The term "Garden Gun" typically applies to small bore, lower-powered shotguns meant for close-range pest control such as snakes, rodents and so on. Their purpose is to be able to utilize a firearm for easily dispatching pests, but that has very little potential for damage past 15 or 20 yards. Historically, these shotguns have been chambered in rounds such as the 9mm Flobert, especially in Europe. In America, most have been chambered in .22 Long Rifle with some exceptions.
Some consider larger cartridges such as the .410 Bore to still be within the garden gun category, but this is really up to the interpretation of the individual. For example, if a garden gun is only meant to be a gun that can cause any real damage at 20 yards or less, then a .410 shotgun would certainly not fit that description. But if a garden gun is interpreted as something suitable for larger pests like rabbits, then a .410 shotgun would fit the bill. This may also apply to other low powered cartridges such as .22 CB caps and so on, which are also often considered "garden gun" type calibers.
It should also be noted that shotshells are available in a number of other calibers from CCI for example, such as .38 Special, 9x19mm Parabellum, .45 ACP and others. However, they are not as effective in these guns because they are almost always rifled and cause the shot pattern to become very wide at only a few feet. Still, this kind of setup could possible serve the same purpose as a traditional garden gun, but at much closer range.
Garden Gun Calibers
A (non-exhaustive) list of some common garden gun cartridges over the years:
- .410 Bore (Maybe)
List of Garden Guns
While not an exhaustive list, some better-known garden guns include (alphabetically):
- Chiappa Little Badger: Break-open single shot. Both the standard and deluxe models can be obtained in 9mm Flobert.
- Marlin Model 25MG: .22 Magnum with smooth-bore barrel for shotshells.
- Remington Model 511SB: Bolt-action .22 Long Rifle smooth bore. Made from 1939 until 1963. Uses a detachable magazine.
- Remington Model 512SB: Very similar to the 511SB, but feeds from a tubular magazine.
- Remington Model 572SB: .22 Long Rifle pump-action with smooth bore, introduced in 1956. Feeds from a tube magazine.
- Winchester Model 67: Series of rifles made by Winchester from 1934 to 1963. The smooth bore version was introduced in 1937. It was basically identical to the other models, but without rifling.