Understanding Your New Or Used Remington Shotgun

If you’re on the market for a new or used Remington shotgun, Dury’s Gun Shop is a great place to start. We offer a wide online selection, unbeatable quality, fair prices, world-class customer service, and fast delivery to the FFL-licensed dealer of your choice. If you’re in or near San Antonio, come by our location and see our products in person.


The people at Remington want to ensure that firearms owners are well versed in the principles of gun handling. To this end, they offer free booklets on their website that cover this topic in depth. Dury’s Gun Shop supports the efforts of Remington and other gun makers to educate both new and experienced participants in the shooting sports. Below is a primer on shotgun basics, so whether you’re buying a shotgun for the first time or you’ve had shotguns for years, read on to learn something new or have a refresher on the topic.


Shotgun Types

A used Remington shotgun can come in one of three different styles. One type is the pump action, which is a style of gun that allows the user to both feed and eject shells with the back-and-forth racking or “pumping” of the fore-end. Pump guns are a good compromise between the reliability of simpler designs and the firing capacity of autoloaders. The Remington 870 is a great example of a dependable, affordable pump shotgun.


Another type of shotgun is the autoloader, and with this model the shooter inserts the first round into the chamber and then depresses the carrier release. The gun then uses the force of its recoil to eject spent cartridges and insert new ones into the chamber. The Remington Model 11-87 is an example of an auto-loading shotgun. This type of weapon is also known as a semi-automatic, but because these weapons fire just one shot each time the trigger is pulled, calling them ‘automatics” is incorrect. They offer a higher rate of fire than other types, but they sacrifice on range and accuracy.


Break-action shotguns allow the user to insert shells directly into the chamber. After firing, the shells are either removed manually or ejected by a built-in spring mechanism. There are three different types of break-action shotguns: the single-barrel, which is mechanically simple and can hold and fire one shell at a time; side-by-side double barrels, which are reliable, powerful, and have individual barrels mounted alongside each other horizontally; and over-under double barrels, which are similar to side-by-sides except that the barrels are placed one on top of the other.


Shotgun Plugs

Remington auto-loading and pump-action shotguns are both supplied with a plug that limits the magazine capacity to three rounds. Federal law requires a three-shell limit when hunting dove or waterfowl, and many states have additional laws regulating the hunting of all upland birds. Check with your state’s department of natural resources for the statutes in your area.



In firearms terminology, the word “gauge” refers to the inside diameter of a shotgun’s barrel. The gauge is measured by using lead balls the same size as the barrel’s bore and adding them together until they weigh one pound. For example, it takes a dozen lead balls the size of a 12-gauge bore to equal one pound. The most popular gauge is the 12-gauge, but 10-, 16-, 20-, and 28-gauge weapons are also available. Another available gauge is the .410 shotgun, which is the exception to this measurement rule; its bore is a measurement of the diameter in inches, or 41% of an inch.


Barrel Length

The barrel length of your used Remington shotgun does not affect its power or range, although longer barrels help in pointing or aiming the weapon and are preferred by skeet and waterfowl shooters, while shorter barrels make the weapon easier to handle and so are often used to hunt turkey, deer, or upland birds. Some of the more popular barrel lengths include 20”, 21”, 23”, 26”, 28”, and 30”. US law prohibits ownership of shotguns with a barrel length of less than 18”, although citizens with no criminal record can purchase these weapons legally. These sales are subject to special rules set down by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF).


Shotgun Chokes

Chokes are like the nozzles on the ends of garden hoses that determine whether the water comes out in a narrow stream or a wide pattern. Constricted or tight chokes deliver the pellets in a dense formation, while wider ones allow for greater spread but less range. The following are some popular chokes:


  • Super-full/extra-full – These create a highly dense shot pattern and are favored for turkey hunting.
  • Full chokes – These chokes keep around 70% of a shell’s pellets within a 30” circle out to 40 yards. Buckshot loads fire well from these chokes.
  • Modified chokes – These are great for all-around hunting. They keep about 60% of the pellets within a 30” shot pattern at 40 yards.
  • Improved cylinder chokes – Ideal for rifled slugs and close-in hunting, these chokes keep about 50% of a shell’s pellets within a 30” pattern at 40 yards.
  • Cylinder bore – this is the same as no choke; the pellets exit the weapon at the same radius as the gauge. This option is most often used by law enforcement agents who must be able to deliver extremely powerful blasts at short range.


Shotguns and Sights

While it is easier to hit a target with a new or used Remington shotgun than it is with a rifle, shotguns still require an effort in marksmanship. Shotgun barrels usually have beads affixed to their ends to aid the user in aiming, and many models have a second bead in the middle of the barrel for further help. While most shotgun owners don’t use scopes, those who use slugs to hunt deer often have scopes mounted on their weapons. Some Remington barrels come with built-in mounting systems for this purpose.



Shells are to shotguns what cartridges are to rifles. The inside of a shell contains the following components:


  • Primer to create a spark that ignites the rest of the charge.
  • Powder that is ignited by the primer to propel the shot from the weapon.
  • Wadding/buffering, which is a small layer of material that keeps the shot separate from the powder prior to being fired.
  • Shot, which usually consists of small metal pellets packed tightly together. The most commonly used metals are lead and steel, although some shells are made with copper. Some hunters use slugs instead of pellet-loaded shells, which are oversized bullets and are often used to hunt deer or for home defense situations. When fired from rifled barrels, standard slugs can deliver very accurate results from distances of up to 100 yards. Other slugs are designed for enhanced accuracy when fired from smoothbore barrels.


Dury’s: Your Place for Top-Quality Used Guns

It’s important to understand how any weapon works before operating it, so whether you buy a new of used Remington shotgun or any other type of firearm, be sure to read the owner’s manual and be familiar with the weapon’s working. When you’re looking for a new or used Remington shotgun, come to Dury’s Gun Shop. In addition to shotguns, we also carry used Glock pistols, used hunting rifles, and a great selection of new guns. Every pre-owned weapon we sell is backed by a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, so browse our online catalog and place your order today.

Posted in: Industry and Product News