HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 04 - SHOTGUNS 101


Illustration of a hunter's hands holding a forward facing firearm aimed at ducks on a body of water.

 Will you be hunting with a shotgun?

This is the section where you learn how shotguns work and why they’ve become a firearm collection staple.


The ‘gauge’ of a shotgun is the diameter measurement of the shotgun bore. Unlike rifles, which are measured by caliber, shotguns are measured by gauge. Gauge guys have it easy: the only gauges available are 10, 12, 16, 20, and 28.

Illustration showing how shotgun gauge is measured.

Check This Out: The Gauge Exception

The very simple size concept behind shotgun gauge has one exception. The .410 bore shotgun is uniquely measured as caliber rather than gauge because it was developed after the unit of measurement (inches) was accepted as the standard. The .410 bore is the smallest shotgun gauge available.


Campfire Collective truck icon.



Go boldly, tell your story. Campfire is building a collective of ambassadors who share a passion for the wild. If you’re an influencer, publisher or sport expert drop us a line. Let’s hook up and inspire others.

Campfire Collective high five icon.



Stay in the loop. Sign up for our newsletter
to get the latest stories from around the fire.