The Parker Brothers Gun Company based out of Meriden, Connecticut introduced the 28 gauge shotgun in 1903. Remington Arms Company bought Parker Brothers in 1934, but still their shotgun gauge persists as a recognized part of the shooting community. The 28 gauge today is often found in use at the skeet club, where the cartridge is employed in the small bore class. Upland bird hunters also use the 28 gauge in the field.
The recoil of the 28 gauge, when compared to larger shotguns is much less, because the cartridge is smaller. This is a significant factor in the appeal of the 28 gauge. The recoil of the 28 gauge is about 12 pounds, practically nonexistent compared to the 12 gauge, which kicks like a mule with 54 pounds. The smaller charge fired by the 28 gauge is another advantage, allowing for a light shotgun that is quicker to point for many shooters, and easier to carry afield for all.
Some challenges come with these advantages. The significant reduction in payload is the most obvious. Only ¾ ounce are loaded in the 28 gauge, meaning that there are only 373 #8 pellets, while the same size in 12 gauge will have about one hundred more pellets. Another challenge is obtaining a 28 gauge shotgun. Browning, Ruger and Weatherby manufacture over-under style 28 gauge shotguns, but the volume they produce doesn't even approach the number of guns that are made for 12 gauge or 20 gauge.
28 gauge ammunition can also be hard to find and choices will be limited. Shot size for most ammo is between #7 ½ and #9. It is easiest to find light target loads as the majority of 28 gauge shooters will be employing their gun for shooting skeet. There are, however, some #6 shot loads commercially produced which bird hunters have made popular.
28 gauge shotguns and ammo can be hard to find, but the cartridge is the best tool for the job in certain situations, and truly is worth investing your time and finances as it continues to be a well regarded and appreciated gauge by hunters and sport shooters alike.