Shell safety

hamsterloki said: Sorry, I’m an utter gun-noob, but what kind of a difference is there between 2 3/4” shells and 3” shells? That doesn’t seem like a huge difference in my head but I’m probably wrong.

Also regarding the SPAS-12 post.

It’s a valid question and one some people aren’t aware of. Generally speaking it’s always the best practice to shoot only the recommended/required types of ammo in any firearms.

There are exceptions however; if you have a revolver chambered in .357 Magnum, you can shoot .38 Special but not vice versa. Revolvers chambered in .38 Special generally are not able to handle the higher pressures of the larger .357 Magnum. The reason being here is that the .38 Special is the “parent case” to the .357 Magnum.

You can actually load .38 Special in a .357 Magnum chambered Desert Eagle but because the pressure difference is so great, the pistol will not cycle reliably.

I know people think there is only one type of 12 gauge and the difference is only in the load (buckshot, birdshot, slug etc) but there is a size difference.

The most helpful post I’ve found explaining this is from the old unofficial SPAS-12 website.

You are putting yourself at a major risk of damage to the gun and your face shooting 3” shells in a shotgun with a 2 ¾” chamber (or 3 ½” shells in a 3” chamber).  Why not , they seem to fit just fine, I’ve tried a few and I’m still alive?

2 ¾” shells are typically 2.25” long unfired, 2 ¾” fired.   A 2 ¾” chamber shotgun has has a 2 ¾” chamber for the shell, directly followed by a forcing cone, which tapers down to the barrel diameter.  As the shell fires, it unfolds filling the full length of the 2 ¾” chamber.  (The length and taper of the forcing cone is exaggerated for clarity in these illustrations).

Before firing:

After firing:

If you look below, you’ll see an unfired 3” shell is only 2.56” long, so it will fit in the 2 ¾” chamber — or at least appears to fit.


When you fire it it unfolds to 3”, there is no room in the chamber for it to unfold into, so it unfolds into the tapered forcing cone which makes the exit diameter too small. This can make the chamber pressure rise to dangerous levels. You might bulge the barrel, might have it split open and rework your face..




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