View Full Version : Did you know? (colored hulls)

07-10-2008, 5:27 PM
I'm curious what percentage of people here are properly familiar with shotshells. I have witnessed so many incidents (no injuries thankfully) at the range, that I have come to believe newer (or less experienced) shooters pay zero attention to what they put in their gun if it looks remotely correct.

So my question, assuming honesty on your parts:

If you're at the range and your range buddy gives you a handful of shotgun shells and says "here shoot these, I bought them on the way here." Do you check them closely before you shoot them? Or do you take his word for it that they're the correct caliber. How many of you are aware that 99.9% of the time if a shotshell has a yellow hull it is 20ga, and a purple hull it is 16ga?

I can't count the number of times I've cleared 20ga shells from the barrel of a 12 ga, and more recently 16ga shells. This is worrisome as a range officer. Especially when the shooter is a Navy SEAL. :confused:

I guess this is partly a rant/observation on my part, and partly me posing a question as to what percentage of the shooting community realizes shotshells are colorcoded.

07-10-2008, 5:35 PM
I hadn't noticed that at all. I have three different colors of shotshells in my arsenal at the moment, and all of them are 12 gauge. I've got black, grey, and red shells, but all three colors are different buckshot loads.

However, I make sure to check the ammo that I am loading, and only load a magazine or the gun just before I shoot it, so that I don't confuse them with other mags or leave a loaded gun unattended.

07-10-2008, 5:41 PM
Yeah, 12 ga varies by manufacturer, red, green, black, gray, blue, even a few obscure colors for special loads (gold/silver AAs for example). But purple & yellow are reserved for 16 & 20 gauges respectively for safety reasons and quick identification. Doesn't really matter as long as you check your ammo, but it's good to know.

07-10-2008, 5:56 PM
Maybe he's so high speed since he's a SEAL that he knew of a special technique to make a 20ga work in a 12ga!

I have noticed that's its pretty annoying when someone is shooting a shotgun next to me and it sprinkles my target with small holes everywhere. Not so bad on a regular target but annoying on a Shoot-N-C that you paid more for.

07-10-2008, 6:08 PM
Never knew about the yellow and purple shells, but I only mess with 12ga so I've only got red, green, and clear. :)

deleted by PC police
07-10-2008, 6:15 PM
I tagged along for a grouse hunt with one of my friends. Eventually I got bored of walking through the woods cause that's all we were doing and wanted to shoot something. I take aim at a stump or something and click. I start to pull the gun apart cause my friend didn't even know how to maintain his own gun, I didn't even own guns at this point and I knew more about them than him. I tore the gun down into lots of pieces and determined that to the best of my knowledge it worked, put it back together and racked a shell, click. We start heading back and I pulled the shell out looked at it, he had bought 16 guage shells. He will never live that one down, I so wish we had have come across the grouse of a lifetime or something to add on to it.

07-10-2008, 6:37 PM
I'm new to shotgunning, so I didn't know about the colors differences. Thanks for sharing. Now, you have one less idiot to deal with at the range.

07-10-2008, 7:07 PM
i got some orange 12 ga

funny all my 10 ga is brown hulled

my 410 is red but if you mix that up i think you deserve whatever happens

07-10-2008, 7:27 PM
Yeeup. I guess I'm the first one, other than the first guy, to know this? One of the VERY first things my dad ever taught me...since we always took both a 20 and a 12 to the range, was to make damned good and sure which was being loaded into which. And the color was the first step of knowing...

07-10-2008, 7:42 PM
Shot shells used to be color cordinated. Its not enforced by saami or the manufacturers anymore.

I have 12gauge shells that are red, green, black, purple, blue, white, grey, clear and burgundy.

I have 20 gauge that are black, yellow, clear.

.410 that are black, red, clear.

I dont own a 16 gauge.

07-10-2008, 7:43 PM
you guys know that the gauge is on the headstamp, right? ive seen yellow 12 gauge before so seriously, just read the headstamps, its more reliable.

07-10-2008, 9:54 PM
I've known for years that most 20 gauge shells are yellow.
And that there are many colors in 12 gauge.
Didn't know the purple about 16's and my dad even had one for a while.

What my Dad did was to buy different gauge shells from different manufacturers so each gauge only had one color.

It also goes without saying that every round to be put into every weapon should be verified.

I've been told a 20 dropped down a 12 chamber and then having its' primer struck by the 12 ga shot can cause lots of imperfections in the barrel. Though, I've never seen pics.

07-10-2008, 10:39 PM
I wonder how many people own both a 20ga. and a 12ga. and don't know that you can put a 20ga. shell in the chamber of a 12ga. and then put a 12ga. shell in right behind it? Firing it in this condition can result in serious damage to both shotgun and shooter.

To prevent this problem, I never carry both gauges on me at the same time. I also make sure I completely empty out all pockets of shell carriers and vests after using them. This makes it less likely to mix up ammo between trips.

07-11-2008, 12:39 AM
I have an example of a 20ga RED shell by a maker called US ammo IIRC, Big 5 had them. Very irresponsible. I have a green 10ga shell also.

If you see yellow or purple and you have a 12ga pay attention!

07-11-2008, 12:46 AM
I have a ton of old 20 Ga that is multicolored. Be careful out there and as alwats only carry the ammo for the gun in your hand.:cool:

07-11-2008, 4:04 AM
I go out trap shooting to triple-b's all the time and I bring two 870's with me each time. One in 20ga (my girlfriends) and one in 12ga (mine).

We also bring 12 and 20ga ammo with us, in the same container.

I can now tell 12 and 20 apart in my sleep with gloves on :)

And just to add a little more to the equation, I'm soon getting a 20ga 870 for MYSELF! :)

07-11-2008, 3:22 PM
. Especially when the shooter is a Navy SEAL. :confused:


man thats one sorry azz navy SEAL. Either a paper pusing SEAL or a Bulls**t SEAL. its pretty funny that everyone I meet who was in the military was a Ranger Seal Recon Green beanie etc. Everyone was high speed low drag. Of course they all weigh in at 360 LBS or more can barely walk up a hill without stopping and cant shoot for s**t.

if you cant tell the difference between a 20 ga and a 12 ga just by feel and looking when you feed it in the tube or barrel and you see it doesnt fit right you probably should put the gun down and go kick your own *** before isomeone else does like ( rightfully so) a range officer. As for the colors i dont go by that. Ive purchased yellow 12 ga rounds. I dont think there is a color code for shotgun rounds and if there actually is one I never saw it. The closest I saw was a chart for different size loads for shotguns

Not saying everyone knows everything but I would expect a guy who is ( supposedly) a SEAL to know WTF he is doing.

As for me I use my own ammo and if someone gives me a box yeah i check it.I usually look at the stamped ga # on the bottom of the shell
I actually saw a guy at a range pump in a 20 ga round and then a 12 ga. looked like the 20 ga got mixed in with the 12 ga. the 20 ga went in the barrel and didnt fire. he cocked it again with a 12 ga round and blew the barrel. Looked like a cartoon gun when he was done.
I had a pic of it but I lost it

07-11-2008, 3:28 PM
I remember being taught that in hunters safety over twenty years ago.

07-11-2008, 3:37 PM
Yep, I know all about the various colors available in shotshells.

I have 20 gauge paper and plastic hulls in Green that are 20 gauge. I also have some very olf Red Plastic 20 gauge shells. Most of the current ones made are Yellow though.

I also have green and red 16 gauge hulls.

For 12 gauge, I have all colors of the rainbow including clear.

28 and .410 hulls can be red, blue, green, and red. But those are obvious when you try to put them into a 12. They generally slide right through the barrel and out the muzzle.