Mexican manufacturer Aguila has been producing high quality ammo for more than six decades, but they really made a splash in the U.S. market with 12 gauge Mini Shells. Measuring a mere 1.75 inches, the Mini Shells manage to punch well above their weight class. And Aquila offers them in three different loadings: Buckshot, Birdshot and 25 gram Slug.
One of the best features of these shells is how impressively soft recoiling they are. And when I say soft, think of a .223 round out of a compensated 16-inch barrel soft. That’s great for older shooters or those with a slightly smaller frame who would normally get beaten up when shooting a regular 12 gauge shell. And having less powder in the shell results in a much quieter report than the typical booming echo of heavier loads. Another great thing about these is that, due to their size, they can greatly increase the amount of shells you can keep loaded at a time.
Ballistic performance isn’t lacking either. The seven pellet 00 Buckshot rounds have a muzzle velocity of 1,200 Feet per Second, which is on par with more well-known shotshells like the Express Magnum Buckshot made by Remington. The 25 gram slug performs just as well, with a muzzle velocity of 1,200 FPS, which is again on par with only slightly heavier one ounce slugs. And rounding out the trifecta, the #7 1/2 birdshot shells come in at 1,175 FPS and continue the trend of light recoil and high performance.
About the only downside of the Mini Shells is that they don’t seem to feed consistently in some pump shotguns, and they sometimes fail to cycle semi-automatic shotguns. Depending on what you plan to use the shell for that may not be a problem, but it is something to be aware of. Now there is a product called the “mini-clip” made by a company called OPSol that claims to fix the feeding issues in a few specific pump shotguns, but we haven’t tested it and can’t say for sure.
Overall the Aquila Mini Shells are a pretty interesting product. Fun and easy to shoot they will make a great addition to any shotgunners ammo collection. And as the tactical shotgun market continues to grow, look for more products to come online to address any feeding or cycling issues you may have.