Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Semi-automatic shotguns are a subclass of shotgun that are able to fire a shell after every trigger pull, without any of the manual reloading typical in most shotgun designs. The weapon uses the force of exploding gunpowder to both propel the projectile down the barrel, and to cycle the action and load the next round. This process is generally similar to all semi-automatic weapons, including pistols and rifles. The reason shotguns do not tend to use this system is that shotgun shells are extremely over powered compared to the smaller ammunition used in other small arms, and it is difficult to design parts reliable enough to harness that heavy force for complicated mechanical operations.
Many semi-automatic shotguns also provide an optional manual means of operation such as pump-action or via a charging handle.
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