There"s really no difference between high brass, low brass, or magnum shells. High brass and low brass are a legacy of the old paper shells. I"ve been told that the high brass prevented the larger powder load from burning through the paper. Today, low brass is really just to differentiate the shell as less powerful than a high brass shell. The difference between a regular high brass shell and a magnum shell is the amount of powder inside. Magnums shoot at higher velocities.
According to "Cartridges of the World" high and low brass refers more to the wad that was used. Low brass for black powder required a larger volume, and high brass for modern smokeless powders required a lower volume wad. After time it began to be associated with high and low velocity.Actual velocity can be relatively indicated by "dram equivalent" if it is still listed on the ammo. For example 3 1/4 dram equiv. means it is a load of modern smokeless powder equivalent in velocity to a 3 1/4 dram load of black powder. A lot of modern ammo now just lists velocity. BTW, after about a 22"of barrel, shot does not gain any additional velocity, actually it may start to loose velocity - according to Cartridges of the world.
In a simple way there are 3 types of 12 gauge shells. The standard 2-3/4" shells that come in high and low brass, the 3" magnum shells that come in high and low brass (no a lot of low brass that I have seen but there are some) and 3-1/2" super mag that come in high brass (they may make it in low brass but would not see the point). As far as the difference in high and low brass see the comments above.
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Yes, there is a difference. Magnum shotgun shells are loaded with more powder and/or shot than standard shells. Many high brass shells are, as well, but high brass is now more marketing than anything else. High brass used to be necessary in more powerful loads, but that is no longer the case with modern shells. Magnum shells can be made with brass of any height, but manufacturers still often use high brass to signify that a shell is a magnum or otherwise more powerful than a standard shell.
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