Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What is a Shotgun? The ATF Definition

This is from the ATF website:

Gun Control Act Definitions

Define: Shotgun

Defined Under: 18 U.S.C., § 921(A)(5) and 27 CFR § 478.11

The term “Shotgun” means:

A weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder, and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.

This illustration below is from the ATF website. It shows the primary characteristics exhibited in the shotgun category.

Since shotgun configurations differ significantly, various models in this classification may exhibit any of the illustrated components in a revised configuration but not necessarily all components shown will be incorporated in any one given design.


Various shotgun types: Slide/Pump Action, Bolt Action, Top Break, etc.

Slide/Pump Action

The Slide/Pump action is utilized in the design and function of rifles and shotguns.

This illustration exhibits the primary characteristics of a rifle but most component parts are applicable in a revised configuration to the Pump/Slide Shotgun category.


A diagram showing various parts of a slide/pump action weapon and their defined names: the buttstock, forearm, ejection port, etc.

Top Break Action

The Top Break action is utilized in the design and function of rifles, shotguns and pistols.

This illustration exhibits the primary characteristics of a shotgun but most component parts are applicable in a revised configuration to the rifle and pistol categories.


A diagram showing various parts of a slide/pump action weapon and their defined names: the ventilated top rib, ejector/extractor, barrel selector, etc.


Self Loading Action (Semiautomatic)

The Self-loading action is utilized in the design and function of rifles, shotguns and pistols.

This illustration exhibits the primary characteristics of a rifle but most component parts are applicable in a revised configuration to both the shotgun and pistol categories.

The pistol configuration does differ significantly (see separate illustration).


A diagram showing various parts of a self loading action weapon and their defined names: the operating handle, forearm cap, grip cap, etc.

Group Callout Schedule [a]

Group Description

Group (1) Three magazine configurations available on this type action.

A-Hinged, B-Detachable, C&D-Tubular (Front and Rear)

Group (2) Four various safety configurations which may appear on the available models.

A-Crossbolt (front or rear), B-Top Tang, C-Trigger Guard

Group (3) Two buttstock appointments available in this group.

A-Recoil Pad, B-Buttplate

Group (4) Two barrel configurations which may appear on this type action.

A-Smooth Bore, B-Rifled

[a] Group callouts identify various configurations of a specific component which may be incorporated in the function of the various models employing the autoloading action in their design. However, only one type component from each callout group will appear on any given subject firearm.

-- per the ATF

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/guides/importation-verification/firearms-verification-gca-shotgun.html





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