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Safety practices that will help you avoid using the wrong ammunition are:

  • Purchase only the correct ammunition for your firearm. Buy the exact gauge and length of ammunition for which your shotgun was designed. For example, shotshells must be the correct length for the shotgun. The data stamp on the barrel of the shotgun will identify what length shell can be used. Never use a shell that is longer than this length.
  • Carry only the correct ammunition for the firearm you’re using. Never mix ammunition, such as carrying a gauge your companion uses. A common mistake involves putting a 20-gauge shotshell into a 12-gauge shotgun. The smaller gauge shell will slide through the 12-gauge chamber and partly down the barrel, causing an obstruction. The shooter, especially when excited by the presence of game, then might insert a 12-gauge shotgun shell behind the 20-gauge shell.
  • Never use old ammunition. Contact your local law enforcement agency for advice on destroying it.
Ammunition shell marking
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