Best Shotgun Mini Shells: Birdshot, Buckshot & Slugs


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January 16, 2023

If you are looking for the best shotgun mini shells, you are in the right place. Whether you need them for slugs, buckshots, or birdshots, we’ll make sure you’ll find the right ones. Mini shells are phenomenal in so many ways.

Because of their size, they have more increased capacity. On top of that, the amount of recoil is reduced. These shells can also help the shots travel at a much faster speed.

This means you can be able to hit your targets fairly quickly compared to regular sized shotgun shells. We’ll be taking a look at our picks for bird shots, buckshots, and slugs in a moment. A shotgun hunter will need to find a great box of shells that fits their budget while providing them with excellent results.

The Best Shotgun Mini Shells

We’ll be taking a look at some of the best shotgun mini shells. These include one each of our favorite bird shots, buck shots, and slugs. Let’s take a look at the following:

Challenger Birdshot Mini Shells

challenger birdshot mini shells

If you are looking for bird shots, the Challenger Birdshot Mini Shells may be more of your speed. It may be well worth the buy if you are on a budget. These are great bird shots with pellets that are extra hard. You can get this in one box of 20 or in a case that contains 300 rounds.

These are battle tested and completely worth the use if you are looking to hunt game birds. Whether it’s ruffed grouse or water fowls, you can never go wrong with birdshots like this.

Key features:

  • Extra-hard hight-antimony pellets
  • Light recoil
  • 1-¾” shells

Federal Buckshot Mini Shells

federal buckshot mini shells

Up next, we’ll be taking a look at the Buckshot Mini Shells. You get ten rounds of these bad boys in one box. They are our favorites if you are looking for buckshots that are guaranteed to knock down a deer.

At 1-¾”, they do have a bit of range and can pack quite a punch. You may prefer these over regular shotgun shells if you want. At the price they are going for, you’ll probably be happy with them.

Performance wise, they can be really good at what they do. Try them out for yourself at the target range and see if you like them. If you do, use it on a big game target.

Key Features:

  • 1-¾” inches in length
  • 10 count in a box
  • For 12 gauge shotguns only


Aguila Mini Slugs

aguila mini slugs

Finally, we’ll be taking a look at the Aguila Mini Slugs. If you are looking for slugs that are ‘just right’, then look no further. These will travel at a good 1300 feet per second and can hit your targets effectively.

The shot groupings will be pretty tight. Plus, the speed will be mind blowingly fast. Compared to other slugs on the market, you are getting quite the high performer. If you are looking for slugs that can go above and beyond, you’d be insane not to put these ones to good use.

Key Features:

  • Travels at 1300 fps
  • ⅞ ounces in weight
  • 1 ¾” in length
  • Travels at 1300 fps
  • ⅞ ounces in weight
  • 1 ¾” in length

Shotgun Mini Shells: Birdshot vs Buckshot vs Slugs

If you are a bird hunter or like to skeet shoot, bird shots are the best option. Regardless of the brand, they are similar to one another. They are light in weight and will typically travel at least 1145 feet per second.

Bird shots like the Challenger or Federal brand will be great to use on a Mossberg 590. Yes, even your father’s Mossberg 590 that he used so many times can be compatible with mini shells.

Buckshots are perfect for deer hunting (hence the name). These will pack more power and penetration compared to your bird shots. One major difference you’ll notice is the recoil is a bit more forceful (even though it isn’t too bad).

Again, the Federal buck shots prove themselves useful when they are traveling at 1200 feet per second using 15 pellets to one shell. However, the Challenger may also be an excellent alternative if you don’t like the Federal brand.

When it comes to overall reliability, the slug is where it’s at. While it has less recoil compared to a regular slug, it can still prove itself by having effective range. Federal’s mini slugs will have the ability to travel 1200 per second even as the heaviest shell on the market.

Mini Shells: Can they be used for other applications?

While we’ve mentioned hunting, the question is whether or not it’s useful for other applications. In other words, can they be used for target practice, self defense, or anything else?

If you want to have fun target practicing, have at it. Mini shells are fun to shoot off. However, it would be better to use some of your ammo as opposed to all of them.

These mini shells certainly don’t come cheap. If you have some extra shots lying around, you can use them for a good ol’ fashioned target practice session.

For the purpose of home defense, the smart option would be to use buckshot. This may be the better option over bird shots due to its consistent stopping power. But choosing the right buckshot for self-defense purposes may be a slippery slope.

The effectiveness of one buckshot may not be the same compared to the other. The Aguila mini shells may prove itself useful in a home defense situation if push came down to shove. 

What are the benefits of shotgun mini shells?

There are just a couple of benefits to using shotgun mini shells. For one, you’ll notice lesser recoil compared to full sized shells. The recoil levels will also depend on whether or not you use a 12 gauge or a 20 gauge.

Finally, there is also the capacity comparison. Mini shells will have more shots in the magazine tube compared to regular sized shells. If you are firing a Mossberg 590 you can use up to 12 mini shells. Typically, these magazine tubes hold up to 8 regular sized shells.

Your magazine tube will differ from one shot gun to the next. But we’ll say for the sake of argument that a tube that fits 8 can fit 12. If one fits about six shells, you’re probably going to load no more than 10 of these mini shells.

As a rule, use the calculation based on regular shells. For every number of regular shells, add four.

What are the drawbacks of shotgun mini shells?

One of the more noticable disadvantages of mini shotgun shells is that it has less power. Because of this, they are not as penetrative as their regular sized counterparts. Furthermore, they won’t have a lot of range.

However, don’t think for a moment that these shells don’t have enough speed. Because of the limited range, they can go much faster. If that’s one advantage to take away from the bad, it’s definitely that.

Lastly, reliability can also be a problem. If they work in single or double-barrelled shotguns, they’ll work just fine. However, if placed in semi-automatic or pump-action shotguns, then they won’t work at all. When it comes to choosing the right shotgun, you’ll know exactly what to use in order to fire these off.

Buyer’s Guide: What To Consider Before Buying?

If you are facing the challenge of choosing a mini shell for your shotgun, use this buyer’s guide to help you find the right one. Let’s take a look at the following factors:


The price will be something to look at. Especially when you want to keep it within a certain budget. Find the best mini shells affordable in terms of quality and performance. The more expensive, the better performing they’ll be.

Shot Type

Are you going for buckshots, bird shots, or slugs. Your choice will be based on your personal needs and preferences.

Intents and Purposes

What will be your intention to use these shells for? If you are hunting, what is your target game? It’s clear that bird hunting will call for bird shots. Slugs and buck shots can work fine in a hunting situation. If you intend to use your shotgun for self-defense purposes, a buckshot mini shell can do a good job as well.


If you are looking for a mini shell that will get the job done, the three listed above might be a good place to start. We’ve chosen our favorites for bird shots, buckshots, and slugs.  It all boils down to what your intents and purposes are as well as your personal preferences.

We hope that you have found this guide to be very helpful. These shotgun shells may fit your budget. And they may be worth holding onto for the long-term. Have fun and happy shooting with these blazing fast shells.

Every product is hand selected by our editors. We may receive commissions on purchases from a link.

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