View Full Version : Extensive Vang Comp 870 Super Magnum Test Results!!!

August 22, 2002, 09:40 PM
The purpose of this extensive test was not only to evaluate different brands and types of buck and slugs with the 870 Super Magnum Vang Comp System, but to also find keeper loads for the area of combat buckshot, slug, and Super Magnum Buckshot (for big game). That is a round that proved itself to be superior to the rest of it's class. Not just in one area, but a round that incorporates the best of pattern, velocity, price, reliability, and recoil.

In the end, I decided that Winchester's "Double X" Copper Plated buffered 12 Pellet 00 load was that round. Not only did it produce the best velocity figures out of all the buck loads, but it was very consistent, had 3 extra pellets, and patterned tight to boot. I just ordered 250 rounds of this and am currently phasing out other buck in my arsenal (I just want to stock the 3 "keeper" ammo types, not a misc. selection for each)

Though it patterned the tightest at all ranges, I did not choose the Estate round for several reasons.
1. It is no longer in production
2. Over longer ranges the lack of 3 pellets makes the pattern less dense even though it may be tighter
3. My gun sometimes jams with this load for unknown reasons.

The slug I choose to incorporate was Brenneke's 3" magnum slug. Because it is the most powerful slug, and if I choose to utilize a slug I want to be able to have the power to penetrate, and not have a soft lead pancake instead)

The Super magnum buckshot round I choose was the Nitro 3 1/2" 0000 (Twelve .38 cal pellets). This round produces over 2,800 ft/lbs at the muzzle out of my gun, it is the ultimate close range stopper. If I need immediate stoppage at close range and this round doesn't stop it, nothing handheld will. This is a good round to have chambered when one risks a close encounter in bear country.

These are the rounds I have chosen based on the results I have obtained. Feel free to read my test results and let me know if you think I made the right choices, and if not, what rounds you would have picked instead.

QuadOughtBuck’s Vang Comp 870 Super Magnum Test Results
(Gun was a Vang Comped 870 Super Magnum with a 18.5” chrome lined barrel and porting)

Pattern Results on 23”x 34” ANT-4C style target paper at 15, 29, 42 and 60 yard ranges.

Patterns measured in inches W.x H. (Width by height)

Federal Premium 2 ¾” 9 Pellet 00
15 yrds: 6”x 6”
15 yrds: 4”x 4”
15 yrds: 9”x 7”
15 yrds: 7”x 7”
29 yrds: 11”x 9.5”
29 yrds: 18”x 13”
29 yrds: 18” x 9” (9”x 9” minus flyer)
29 yrds: 15”x 17”
29 yrds: 12”x 12”
29 yrds: 12”x 10”
42 yrds: 16”x 21”
42 yrds:
Average 15 yrds: 6.5”x 6”
Average 29 yrds( - flyer): 13”x 11.75”

Federal Premium 2 ¾” 8 Pellet 000
29 yrds: 9”x 15”
29 yrds: 10”x 18”
29 yrds: 13”x 9”
Average: 10.6”x 14”

Federal Premium 3” 15 Pellet 00
29 yrds: 21”x 16”
29 yrds: 16”x 16”
29 yrds: 19”x 16” (16”x 16” minus flyer)
Average( - flyer): 17.5”x 16”

Winchester XX 2 ¾” 12 Pellet 00
15 yrds: 6”x 7”
15 yrds: 6”x 8” (6”x2”minus flyer)
29 yrds: 16”x 10” *(5 pellets center of aim in a 4”x2.5” area!)
29 yrds: 14”x 14”
29 yrds: 15”x 10” *(6 pellets (50%) center of aim in a 4”x4.5” area!)
29 yrds: 15”x 11”
29 yrds: 11”x 10” (6.5”x 9” minus flyer)
29 yrds: 12”x 16” (8 pellets in a 6”x 6” area)
42 yrds: 16”x 22”
42 yrds: 21”x 19”
42 yrds: 20”x 19”
42 yrds: 20”x 18”
60 yrds: (4 pellets on paper, further 60 yrd shots discontinued)
Average 15 yrd (- flyer): 6”x 7.5”
Average 29 yrd (- flyer): 13”x 11.5”
Average 42 yrd: 19.25”x 19.5”

Winchester XX 3” 15 Pellet 00
15 yrds: 9”x 6”
15 yrds: 9”x 6”
29 yrds: 15”x 15”
29 yrds: 16”x 16” (16”x 9” minus flyer)
29 yrds: 12”x 18.5”
29 yrds: 15”x 16”
42 yrds: 14”x 21”
42 yrds 20”x 25”
42 yrds: 12 pellets on paper in a 15”x 22” area)
Average 15 yrds: 9”x 6”
Average 29 yrds( - flyer): 14.5”x 14.62”
Average 42 yrds: 17”x 23”

Estate SWAT 2 ¾” 9 Pellet 00
29 yrds: 6”x 7.5”
29 yrds: 10”x 10”
29 yrds: 6”x 6.5”
29 yrds: 12”x 10” (7”x6” minus flyer)
29 yrds: 6”x 3.5” ***(7 pellets in a 2”x2” area WOW!)***
42 yrds: 7 pellets on paper in a 10”x17.5” area (two flyers off paper)
42 yrds: 16.5”x 24” (9.5”x 12” minus 2 flyers)
42 yrds: 13”x 14”
Average 29 yrd ( - flyer): 7”x 6.7” ****Tightest Patterning Load of the Bunch!!!
Average 42 yrd: 14.75”x 19”

Sellier and Bellot 2 ¾” 12 Pellet 00
15 yrds: 8”x 9
29 yrds:15”x 26” (15”x 9” – 2 flyers)
29 yrds: 18”x 17”
Average 29 yrd: 13.6”x 17.3” ****Worst Patterning Load of the Bunch!!!

Remington Express 2 ¾” 12 Pellet 00
29 yrds: 12”x 20.5”
29 yrds: 15”x 14”
29 yrds: 13”x 13”
29 yrds: 14”x 14”
Average 29 yrd: 13.5”x 15.37”

Winchester SuperX 3 ½” 18 Pellet 00
29 yrds: 14 pellets on paper in a 16”x 18” area
29 yrds: 16 pellets on paper in a 16”x 13” area:* 10 of the pellets in a 6”x 10” area)
42 yrds: 16 pellets on paper in a 18”x 24” area
42 yrds: 15 pellets on paper in a 16”x 23” area:5 pellets center of aim in a 3.5”x 1.5” area
Average: Inconclusive as all pellets did not impact the paper.

Nitro 3 ½” 18 Pellet 00
29 yrds: 20”x 15”
29 yrds: 15 pellets on paper in a 9”x 12” area
29 yrds: 14 pellets on paper in a 17”x 17” area
42 yrds: 7 pellets on paper in a 20”x 17” area
Average: Inconclusive as all pellets did not impact the paper.

Nitro 3 ½” 12 Pellet 0000 (.38 caliber pellets)
29 yrds: 18”x 12”
29 yrds: 6”x 27” (6”x 14” minus flyer)
29 yrds: 16”x 7” (16”x 26” minus 2 flyers)
42 yrds: 7 pellets on paper in a 17”x 26” area
Average 29 yrd ( - flyer): 13.3”x 15.3”

Velocity and Energy Results: (in foot pounds: ft/lbs) Velocity Results Measured in fps (feet per second) at a distance of 3 yards from a Shooting Chrony: Formula for energy in ft/lbs = Velocity (in fps) squared, times mass (of projectile in grains), divided by 450436 a.k.a. [m(vxv)]\450436


Estate SWAT 2 ¾” 9 Pellet 00
1,166 fps
1,124 fps
1,140 fps
1,136 fps
1,152 fps
Average: 1,144 fps
486 grains @ 1,144 fps –1,413 ft/lbs (157 per pellet)

Sellier and Bellot 2 ¾” 12 Pellet 00
(Too Pathetic to mention. Below 1,000)

Federal Premium 2 ¾” 9 Pellet 00
1,211 fps
1,176 fps
1,214 fps
1,195 fps
1,187 fps
1,192 fps
1,158 fps
1,198 fps
1,145 fps
1,122 fps
1,185 fps
Average: 1,180 fps
486 grains @ 1,180 fps –1,503 ft/lbs (167 per pellet)

Federal Premium 3” 15 Pellet 00
1,014 fps
948 fps
895.7 fps
(further chronographing with this load discontinued due to pathetic velocity figures)
Average: 953 fps
810 grains @ 953 fps –1,633 ft/lbs (108 per pellet)

Winchester XX 2 ¾” 12 Pellet 00
1,207 fps
1,221 fps
1,231 fps
1,219 fps
1,226 fps
Average: 1,221 fps
648 grains @ 1,221 fps –2,145 ft/lbs (179 per pellet)

Winchester XX 3” 15 Pellet 00
1,102 fps
1,100 fps
1,116 fps
1,083 fps
Average: 1,100 fps
810 grains @ 1,100 fps –2,176 ft/lbs (145 per pellet)

Winchester SuperX 3 ½” 18 Pellet 00
1,124 fps
1,146 fps
1,119 fps
Average: 1,130 fps
972 grains @ 1,130 fps –2,755 ft/lbs (153 per pellet)

Remington Express 3 ½” 18 Pellet 00
1,115 fps
1,089 fps
Average: 1,102 fps
972 grains @ 1,102 fps –2,620 ft/lbs (146 per pellet)

Nitro 3 ½” 18 Pellet 00
1,134 fps
1,099 fps
1,139 fps
Average: 1,125 fps
972 grains @ 1,102 fps –2,731 ft/lbs (152 per pellet)

Nitro 3 ½” 12 Pellet 0000 (.38 caliber pellets)
1,137 fps
1,141 fps
1,135 fps
1,142 fps
Average: 1,140 fps
960 grains @ 1,140 fps –2,770 ft/lbs (231 per pellet)


Winchester 2 ¾” Rifled Slug
1,418 fps
1,384 fps
1,399 fps
1,424 fps
1,421 fps
Average: 1,410 fps
438 grains @ 1,410 fps –1,933 ft/lbs

Winchester 3” Rifled Slug
1,530 fps
1,520 fps
1,533 fps
Average: 1,528 fps
438 grains @ 1,528 fps –2,270 ft/lbs

Brenneke 3” Magnum Slug
1,370 fps
1,375 fps
1,368 fps
1,355 fps
1,305 fps
1,272 fps
1,333 fps
1,310 fps
1,301 fps
Average( - lowest velocity): 1,340 fps
600 grains @ 1,340 fps –2,392 ft/lbs

[/B]Wild Tests:[/B]
Rapid Fire 10 rounds of Sellier and Bellot 12 pellet 00 Buckshot at ~65 yards.

First test (Wild 1) was to rapid fire shots as fast as possible toward target without taking time to really line up the sights exactly. AKA just point and shoot mode, reflex shots. This was designed to simulate stress/panic mode during combat.

Second test (Wild II) was rapid fire aimed shots, to fire as fast as possible while first making sure to line up the MMC ghost ring sights to the target. This is designed to simulated concious, cool headed, controled fire under combat.

Test Results: Number of pellets on paper. (Number of pellets on silluet on the paper)
Wild I: 8 (6 on target, 2 vital headshots.)
Wild II:28(19 on target, 8 vital shots on head, neck, heart, and lung).

Clearly, it is better to try to keep a cool head under combat and fire aimed shots. Even though it may be half the speed, not to mention hard to keep a cool head under the stress at combat, it is clearly over 3 times as effective to the target than point and shoot/spray and pray un-aimed shots with buck at that distance.

August 22, 2002, 10:21 PM
Hi, QuadOughtBuck. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the trouble to post such detailed results for us. I've been thinking about a Vang Comp barrel for my 870, having read about its alleged advantages, but your figures help to put that advantage into practical, measurable terms. I'll try some of the same loads through my standard barrel, compare the results with yours, and if the Vang Comp barrel offers a substantial advantage (which it already appears to do, judging by your test results), I'll put in an order for one.

August 22, 2002, 10:45 PM
Thanks for the praise, Preacherman. Keep in mind that I used rather longer distances than normally used to test buckshot patterns (15,29 and 42 yrds). My average distance was 29 yards instead of the standard 25, ect. Also it must be noted that I only used one reduced recoil load amidst a wave of high velocity buck rounds. It is the low recoil loads (such as Estate, Federal, Winchester) that pattern the tightest since they utilize deep shot cups, lower velocity, buffering, and plated pellets.

Estate SWAT patterned routinely at around 6-7" at 30 yards! That is around 5" at 25 yards. The other brands of buck patterned around 12-15" at 30 yards, which is prob. around 10-12" at 25 yards, still very tight!

Other reduced recoil loads would have similar results as the Estate I would imagine.

It is also interesting to note that the pattern of the loads at 42 yards out of the Vang Comped gun are as wide as buck loads at 25 yards out of a typical standard imp cyl/cyl bore shotgun.

One may wonder what is with the seemingly erratic distances, 29 yrds, 42 yrds, etc. The reason being because the range is set to meters, and I personally measured the distance of each target to the end of the barrel at the shooting bench to figure out exactly just how far I was shooting. The distances are real, the patterns are real, the velocities are real...my name has been changed to protect the innocent

Dave McC
August 23, 2002, 06:13 AM
Kudoes and thanks,4/0! This is the kind of testing that gives us real world answers.


Each shotgun is a law unto itself. Using a different shotgun means all this does is indicate some strong candidates for best ammo. ONLY extensive testing with a given shotgun will show the best choices for that shotgun.

Your spreads are excellent. Hans and the guys seem to do great work. So do you.

A coupla questions....

How was the muzzle flash with those howitzer loads?

Did you try any low light shooting to see?

How did the slugs group?

Thanks again on a great job....

August 23, 2002, 07:58 AM
VangComp's rock!! I didn't realize that Estates 00 was out of production. Are they done producing 00 for good?

August 23, 2002, 09:21 PM
Thanks for the kind words, Dave. I too am very pleased with the gun except for that minor jam problem it has.

"How was the muzzle flash with those howitzer loads? Did you try any low light shooting to see?""

Well I shot the great majority of the loads during the day. I did shoot a few rounds around dusk to see how the flash would be. These were the Sellier and Bellot, Federal Premium 9 pellet, and Winchester XX 3" 00. The muzzle flash was fairly tame, actually, though flame did snort out of the porting creating a dynamic blast shape. Hans and the guys claim that one of the advantages of the porting is that it helps reduce muzzle flash. Though I have never fired a shotgun at night before hand, so I don't have any others to compare it too, it seemed tame. It would be interesting for me to pull out the standard 870 and fire a few at night to see the difference.

"How did the slugs group?"

I did not actually test groupings for most of the slugs, as I had 5 round boxes and I was just trying to basically get velocity. They did shoot around point of aim at the 29 yrd target I had as a backdrop, though. The only slug I sort of tested out to great distances were the cheap Winchester 1 ounce slugs that go for 15 for $5.45 at WAL~MART. I was surprised to see that they shot fairly well and pretty much point of aim with my ghost ring sights. . And those cheapo slugs were accurate enough to make kill shots at ~100+ yrds. In fact it’s sort of odd…. All my ammo, buck and slugs, pretty much shoots point of aim. All I did was crank the rear sight up 3-4 clicks after I first starting shooting the gun, and that has pretty much all I’ve needed to do to the sights since. More extensive slug grouping tests are on the way, you better believe it!

"Thanks again on a great job...."

Thank you again for all your appreciation and support.

AA, as far as I know the company (estate) is out of business. However, I have also heard that Federal is going to take over and create shells under the Federal Name with Estates same "formula".

Dave McC
August 24, 2002, 05:13 AM
You're very welcome,4/0, and thank you.

Those cheapo Winchester slugs group close to the best in my Deer 870, and also were my old duty slug. Very effective on Md deer,BTW.

Estate will still make their game and target loads,as I understand it, but Federal has stopped production of the buck. Too bad, good stuff. However, I'd not be too surprised to see new Fed 00 that shoots similar. It will be more expensive, of course...

August 28, 2002, 01:24 AM
Tell me, Dave, what is the max range you can shoo those slugs and still land kill shots? Have you done any extreme testing of those slugs? Would be interesting to discover their limitations. In terms of KO power, how are they (cheapo winchesters) compared to Brenneke KOs and magnums?

Dave McC
August 28, 2002, 04:40 AM
It depends on your definition of extreme, Quad. I rarely get shot opps over 50 yards where I hunt, so my deer guns get zeroed and shot at 50 yards.

With the KOs(which are great on deer, but all 12 gauge full bore slugs work well), one of my slug shooters groups a bit over 4" edge to edge at 100 yards, the other under 5".

Rottweil Brenekkes,those Winchesters, and the Fed 1 oz Forster style all come in 2" to 3 1/2" at 50 yards in one of the other.

As to relative power with these, Md deer are not thick nor tough enough to enable gradient testing. When inserted properly, they all have short, profuse blood trails with a humanely taken critter at the end.

If Mastodon ever come back into season, then we may be able to field test these properly(G)...

August 31, 2002, 11:33 AM
Hmmm, very interesting Dave.

On a side note I would just like to follow up on my observations on the different brand performances. Namely, Winchester and Federal, which have two of the best reputations for shotgun shells. My observation throughout these extensive tests was that Winchester shells were far superior to Federal, at least in terms of buckshot.

Not only did every Winchester load shoot tighter than it's Federal counterparts, but the Winchester loads all had much higher velocities as well! What's really surprising is that even the 2 ¾" 12 pellet Winchester load shot ~40+fps faster than the 9 pellet "high velocity" Federal load. The advertised factory velocities for both of these rounds were 1,325fps for the Federal 9 pellet, and 1,295fps for the Winchester 12 and yet the Winchester still shot faster!

The 3" Winchester 00 buck rounds were 150 fps faster than their 3" Federal counterparts! It seems as if Winchester buck is of a much higher quality than Federal. I somehow doubt that this just how they perform in my gun, I have heard stories of Federal QC falling over the past few years. Though it would be interesting to see what others results reveal.

Also here are pictures of the gun to any that are interested, I meant to include them with my first post at the top but allas I have exceeded my time limit. If any moderator would help me move them I would be greatful.

[img] http://www.vangcomp.com/VangComp%20Barrel.jpg[img]

Dave McC
September 1, 2002, 04:35 PM
As far as Fed goes, I know of no major decrease in QC, and lots of folks I know use various Fed loads. Maybe something will turn up after this season.

Velocity and quality are two different things. Crunch the numbers for max and standard deviation, that shows more QC than raw speed, IMO.

Once again, you know what works best now, go with that....

September 1, 2002, 10:34 PM
A few thoughts on slug effectiveness which some of you may not have heard about. I know that the common Foster-type slugs, as used in many American states, do just fine on whitetail deer, and even on black bear (although they're made to expand, so may not penetrate deep enough to reach the vitals on a heavier animal). Brenneke's do rather better on penetration, as they are specifically designed NOT to expand, on the principle that a 7½-inch-wide hole in an animal should be enough for the job! I understand that several grizzlies have been taken in Alaska at close range with Brenneke's, but that at 35-40 yards and further out, the velocity loss is such as to limit penetration, even with these hard boys.

I know that in Africa, several Cape buffalo have been taken with both Brenneke and Foster slugs. They were shot from broadside, and the Brenneke's proved capable of shooting right through them if no major bone structures were hit. When shoulder or rib bones were hit, the Brenneke's turned them into bone shrapnel, and stopped under the hide on the far side. The Foster slugs generally didn't perform well if bone was hit, but would do adequate damage to heart and lungs. The range on all of these shots, as far as I'm aware, was less than 30 yards, in heavy bush. (On all occasions, a hunter with a heavy rifle was standing by to back up the slug hunter if necessary - on at least 3 occasions, it was VERY necessary, as the buffs didn't seem to think that a shotgun slug in the ribcage was a sporting proposition!)

I don't think anyone's taken rhino or elephant with slugs. I daresay it might be technically possible to reach the heart or lungs with a clear side shot, and no intervening bone, but I think the animals' reactions to a muffed shot might be rather hairy for the close-range shotgun hunter - and I don't think a slug would turn a charge from the big beasties!

September 1, 2002, 11:13 PM
Wow, I've heard of Brennekes being used on the cape buffs, but fosters have taken them too? Really makes you re-evaluate the power of the shotgun. I have visted the brenneke page where it shows the loss of velocity at varying ranges, and it doesn't seem as if there is too much velocity loss at those ranges. Though I have always wondered the difference in power between not only the brennekes and the fosters, but the 2 3/4" and the 3" brennekes as well.

Brenneke 3” Magnum

Distance (yards)...Velocity (feet/sec.)...Energy (ft. lbs.)Bullet path (inch)
Muzzle ................1,502fps.....................3,014ft/lbs.............. - 2,0
25........................1,295fps.....................2,241ft/lbs..............+ 0,4
50........................1,136fps.....................1,724ft/lbs..............+ 1,6
100.......................955fps.......................1,219ft/lbs..............- 1,5

Do you know if the slugs used on the capes were 2 3/4" or 3"ers? Would be interesting to see if the larger slugs are more effective at longer ranges. Though such tests do get me thinking... if a soft foster slug can take Buff, then I wonder how effective a 3 1/2" shell of hardened 0000 would work when in the proper range? Sounds like the next interesting experiment. ;)

Dave McC
September 2, 2002, 05:15 AM
Buff have also been taken with 22 shorts, but that doesn't make the 22 a good buff caliber.

Same with slugs. Capstick did knock off a brace of bulls, but he had a sturdy fellow with a large caliber stopping rifle nearby.

My idea of proper buff tackle is not an 870 and KOs, it runs more like a 470NE and solids.

September 2, 2002, 06:12 AM
Over the years I have seen several pictures of elephants supposidly shot with shotgun slugs. I have no doubt that it would work fine. Let's think about this for a second, all these animals have been taken over the years with muzzleloaders which shoot a pure lead ball or bullet at about the same velocity as a shotgun slug. So with a shotguns slug we have something very similar to a muzzleloader only bigger than many muzzleloader bullets in diameter. I think this is another case where these animals haven't changed over the years. What worked 100 years ago will work today. We have just read and heard so much hype that we tend not to believe it.

September 2, 2002, 11:19 PM
"Buff have also been taken with 22 shorts..."

...I just simply cant believe that. The soft lead would bounce off his hide!

Dave McC
September 3, 2002, 04:58 AM
John Hunter wrote about a PH treed by a buff who plinked it at the base of the ear at maybe 6 feet and watched it crumple.He used a small revolver he kept with him for signaling and snakes.

FYI, the world record Brown Bear was one taken by an NA woman hunting grouse who killed the thing by the same method using a single shot 22LR.

Not recommended except in very dire straits...