You’ve probably seen an odd box of shotgun shells in your local gun store. They read Aguila, a company you may only associate with 22 LR. Aguila actually makes quite a bit of ammunition, but their mini shot shells are the most noteworthy. Noteworthy because they are just so odd. Most of us are used to 2 and ¾ shotshells and 3-inch shotshells. Not many of us have ever seen a 1 and ¾ inch shotshell. The Augila Mini Shells are certainly eye catchers for those who appreciate the weird.
Aguila mini shells have been previously covered here and been looked at as a defensive round. I agree with Nate Granzow when he says these are tricky for home defense and failed to reliably work in his firearms. Outside of reliability issues, I use a shotgun for home defense because it delivers the most devastating per trigger payload of any weapon. Why would I want to reduce that payload? If holding more rounds was a concern I’d move to a modern defensive rifle.
Augila Mini shells should not be written off entirely. These little shells do have a degree os usefulness. I tested them through three different shotguns.
Hatsan Escort – I had initial feeding issues, but found they would only feed reliably is I worked the pump as fast and as hard as I possibly could. Still not reliable enough for home defense.
Mossberg 930 SPX – I knew from the get go the Augila Mini shells wouldn’t operate the semi-auto action but tried anyway. Results were the as expected. (They didn’t work)
Tri Star Single barrel – As you’d expect a break action 12 gauge is the perfect option for these bad boys. Nate said so himself in his article. This Tri Star shotgun is a folding 12 gauge designed for survival situations. It’s superbly light, and this makes it a shoulder bruiser with normal buckshot. The reduced recoil made it comfortable to shoot.
12 gauge ammo is heavy and cumbersome. This is one of the shotgun’s downsides. However, I fit 20 of these Augila mini shells in my pocket. These shells in buckshot are perfect for taking mediumish game. I would go larger than a whitetail deer with them. I could certainly ward off wild dogs, coyotes, and other undesirables with some of these. Instead of wasting one of my full sized shells I could. These shells are more potent than common 410 rounds. If you keep a shotgun in the truck, boat, or plane, these may be a desirable option.
This is where I find these shells really shine. Normally I’d train a new and young shotgunner with a 410. These shells would actually stand in quite well for the 410. Recoil is minimal, which is the biggest concern most new shotgunners have. So for new shooters they are perfect.
What about experienced shooters? Honestly running through a pump gun has been an excellent refresher of how to clear a malfunction. Not just immediate action, but complicated failure to feed drills. This included double feeds, and failure to feeds. Mixing one with a load of standard buckshot produced some interesting results.
The Aguila mini shells are pretty cheap. The buckshot variant cost me 12 bucks for 20. As a training device this is pretty cheap, and as a survival round, a box of 20 is quite a bit of buckshot. I’d be interested in having a box of each for my backpack gun. Slugs, bird, and buck are all produced. I’ve only found buckshot locally. They aren’t perfect, but they can serve a valuable purpose in certain niches.