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Old December 29, 2012, 08:07 AM   #1
Gator Weiss
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Buck shot myths and facts collection

Buckshot has its uses for hunting and personal defense.

Buckshot has its uses for limiting penetration in walls and barriers and maximizing multple projectile hits.

Buckshot is the subject of many facts and many myths.

Without putting forth an opinion at the beginning I would like the posters here on this forum to share opinions knowledge and experiences with buckshot.

What size for what and when?

Magnum verses the standard 2 3/4 ?

Max and minimum ranges?

Favored brands and why?

Least desirable sizes or brands and why?

I have just come from some classes and range activities and buckshot was an interesting topic and I want to continue testing buckshot.
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Old December 29, 2012, 08:48 AM   #2
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I have always thought that 2 3/4 9 - 00 pellet is fine for home defense. As far as brand and velocity etc I try out a few and see what patterns best at say 30ft.
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Old December 29, 2012, 09:02 AM   #3
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At the range I would get inside my house, shot pattern size is not relavent. In the house I prefer bird shot as small as #8 shot up to #4 shot. Outside I prefer a rifle. Shotguns outside are only for hunting and skeet/trap for this guy.
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Old December 29, 2012, 09:04 AM   #4
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Probably the best buckshot load I've seen lately is the 2 3/4 inch, Federal 00 buck with the Flite-Control wad. We've been using these for the past two years and it is easily capable of putting all nine balls into the 8-ring of a standard B27 target at 50 yards. During qualifications at the range, we had some targets that , when finished, showed just one large ragged hole.
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Old December 29, 2012, 10:21 AM   #5
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Pattern size depends a lot on your choke. I prefer IC for home defense and LM for most 3-gun stages. But inside your home with an IC choke, you will likely never go much over a 3" pattern or so...and that's in a BIG house.

I prefer reduced recoil, 8 pellet, 00 size (Remington Reduced Recoil or Speer "Lawman") buckshot for defensive use. I don't use birdshot for home defense due to potential lack of penetration on heavily clothed "suspects". Most people who use birdshot are trying to prevent over-penetration but I personally think that is a bad move. Don't get me wrong...birdshot will behave almost like a slug at short ranges and on lightly clothed targets but it loses it's punch very quickly when met with resistance. You could probably use heavier shot like #4 or smaller buckshot but once you get a load that will penetrate heavy clothing then it will probably penetrate sheetrock so the best option is to practice enough that you can keep your shots on target.

Measure the longest possible shot in your house. Go to the range and pattern test your shotgun with your choice of defensive ammo at that distance. It usually surprises people how tight the pattern is. It also usually surprises people that you actually have to be pretty precise with your shotgun. You can't just point in the general direction of the target and depend on the expanding pattern to do your job for you.
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Old December 29, 2012, 11:49 AM   #6
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The Box O' Truth pretty much nails it for me:
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/edu91.htm
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Old December 29, 2012, 12:39 PM   #7
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Using Birdshot of any size in a self defense gun is foolish. Flight control wads give nice patterns but remember, they do not impart any magical properties on the shot. They are still relatively small light projectiles that lose lots of energy at distance.

The maximum effective range for full power 00 buck is about 15-20 yards, slugs 35-50 yards.

Avoid reduced recoil loads for defense, they are also reduced power.

This is my opinion, gained through a career of law enforcement having seen people shot with about anything you can imagine.
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Old December 29, 2012, 01:18 PM   #8
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Just an FYI...the reduced recoil buckshot I listed above from Remington and Speer are loaded to 1325 fps. Reducing the pellet count to 8 reduces the recoil. They are not reduced power.
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Old December 29, 2012, 01:43 PM   #9
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I had a retail store years ago in a "less desireable" end of town. My front door was 25 feet from my cash register, . . . only way in during regular hours.

I bought a double barreled 12, with 21 inch barrels, . . . pattern tested it out in the boonies, . . .

If I pulled both triggers at the same time, . . . I got a pattern that was almost 18 inches wide, . . . and about 6 inches tall. That was at that same 25 feet distance.

I used Remington high brass 9 pellet 00 buck for my test.

Thankfully, I never had to use it, . . .

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Old December 29, 2012, 01:43 PM   #10
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From Winchester Super X to Federal

PAW PAW makes an interesting post.

An instructor at the local sheriff dept told me recently they had noticed Winchester SuperX threw a much wider pattern than Federal. They have since switched to Federal for their agency in order to have the tighter pattern. I have not yet experimented with the Federal ammo.

I am seeing semi-transparent cases containing buckshot without any buffering granules. It is competitively priced. I havent bought any for testing yet. It appears to be a European brand.

Will buffering granules have anything to do with the size of the pattern? It is my understanding that buffering granuels reduce shot-to-shot pellet deformation on ignition.
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Old December 29, 2012, 01:57 PM   #11
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3-inch magnum #4 Buckshot

I have patterned this loading (using Remington - about 25 shells) and it appears to be about 6mm or .25 cal. There are 41 projectiles in the mag load and 27 in the 2.75 load. The mag load makes one hell of a boom when it goes off and the pattern is very intense at 25 yards. I have read write-ups where people have said they dont feel #4 will penetrate. The Remington loads went deep into the dirt bank behind the back-stop. I had similar results with the Winchester loadings as well but did not really get to study the Winchester loading as effectively as I only had three Winchester shells. Recoil seemed rather stout in the #4 mag load; Winchester seemed slightly more recoil than the Remington. I noted the Remington made a slightly different sound. I was very impressed with the intensity of the #4 mag pattern and the depth it went into the dirt from 25 yards - just over 12 inches into the bank (clay, loam and sand mix).

In firing the #4 loadings, I thought about the MP-5 on rock-and-roll spits out 30 rounds of 9mm fairly quickly before the magazine runs dry. But the #4 mag buck put 41 projectiles on target instantaneously in a virtual hail-storm of lead. Shooting from a position of cover, leaning out to target and fire the MP-5 has an increased exposure time to get a significant amount of fire power into the target zone. With the #4 buck, one has only split-second exposure time to place 41 projectiles into the target zone. There is obviously some advantages, depending upon how one looks at the situation.

I noted the FBI had in the past reccommended #4 buck. But I also note that experienced shot gunners are not really impressed or very interested in using #4, as it seems they lack confidence in the ability to penetrate.

In the opinion of the shooters on this forum, would #4 be an effective combat load beyond the 25 yard mark?

Last edited by Gator Weiss; December 29, 2012 at 02:02 PM.
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Old December 29, 2012, 02:06 PM   #12
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The latest Shotgun News...that I subscribe too, but don't have with me at the moment...has an excellent article on Federal's 15 pellet, 30 caliber, #1 Buck with low recoil; along with the tight patterning FliteControl wad. It outperforms there own 9 pellet Low Recoil 00 Buck; by a wide margin.

The majority of Southern U.S. deer hunters, who use buckshot, prefer #1 buckshot for deer.

I love to blast paper targets with my 7 shot, 12 gauge Remington 870 Law Enforcement, using Federal's Low Recoil Law Enforcement 00 Buck; and will be looking forward to buying Federal's #1 Buckshot rounds.
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Old December 29, 2012, 02:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
I have always thought that 2 3/4 9 - 00 pellet is fine for home defense. As far as brand and velocity etc I try out a few and see what patterns best at say 30ft.
It's the same for me as well. For the most part, I keep my HD shotgun loaded with 00 buck from Winchester or Remington. It's always available everywhere and generally ranks #2 on best load lists, second only to #1 buck, which for me at least, is found practically nowhere.

It helps that my particular SPX loves 00 buck also.
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Old December 29, 2012, 03:52 PM   #14
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I too use 00 Buck but did some experimenting a few years back and found some interesting facts for loads that the average hunter may have on hand. I suspect that the over penetration most folks are concerned about isn't after going through the bad guy but rather errant shots penetrating walls and hitting friendlies due to misses.

As a hunter I was intrigued by BlackCloud. It to uses Federals Flite Control wad and using 3" BB shot can almost take a gooses head off at 20 yds. At 15 feet its pretty much a 1 1/8 oz steel slug.

Another load that impressed me was Remington 4 shot Turkey loads. With a 1 7/8 oz load it has the muzzle energy of my .308 with 165g loads. Right around 2800 ft.lbs. IIRC

May or may not be pertinent, just my .02 cents
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Old December 29, 2012, 04:28 PM   #15
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I have a Smith & Wesson 3000 police gun as my house gun. It takes 2 3/4" shells.

I have it loaded with 5 rounds of Remington No. 4 buck.

In a sleeve carrier on the stock I have another 5 rounds of S&B 00 buck. It's different from most other 00 buckshot loads in that it has 12 pellets, not the traditional 9. They get the extra three pellets in the shell by using a roll crimp and a disintegrating plastic top wad.

Recoil from that load is substantially higher than with standard buckshot loads with folded crimps.

I'd like to find some No. 4 with a roll crimp.
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Old December 29, 2012, 04:43 PM   #16
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The Sellor & Bellot buckshot rounds are slightly longer than 2 3/4", so much that my 870 will only hold 5 rounds of S&B buckshot instead of six.
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Old December 29, 2012, 05:27 PM   #17
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12 ga. 2 3/4 " #1 buck is the best for home defense.

See: http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm
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Old December 29, 2012, 06:55 PM   #18
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The Sellor & Bellot buckshot rounds are slightly longer than 2 3/4", so much that my 870 will only hold 5 rounds of S&B buckshot instead of six.
All 2 3/4" shells are 2 3/4" AFTER they are fired. Most are closer to 2 1/2" before firing, but all brands are slightly different. Any shell with a rolled crimp such as the S&B will be slightly longer and it may well effect mag capacity.

A shotgun loaded with any size of buckshot works. I'd never suggest birdshot of any size except as a last resort. Don't get me wrong, I have a shotgun set up for HD in my home, but they have been over rated for decades. The reality just can't keep up with the myth. We've all been affected by the Hollywood portrayal of them being used. They don't blow 2' diameter holes through walls and knock attackers on the other side 10' off their feet when hit. The real reason they are so popular is because they are inexpensive and with varying loads very versatile for more than defensive uses.

Inside most homes the pattern is so small they offer very little advantage over a carbine which I really prefer. You have to aim either. At very close ranges I'd rather have a handgun in one hand and be able to have 1 hand free for other purposes. Recoil is also a factor. Slugs and buckshot loads are at 300 WM levels from typical weight shotguns.

In my opinion they are most useful outdoors at ranges from 20-50 yards where they have a chance for a pattern to open up large enough to make hits more likely. Buckshot goes through building materials just as easily as rifle or handgun rounds, but their limited range is safer outdoors than rifles or handguns.
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Old December 29, 2012, 07:12 PM   #19
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It ain't the shot size that determines recoil. its the weight.

1 oz of shot, buck shot, or slugs is going to kick the same if you are pushing it with the same amount of powder.

Let me start by saying I don't use shotguns for self defense. That's why I have my little revolver.

But I do load my shotgun shells, 1 1/8 oz at 1150 fps for clay targets and three gun where you use bird shot.

For slugs I use the 1 oz Lee mold. For buck shot I use a .319 cal round ball and stuff 9 in the hull. (a tiny bit over 1 oz, then pick a powder charge to get me about 1200 fps. I pick the wad that gives me the best pattern at 25 yards.

I use the slugs and buck shot for three gun events that call for slugs and buck shot. Also I don't have any sights on my 870 Police Shot gun. Cylinder bore 18 inches with only a bead. This was the same shotgun APD issued for carrying in patrol cars but I don't like shotguns for police work.

This set up works great for me.
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Old December 29, 2012, 07:55 PM   #20
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Why not slugs ?

Since folks say that buck shot holds together at inside the house range, why not simply use a reduced recoil slug ?
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Old December 29, 2012, 09:23 PM   #21
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"Unless you live on acreage and anticipate engaging bad guys at distances beyond 25 yards, shotgun slugs are not a good choice for home defense, because of their enormous capability to over-penetrate a human body and common building materials."

from: http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm in post #17.
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Old December 29, 2012, 10:04 PM   #22
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Not "Tactics and Training" enough for that forum, too much a general discussion of the characteristics of buckshot ammunition not to be in the shotgun forum... Moving...

Brent
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Old December 29, 2012, 11:21 PM   #23
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I used a shotgun in a couple of shootings early in my career. For LE use I found that #1 buck is the minimum I'd recommend. I don't see any use for a slug, if you need a slug then a rifle bullet will work better. For home defense I'd use #4 bird shot. I just don't see needing to shoot over about 20' inside a house. At that range you're likely to hit the BG with an ounce of lead at around 1200 fps. I also believe that if you're using a shotgun at night or any other 'dark' time you ought to aim for the crouch. Most misses in the dark are high. If the BG has body armor it won't be covering him there.
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Old December 30, 2012, 12:28 AM   #24
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A #4 bird shot pellet weighs about 3.24 grains. A #1 buck shot pellet weighs about 40 grains. A #4 lead bird shot pellet will not penetrate nearly as far as a #1 lead buck shot pellet, and, of course, neither will penetrate nearly as far as any lead or solid copper slug. To "stop" the bad guy immediately shotgun pellets must penetrate about 12". A #4 bird shot hit would certainly produce a horrible center of mass wound, but it is much less likely to stop the bad guy immediately.
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Old December 30, 2012, 02:48 PM   #25
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#4 buckshot would be ok #4 bird shot is for pheasants. People make a big deal about energy transfer. An oz of lead at 1200fps is going to hurt but if it does not penetrate it is not going to knock you down and it is not going to stop you. Penetration is the key so the bigger the shot the better.

00 buckshot is over 8mm
#4 buckshot is 6mm ish
#4 bird shot is 3mm ish

Pretty big differences.
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