View Full Version : Shotgun ammo observations, a minor rant

Rosco P. Coltrain
November 22, 1999, 04:08 PM
Has any one else noticed that rifle and pistol ammo has had a major evolution over the past few years. We have more designs for rifle and pistol bullets than ever. Designs like the Winchester Fail-safe use interesting new design advances.

OK, so why hasn't this occurred to the same extent with shotgun ammo?

The flechette load, one of the more practical advances in shotgun ammo is still not widely available or even known about. Tungsten buckshot loads have not gotten past the expiremental stage. Steel buckshot is only made as a specialty item.

Why have we not seen as big of an advance in shotgun ammo as we have with rifle and pistol ammo?

I would like to see more advances in this area.

November 22, 1999, 04:22 PM
Maybe we could get Peter Pi to work something up. :)

"The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property,
or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called into question.."
Article 11, Section 13, CO state constitution.

Dave McC
November 22, 1999, 08:30 PM
The possibility exists,Roscoe, that no improvement is needed.Shotgun ammo has, in my lifetime, greatly improved, Reliability is exemplary, performance is awe inspiring...

But, what CAN be done?...

Maybe a really tight patterning load in 000 that would serve as a longer range load.

Maybe a 2 inch long tac load that patterns as well as the regular stuff.

Maybe tungsten fletchettes for LE work, and a AP sabot load for same. Depleted Uranium,anyone?

Hmmm, that fletchette load might work for deer hunting also...

Rosco P. Coltrain
November 27, 1999, 02:26 PM
I am not that impressed with the reduced "tactical" buckshot loads. I see their need, but I have no use for them. They are a trade-off, you are trading ballistics for recoil considerations. I see them as an equipment solution to a training and weapon fit problem.

November 28, 1999, 03:30 AM
Tac loads pattern much better in my guns, and I wish they could make a 3" 000 BUCK pattern as well. One advan to the tac load is recovery time and an increase in usable distance.

Erik, Ditto on the Brennekes.

Dave McC
November 28, 1999, 07:28 AM
I haven't seen a tac load that beats a standard pattern, but then, I'm only 53.
Haven't seen a 2 inch load either, except for archaic Brit SXS shotgun.

And, I can't buy them off the shelf at Gun R Us, so utility is suspect.

Agreed on Brennekes....

Rosco P. Coltrain
November 28, 1999, 02:40 PM
Any experienced shotgunner will tell you that there is a big luck factor involved with shot patterns.

Big Bunny
November 28, 1999, 08:54 PM
Rosco, the word is "random" I believe!But a true observation.

The 2" 12GA is used in UK for wing close-up shooting, usually with beaters. It has a lot to offer, as lighter, more useable shooting results. Pattern is tightly regulated by the gunsmiths, as is fit to the shooter - so accuracy and comfort is enhanced over most of the stock ammo and mass-produced, non-fitted and non-regulated guns we use.

The 2" 12GA has a lot to offer us for the right application, as well as less bulk for magazine guns.

A 12 GA reload with a cut down 2 3/4" case using felt/paper wads is a possibility for an experimenter.

It may give surprising results for shorter range and target shooting as long as it is regulated/patterned properly to the gun.

***Big Bunny***

Rosco P. Coltrain
November 28, 1999, 09:53 PM
Yeah, there is not realy a good way of knowing what configuration of load/choke/gunsmithing will result in the best pattern.

Dave McC
November 29, 1999, 08:18 AM
Agreed, Roscoe, Shotgun patterns are an arcane and difficult science.

Some loose rules can apply, but a lot of it is cut and try,so to speak.

December 1, 1999, 05:35 PM
Notes on "custom" Black powder loads for your double barreled front stuffer:

While nitro cellulose (rolling papers) make FINE preloaded cartriges.. using scotch tape over a plastic wad of #7 shot will leave a HOLE in your patterning target aproximately 12 ga. in diameter (poor man's glaser safty slug)

Star washers make REALLY wierd patterns on patterning targets and go all over the place..with NO predictability best not to use more than 18 in each barrel and no more than 90 grains of powder.

18 dimes (young guns aside) is TOO MUCH. 10 dimes makes a nice fat stack of slug/shrapnel and costs less to shoot. see above posting reguaring scotch tape and frangibles. test on wet phone books for best results.

Glass marbles shatter on impact and can bounce back. Avoid these. ;(

While rusty nails might SOUND like a good idea... we KNOW better than to put an OUNCE and a QUARTER of RUSTY ANYHING in our shotgun RIGHT???? DON'T WE???

Rocksalt.. can scratch the finish of a fine firearm... and patterns unpredictably. Better to buy SEA SALT at a health food store and a nitro cellulose paper wrapped wad for longer bore life.

00 buckshot doesn't pattern as nicely as #4 buckshot and you get more shots per pound.

And remember.. even a "squib load" of 50 grains of ffG and a cotton wad will make the range officer come a running... then when he sees the smoke he'll say OH its YOU again. ;)
You will make all those guys on the sporting clays range wince when you rip a 90 grain charge with an ounce or more of #9 at a clay pigeon. They will beg that you be moved to the end of the range.

And if all else fails.. the SMOKE generated by each barrel is enough to screen your fast exit out the back in the event of a miss.

nuff said,


[This message has been edited by Dr.Rob (edited December 01, 1999).]

December 2, 1999, 02:36 PM
In the Jan. 2000 issue of Guns&Ammo, there is a what's new for 2000 article featuring a sidebar on Centurion Ordnance, Inc. They make, among other things, 1.5" 12-guage shells in 7 1/2 shot, buckshot or slugs.

On a lighter note, if you want variety, the same issue has an ad for Planet Ammo (www.funammo.com). They list some wild (read:gimmicky overpriced) stuff. This includes things like flechettes, chain shot, tacks, beanbags loads etc. You know, the stuff you laugh at the gun shows.

I've also seen serious ads for "load your own" flechettes pre-loaded on a sabot ready for reloading.

They all have legitimate sporting use, of course. (Where do you guys get that little winking smiley guy?)

December 5, 1999, 11:54 AM

To add smilies, go to the top of this page & click on FAQ :)

Ralph in In.

December 7, 1999, 01:18 PM
Thanks Greybeard ;)

December 7, 1999, 09:18 PM
I've been interested in specialty ammo for shotguns for a while. Read "The worlds Fighting Shotguns" By Thomas Swerergen.
(probably spelled it wrong). This is the big fat textbook on shotguns, a little dated, I think it was printed in the 1970's.

There was a chapter about specialty ammo that was tested during Vietnam. The problem with flechettes was that they didn't leave enough of a wound on the target, even though they had a lot better range. But there where some other neat experiments.

1. Scimitar. This worked on the flechette principle, only the projectiles looked like little finned razor blades. They stabilized in flight, but became very unstable on impact. Due to their size they made some pretty viscious wounds. If I remember correctly they where effective out to about 100 yards as opposed to 25 for 00.

2. Silent Shotgun Shell. Multiple projectiles usually tore up the baffels in silencers and suppresors. So the naval special warfare R&D people came up with a shell that instead of a wad had a thing that looked like a balloon. When the shell was fired, the gas would blow the balloon up and then stop, this trapped the expanding gasses. The load was a reduced charge of buckshot that was only effective at close range. But it was supposed to be really quiet.

3. Argentinan Mini-grenades, a little explosive slug. The idea was to fire it through a car window, and the blast would stun or kill all of the passengers.

4. Penguin tear gas shell, these are still used by police. It is a ball of tear gas fired like a slug.

It was a good book, I highly recommend it.

I don't think that there is any reason that new loads couldn't be developed. The shotgun shell is a big envelope, you can fit all sorts of neat stuff in one.

December 8, 1999, 06:11 AM
Dr. Rob,
You are one sick man!
I like that ;)
So tell me, who makes a decent BP double?

CCW for Ohio action site.
Do what you C.A.N.


January 6, 2000, 04:50 PM

Mine is a Pedersoli. Cabela's is selling them for almost $600 these days but I bought mine used for around $200 at a gun show. Keep your eyes open.