View Full Version : Just What Is Buckshot?
November 17, 2012, 11:33 PM
Well, what is buckshot?
We see the term used everyday, but is the term "buckshot" a market, or legal, definition?
November 17, 2012, 11:52 PM
buckshot was used to hunt deer in the old days.(( hint the name). mostly double aught (.00) lead balls in the shell.. usually only 6 -8 lead pellets in the shell..
November 18, 2012, 12:00 AM
I am not looking for an example, but rather the definition.....think about it!.
November 18, 2012, 12:02 AM
google ---buckshot=== then
November 18, 2012, 12:05 AM
Use your search engine
"lead shot that is from .24 to .33 inch (about 6.1 to 8.4 millimeters) in diameter"
It gets bigger 000 is .360"
November 18, 2012, 12:09 AM
So the dictionary definition is wrong?
November 18, 2012, 12:12 AM
Technically, it is not fully accurate but is essentially right. At some point, 000 or whatever, we go from buckshot to round ball of what ever diameter and then at some point we go to cannon ball.
November 18, 2012, 12:14 AM
Ballistic Products Co. lists buckshot in sizes from .17" to .50"
November 18, 2012, 12:15 AM
Sounds good to me - the 0000 is .380 and after that it is generally called "Super Buck" so there is no reason the Dixie Tri-Ball with three .60 hard cast super buck shots would not count. How about anything that is two or more "buck" or "super buck" of whatever diameter that fits in a shot shell or metallic cartridge of whatever bore- that is my new definition.
November 18, 2012, 12:20 AM
More muddy water...
The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAMMI) defines buckshot as .20" to .36" or "T" to 000.
November 18, 2012, 12:20 AM
Just What Is Buckshot?
the badguy's worst nightmare or end of the line
November 18, 2012, 12:23 AM
Looks like this shotmaker agrees on Buckshot:
"Buckshot is simply lead shot formed to larger diameters. Sizes range in ascending order from size B to Tri-Ball."
November 18, 2012, 12:27 AM
So is the term "buckshot" a manufacturer's definition, or a legal definition?
November 18, 2012, 12:30 AM
My definition includes "Twin-Ball" - i.e. "any multi-ball load from a metallic cartridge or shotshell that has "buck" or "super buck," i.e buck SAAMI spec to 000 and "super," anything beyond 000, in whatever size bore." So I think we may have this covered. You sand-bagged me with SAAMI and BPI, but who can argue with either of them.
November 18, 2012, 12:33 AM
"So is the term "buckshot" a manufacturer's definition, or a legal definition?"
If it is codified it is a legal definition, even if it is "wrong." SAAMI is a generally accepted standard so I would agree with that and the manufacturer can say whatever they want. I'm sticking with the new and improved Mortimer definition.
November 18, 2012, 01:02 AM
"Sandbagging" was not intended.
SAMMI standards are completely Voluntary and apparently are not even binding on member companies.
November 18, 2012, 01:10 AM
So then if game regulations state that "buckshot" is a legal method of take, then any multiple ball load manufactured as buckshot is indeed a buckshot load!
November 18, 2012, 01:16 AM
Now that is a good question. If there is no specification in the law and there is no appellate decision defining "buckshot" one would be safe with 000 buck shot. I would consider my "twin-ball" or the Dixie Tri-Ball to be legal "buck shot" but who knows.
November 18, 2012, 01:21 AM
""Sandbagging" was not intended..."
I was joking, common sense would have caused me to check SAAMI first, but I did not think of them. My mind defaults to large/huge slow lead balls/slugs/bullets and Dixie Slugs' Tri-Ball.
November 18, 2012, 01:34 AM
Well, most states that permit or mandate buckshot are mute on pellet size/diameter. For them it appears buckshot is a multiple large pellet load labeled as "buckshot." It doesn't matter if the pellets are .330, .350, .380 . 400, .520 or .600 diameter or that the three pellet buckshot loads are packaged in a Winchester box labeled .410 gauge or in a Dixie box labeled 12 gauge
November 18, 2012, 01:37 AM
If there is no definition in the law, I agree.
November 18, 2012, 01:49 AM
The range and effectiveness of today's buckshot has certainly changed!
The "sea change" in buckshot ammunition is no different than what has happened in the field of shotgun "slug" ammunition. There are many states and govt. managed lands that require the use of shotgun slugs. This was instituted in the era of the Foster style slug that were and are very limited in range. However, Remington, Winchester and Federal have all thrown "long established industry standards" to the wind. Today's shotgun slugs (abeit in rifled barrels) have a greater danger range as current factory .45-70 and .444 ammunition, let alone the .44 magnum carbine. Virtually all state wildlife agencies that restrict hunters to shotgun slugs have not changed their regulations but simply accepted the new reality.
November 18, 2012, 05:45 AM
RMcl good point. The same with Muzzleloaders that now shoot like center fire rifles. Most shotguns are set up for wing shooting not rifle shooting. Many people don't practice enough with slugs because of the recoil. There was a push at one time to allow the use of cartridges like the 38-55 in shotgun only jurisdictions.
November 18, 2012, 07:17 AM
RMcL, You my friend must live on or close to Ga.,, Unless you can't hunt with (Buckshot) in Alabama ; )
November 18, 2012, 09:26 AM
In 2011 the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board lifted the statewide ban on buckshot during stalk hunting deer season. Previously buckshot was only legal in areas and seasons open to dog deer hunting.
In returning the ammunition/firearm decision to the hunter, the C.A.B. recognized the popularity of buckshot for stalk, and stand hunting thick cover in many areas of the state.
November 18, 2012, 10:42 AM
Funny how "shocking" claims of 50 yard buckshot performance appear to many in the shooting media.
"Hornady claims these loads are good to 50 yards as they use a special Versatite wad that provides tighter patterns at longer distances. ...a lot better than the 25+ yards I am used to with “standard” 00-buck loads."
Even more shocking to some would be buckshot ammo capable of solid 50 yard performance on game substantially larger than deer, such as the Dixie Tri-Ball buckshot round with it's trio of 3/4th ounce hard lead pellets.
November 19, 2012, 02:37 PM
Another buckshot case to consider:
.410 Gauge NobelSport 3" Four Pellet, .400 Buck, Buckshot Ammo.
November 19, 2012, 10:18 PM
Buck shot is neither bird shot nor ball.
November 19, 2012, 11:11 PM
Buckshot differs from Bird-shot in that Buckshot is on the larger end of the size scale, and it is swagged "pure", soft lead while cold. Whereas Bird-shot is poured from molten lead from a shot tower, with added elements to effect the properties, namely hardness (Antimony), and roundness via increased surface tension (Arsenic). Buckshot differs from "Round Ball" (a single round ball), in that a loading of Buckshot always contains multiple projectiles of less than bore diameter.
November 19, 2012, 11:20 PM
buckshot was used to hunt deer in the old days.(( hint the name). mostly double aught (.00) lead balls in the shell.. usually only 6 -8 lead pellets in the shell.. Buckshot is still used to hunt deer currently. There are several sizes of popular Buckshot. My favorite is Number four buckshot in a three-inch 12 guage, with 41 .24 caliber pellets...it is like a swarm of bees. Even the 2-3/4 inch 12 guage has 27 pellets of Number 4 buckshot. Number 3 Buckshot is popular with 20 guage deer hunters.
November 19, 2012, 11:54 PM
And an interesting historical link:
November 20, 2012, 06:59 PM
So when game regulations state "buckshot" as a legal means of take, it simply means any multiple pellet load so named by an ammunition or shot manufacturer.
November 20, 2012, 07:20 PM
Depends on the state you are in. Some states tell you which sizes are legal.
Edit to add: Looking at the 'Bama regs., I would venture to guess that as long as you stay with #4 - 000 buck you'll be fine. T and F are offered in Steel so they would likely be considered to be waterfowl shot. The officer's interpretation will win in the field and I would hate for you to have to get a decision in court.
November 20, 2012, 09:15 PM
Industry standards do not law make!
Shotgun slugs are a prime example. There are many states and govt. managed lands that require the use of shotgun slugs. These regulations were instituted in the era of the Foster style slug that were and are very limited in range. However, Remington, Winchester and Federal have all thrown "...long established industry standard(s)..." to the wind. Today's shotgun slugs (abeit in rifled barrels) have just as much danger range as the 45-70, .444 and certainly exceed the .44 magnum carbine. Virtually all state wildlife agencies that restrict hunters to shotgun slugs have not changed their regulations but accept the "new industry standards."
Likewise, most states that permit or mandate buckshot are mute on pellet size. For them buckshot is a multiple large pellet load described as "buckshot." It doesn't matter if the three pellets are .33, .36, .40 or .60 caliber or that the three pellet loads are packaged in a Winchester box labeled .410 gauge buckshot or in a Dixie box labeled 12 gauge buckshot.
So if the regulation simply says "slugs" are legal, I would not hesitate to use a rifled 12 gauge with sabot slugs. Likewise if the regulation simply says buckshot...
November 21, 2012, 12:27 AM
Why not call your state conservation comission for a definition. They will be the one writing the ticket if your wrong.
November 21, 2012, 11:28 AM
"Why not call your state conservation comission for a definition. They will be the one writing the ticket if your wrong." olddrum1
No need to, the regulations say "buckshot" and the factory ammo is marked "buckshot." And yes, I have hunted deer and feral hog with non-traditional buckshot sizes on WMA and shown the factory ammo to Conservation Officers without concern.
November 21, 2012, 11:39 AM
SHR970 "Depends on the state you are in. Some states tell you which sizes are legal."
I have seen regulations like that: "00 Buckshot or larger"
Then 00B as loaded in this 20 gauge ammo from Rio Ammo would be legal:
November 22, 2012, 11:25 AM
Well, what is buckshot?
We see the term used everyday, but is the term "buckshot" a market, or legal, definition?
The term "Buckshot" clearly has an expanding, market driven definition, which is broadly accepted by game departments as is the term "Shotgun Slug."
November 22, 2012, 02:18 PM
Shot sizes constituting "buckshot' have pretty much been defined for generations. Not sure if the term is either marketing or legal...I think it's simply tradition. It's simply an esoteric term for shot sizes earlier shotgunners found adequate for hunting deer-sized game. I'm sure there have been, and will be, some variances around the edges of what we call "buckshot", but the traditional loads have been defined for probably 150 years...in the minds of shotgunners. Legal authorities may intercede and dictate, for their own reasons, what shot sizes are lawful in certain jurisdictions, and that's fine. Doesn't change what shotgunners know as "buckshot". In any case, does all this really matter?
November 22, 2012, 06:50 PM
The best buckshot I've found lately is the Federal Vital Shock with the Flite Control wad. We've been qualifying with it for two years and it's really the best 12 gauge 9 shot load I've ever seen. Using standard Remington Police shotguns, it's easy to keep all 9 pellets in the 8-ring of a standard B27 target at 50 yards. Many times we have trouble scoring the targets because once we're though shooting a string of 10 rounds, the target just shows a big ragged hole in the middle of the paper.
That Federal 00 buck load is the best I've seen in a long time. If I were forced to use buckshot for deer, I know what I'd be carrying in the shotgun.
November 22, 2012, 07:10 PM
Shotgun slugs hve been defined for generations (since the 1890s) as a full bore weight forward soft lead designs that were safe and reasonably accurate in choke bore shotguns. Along came BRI and sabot slugs, followed closely by rifled "shotgun" bores. Today there are dozens of accurate slug designs from sleek pointed bullets in sabot designs moving 1900+ fps to full bore hard lead 800+ grain slugs suitable for defense against the great bears. These are all accepted under the same regulations put in place when the only american slugs were soft lead thimbles barely accurate enough for a 65 yard shot. Today those long established slug standards are virtually forgotten.
In the same light, great strides have been made in buckshot ammunition. Nineteen sixty three saw a giant leap to tighter patterns with the introduction of granulated buffer, shot collars and a reduction in traditional buckshot pellet diameters. The early 1980s introduced shot cups and spiral pellet stacking for better buckshot pattern response to choke. These along with specialty choke tubes doubled the effective buckshot range. Just past the start of the 21st century air braking wad technology gave the cylinder and improved cylinder bore LE shotguns tight controled patterns for the first time. Heavier than lead non-toxic shot developments for waterfowl were extended to buckshot for greater penetration. The same wad technologies and powder developments that allowed ultra hard non-toxic shot use also opened a door to larger pellets and tighter patterning buckshot loads than ever before.
The acceptance of improvements in archery, muzzleloader, handgun and shotgun slug technology are not even given a second thought today.
November 22, 2012, 07:55 PM
In the same light, great strides have been made in buckshot ammunition. Nineteen sixty three saw a giant leap to tighter patterns with the introduction of granulated buffer, shot collars and a reduction in traditional buckshot pellet diameters. (1)The early 1980s introduced shot cups and spiral pellet stacking for better buckshot pattern response to choke. (2)This along with specialty choke tubes doubled the effective buckshot range. Just past the start of the 21st century air braking wad technology gave the cylinder and improved cylinder bore LE shotguns tight controled patterns for the first time. Heavier than lead non-toxic shot developments for waterfowl were extended to buckshot for greater penetration. (3)The same wad technologies and powder developments that allowed ultra hard non-toxic shot use also opened a door to larger pellets and tighter patterning buckshot loads than ever before.(1)What "...reduction in traditional buckshot pellet diameters...", was made? Link please.
(2)How about a link for this one: "...doubled the effective buckshot range..." Doubled the effective range???
(3) How did "... The same wad technologies and powder developments that allowed ultra hard non-toxic shot use also opened a door to larger pellets and tighter patterning buckshot loads than ever before...", result in "larger pellets? A link for this also please. It seems, according to you, the buckshot pellets got smaller, now they have gotten bigger? come now, double-ought is still double-ought. Number four buck is still number four at .24 of an inch. The sizes have not changed.
November 22, 2012, 11:57 PM
1) The 1963 introduction of the Winchester Mark V collar to prevent bore scrub reduced the inside diameter of the hull. So as reported by Jack O'Connor in The Shotgun Book 1970 printing, page 303:
00B was reduced from .330 to .323
#1B was reduced from .298 to .289
#4B was reduced from .240 to .233
Recently the size of current Federal brand 00B and #1B were noted at .323"/50 grains and .286"/33grains, respectively. See:
2) In the same tome O'Connor reports his pattern tests indicated, with a given shotgun barrel, the effective range would be extended from 30 to 50%.
Federal introduced its Premium line of buckshot in 1984, advertising patterns under 15 inches at 40 yards from full choke shotguns Federal Hunter's Journal 1986. This level of performance was confirmed in my own pattern testing.
3) Steel shot wads introduced high capacity, static, thick wall wads to the market. This in turn led to the development of the Dixie Tri-Ball buckshot round by Dixie Slugs co. This buckshot load contains three 320 grain, hard cast, .60" pellets, buffered and contained in a steel shot type wad. I have personally fired many patterns with this load measuring under 5 inches at 40 yards with some less than 3 inches from a Remington 870 Express with a Briley extended full choke tube.
The images attached show a 40 yard Tri-Ball pattern on an 8" bullseye target and a comparison shot of Dixie Tri-Ball pellets next to an equivalent weight of 00B.
November 23, 2012, 12:07 AM
(1)What "...reduction in traditional buckshot pellet diameters...", was made? Link please.
Go to the SAAMI website and you can download their book of shotgun standards (as well as a whole lot of other stuff).
The standard sizes have not been reduced. 00 is still defined as 0.330" diameter. The way the manufacturers get away with calling their loads "00 Buckshot", while selling shot as small as 0.317" (or even smaller) is the tolerances accepted by SAAMI.
November 23, 2012, 12:17 AM
Dixie has .60 caliber buck shot
November 23, 2012, 12:26 AM
SAAMI Voluntary Standards
Buckshot: Nominal diameter + 0.015"
00B: Nominal .33" may run .315" to .345" -1 pellet tolerance
#1B: Nominal .30" may run .285" to .315" -2 pellet tolerance
November 23, 2012, 11:06 AM
Thank you RMcL. I stand corrected and better informed.
What seemed improbable turned out to be true.
November 23, 2012, 12:17 PM
I can see how the phrasing made it seem improbable.
I also see that Michigan's hunting regulations trust the shotgun deer hunter to make an informed choice of buckshot or slug loads.
Just this past year, Alabama hunting regulations opened the "stalk only" season to buckshot use. Previously buckshot had been restricted to the "dog or stalk" portion of the deer season
November 23, 2012, 01:52 PM
Yes, virtually all ammunition of any caliber or gauge you choose to name has been improved by modern technology. That is pretty much a given to begin with. And there has always been some variances in the actual sizes of shot, including buckshot, between manufacturers and within gauge...i.e., Federal 00 Buck would rarely be the exact same size as Remington 00 Buck. It's the nature of the beast. In fact, actual shot sizes within a given shotshell will typically vary a few 10/1000's...probably less now with modern production techniques than in the past....but they do vary. That's really not news either. The point is, these variances are generally minimal and within an acceptable range.
November 23, 2012, 03:29 PM
Indeed there are tolerances + for all products.
The point in mentioning what is essentially a step down from traditional 00B size to traditional 0B size is that smaller pellets are now the norm for U.S. made high performance small pellet buckshot (ie 000, 00, 1). It is part of the price paid for pattern performance.
Advertised 00B diameters for European ammunition run from .29" to .34".
November 24, 2012, 03:09 PM
Here is another example of just how effective the new technology of buckshot has become:
This report shows 14" to 16" patterns at 45 yards with Federal's latest Flite Control #1B load with TruLock extended Modified and X-Full chokes respectively.
November 27, 2012, 07:55 PM
Here is an example of how effective even 20 gauge buckshot can be:
Go over to YouTube and enter the following:
BONF: Deer Hunt in North Florida 8 Point Buck .
This is an interesting video of a Florida buck taken from a tree stand with 20 gauge Federal #2B (18 pellet .27 caliber) . At 3.26 on the video, the pellet strike can be clearly seen. This video also shows the type of close cover that is normal for the coastal South.
November 29, 2012, 08:12 PM
Hornady now advertises this tight patterning new Versatite buckshot round as suitable for targets as small as coyotes at 50 yards.
November 30, 2012, 08:30 PM
Here is another buckshot hunting video, this one from North Carolina. This buck was taken with 3" Federal Flite-Control 00B from a full choke Beretta. The wad was recovered next to the deer. This buck went down with all four hooves in the air. The shot takes place just after frame 3.54 and the FliteControl wad is recovered at 6.42:
Go to YouTube and paste the title:
My 3rd deer (self filmed) small 6 point .
This raises the question: Why are there virtually no "hunting channel" shows with shotguns and buckshot used as the "method of take?"
December 4, 2012, 01:19 PM
Direct links to previously mentioned video:
My 3rd deer (self filmed) small 6 point
BONF: Deer Hunt in North Florida 8 Point Buck
Taken with #2B from a 20 gauge
Here is another video, this time in Virginia, where a doe and a buck are taken from the same blind in just a few minutes. A Remington Express shotgun was used with 3" Remington 00B. It is hard to judge the distance, but both deer dropped in their tracks. The hunter obviously waited until the deer were within range. See this at 2:00 and 4:27 in the video:
Deer Hunting - Doe and 8 point Buck Kill...less than five minutes apart.
December 6, 2012, 07:01 PM
"Dropped in his tracks" with buckshot. The entire pattern impact can be seen at the 2.48 and 6.60 marks. This New Jersey hunt shows hunting over bait which is legal in that state.
December 7, 2012, 11:06 AM
Has this discussion changed your views on buckshot?
December 11, 2012, 12:34 PM
Why are there virtually no "hunting channel" deer hunting shows with shotguns and buckshot used as the method of take?
December 13, 2012, 09:45 AM
The times they are a changin'
It was not that long ago that a post on buckshot for deer hunting would result in an avalanche of negative comments. Apparently hunters are learning that today's best buckshot technology works far better than any would have imagined.
Your comments are welcome.
December 13, 2012, 10:34 AM
Has this discussion changed your views on buckshot?
Not mine... I was 5 years old when I was told of the effectiveness of Buckshot and by 8 I had all the first hand proof I needed... Every thing I have done with Buckshot since has just tempered my opinion further...;):D
Since I am now out of #3 Buck for my 20 gauge guns, they are loaded with slugs... Too bad I was broke when Walmart had their 15 count boxes in stock... I doubt they will re-order more at this point of the deer season here...
December 13, 2012, 10:35 AM
The effectiveness of buckshot (in my experience only #4's), is something that I have been aware of for many years now. I concur that if one states that it is an effective method of taking deer, that statement will garner many negative comments...mostly from people who have no experience with that method. I have however, been unaware of the advances in buckshot that you have posted and will likely not buy any of those rounds inasmuch as I stocked-up on my favorite of three-inch twelve gauge number 4 buckshot years ago and will have enough in reserve to preclude spending any money on such, in my limited lifetime. But, the younger guys should do some serious consideration on what has been posted here.
December 13, 2012, 12:50 PM
Given that there is no single set of laws govering the definition at the Federal and State levels, there can never be a single LEGAL definition.
Given that each manufacturer has the right to designate its product line as it sees fit, there can never be a single commercial definition.
This thread really outlived its usefulness before Thanksgiving, and now it's just slowly circling, and wasting Rich's bandwidth.
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