gun consignment in Whittier CA

With the rollout of California’s Proposition 63 starting in just a few weeks, we thought it would be helpful to go through the differences between rifles, shotguns and handguns, and the ammunition required for each.

differences in rifles handguns and shotguns and their ammunition

Differences in Rifles, Handguns and Shotguns

You may or may not know that the essential difference between these 3 firearms are their barrels. Rifles have thick spiraling grooves cut into the bore of the gun. Shotguns are long and smooth on the inside of the barrel, and made from thin steel. Handguns are actually very similar to rifles; they also have grooved patterns cut into the inside of the barrel. The difference between rifles and handguns is simply the length of the bore.

Next we will cover the reasons for these differences and what each gun is intended for.

Rifles, Handguns and Shotguns & their Ammunition

Rifles and Handguns

The spiraling grooves on the inside of the bore of a rifle or handgun causes bullets to spin upon firing. The spin is essential to the accuracy of a shot but also aids in a bullet’s ability to reach a greater distance. Of course, the accuracy of a shot greatly depends on the skill of the shooter. However, the rifle or handgun model also can have an impact.

The size of a gun’s bore indicates what caliber bullet the firearm requires. It is important to know that while caliber size may be universal to the size of the bore, cartridges are not interchangeable to every firearm. Every rifle and handgun are designed for a specific cartridge. You will need to look at the firearm’s data stamp to determine what type of cartridge is required. If you cannot find the data stamp, bring it in to Lambert Pawn and we can help you find the right ammunition.


The ammunition fired by a shotgun is not exactly a single bullet at all, but instead hundreds of tiny particles formed into a shell, that disperse upon firing. Shotguns are a popular choice for home defense purposes as they are meant for short to medium range distances and their ability to create a large amount of damage without a high skill of accuracy from the shooter. However, many also enjoy bird hunting with smaller gauge shotguns.

Unlike rifles and handguns, shotgun ammunition is referred to in gauges. Common shotgun gauges are 10-gauge, 12-gauge, 16-gauge, 20-gauge and 28-gauge, with 10 gauge being the largest size and getting smaller from there. Shotgun ammunition is referred to as shells. Shells are not interchangeable among different gauge sizes (i.e. a 10-gauge shotgun can only shoot 10-gauge ammunition). To find the gauge of a particular shotgun, you can look on the rear of the barrel. Ammunition or shells should display their gauge on the shell itself.

Determining the right ammunition for your firearm is not only potentially confusing or possibly intimidating if you are a first-time gun owner, but it is also critical. Using the incorrect ammunition with firearms can cause an explosion and will likely harm you and the people around you. People have died from firing their gun with the incorrect ammunition. Please do not take this lightly.

If you need help matching your firearm to the correct ammunition come in to Lambert Pawn and we will be happy to assist.