50 years, 16 gauge guns were made and sold in an abundance of break-action, side-by-side and over/under configurations of a variety of pedigrees, from the common man’s rough-and-ready artisanal harquebusier to the finest shotguns made by English gunsmiths.

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