Shotgun Vs Rifle – Which Is Better?

Shotguns and rifles are all rated as cutting-edge and high-end guns. Nevertheless, most beginners find it tricky to decide between two of them. It would help if you had a full review and a well-rounded comparison of shotgun vs rifle.

Luckily, we’ve already assisted you in providing a detailed breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of each. First and foremost, let’s catch a glimpse of the basics of these two guns.

The Key Difference Between Shotgun vs Rifle

Overall, both rifles and shotguns are the most popular weapons for hunters worldwide. Each has its own pros and cons and distinct features. What are the differences between them? 



A shotgun is a long gun designed to shoot from the shoulder. Nevertheless, unlike the rifle, the shotgun barrel ranges from 0.22 to 2 inches and has no grooves.

Shotguns have their own long history. Their predecessor was the famous musket that soldiers had to reload before each shot manually. Recently, shotguns are pretty diverse. Each will vary from lever action, pump action, fully automatic, and semi-automatic.

Most ammunition used for a shotgun is snake, slug, or stationary bullets. Each bullet fired has dozens of small shells.

Moreover, a shotgun is truly an easy-to-use weapon. It can create the optimal-level shooting for short-range and self-defense shots (less than 50 yards away).

There are three types of Shotgun:

  • Break-actions Shotguns
  • Pump-action Shotguns
  • Semi-Automatic Shotguns


The rifle is a shoulder-fired long gun with a built-in rifling (a cutout in the barrel). These grooves help the bullet rotate and reach the target with high accuracy and greater destructive power. The bullet is pushed away under the action of the deflation process.

They are significant and dominant weapons in long-range shots. Nonetheless, be aware that this is a single round gun, and the bullets are tiny, which helps them move at very high speeds and go very far. As normal, a rifle can hit a target within a range of 75 to 100 yards.

There are five different types of current Rifle:

  • Break-Action Rifles
  • Pump-action Rifles
  • Semi-Automatic Rifles
  • Bolt-Action Rifles
  • Lever-Action Rifles

Functioning Of Shotgun And Rifle


Today’s pistols result from a series of the 19th-century gun, magazine, and powder improvements.

Modern shotguns have two shotgun barrels aimed at the same target to increase the target’s chance. The current choke system tightens the pellet pattern at the tip of the muzzle, helping to control the width or restriction of each shot.

In addition, there is a system called a repeating pistol. You can load multiple cartridges and successfully position them in the firing chamber by cocking operation. This will help ensure high efficiency in shootings. For semi-automatic pistols, firing one shot will automatically place the next round to fire.


In short, rifles are designed to shoot accurately. It can be said that thanks to the design of the unique grip, the rifle possesses much higher stability and reliability than the shotgun.

When shooting, the shooter must hold the gun with both hands to ensure the stability and certainty of the gun. This is because its propellant mechanism uses a flammable propellant compound. That compound was cordite, yet nitrocellulose has replaced it henceforth.

The firing feature of the rifle barrel stands out from other guns. The parts named ‘lands’ are the protrusions of the gun barrel. They make contact and force the projectile to move along its longitudinal axis. As a result, the bullet’s flight path is not disoriented and is fired accurately.

Shotgun Slug vs Rifle Bullet

In general, both Rifle bullets and shotgun slugs aim to hunt such large animals as deers

In terms of differences between a shotgun slug and rifle bullet, size is the first one to mention. More often than not, Rifle bullets are approximately 150 grains (depending on size) with a diameter of about 1.38 inches. Meanwhile, slugs typically weigh about an ounce (437.5 grains) with a diameter of 0.69 inches (half that of a rifle bullet).

Eventually, compared to a Rifle bullet, a shotgun slug is bigger and heavier, so it has a much greater destructive power.

Quick Rundown Of Shotgun


First, shotguns have more versatility, plus legitimacy and the slug’s destructive advantage. You can perform various types of hunting by changing the shell used.

In areas where rifles are not allowed, the shotgun is a perfect alternative for hunting. Besides, the slug possesses a considerable weight and size compared to the bullets of the traditional rifle, so it has sizable destructive power.


In terms of downsides, pistols have a low range and accuracy (compared to rifles). This is partly due to the shotgun’s slugs, partly due to the quality of the scopes.

The firing range is quite limited, only 75 to 100 yards with the regular rifles, while the high-end ones could easily reach a target with a distance up to 300 yards.

Quick Rundown Of Rifle

Have you ever used a rifle in your hunt?


Rifles possess quite a few advantages. First, many people appreciate its good range quality and high accuracy, thanks to the design of the barrel. Some modern rifles can shoot accurately to more than 300 yards.

If the gun is equipped with cutting-edge optics, shooting over 300 yards is not a challenge for marksmen. Currently, rifles come in a variety of cartridge sizes and a multitude of ammunition options. Furthermore, the Rifle has plenty of cartridges and has excellent reloading capabilities.


Rifles have a limited range of uses because of potential legal problems. Therefore it lacks the flexibility compared to the shotgun.

Summary Comparison Table

Fires one bullet, which is light and travels fastFires multiple pellets in one shell
Can hit a target 75 – 100 yards awayCan hit a target less than 50 yards away
Has rifling on its boreHas a smooth bore
Having the well-controlled deflagrationUsing the energy of a fixed shell
Great for long-distance shotsGreat for self-defense

Which Is Better?

Which one will you choose for your hunt? Shotgun or Rifle?

Perhaps, the shotgun is the better choice. In fact, many hunters select to use a slug shotgun instead of a rifle for the following reasons:

  • Some places/regions in the U.S. forbid hunters from using rifles for hunting. As a result, shotguns become great alternatives when operating in such areas.
  • Shotguns that have a slug available are a great choice in areas with a lot of bush.
  • If the shooting distance is within 100 yards, a shotgun will be more predominant than a rifle.

Our Final Thoughts

Regardless of rifles or shotguns, they have their own benefits and strengths. Shotguns are considered the most versatile guns, while rifles have made great strides in terms of high accuracy and effective range. Therefore, the comparative information about shotgun vs rifle above is for reference only.

Depending on the purpose and needs of users, you will know which gun is suitable and better for your situation. We hope that our blog post can help you much in hunting preparation and your future journey. Good luck!

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