A shotgun is a firearm used to fire multiple small spherical pellets called 'shot' or a solid projectile called a slug. Most shotgun shells are designed to be fired from either a smoothbore barrel (older and less common) or a rifled barrel (more common), while some are built specifically for one type of barrel or the other.
What is an Airsoft Shotgun?
An airsoft shotgun is precisely what the name implies, and it's a type of airsoft gun that fires rubber or plastic projectiles instead of metal. Some are designed to shoot only one projectile at a time, whereas others can fire multiple pellets at once.
So, how do airsoft shotgun shells work?
How do Airsoft Shotgun Shells Work?
A Brief Explanation
The basic principles of a shotgun are pretty simple. Upon firing, the propellant in the shell ignites and propels the projectile through the smooth-bore barrel while simultaneously pushing a quantity of air ahead of itself (known as its "slipstream"). This slipstream partially fills the vacuum left by high-pressure gases exiting the muzzle, in turn filling the low-pressure region behind it.
This high-pressure gas fills the void and exits the muzzle in a "ball" of less-compressed, lower-pressure gas. As it exits, it pushes what is left of the slipstream, which draws more air into the slipstream to fill still more voids, creating a self-sustaining aerodynamic flow.
The "ball" of gas is so compressed that it has become hotter than the surrounding air and, therefore, less dense. It has lost most of its mass, and some of this energy (and momentum) has been transferred to the air ahead of it. This air is also at a relatively high temperature, and it is also less dense than the cooler external air.
This causes this pressurized gas to flow out of the "ball" towards the external atmosphere in a series of turbulent eddies, creating what is known as a "muzzle splash."
A muzzle flash can be seen coming from this sidearm pistol during night games.
A Deeper Look
A better description of how airsoft shotgun shells work includes the pellets in the shell. Each pellet is loaded from the gun's muzzle, with a larger quantity being shot at once than some other forms of weaponry (a minimum of two and sometimes more). These pellets are like small projectiles: typically spherical and either steel or lead.
The basic principles remain the same, but in this case, a large number of small projectiles are being propelled forward in a single shot. As a result, the "slipstream" is larger and more powerful.
As these projectiles exit from the gun's muzzle, they propel air ahead of them, which fills the vacuum left by high-pressure gases exiting from the muzzle. In turn, this high-pressure gas fills the low-pressure region behind it.
As mentioned earlier, this high-pressure gas becomes less dense than the cooler external air. It flows out of the "ball" towards the exterior atmosphere in a series of turbulent eddies, creating what is known as a "muzzle splash." It makes shotguns better at hunting small prey in dense forests or brush, where the multiple projectiles increase hit probability.
The physics behind airsoft shotgun shells is more challenging than how airsoft pistols work. As a result, it requires intense study and understanding of projectile physics to grasp truly. But once you have a good understanding of these principles, you will see that the power of shotguns will easily carry over into an airsoft game.
Types of Airsoft Shotguns
There are different types of airsoft shotguns such as:
They work exactly like a real shotgun: the player cocks the spring and then pulls the trigger, which releases a coiled metal spring that strikes and launches a projectile from the barrel. Most people use low-powered springs because it would be dangerous to use a high-powered spring in an airsoft game.
Electric-powered is my favorite type of shotgun because it's fully automatic, and they have a better range than spring shotguns. These types are used in places where they can't use gas or HPA (high-pressure air).
Airsoft shotguns that use gas propel the projectile instead of a spring. They work by using a high-pressure air tank that will send out a large volume of air into the shotgun and push the pellets forward. It is why they have good range and power.
Airsoft shotgun shells are much different from other ammunition forms used in airsoft guns. Because they use pellets instead of a single solid projectile, each shell must be loaded from the gun's muzzle and contains a much larger quantity than other forms of weaponry.
Once you have a good understanding of these principles, you will see that the power of shotguns will easily carry over into an airsoft game. As long as your gun can fire shotgun shells, you'll be ready for any situation on the field
1) Types of Airsoft Shotguns