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Old September 29, 2013, 05:01 PM   #1
MattShlock
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3" Mag 20 Ga. Buckshot A Waste!?

I just determined something quite interesting and useful, to me, frankly.

I was comparing the amount of energy, by the numbers, in the ubiquitous 2-3/4" 20 Gauge #3 Buckshot rounds vs. the 3" (used to be "Magnum") 20 Gauge #2 Buckshot rounds. I expected some options and a little more net energy out of the longer shell which also throws bigger (.27" vs .25") pellets if actually fewer of them (18 vs. 20). But after doing some research and the calculations what I found is this:


-Remington and Winchester apparently aren't even making 3" 20 Gauge buckshot shells now.

-Remington's standard 2-3/4" #3 Buckshot shell is a hair more potent than Federal's and Winchester's at claimed 1,220 fps vs 1,200.

-Federal's 3" #2 Buckshot shell, at 1,100 fps, has 8% less energy than Remington's standard 2-3/4" mentioned above.

Note: That Remington standard 20 Gauge buckshot round has 18% less energy than everyone's 2-3/4" 12 Gauge #00 Buckshot shells.


No interest in buying those 3" 20 Ga. Buckshot shells anymore and one might as well go with Remington given the choice...

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Old September 29, 2013, 06:49 PM   #2
RMcL
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So is the Foot Pounds of Energy calculation the most important factor in evaluating the effectiveness of Buckshot ammunition?

Why?
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Old September 29, 2013, 07:02 PM   #3
MattShlock
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Ultimately, yes. Energy effectively placed on target is the goal of shooting it in the first place.

In this case it would seem reasonable to expect a "magnum" round to at least keep the same energy though it migh mean a sprinkle more powder to maintain velocity, like the 2-3'4" and 3" 12 Gauge magnum loads do, wouldn't you agree?
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Old September 29, 2013, 08:30 PM   #4
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Perhaps. However consider several major factors that may change the outcome.

- Retained downrange velocity - larger pellets loose velocity at a slower rate.
- Penetration of heavier pellets.
- Patterning from the specific Gun/Choke/Load combination.

Actual diameter/weight of pellets may be another concern since most commercial buckshot loads use smaller than nominal pellets. (SAAMI standards call for nominal diameter + .015").

A larger pellet can start slower, yet reach the target with equal or greater velocity than smaller pellets.

Given the ranges involved, it would seem penetration and pattern at the target are the major consideration for shotgunners.

However, all is not lost for those who like to refer to FPE figures. Although the calculations use velocity squared, most shotshells operate at very similar velocities. Thus FPE figures per pellet can provide a reasonable numerical comparison - if impact velocities are used in calculating the retained energy of different pellet sizes.

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Old September 30, 2013, 06:18 AM   #5
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Interesting RMcL except when we compare these to 12 Gauge loads we see there is a 26% to 39% increase in energy with 2-3/4" Magnum and 3" 00 Buckshot shells over standard ones. Even the 3" 000 (from .33 to .36 caliber pellet) Buckshot rounds have 24% more energy!

All is pretty useless, I maintain, buying 20 Gauge 3" #3 Buckshot shells -- there's little, if any, advantage if not a pretty clear disadvantage. They would seem to be a marketing gimmick to me at this point.
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Old September 30, 2013, 10:57 AM   #6
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.

FWIW, my state (for one) bans the use of any 20ga buckshot on whitetail deer - a move I heartily agree with.
(We have "shotgun-only" & muzzleloader deer seasons here - no CF rifle's allowed on game)

Due to terminal performance issues, I no longer use buckshot, in any gauge, on deer.



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Old September 30, 2013, 03:02 PM   #7
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Then you're shooting outside the effective range of buckshot. Get closer.

Nothing has terminal performance issues inside is effective range.

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Old September 30, 2013, 05:16 PM   #8
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Given the velocity limits of buckshot rounds, pattern and penetration are core to success. If that can be expressed in FPE, I have no argument.

As for marketing gimmicks, the use of FPE figures in the firearms world was introduced at the dawn of the smokeless era by marketing types to make rounds like the .30-30 appear more powerful than black powder rounds like the .45-70.

The foot pounds of energy formula was created to compare the work of horses to simple vertical lift steam engines for removing water from mines in the 19th century.

As for #2B in 3" 20 gauge rounds - check out what happens to this 8 point Florida buck starting at frame 3:15.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvDMN4PlcZA

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Old September 30, 2013, 06:23 PM   #9
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I thought that "magnum" as used with shotgun loads referred to weight of shot charge...not mass times higher velocity.
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Old September 30, 2013, 06:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
As for marketing gimmicks, the use of FPE figures in the firearms world was introduced at the dawn of the smokeless era by marketing types to make rounds like the .30-30 appear more powerful than black powder rounds like the .45-70.
Speaking of gimmicks RMcL, just a reminder that I am comparing one 20 ga. shell to another using the same exact effectiveness predictive measurement. While the "magnum" one has fewer pellets (albeit one size larger), that are slower, and has less total net energy I presume it uses smokeless powder too, however, given its performance, it may use Pyrodex.

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Old September 30, 2013, 08:00 PM   #11
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MattShlock:

The Maximum Average Pressure for all 20 gauge rounds is 12,000 psi. Under this limited standard the 20 gauge runs up against MAP with heavy shot loads very quickly. Most magnum shotshells fire heavier payloads at a lower velocity, that is the case in this comparison; abeit with fewer but heavier pellets. Winchester's now discontinued 3" 20ga. #3B round fired 24 pellets at 1100 fps also.

Regardless, it is not the number of pellets in the load, it is the number in the pattern core delivered to the vital zone that counts.

I must respectfully disagree with the conclusion stated in your original post.
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Old October 1, 2013, 04:40 AM   #12
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Winchester's now discontinued 3" 20ga. #3B round fired 24 pellets at 1100 fps also.

Regardless, it is not the number of pellets in the load, it is the number in the pattern core delivered to the vital zone that counts.

I must respectfully disagree with the conclusion stated in your original post.
RMcL;
Let's not introduce any red-herrings please. Are you arguing the pattern is different, better, or the penetration is significantly different with slightly bigger but slower pellets? Then ignoring the hit probability and number of wound channels which is decreased!? Let's stick to facts and not vague implications. And just so you know...

The 20 guage 3" Magnum Winchester ammo you cite as being discontinued was 1% more powerful than the standard 2-3/4" shell. Even at 1,100 fps vs. 1,200 there was NO NET DEPRECIATION IN ENERGY. But still they took it off the market -- there just wasn't enough of a difference, standard vs. magnum, and that was with a 20% increase (you glossed over I noticed) in the number of (yeah, 10% slower) pellets, plus...

That discontinued Winchester magnum load? Had 2% LESS energy than Remington's standard 2-3/4" shell!

There's little point to any of these 3" "Magnum" buckshot shells. We're all going to leave them for you to buy RMcL. Get 'em while you can...
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Old October 1, 2013, 03:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
the penetration is significantly different with slightly bigger but slower pellets?
Yes as I stated on the other forum the larger pellets have 19% more mass which equates to 12% more momentum and 4% more energy per pellet. so while there would be fewer holes the ones remaining would be infact larger and deaper. IMHO power is a wash the problem lies in the fact that
A: the 2 3/4" 3 buck load is pretty effective at SD ranges and has adequate penatration for most situations.
B: The way the pellets are loaded make the 3 buck load pattern more evenly from most guns.
C: most guns lose capacity with 3" shells.
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Old October 1, 2013, 06:22 PM   #14
RMcL
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MattShlock:

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Red Herring: Something unimportant that is used to distract people from noticing or thinking about something important.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
No red herrings were present in my responses.

"Regardless, it is not the number of pellets in the load, it is the number in the pattern core delivered to the vital zone that count." RMc

Indeed, it appears that you agree with my response:

"Energy effectively placed on target is the goal of shooting it in the first place."
MattShlock

And yes, larger pellets have greater mass and momentum, which translates into greater penetration and "energy" downrange. From my hunting perspective, I will take the larger pellet approach anytime the pattern board reveals adequate patterns. Patterning buckshot is, for the shotgunner, as important as sighting in a rifle.

Last edited by RMcL; October 1, 2013 at 10:35 PM.
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Old October 1, 2013, 06:25 PM   #15
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That's what you're hanging your hat on mavracer? That the fewer, slower, pellets with less energy overall have four percent (4%!) more "momentum" each? Seriously!?

Please stop misdirecting people to immaterial facts and selectively ignoring others to make an obviously nonsensical point. Each of the 10% fewer , slower, pellets admittedly also have two percent (only 2%!) more energy each but offer more resistance to deeper penetration having seventeen percent (17%!) more surface area.

In other words, to be clear, the 3" 20 Gauge #2 Buckshot shells ain't buyin' us nothin' over standard Remington 2-3/4" #3 Buckshot rounds, I think ya know it, and now you're kinda trolling here.

Maybe we need to shut such intentional misguidance down on this forum now as well...

Last edited by MattShlock; October 1, 2013 at 06:38 PM.
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Old October 1, 2013, 06:42 PM   #16
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While far from knowledgeable on sectional density etc... I did take the job of mod here so let me put that hat on first...

I do not think we can completely win either argument regarding this exact load comparison... No matter ho slight in percentile, if one pellet has an advantage of a pellet that is smaller but faster at the muzzle there is that advantage...

As is the fact that the overall numbers do bear that the magnum is not worth any additional recoil or cost for such a slight advantage...

Lets agree to disagree on preference if we must... but these are not some super duper yote shooter 85 yard wonder round...

MOD HAT OFF NOW...

As for me personally, I am fine buying the 2 3/4 #3 buck (#2 if I ever find any) patterns and performs fine at HD range and even out a decent piece at deer or yotes in the woods...

I did, however, buy 2 boxes of Federal 20 gauge 3 inch 18 pellet #2 simply because that was on the shelf at bass pro and I been slap out of buck for HD for near a year... Other than that I got 7 1/2 promo pack or slugs for HD...

It will suffice until I burn it off after restocking on cheap 2 3/4 buck I always used...

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Old October 1, 2013, 08:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Please stop misdirecting people to immaterial facts and selectively ignoring others to make an obviously nonsensical point.
Please by all means here is a quote from TFL's library.
"Often wrongly equated with killing power, energy is not a reliable gauge of this, as it does not take into account penetration or bullet performance."
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Old October 2, 2013, 06:08 AM   #18
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Quote:
"Often wrongly equated with killing power, energy is not a reliable gauge of this, as it does not take into account penetration or bullet performance."
Um, yeah, mavracer. And taken in isolation your latest point is true. However meaningless if not intentionally deceptive. As you know, and again gloss over, we're essentially talking about the same, simple, round lead projectiles! And yet you continue to try to misguide readers by selectively citing de minimis aspects that don't make a comprehensive difference worth finding and paying much more for the longer, potentially capacity limiting, hulls whilst ignoring key factors i.e. that the 3" shell carries fewer, slower, similar projectiles with less total energy.

Perhaps like Hogdogs or any other unsuspecting regular shotgun shooter, I was looking for these shells recently expecting that they would offer the same kind of enhanced performance as 12 gauge magnum and 3" shells do over standard 2-3/4" -- but they simply don't.

That you have pecuniary and emotional investments of varying degrees in the only one of the big three ammo companies that's (still) making the inefficient (yes, some shot sizes are more efficient in certain bores) 3" #2 Buckshot shell is the kindest motivation I can figure for you at this point mavracer.

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Old October 2, 2013, 08:43 AM   #19
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whilst ignoring key factors i.e. that the 3" shell carries fewer, slower, similar projectiles with less total energy.
I'm simply trying to educate you that while your conclusion is correct, your means of coming to that conclusion is wrong. If total energy and number of pellets were a good measure then a 1oz load of #6 shot traveling at 1300 would be far superior to the reduced recoil OO buck loads and a 85gr .243 would be a far better bear round than a 405gr 45/70 factory load.
I have no affection for the 3" 20 guage load in question and in fact use the same 2 3/4" remington load in my own 20.
Now I'm sure this is falling on deaf ears but energy is a poor measure of effectiveness.
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Old October 2, 2013, 08:59 AM   #20
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yes and no. if it hits the target its not a waste.


as far as total ability to penetrate, velocity does help. so does mass. I keep getting told the 80 grain fmj from a 223 at 3000 fps is a perfect penetrator. yet a 45 colt 250 grain lrn at 900 fps out does it in most gel tests.
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Old October 2, 2013, 07:35 PM   #21
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Bezoar;
Of course you are correct and can ignore the guy at this point.

He's not educating anyone on anything and his final deceptive refuge is to go from selectively ignoring pertinent facts about similar projectiles to compare completely different ones to make a pointless point (especially when the .243 has less energy than the .45-70 -- you can't make these trolls up).
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Old October 2, 2013, 07:42 PM   #22
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Since the OP brought 12 gauge energy into the post I think it's only fair to point out some oranges in the apple basket.

A popular load for SD is the 9 pellet 12 gauge Tactical aka low recoil load. A common load is 9 pellets of 53 gr. OObuck @ 1145 fps. (Fed PD132) for 1388 ft. lbs.

Compared to Fed. 3" 20 gauge 18 pellets of 29 gr. #2Buck @ 1100 fps. for 1402 ft. lbs. The 20 gauge load comes out on top in terms of power by a whopping 14 ft. lbs.

Now we can look at 9 .33" wide holes vs. 18 .27" holes. Since the OP is basing his argument on muzzle energy and discounting penetration caused by differences in sectional density it appears that the 20 gauge now comes out on top.

Assuming the pellets do not deform (just to simplify things), the OObuck pellet has a 2D surface area of .5185" and the #2Buck has .4242" Total possible surface area for leakage is 4.6665" for OOBuck and 7.6367" for #2Buck. The 20gauge still comes out on top. Real life shows that the 12 gauge pellets do in fact go deeper but now it comes down to which is more likely to hit important things and cause more leaks.

To further obfuscate matters, #3Buck in a 20 gauge is stacked in layers of 4; just like #1 buck in common 12 gauge loads. #2Buck is stacked in layers of 3 just like OOBuck in a 12 gauge. Which one patterns better in YOUR gun? Pellets that miss don't put energy on target. Lots of ink has been spilled on these pages abut how #1Buck 12 gauge loads don't pattern well; a casual reader might extrapolate that to mean #3Buck won't pattern in a 20 gauge either.

Also, plenty of ink has been spilled on how the lower velocity loads pattern better than the high velocity loads. Again extrapolating an assumption about performance would lead some to conclude that the slower 3" 20 gauge load may pattern better.

All of this boils down to what does YOUR gun pattern better, what do YOU shoot better, and what does real world terminal performance tell us? All too much has been made of muzzle energy. What counts is how many holes go how deep and hit how many important things along the way.
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Old October 2, 2013, 09:20 PM   #23
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Quote:
ignoring pertinent facts about similar projectiles to compare completely different ones to make a pointless point
If your premise that energy is a good indicator for predicting performance it should work for any comparison. Since it doesn't your premise just doesn't fly.
And now that you can't dispute the argument you resort to personal attacks. sad sad sad
Quote:
especially when the .243 has less energy than the .45-70 -- you can't make these trolls up
You just never let facts get in your way according to Remington their 80gr 243 load makes 1995 ft lbs their 405gr 45/70 load has 1590.
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Old October 3, 2013, 06:37 AM   #24
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SHR970;
I never ignored penetration -- that issue was a red herring introduced by a troll. I was comparing essentially similar projectiles. The slightly heavier one was quite slower and bigger of course so there's been no reason to distract people with that.

I will say this though...

...if penetration is addequate for the most likely requirement then, yes, I would of course choose 20 #3 Buckshot for SD over nine lawyer-invented "low recoil" #00 Buckshot pellets.
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Old October 3, 2013, 12:54 PM   #25
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Oh well... the arguing continues...

Closed...

Brent
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