Gauges. Gun Talk

What are the differences in shot gun gauges? Which is more powerful? From AJ.

It is funny, my husband and I had this conversation awhile back. After doing some research and we found out how the gauges were measured, it made sense, but I still decided that a man had to have come up with this system of measurement.

A 4 gauge shotgun is actually larger than a 20 gauge shotgun. The smaller the gauge, the wider the barrel.

Benelli shotgun

Gauges are measured by how many equal diameter balls you can fit into a gun barrel that weigh 1 pound. A 12 gauge shotgun for example can hold 12 lead balls that weigh a total of 1 pound. Thus making it a 12 gauge shotgun.

A 4 gauge shotgun would hold 4 lead balls. A 20 gauge, 20 lead balls. And so on and so forth.

Photo from

Photo from

As for which is more powerful, the general rule of thumb is the smaller the barrel is in diameter, or the higher the gauge, the less recoil is felt when shooting. If you are looking for low recoil then I would try a 20 gauge and go from there.

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Rachel Akers writes about crafts, recipes, and features the adventures of a family of 4. It is always crazy but I wouldn't change it for the world! Comments or questions? Talk to me on Facebook or Twitter or sign up for our RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.