shotgun mini shells comparison uses
Travis Pike for TTAG
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I love shotguns. I always have and I come from a family who used shotguns for hunting deer, shooting birds, and defending the homestead. In the Marines, I was one of the few Marines issued a Mossberg because I could not only use, but teach the shotgun.

To me, shotguns are constant experiments in ammunition, sighting systems, and usability. By the bedside sits a Mossberg 590 similar to my issued gun way back when I was cool. Mini shells have been something I’ve experimented with quite a bit, and I have lots of thoughts on them. I also wanted to show and compare a number of different loads that mini shells are available in.

What kinds of mini shells are out there?

Lots of different mini shells exist these days. The Aguila brand was the first to really pop off and gain popularity, especially after Mossberg brought the Shockwave to SHOT 2018 loaded with mini shells and the OPSol Mini-Clip. More on the OPSol later, though.

Mini shells come in two sizes. The most popular is the 1.75-inch shells. These are made by Aguila, Federal, and Challenger. Nobel Sport makes a 2.25-inch shotshell, and Kent makes a low recoil training round that’s 2.5 inches.

The 1.75-inch shells are vastly more popular, and it’s important to distinguish the two. The Kent is a training round for clays, and the Nobel Sport rounds are shorter than average, but hard to really classify as a mini shell.

Shotgun mini shells Aquila Federal Kent NobleSport
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

In this article, I really want to talk more about the more popular 1.75-inch shells. The Nobel Sport are really a different animal. Let’s call them short shells rather than minis.

Most of my thoughts and opinions on mini shells don’t apply to the 2.25-inch short shells. The 2.25-inch shells don’t require an adapter to feed in Mossbergs and Remingtons in my experience. They’re basically a reduced recoil load that allows you to add roughly one extra shell in a shotgun magazine tube. The six-pellet buckshot round is an excellent load for sensitive recoil shooters. So from here on out, we’ll talk about the 1.75-inch mini shells.

Types of Mini Shells

I’ve gotten a good sample of mini shells from Federal, Aguila, and Challenger. I got a mix of buckshot, birdshot, and slugs from Federal and Aguila, but I couldn’t secure Challenger buckshot. It seems to have been discontinued at Brownells but they appear to have plenty of the other flavors in stock. Exotic Ammo also makes a few different loads, but I’m not paying two bucks a round for mini shells.

shotgun mini shells comparison uses
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Federal buckshot comes in Number 4 buck loaded with 15 pellets. The Aguila is an interesting load with seven pellets of number four buck and four pellets of number one buckshot. Both loads throw lead at 1,200 feet per second.

The birdshot loads are nothing particularly fancy. Aguila offers typical number 7.5, 8, and 9 loads. Federal gives us a #8 load, and Challenger has a #7.5 load. You aren’t going to be goose hunting with any of those.

The slugs are cool, and from Federal, we get a 1-ounce rifled slug at 1,200 feet per second. The Aguila slugs are 7/8 ounces with a 1,300 FPS rating. Finally, Challenger mini shells give us a 3/4 ounce slug at 1,200 feet per second. The Challenger is a little light compared to the other two, but also lower recoiling.

What’s the point?

The immediate advantages of these mini shells are a lot lower recoil and a much higher capacity. A Shockwave can typically hold five shells in the tube, but with the minis, you can squeeze in eight rounds. In my 590 with a 20-inch barrel and 8-round tube, I can pack in 12 cartridges.

The main issue we get to is cycling reliability. In short, these shells don’t cycle well. They tend to flip around, fall down and have serious issues with some guns. Apparently, they cycle in the KSG shotgun fine, and the same goes for Winchesters. In Mossberg’s and Remingtons, you may have issues. In Mossbergs, I used the OPSol Mini-Clip 2.0 to ensure proper feeding.

OPSol Mini-Clip 2.0 Flex
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The OPSol Mini-Clip fits into the bottom of a Mossberg series shotgun and adds a buffer that prevents the shells from flopping around when cycling. This guarantees easy feeding of mini shells.

I’ve experienced 100% reliability when using the OPSol. Without it, the shells can run well, but you have to rack and load very decisively, and even then, you are looking at about an 80% success rate. The OPSol only works in Mossberg 500 series shotguns (including the Maverick 88 models).

There are two generic points I’d like to discuss before we break down each shell and their uses. First, these shells are a ton of fun in 12 gauge firearms like the Shockwave. They offer virtually no recoil, can be easily aimed, and can be safely fired by anyone who can hold a Shockwave. The second purpose is simply for training new or smaller shooters with a shotgun. If a .410 or 20 gauge shotgun isn’t available, a 12 gauge with mini shells is perfect.

Now to talk about how the point of these shells, we have to look at how each load performs and digest and dissect them from there.

Mini shell birdshot

The birdshot is just typical birdshot. I mean, it works and spreads quickly, and its very light recoiling, as you’d expect. All three brands are very similar and are fun and cheap to shoot. Guns like the Shockwave are built for fun, and these shells are perfect for blasting clays tossed on a berm.

shotgun mini shells comparison uses
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

What these shells are also great for is small game hunting. Rarely does a squirrel really need a full blast of 12 gauge birdshot to take it down. A mini shell full of birdshot is a lower recoiling, more comfortable option for shooting small game and getting rid of pests.

From a prepper’s perspective, the birdshot mini shell is an excellent option for small game. It’s much smaller and lighter than standard birdshot and can accomplish most birdshot tasks. Again it won’t kill larger birds or birds flying at much of a distance, but squirrels are easy fodder for these things.

Mini shell buckshot

One thing I noticed about these buckshot mini shell loads is how wide they tend to spread at distances of only ten yards. The Aguila and Federal both spread wide enough to cover the chest of a man-sized target.

Shotguns are made for closer ranges, but I guess I’m spoiled by FliteControl. The Federal seems to be a little more consistent in its patterning. The Aguila seems to pattern in various ways. It can string vertically, form a circle, and you can expect some flyers. At 15 yards, both shells were tapped out and all over the place.

shotgun mini shells comparison uses
Blast of buckshot at 10 yards (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I think the Aguila minishell’s problem is the different shot sizes may be causing some friction. The Federal’s use of nothing but #4 buckshot makes it more consistent. The Aguila packs more mass with the bigger #1 pellets, and if I absolutely had to choose one of these for defensive use, I would lean toward the Aguila. #1 shot is the smallest shot capable of providing significant penetration to a human target. #4 lacks the necessary penetrative ability.

That all being said, I wouldn’t use these shells for home defense. I believe the true purpose of a shotgun is be as devastating as possible with each pull of the trigger. Sure, we have to strike a balance between recoil and power, but I’d much rather use eight pellets of double aught versus these mini shells. If I needed capacity and lower recoil, a rifle would be my choice.

00 buck buckshot ammunition shotgun

In my opinion, these loads would best be contained to shooting larger pests at closer ranges. They’d likely make short work of coyotes and wild dogs. For hunting animals like deer, I’d be wary of their spread at only 10 yards.

Mini shell slugs

The slug loads are actually the most appealing rounds to me. The Federal minis launch a 1-ounce slug at 1,200 feet per second. One ounce equals over 400 grains. A .44 Magnum hot handgun load is a 240 grain projectile at about 1,200 feet per second. These are hefty little slugs that have some serious oomph to them. Even the 3/4 ounce Challenger slug at 1,200 FPS packs quite a wallop.

I tested these slugs at 25 yards with my 590 with ghost ring sights. Twenty-five yards is short for slug work, but these are short little fellas. The Aguila slugs were all over the place. My group, if you want to call it, was strung out horizontally.

shotgun mini shells comparison uses
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Federal Slugs were much more accurate, and I produced this little group.

shotgun mini shells comparison uses
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Challenger slugs were also more accurate than the Aguila at 25 yards, but not as accurate as the Federal loads.

shotgun mini shells comparison uses
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

Recoil was a little stiffer, of course, but still less than a standard 20 gauge load. The slugs are the most useful mini shell rounds. They are powerful, relatively low recoiling, offer the mini’s high capacity, and the Federal and Challenger loads are plenty accurate enough for hunting and defensive use.

If I had to choose one type of mini shell for defensive use, it would be the Federal slugs. They’re the heaviest and the most accurate. Still, I wouldn’t choose them over my FliteControl buckshot loads for home defense. They could definitely be used for home defense with a braced Shockwave for a small, but powerful load. Not my first choice, but it would work.

These slugs could also be handy for hunting medium game like deer, as well as killing coyotes, hogs, and other dangerous predators.

Thoughts on the OPSol Mini-Clip

I owned the original OPSol Mini Clip, and never experienced an issue. I ran it exclusively in my Shockwave and always had a ton of fun.

Eventually, the OPSol 2.0 was released to accommodate a wider variety of shorter shells. This Flex model was apparently designed to accommodate different-sized mini shells should someone else ever make them. Either way, installation is easy, as is removal. It’s cheap, reliable, and seemingly very durable.

shotgun mini shells comparison uses
Travis Pike for TTAG

Mini shells in single and double barrels

As you’d imagine, mini shotgun shells work perfectly well in single-shot and double barrel shotguns. There are no feeding or ejection issues. In a super-light single barrel gun, these shells can be invaluable for hunting with slugs and birdshot, especially from a survival standpoint.

Mini shells and you

Mini Shells are a ton of fun and I’m glad Federal has gotten into the game. I’d like to see how far this trend can go. I’d also like to see more 2.25 and 2.5-inch shells as well. It could open up a new market for shooters.

In terms of shotgun compatibility, I’m familiar with one gun made specifically for these loads and that’s the SRM1228 from SRM Arms. It’s a semi-automatic designed specifically for mini shells. If the use of mini shells gains in popularity, maybe we’ll see more of these designs, or even something along the lines of the Techno Arms Mag-7. Or maybe they’ll eventually fade into obscurity. Who knows?

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    • Agreed. I read every word in this particular article with piqued interest. I also, like the author, would like to see more 2.25″ shells offered. The minis are just too small for my taste. My wife likes to shoot 20-ga, but we don’t own one (and I will never buy anything in CA due to the onerous registration and our A.G.’s open exuberance of being able to confiscate as the laws/noose grow tighter). We do have some 12-ga in different varieties, though they’re a bit too large and powerful for her small stature. Using 2.25″ shells would lower the recoil for her.

      I would also be interested in 2.25″ slug for hunting or defense. The ability of fitting one more shell into the tube of my Defense 870 is something I can get behind.

      • Herter’s 2.25″ Mini buckshot at Cabelas seems to have been discontinued. It works great and expanded my Maverick88 20″ to 8+1. (with a mix of regular 2.75″ buck/slugs too).I rarely shoot my shotgun but that sux. I’ve never heard Arguilla 1.75″ being great. Oh and I picked up a 100rounds of Argulla 223. How’s it run? THAT I’ve heard is reliable…

  1. I have the 870 Tac14 and the little shells don’t cycle well at all. I attribute that to the 870 having only one extractor but may be mistaken. Any advice on how to fix this?

  2. I own a Mossberg Shockwave and have fitted it with a OPSol Mini-Clip and loaded it with Aguilla mini-shells in a mix of buckshot and slugs. To me, at the ranges in my residence, this is the perfect home defense weapon (with a .45 pistol for backup), and the horizontal stringing (or whatever) doesn’t matter much. As Mr. Pike says, the OPSol Mini-Clip has been very reliable at preventing cycling hangups in my Shockwave.

  3. Just another gimmick, or problem to happen when you really need it. And if your looking for light recoil….get a .22 birdshot otherwise grow a pair like men used to have.

    • “Just another gimmick, or problem to happen when you really need it.”

      I remember when the “old-timers” used to say the same thing about the AR-15.

      • Well, I have to say that and AR 15 is a problem if you are trying to stop people with it. I hated the M16 in the military as it lacked both dependability and stopping power.

    • American Patriot,

      So, a 12 year-old girl who weighs 95 pounds should just “grow a pair” and learn to to handle full 12 gauge recoil like a man?

      I suppose that also applies to a 65 year-old widow as well?

      Countless people have meager finances and have to make do with what they have. Mini-shells allow many more people to use a shotgun for self-defense. That is a good thing.

      • My mom is a 67 year old widow, 5’1” approx 110 pounds and uses a ranger 140 12 gauge to blast squirrels off her peaches and apples and groundhogs out of her barn.

        The only issues she has is arthritis makes it very difficult to charge and her eyesight is poor for longer shots.

        I thought she might benefit from a newer pump with higher capacity but her arms are too short to rack the action without short stroking so she sticks with what she knows. I also tried to add a butt stock pad put she didn’t like that either.

        So no reason an older woman can’t still handle a 12 gauge for a few shots even if she wouldn’t bust clays all day with it.

        • She should be using a semi-auto instead of a pump shotgun for two reasons:

          One, it doesn’t need to be manually cycled like a pump shotgun.

          Two, recoil is less than a pump shotgun.

          I’d also get her some low recoil 12-gauge loads of which there are a wide variety of loads.

        • I added an Edwards recoil reducer to my Remington 870`s 12 gauge stock. It has a built in spring loaded piston which absorbs lots of recoil. To install it remove the end cap off of the stock, secure the shotgun in the upright position with the barrel pointed down. Follow the directions in the Edwards package, and as a last step when the recoil piston is correctly positioned, fill the surrounding cavity around the inside of the stock with foam insulation material. Be careful not to fill it more than 3/4 of the way full, as the foam insulation will expand as it cures overnight. As a little overkill I also installed a thick recoil pad once the stock`s endcap was put back into place. I can shoot turkey loads and/or 000 buckshot all day long now and not have any pain or bruises. I`m 78 years old.

      • I live in a condo with thinner walls… lower power means I could theoretically still take down a home invader without having to worry as much about blasting through to my neighbors place… or my toddler’s room… if I miss, and the slightly higher capacity means if I miss I get more chances. This makes a Shockwave or TAC-14 with a brace an appealing alternative to my AR, which is too unwieldy in close quarters, or my 9mm P320, which would probably blow through a wall too easily should I miss.

        Sometimes it’s not about not “growing a pair”, but recognizing the right tool for the right application.

    • Christ on a Pogo Stick!!!
      There’s always one who insists that you gotta use the most powerfulest round know to man, not just to kill the bad guy moar deader, but also to blow his organs out through his soul, otherwise you must be a sissified communist who ain’t never been a man.
      Get over it. Others WILL do things you don’t agree with. That doesn’t make them less of a human than you. Lethal is lethal. These shells have more Ft/lbs of energy than all but the biggest magnum handgun loads and will make MANY holes, not just one. AAAANNNNDDD you can get more of them in a standard magazine meaning more opportunities to stop the fight. Less recoil means faster follow up shots, less velocity and mass means less chance of killing your own family members on the other side of the house. Don’t be stupid, of course these are a great idea. So good, in fact, we should build a gun around them…

    • Yup…doesn’t work for beans. The little shells just flip around randomly. Really wanted them to work in my old Parkerized 8-round Police model.

      • Despite what the article says about the Winchester, I ran into the same problem with my 1200. Half the time the mini-shell would bounce over and end up base forward on the elevator.

    • I doubt it was an Ithaca, but I have tried them in an old pump. Pretty bad results for reliability, but they are kind of fun to shoot. I can’t see much practical purpose for them outside of keeping things easygoing for a new or small-framed shooter.

  4. I also say thanks for the article, myself being a Marine, I agree 100% with the shotgun allure, I must have at least a dozen different types of scatter guns, depending on use Hunting types are much the same, (my theory anyway), but my favorites are In order are KSG, Saiga, Mossberg 500, SKO Shorty, then the Utah…fun shoots. Semper Fi…🇺🇸

  5. Big fan of the minis to the point that I started home brewing a “mini-ish” 2″ load using 3/4 oz of shot with a reduced charge of Bullseye powder. Got the recipe and supplies from Ballistic Products – it was originally intended for the old English shotgun with 2″ chamber. Works well for plinking, relatively cheap, and not all that difficult or time consuming to load.

  6. I recently took my Shockwave out (for the first time – been kind of busy). Anyway, got a crimson trace laser on it and it makes all the difference. At 15 yds, the Aguila minislugs had a fairly consistent grouping (albeit grouped to the right, but an adjustment to the laser fixed that). I think this is the perfect home defense gun – enough power, no worries about over-penetration, and plenty of rounds.

  7. If I want an accurate, low-recoil, easy-to-handle gun, I’ll take a PCC over a shotgun with these mini-shells. With a 31-round 9mm Glock magazine, I can put just about as much lead down range with a single magazine full (125gr * 32 = 4000 grains, 147gr * 32 = 4704 grains).

    I’ll stick to 2.75″ rounds in my shotgun.

    • Cloudbuster,

      Your analysis is true.

      You failed to account for time however. You have to shoot three times and land all three bullets in extremely tight grouping to match the incapacitating potential of one shotgun slug.

      I prefer only having to put one projectile on target for devastating stopping potential.

    • You forget those of us who live in restricted states with 10rd mag cap limits. A 33rd giggle stick would be great in my Ruger PCC, but if i get caught with one, im a felon. No spanks, i’d rather max out what i can possess as best i can. It’s how i ended up with a a P365 instead of a G19 for my EDC.

  8. I’m a fan of the 2.25” 6-pellet ‘00’ buckshot loads from Herters. Recoil is on par with a target load, and still very effective – completely reliable in my shotguns and having a bonus round fit is nice.

    Personally I really want to like the Federal #4 buckshot load, I’m going to need to get a case of them to wring out. Seems like a great summer goblin load.

  9. The Nobel Mini Buck shells, in my own testing, are far superior to the much more commonly found Aguila mini shells. At 2.25 inches they do not require the addition of the Op-Sol device. They also function 100% in Remington guns, I’ve tested them in both types. The Aguila shells, as noted in this article, have a very annoying tendency to swap ends on the carrier when they come out of the mag tube

    I think we are all spoiled by Federal Flite Control and Hornady TAP, but out of a Vang Comp barrel the six pellet Nobel load patterns pretty nicely. Out of an unmodified cylinder choke 870 they were consistent at about an inch or so of spread per yard travelled, which is about what any unplated buckshot load that isn’t FFC or TAP does. At ten yards all pellets were within a ten inch pattern every time, and no flyers thanks (I think) to the even number of pellets in the payload. Even number of 00B always seems to pattern better than odd number.

    The upside, of course, in any of these is capacity. With the Nobel my Mossberg 500 Persuader becomes 9 + 1, and a six shot 870 becomes 7+1 if loading the tubes to capacity.

  10. What happened to the bayonet on that 590? Appears to be missing?

    I bought two of the OPSol Mini-Clip to try in both my 500 and my 590A1 but haven’t gotten around to buying up some mini-shells yet. It’s on my to Do List 🙂

  11. Shotgun?!! Why aren’t you using an AR for absolutely all of your firearms needs!!?? The AR is the penultimate firearm and you shall have no firearms before it. AR AR AR AR AR!!!!!

    I’m being facetious, of course. Like the author, my favorite firearm is the shotgun. I just couldn’t resist taking a dig at AR cultists.

    Also, I’m a little drunk.

  12. Im not sure penetration is a top concern when youve got several projectiles over a large area. Number 4 is a pretty good stopper.

  13. Hands down one of the best articles on shotgun ammo I’ve seen in a while, and from a vet with a service gun. Nothing gets better than that.
    I’ve always been interested in seeing practical experience with mini shells in a typical shotgun and got my wish answered here. The “slug or shot” choice was also well-presented, too. I’d been leaning toward slugs myself and the reason for choosing slugs was thrown out along with some example commercial loads.
    The OPSol modification was something I didn’t know about and now I’m wondering how that might, or might not work, and why, in a semi-auto Model 930. The comment concerning a choice of the shotgun and a pistol caliber carbine or PDW was gold, too, and hope to see THAT article, here, too.

  14. Thank you so much for your service…and thanks you for the comprehensive reviews. I am part of the Opsol team, and I have been working with mini shells for 6 years. The reality of the capabilities of minis, though, is basically, unknown. Exotic products has shown that minis can throw big pellets at high speeds. Federal is showing that a mini slug is pretty accurate (at least 22 plinkster demonstrated this).
    As an example, we have an engineer friend, Dan the Man, who has made research shells for us in 6 00 buck, 14 #4 buck, and 6 #1 buck in a 20 gage mini…(yes a 20g mini, we are working on those.) For the purposes of self defense tests, I use 2 pieces of 3/4″ plywood, separated by 1″…like a really sturdy wall.
    The 6 00 round and 6 #1(20g) round pass cleanly through both at 8 yards. Patterning is about 9″ diameter. For me, the question is, can a full grown man drive a knife through that plywood, or a bayonet? Those would be lethal thrusts.

    The 14 #4s by Dan the Man, as well as Challenger and Aguila, will pass typically all pellets through the first sheet, and about 5 through the second. That still seems to me be effective in penetrating a human.
    But the most important thing, at least for now, about minis, is what the author wrote. Low recoil, easy to shoot again and again. For at least 50% of the population, that really isn’t doable with a full 9 00 load, and really, for us older folks, same thing.

  15. Now, onto why Mossbergs but not Winshesters and Remingtons. We have made prototype clips for 870s, but its academic. R and W carriers/lifters/elevators are all tuned to the 2.75 or larger shell (probably the nobel will do okay). That is, once the front of shell is about 1/4″ into the breach, the elevator drops to the ready position. For a mini, the shell hasn’t even made it to the breach. Hence, unless you rack just right, shell follows the elevator back down. Mossbergs, by mere happenstance, have elevators that stay up through the whole firing cycle.
    Second, in R and Ws, the ejection is also tuned to the 2.75. They use a parabolic spring, and the apex of that parabola hits the mid point of the spent shell (i.e., the bolt is timed to release then). With a mini, the apex hits the top of the spent shell, and the top of the shell will just rotate out, and the brass will hang on the ejection port. Mossys kick the shell out at the brass, so length of shell is not an issue (except at the micro shell level..1″ OAL crimped).
    It is just coincidence that the Mossy feed and eject system is compatible with minis, and as such, why we don’t make adapters for Rs and Ws.

    • …wow. If I had read and understood this before buying a bunch of the minis, my decision to do so would have been different.

      I’ve found that the minis cycle in my 870 defense model, but I have to be extremely decisive in my effort; probably not the best thing when under duress.

      Right now, they’re a bit of novelty for “plinking”.

  16. My M590A1 has an 18″ barrel and only a 5 round tube. But with an Opsol gadget it’s happy to feed all 8 Aguila minis I can stuff in. That’s a useful improvement!

  17. Basically, you get 28 gauge power out of a 12 gauge. Sometimes that is very useful, and is a great tool to have that increases the versatility of 12ga. If it works reliably in your shotgun, it’s a much better choice for defense than a 28ga or smaller gauge (including .410 caliber) because with the short length you can get more rounds in the magazine. 15 #4 buckshot pellets is quite powerful and it makes for a good low-recoil defensive option. A 3″ shell would hold 41 pellets instead of 15 and thus have much greater wounding potential and “stopping power”, but that might be overkill and more than some people can handle. 15 is still plenty potent.

    Now, if we had 10ga minishells, then perhaps we could have shells comparable to the power 20ga and have a really outstanding defensive option that doesn’t feel like a major compromise in wounding potential in order to have a higher magazine capacity. But part of the fun here is that it’s compatible with common 12ga shotguns. If they only work out of the big heavy 10ga you probably don’t have, then they lose the fun of being able to turn your 12ga into effectively a 28ga just by swapping the ammo. But some people would buy a 10ga with the intention of using it for home defense with minishells. A lightweight 10ga, lighter than a person would want for goose hunting, would be ideal as a dedicated minishell gun. Hell, make it an ultralight and sell it with a chamber too short for normal shells! A 1.75″ chamber or slightly larger would lighten the weight of the receiver and make the gun shorter and handier, and prevent complaints about recoil. I know, very niche appeal, but it would work and be an elegant solition to achieve more capacity in a fighting shotgun.

    I disagree with the author Mr. Pike’s standards for shotgun ammunition in a home defense context. He says #4 buckshot has inadequate penetration and prefers 00 buckshot. At home defense ranges and typical shotgun velocities, #4 buckshot performs withing FBI penetration standards (over 12″ deep in ballistics gel testing) and 00 buckshot does not, with major overpenetration. 00 buck is a great choice in a military context as in Mr. Pike’s experience, but within most homes #4 buck or #1 buck (if you prefer fewer pellets but around 18″ of penetration) are superior to 00 buck. 18″ with #1 buck is as much penetration as we could want, and going bigger doesn’t help us and decreases effectiveness by reducing the number of pellets. 00 buckshot is useful if you’re using a FliteControl wad or similar and want the ability to take longer shots and still have good penetration at range, or if you feel you want a little more obstacle-penetrating capability. Within my home, I want as many pellets as will hit the FBI 12″ penetration minimum and spread as wide as possible with a regular pattern. Because I’m very, very unlikely to make a defensive shot within my home further than 5 yards away, and from a cylinder bore with a regular wad I expect it to hit as a cluster with pretty much one-hole performance. I’m not worried about my pattern spreading too thin to be effective. If you’re trying to be prepared for hostage scenarios and want that level of precision, you may feel differently (and should probably choose a rifle to have greater precision).

  18. What I am wondering is what happens if one of these is used in a 12ga flare pistol? A fully loaded shot or slug load makes them come apart, but what would these do?

    • Do the math. A 1oz slug @ 1200fps in a mini vs a 1oz slug @ 1600fps in a 2 3/4″? Looks like there’s going to be plenty of chamber pressure to blow that flare gun up. It’s not one for one, but when it’s throwing a projectile with 75% of the energy, being the same diameter but shorter length, even with slower burning powder, chamber pressure will peak not too far from 75% of the full sized round’s chamber pressure. Certainly not far enough from 75% to be considered in any way safer.

  19. I know this article is old, but i came here looking for information becuse i didn’t feel like watching a YouTube demonstration. I know that’s probably backwards these days.
    From several sources I’ve seen, the Aguila mini-shell was actually designed for a specific shotgun that never made it to production. Maybe it’s out now, but it wasn’t available back in the early 2000s, when i bought my first box.
    I read through the comments. Maybe I’ve missed it, but these don’t have any issues firing from certain types of shotgun. Not everyone has a pump, and definitley not everyone has an autoloader (which would be the real save if recoil was your singular reason for buying these , since, especially with the birdshot, any money you saved not buying an autoloader could eventually be eclipsed by the higher price of the small shells).
    Combination barrels, side by sides, over and unders, single shots and bolt actions will devour this ammo with 100% success rate.
    It should also be noted that most older English shotguns will not chamber a full 2.75″ round. I missed out on a beautiful English sidelock when i was a kid, because i was afraid of not being able to find ammo.
    This ammo provides short range stopping power. Of course they are weaker than regular 2.75″ shells. But you have to acknowledge that projectiles are meant to do their work at a certain velocity.
    Take the reverse situation.
    At “in-house distances”, a 9mm carbine/rifle does not necessarily damage a foe better at than a 9mm handgun. But because of it’s increased velocity, it does the same damage to a foe at 75 yards that a handgun does at 15. By that time, the projectile is moving at the same velocity.
    The mini shells situation is the same logic, but opposite. They allow the projectiles to do the same damage designed to be done at “outdoor distances”, at a significantly shorter distance without the wasted recoil, and likely with less time between shots.

  20. Missed this when it first came out, and happy to find it in the archives. Due to Degenerative Joint Disease issues in both shoulders, full strength 12 gauge is painful to shoot. Was wondering about “Minis” and their reliability in low end pump actions. This answered the questions I had, and I’m thankful for that. Looks like a 20 gauge would be the better choice for me, at least only 75% of the pain LOL, or spending twice as much as on a higher end shotgun.

  21. Very interesting comments here about the minis. I’m going to try them out (when I can find some).I already bought the Opsol clip ($17.00) for my maverick 88, 18.5 shotgun. I’m basically more curious then anything else about the mini shells. I figure if nothing else they might be fun to shot and the less recoil sounds like a really good thing. As far as for home defense I don’t know and really don’t want to find out first hand. Got some winchester 2 3/4 shells , 9 pellets low recoil #00 and some federal premium law enforcement 2 3/4 W/flight control 9 pellet #00 buckshot for home defense protection.

  22. Is 15 pellets of #4 buck inadequate for home defense simply because it’s less than 27 pellets from a standard 2.75 inch shell? The 400gr payload from 15 #4 pellets at 1200 ft/sec has greater muzzle energy than a 44 magnum. What am I missing?

  23. Kel-tec has come out with a 20+1 3″ 12 guage. It says it’ll hold 24+1 2 3/4″ but what I like is it’ll hold 40+1 1.5″ shells. I figure with that many it’s the perfect home defense weapon. Lol

  24. There’s now another maker of mini shells, Mason Munitions. They make an 8 pellet #1 buckshot load, 1250 fps. Also slugs & birdshot.

  25. There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign. I always advise people to be vigilant and knowledgeable about such articles that grows and benefit the intellect. henry axe 410 for sale


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