The mighty 10-gauge shotshell is an absolute powerhouse.
Well before the longer 3.5-inch 12-gauge shell was born, the 10-gauge was hammering game on a regular basis.
Here’s why Larry Potterfield of Midway USA has added it to the Cartridge Hall of Fame:
The big 10-gauge shotgun load throws a lot of shot, as well as buckshot or slugs. It was the king of power in shotguns, being more portable than the bigger 8-gauge or punt guns. When game laws changed, the line was drawn at the 10-gauge.
Larger steel shot, HEVI-shot and other non-toxic shot were now the rule for waterfowl. If you wanted the maximum amount of power and shot, the 10-gauge magnum was the way to go. The big gun could certainly still get it done with or without lead shot.
This new non-toxic shot for waterfowl hunting was going to propel the big shotgun load’s popularity beyond anyone’s expectations.
Most older side-by-side shotguns and others weren’t steel-rated, but the newer pump-action and semi-automatic models were. Shotgun makers such as Remington, Browning and Ithaca offered steel-rated, screw-in choke tubes to go along with the steel-rated barrels.
The 12-gauge had a trick up its barrel, though. Why not lengthen the chamber to accept a 3.5-inch, 12-gauge shell?
A longer shell was something the 10-gauge wasn’t ready for. While many waterfowl hunters and even turkey hunters still hit the woods with 10-gauge shotguns, most pack smaller 12-gauges or less these days. It’s not all bad news for the big gun, though.
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