Shotguns are not known for exploding often but such incidents could happen and it is always better to avoid them. A shotgun explosion could be fatal and such tragic events happened in the past. When a shotgun explodes, the core of such an explosion in the barrel. But what might generate a shotgun explosion and what can you do to avoid it?

We will address this issue in all its aspects so you can stay on the safe side at all times.

Why a shotgun could explode

As we mentioned, even if shotguns are not known for exploding often, this is still a risk that is present and you have to be aware of it. Here are a few reasons why your gun might explode!

Barrel obstruction

If you overuse your barrel, you expose it to the risk of barrel obstruction. A barrel obstruction will create pressure and using the wrong ammunition or having a blockage inside the barrel can manifest into an explosion fairly fast. It is important to inspect your gun and pay attention to any type of unusual aspects you notice in it before you fire.

How to prevent it

To avoid barrel obstruction, you need to make sure you use the right ammunition for your barrel and you replace it as needed. It is recommended to invest in a gun cleaning solvent to make sure your barrel stays clean and there is no blockage inside of it. Keep in mind to not use any other material inside the barrel that could leave a residue. Bottom line is that a well-maintained barrel will not explode so invest time and attention in this type of maintenance.

Catastrophic failure

Another reason for shotgun explosions is a catastrophic failure. One way a catastrophic failure can occur is a detonated shell that explodes instead of being shot properly. Another cause of such a failure is a gun powder that can get hot enough to burn if you leave your gun in high temperatures. Generally speaking, all types of weapon explosions are called catastrophic failure and they happen in a similar way even if there are different weapons and ammunition involved.

How to prevent it

Preventing a catastrophic failure can be done by using the right ammunition in the right weapon but also by using the right amount of ammunition. The amount of ammo is that much more important when you use gun powder rather than bullets. Usually, beginners in terms of shooting and hunting tend to add more gun powder than is necessary and this can increase the risk of explosion significantly.

Recommendations that help you avoid a shotgun explosion

Shotguns and handguns are some of the safest weapons to use when they are properly maintained and used correctly. But a weapon is still a dangerous item and there are certain things you need to do in order to make sure you are not taking any risk of having a catastrophic failure.

  • It is important to always handle a gun as if it was loaded, even if it is not. Doing so will help you stay on top of any risks and you will get used to managing the gun correctly in any type of circumstances. This includes storing your shotgun or handgun in a safe place, even if it is not loaded. As a matter of fact, we recommend you not store your shotgun while it is loaded. Always load your shotgun before you are planning to use it and empty it when you are putting it away for storage.
  • Another important aspect you need to pay attention to is the direction you point your gun at. Always have the possibility of an accident in the back of your mind and point the muzzle of your gun in a safe direction in case such an accident happens.
  • Clean your shotgun often and make sure to inspect the barrel as well as the ammunition periodically. This will help you stay on the safe side and avoid any type of accidents that could end tragically. There are cleaning solutions made especially for such weapons so you will not have to improvise when it comes to maintaining your shotgun at the best parameters.
  • It is equally important to keep your fingers away from your shotgun trigger unless you are planning to fire it. Make sure you put your gun in a safe place and do not pick it up in a shooting position unless you want to use it because you might fire it accidentally. But on a different note, your weapon could also explode in your hand even when you are not planning to use it. So, handle your weapon with care at all times.
  • Take the advice of professionals before using any type of weapon. Beginners in terms of shooting are most prone to different mistakes that could end in tragedies. So, keep in mind to do your research and invest in the safest and best equipment for your shooting experience. The manufacturer of your weapon will also give you important information regarding how you can use your weapon too so it is important to read the instructions as well.
  • Never use your shotgun if you notice anything weird with it. For instance, if there is a particular smell coming from it that you never smelled before or if you get the growling of a blocked barrel. If anything like this happens, clean your weapon and inspect it closely before firing with it again.


Even if shotgun explosions are not the norm, they can still happen and you have to do all you can to avoid that risk. Following the information in this guide will help you stay on the safe side regardless of the type of gun you use. Maintaining your weapon properly and using it according to its instructions as well as using the right ammunition for it will definitely take the risks away. And if you have any additional concerns, make sure to inspect all the aspects you need to look at before you are using your weapon!