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View Full Version : What's the difference between a shotgun and a rifle?


wilit
08-22-2007, 9:03 PM
I was thinking about this on the way home today. Not really interested in doing anything with the info, just curious.

So you can buy a bolt action rifled slug-gun, and it's considered a shotgun correct? But because it's got a rifled bore greater than .60, what keeps it from being a destructive device?

Discuss.

Mssr. Eleganté
08-22-2007, 9:29 PM
I think the "shotgun" exception in the California "destructive device" law specifically mentions both smooth bore and rifled bore shotguns. CalDOJ's web site keeps crashing my web browser, but you can probably bring up the wording of the law by searching the CalDOJ site for the word shotgun, or rifled or destructive.

Creeping Incrementalism
08-22-2007, 10:37 PM
I was thinking about this on the way home today. Not really interested in doing anything with the info, just curious.

So you can buy a bolt action rifled slug-gun, and it's considered a shotgun correct? But because it's got a rifled bore greater than .60, what keeps it from being a destructive device?Discuss.

Because the BATFE says it has a sporting purpose (required for anything over a half inch). Some shotguns don't make the cut, such as the Spas-12. I don't know if there's any additional California laws on this, if that's what you are asking.

-aK-
08-22-2007, 11:04 PM
Well PC12020(c)(20) & PC12020(c)(21) say

(20) As used in this section, a "rifle" 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 cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.
(21) As used in this section, a "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 projectiles (ball shot) or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger.

it appears that they distinguish the difference by the type of shell they are designed to fire. Fixed cartridge or fixed shotgun shell. Since a rifled shotgun shooting a slug is still shooting and is designed to shoot a fixed shotgun shell it is still a shotgun and not a rifle.

So basically the design and specifications of the chamber and bore determine if it is a shotgun or a rifle, not if it has a bolt or not.

Here is the section of destructive devices.
12301. (a) The term "destructive device," as used in this chapter, shall include any of the following weapons: (1) Any projectile containing any explosive or incendiary material or any other chemical substance, including, but not limited to, that which is commonly known as tracer or incendiary ammunition, except tracer ammunition manufactured for use in shotguns. (2) Any bomb, grenade, explosive missile, or similar device or any launching device therefor. (3) Any weapon of a caliber greater than 0.60 caliber which fires fixed ammunition, or any ammunition therefor, other than a shotgun (smooth or rifled bore) conforming to the definition of a "destructive device" found in subsection (b) of Section 479.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, shotgun ammunition (single projectile or shot), antique rifle, or an antique cannon. For purposes of this section, the term "antique cannon" means any cannon manufactured before January 1, 1899, which has been rendered incapable of firing or for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade. The term "antique rifle" means a firearm conforming to the definition of an "antique firearm" in Section 479.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations. (4) Any rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device of a diameter greater than 0.60 inch, or any launching device therefor, and any rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device containing any explosive or incendiary material or any other chemical substance, other than the propellant for that device, except those devices as are designed primarily for emergency or distress signaling purposes. (5) Any breakable container which contains a flammable liquid with a flashpoint of 150 degrees Fahrenheit or less and has a wick or similar device capable of being ignited, other than a device which is commercially manufactured primarily for the purpose of illumination. (6) Any sealed device containing dry ice (CO2) or other chemically reactive substances assembled for the purpose of causing an explosion by a chemical reaction. (b) The term "explosive," as used in this chapter, shall mean any explosive defined in Section 12000 of the Health and Safety Code.

There is no definition of "shotgun" in this section.

tgriffin
08-23-2007, 8:04 AM
As I read it, by the first example, 12020 (c)20, the firearm as described meets the definition of "rifle". Second pc code example 12301. (a) clearly exempts the firearm as described from being considered a destructive device. I am not aware of any other pertinent code.