Letter Re: Cut Shells


Watching the video on the 12-ga. from today’s post, I am wondering about the safety of the cut-off shot shell. First, is it safe at the chamber/bore juncture? Secondly, is it dangerous in a choke? Thank you! – CF

HJL Comments: Shotgun slugs have only been with us for a little over 100 years. Prior to that, a cut shell was generally the closest a person could get to the modern slug. The fact the load is still made up of the typical birdshot and that the case is generally flexible (being paper or plastic), the load will deform as it passes through a choke. As shown in the video, they will fire as normal, and since the shell does not contribute to the strength of the chamber they do not impact its function. However, as seen, they will not eject reliably in a semi-auto or a pump. They were generally used in break-open type actions.

JWR covered this in his editorial safety warning in this article.