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Old September 6, 2005, 10:03 AM   #1
blackmind
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Do the colors of shotgun shells refer to specific kinds of shot content?

I have my trusty but seldom-used Mossberg 590 Mariner, and a bunch of green colored shells for it that I've had so long that I don't remember what kind they are.

I know that the two kinds I bought, way back when, were 00 buck, and dove-and-quail shot. Can't be sure, now, which these are.

I'd hate to load these into the gun for home defense for the next hurricane and then find out the hard way that I loaded birdshot!


What is the code -- if there is a uniform code -- for the color of shotgun shells? Does green mean a specific kind of shot, and red another, etc?

The shells I have don't say anything about what is in them, unfortunately. I'm hoping there is a way to tell without having to break one open to find out.


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Old September 6, 2005, 10:09 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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Sorry, color is a brand thing, not a load code.
Standard Winchesters are red, Federals are maroon, Remingtons are green. Cheap Remingtons are black, some Remington STS target loads are gold, some Winchester AA target loads are gray. Minor brands are this and that.

Buy some fresh ammo for hurricane defense.
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Old September 6, 2005, 10:10 AM   #3
Charles S
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There is no standardized color system in shotshells that would allow you to determine shot size with the color of the shell. I have green shells that are buckshot 00, 0, #1 and #4, and I have green shells with shot sizes #4s, #6 and #7.5s.

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Old September 6, 2005, 10:15 AM   #4
blackmind
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Thanks for the info, guys. It may not help me identify this ammo, but now at least I know.


I will get new ammo for HD/SD.


Now, can anyone explain for me the heirarchy of the size of the shot? I understand the concept of shotgun "gauge," but I don't know what the biggest shot is, how many pellets are in each shell, etc. based on any numerical system or nomenclature.

Also, since my 590 is a smoothbore, if I wanted to load it with slugs, what do I have to get, and how do they work?

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Old September 6, 2005, 01:13 PM   #5
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Color can also refer to the gauge of the shell. 12 is usually red, 20 is usually yellow, 16 is usually purple, and 10 is usually green. This can, of course vary from one manufacturer to another, Someone makes black 12's for example.
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Old September 6, 2005, 01:17 PM   #6
Charles S
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Quote:
Color can also refer to the gauge of the shell. 12 is usually red, 20 is usually yellow, 16 is usually purple, and 10 is usually green. This can, of course vary from one manufacturer to another, Someone makes black 12's for example.
I belive that this used to be true. I have Red, Black, and Green 12 ga on hand now. I have Purple and Green 16 ga on hand now. I have Black and Yellow 20 Ga on hand now, and I have Red, Green, and Black .410 on hand now.

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Old September 6, 2005, 02:54 PM   #7
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Blackmind:

The number designation for standard shot is inversely proportional to its size. For example, size nine shot (.08 inches in diameter) is smaller than size one shot (.16 inches in diameter).

Per the Winchester Shotshell Guide, the specifications break out as follows (listed in order as standard shot size, diameter in inches, and number of pellets/oz. in lead "L" or steel "S"):

9, .08. 585L
8, .09, 410L
7.5, .095, 350L
7, .10, 420S
6, .11, 225L, 316S
5, .12, 170L, 243S
4, .13, 135L, 191S
3, .14, 153S
2, .15, 87L, 125S
1, .16, 103S
BB, .18, 50L, 72S
BBB, .19, 61S
T, .20, 53S

The same is true for buckshot: the smaller the number, the larger the pellet.
Again, per the Winchester Shotshell Guide, the specifications break out as follows (listed in order as buckshot size, diameter in inches, and number of pellets/typical load):

4, .24, with 27, 34, or 41 pellets/load*
3, .25, with 20 or 24 pellets/load*
1, .30, with 12, 16, 20, or 24 pellets/load*
0, .32, with 12 pellets/load*
00, .33, with 9, 12, 15, or 18 pellets/load*
000, .36, with 8 or 12 pellets/load*

*Depending upon gauge and load configuration.

Hope this helps.

Good luck, and good shooting!
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Old September 6, 2005, 05:01 PM   #8
K80Geoff
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US manufacturers (Rem, Win & Fed) use yellow for 20 ga shells as a safety measure. The purpose is so that 20's are not confused with 16's or 12's.

The Euro shells can be any color unfortunately.

When I reload I use Rem STS (Green) for #8, Rem Nitro 27 (Gold) for 7.5 and Winchester AA (Red) for #9 shot. This is so I can remember what is in the shell. I also mark the primer with a majic marker to indicate a reload.
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Old September 6, 2005, 05:12 PM   #9
redranger1
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ive got some brown 12 ga and blue 410 shells.
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Old September 6, 2005, 05:20 PM   #10
chadwimc
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You should be able to see the shot size with a strong light behind the plastic hull. I know I often hold mine up to the sky for some strange reason, just to see the pellets.
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Old September 6, 2005, 05:43 PM   #11
Gabby Hayes
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Quote:
Now, can anyone explain for me the heirarchy of the size of the shot? I understand the concept of shotgun "gauge," but I don't know what the biggest shot is, how many pellets are in each shell, etc. based on any numerical system or nomenclature.
I snipped this shotsize photo from Federal's web site several years back. Don't think it's there anymore.
Attached Images
File Type: gif shotsize.gif (84.2 KB, 98 views)
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Old September 13, 2005, 02:27 AM   #12
Helwan
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Hey Gabby nice shotsize chart, thanks for sharing.




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Old September 13, 2005, 09:30 AM   #13
AAshooter
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12 gauge rounds come in a rainbow of colors. I have a display I use in my Hunter Education class that shows about 20 different colors for 12 gauge rounds . . . just to debuke the color myth.

Generally, bird shot will rattle when you shake the shell and buck shot will not. So if you know you have bird and buck mixed, you can usually separate them. If you have a variety of shells, that is a challenge.
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