You can’t be too safe
Safety is something that should always be central in our thinking. It’s difficult to think about shotgun shooting without thinking about the things we have to do to make it a safe sport.
One safety consideration when you’re shooting shotguns is to make sure you only carry shells for the gauge you’re shooting.
One of the things that older shooters will remember is when 20-gauge shells were red just like the 12-gauge shells were. The reason the manufacturers and the sport changed the 20-gauge shells to yellow was for safety reasons.
If, back in the olden days, you were shooting the 12 gauge and had some 20-gauge shells in your vest, you could accidentally place a 20 gauge in the chamber where it would fall into the forcing cone. When you again looked at your shotguns chamber, it would look empty, and you could place a 12-gauge shell in to the chamber behind the 20-gauge shell and still shut your shotgun. If you fired it in this condition, the odds were that you would blow up your gun, hurt yourself, and anyone near you could also be hurt.
The yellow allowed shooters to more easily identify the 20-gauge shells so this type of accident would not happen as frequently as it had in the past, if it happened at all.
Remember to only carry the shells for the gauge you’re shooting; don’t count on your memory, check each time you’re getting ready to shoot.
Barry Hartmann is an NSSA Master Level and NRA Certified shotgun instructor who teaches American skeet and wingshooting. You can contact Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-803-2393.