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In terms of appearance, shotguns are quite similar to rifles, but differ greatly in terms of the rifling done within the barrel, which is a shotgun’s legal definition. The type of ammo used is also different; a shotgun shell can contain a single large projectile that’s commonly referred to as a slug, a shell containing few large pellets, or a shell containing many tiny pellets. Shotguns are made using a variety of action mechanisms (discussed in the next chapter), including break action; pump action, as well as a semiautomatic.

The action mechanisms of firearms refer to the parts that are responsible for loading, unloading, and firing of the cartridge. There are various types of actions in firearms and all are comprised of the following parts, in one form or another. The action mechanism includes the frame, the trigger, safety switch, magazine, and lastly, the action release.

The way these components are put together determines the action of firearms. Detailed descriptions of the components are as follows.