View Full Version : Penetration with 'Low-Recoil' buckshot?

April 11, 2009, 05:50 PM
Does anyone have info on tests with low recoil buckshot showing how much less penetration it has as opposed to full strength buck?


April 11, 2009, 07:39 PM
(plus the 2 pages following it)

Might want to consider bird-shot for up-close-and-personal when wall penetration is an issue.


Lee Lapin
April 12, 2009, 07:48 AM

I'd rather not use it, myself. I do like buckshot for close in, but given reports of less than stellar performance from the field, would prefer to stick to full velocity loads within 25 yards or so, and slugs for further out. Some individuals whose opinion I respect a great deal use slugs only in defensive shotguns. I'm not saying I know more than they do, of course.

You'll likely get about as many opinions as you do responses- there's one more...


April 12, 2009, 08:43 AM
so many ammo types--why no simple answers! ;)

theboxoftruth says birdshot leaves too shallow a round to get more than an inch or so under the skin--definitely not a stopper. It seems buckshot of any kind is going to go through at least 4 walls minimum! Room distances I would fire this gun are all under 20 feet. I honestly would not like to use a pistol for home defense if I didnt have to.

April 12, 2009, 09:07 AM
Mike, the simple answer is to use the perp as an ammo slowing sponge... even if the 00 of regular velocity exits, it is going to have greatly diminished velocity after spending that much time in a body...

April 12, 2009, 09:30 AM
so, dont miss? ;)

April 12, 2009, 09:33 AM
Might want to consider bird-shot for up-close-and-personal when wall penetration is an issue.

Not only does birdshot not penetrate drywall very well, it has penetration issues on humans too. As the old saying goes, "bird shot is for little birdies". Stick with buckshot.


April 12, 2009, 09:41 AM

April 12, 2009, 09:52 AM

Your link is 404.

April 12, 2009, 10:12 AM
I have a 590 Mossberg, my first 2 loads are birdshot and the rest are OO for home ready condition.

Katrina Guy
April 12, 2009, 07:50 PM
I bought 5 boxes (five to a box) of Federal's LE (Law Enforcement-or so they advertise it as) Low Recoil 00 Buck, reasoning being (to me) easier follow up shots due to reduced recoil. Also, Federal advertises a tighter pattern-not that that is any consideration in close encounters of the worst kind, i.e. inside your abode, fact is I might rather a wider spread.
I'm sure it penetrates less, that was the question correct?, simply due to the lower velocity. Brent would know more about all that then I. I'm interested in a definitive answer as I wouldn't want to have an insufficient load in my shotgun, although a 12 guage buckshot even if lower velocity seems, on the surface, to be quite adequate. PERhaps I should swap it out, use standard buckshot for winter (thicker winter clothing on the BG) and low recoil in the summer?

April 12, 2009, 08:57 PM
KG, I don't know nuttin' of them... To me it is not wise for me to leave the 00 Super X (super cheap) Winchester. They have worked on deer incredibly well and have always functioned fine. I just cannot bring myself to "spend more for less" when I have worked so hard to maintain a fairly quick reacquisition of my target. I am also of the mindset that so long as you don't go sprayin' and prayin' all willy nilly wall penetration concerns are greatly negated...

Katrina Guy
April 13, 2009, 05:04 AM
I don't think wall penetration was his question but stop-a-bility penetration, and yes, we're not talking hosing the target "area" down with pellets...leave that for Hollywood *LOL*

April 13, 2009, 06:41 AM
I think the biggest difference between regular and low recoil is the weight of the payload. 1-1/8oz versus usually 7/8oz for reduced recoil. Power and penetration would be the same, just fewer shot in the reduced recoil.

April 13, 2009, 08:24 AM
KG, I understand. But like I said, I will stick with what I am sure is gonna stop an intruder in the home or even at a fair distance out doors as well. They were cheap enuff to practice alot with them and that was paramount too.

April 13, 2009, 08:38 AM
I think the biggest difference between regular and low recoil is the weight of the payload. 1-1/8oz versus usually 7/8oz for reduced recoil. Power and penetration would be the same, just fewer shot in the reduced recoil.

Depends on the load. Some loads are just one less pellet. Some loads are same number of pellets and less powder. Some loads are one less pellet and less powder.

Confusing huh?

To the OP's question...........I'm not sure. Check the velocity rating on the low recoil buck as compared to full power. IF the velocity is the same with simply one less pellet, then each pellet will penetrate the same as the 9 pellet full power loads. If the velocity is less then you will get correspondingly less penetration (in theory).

However, It has been reported that the low recoil slugs actually can penetrate deeper than the standard velocity slugs of equivalent design simply because the lower velocity leads to less mushrooming and thus deeper penetration. Not sure if the same applies to individual buckshot pellets. Haven't seen any jello results on that. I doubt the physics are the same with a ~50 grain pellet vs. a 1 oz slug though......

For my purposes, I use federal LE flite control full power 9 pellet shells. They are perfectly manageable for me and I don't feel the need necessarily to go down in power. I keep Brenneke or Federal Tru-ball slugs handy for extra reach if needed (unlikely).

I do keep one of my shotguns loaded with Remington Managed Recoil 00 as it patterns well and my wife is more tolerant of it. That's my 18.5" accuchoked Mossberg 500. That gun and buckshot load were good enough to roll a deer in it's tracks at 30 yds a couple years ago, when I was recovering from back surgery and wasn't back up to full speed. I figure if it's good enough for that it'll handle a badguy at inside the house ranges.

April 13, 2009, 11:03 AM
thanks for all the insightful answers!

I am concerned with the pellets going through too many walls, but of course still being able to stop someone better than birdshot.

1.Everything Ive read says birdshot wont penetrate deeper than an inch or so under the surface, and gets caught up on clothing easy. If true, this is useless for self defense.

2.Everything Ive read about standard 00Buck is that it will go through 4 walls and keep going.

I know nothings perfect but I can live with maybe 1 or 2 walls worth of penetration. I was hoping some gel or ballistics testing was done on specifically low recoil rounds.

Thank you Rantingredneck for that info--it makes sense that recoil would be reduced if it had less pellets, making the manufacturers intention to producre ammo thats 'just as good' as standard ammo penetration wise. In my case I dont care how much it kicks, I just dont want it sailing through walls. I have a lot of neighbors very close by.

April 13, 2009, 11:13 AM
I load my shotty to have 2rds of #4 buck up first followed by 5rds of 00 buck and keep 5 slugs in a stock cuff. Escalating levels of penetration. #4 buck is 27 x 24 caliber - 23gr pellets. At the 10-20 foot range of most confrontations that's sufficient to throughly ruin a day, or even penetrate one wall and ruin a day. Yet the 23gr balls aren't going to have a lot of energy left after a wall - a room - and another wall. That doesn't mean that they are harmless beyond that, just that the risk to neighbors should be reduced. If 2rds of #4 buck haven't solved the problem then it's more than a burglary and that's where the (33 cal - 54gr) 00 buck comes in.

To answer the OP's question personally I would only go to a reduced recoil load if 1) full power was not manageable by the OP or his spouse and 2) and a better recoil pad did not solve the problem. In that case I see no reason not to go with reduced recoil loads as long as the range is kept short. But I'm actually going the other direction and looking for 2-3/4 magnum 12 pellet 00 buck for all of my future SD/HD 00 buck purchases. However I will maintain my habit of having 2rds if #4 buck up first.

I think the biggest difference between regular and low recoil is the weight of the payload. 1-1/8oz versus usually 7/8oz for reduced recoil. Power and penetration would be the same, just fewer shot in the reduced recoil.I think it depends on the manufacturer. For example Fiocchi "12HV00BK" 12ga 2-3/4 9 pellet 00 buck exits the muzzle at 1325fps, while the reduced recoil but otherwise identical "12LE00BK" 12ga 2-3/4 9 pellet 00 buck exits the muzzle at 1150fps. Federal posts nearly identical numbers for their full power and reduced recoil products. That would point to a reduced powder charge.

April 14, 2009, 12:09 AM
I apologize...either it's dead or having technical difficulties :confused:

I tried using links from this thread: http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=327108

the links were working when I posted my response back then;now I get a 504 error for 'time out' responses...oh well...it used to be a great site for information :(

Katrina Guy
April 14, 2009, 08:50 PM
Or wasn't my intent to if responding post reflected that.
I'm undecided it low recoil's are good, or bad. We all know that a 12 gauge 00 Buck will stop a Buck, how well low recoil's work on other "critters" , shrugs shoulders.

April 14, 2009, 09:11 PM
KG, Nope... I just was makin' sure my opinion was clear and that I wasn't knockin' LR rounds as I have no experience and my satisfaction with the regular 00 full power fits my spartan, utilitarian approach... Just like not using any gun but a mossberg for shotgunning nor super duper sights etc...:D Heck, I need a shorter barrel for the 12 gauge maverick and will buy the basic cyl choke in 18 or 20 inch so it serves my HD needs... that is unless I trip over a good deal on an accuchoke like new with tubes.

April 14, 2009, 09:26 PM
I'd suspect that Federal Tac. 00 buck with plated shot would have as much penetration at low recoil velocity as lead shot would with standard.

At those ranges so close that pattern isn't an issue, then neither is the velocity difference. The Ranger uses lead shot, and would tend to deform more, while penetrating less--sounds like a good trade off to me, while offering excellent followup shot capability.

Federal's FliteControl wad tightens up patterns to a somewhat incredible degree. At 10 yds, one hole. About the same at 15. At 25 yds, about 7X9" thru my Scattergun Tech cyl bore.

Hornady Tap uses the exact same wad, producing the same tight patterns, but uses lead instead of plated.

Winchester Ranger is the mildest recoiling of all of them and is excellent for home defense using lead shot that Chrono's at 1107 fps. from 18" bbl.

My own testing showed this ammo to produce patterns tight enough for effectiveness at 15 yds. thru my cyl. bore. Sorry, but my testing didn't include penetration. Have heard of no complaints with re: to street results for Ranger lead 00 buck at lower velocity. It's pleasant to shoot and procuces patterns much bigger than FliteControl ammo, but still tighter than standard buck at 1300 fps.

Fed. Tac 00 8 pellet Chrono's at 1160 fps. Older stuff without FliteControl. 18" bbl.

Win. Ranger LE, 1107 fps. bbl. length 18".

Fed. Tac LE132-00 with FliteControl Chrono's at 1124 fps. 18"bb.
I believe all Federal Tactical ammo now uses FliteControl wad. This wad doesn't release the shot until it's gone done range a ways. The choke has no influence on the pattern size at all.

All tactical ammo works fine on the street for LE. The 8 pellet loads are created for bureaucratic agencies that mandate 8 pellets instead of nine, perhaps because they feel that 8 pellets produce better patterns. My own testing doesn't indicate that, but the 8 pellet loads work fine, also.

Low recoil buck has penetrated just fine on the street, but standard velocity is readily available for those who want more penetration at the expense of more muzzle blast, more recoil, and bigger patterns. Not a good trade of IMO.

Yes, it's true that low recoil buck was, at least to some extent, developed with wimpy police recruits in mind, but the stuff has proven it'self on the street where it counts.

April 14, 2009, 10:41 PM
thank you for the report Nobby, that is very valuable info!

April 15, 2009, 12:01 AM
You're welcom, Mike.

My HD shotgun is loaded with Ranger or Fed. Tac 8, or 9 pellet.

When I grab my "travel" shotgun and go, I prefer the same as above for the first two rds, followed by Fed. FliteControl 00 buck 9 pellet, LE132-00

Federal actually developed that wad to extend the range for all those police cyl. bore shotguns. Hope those guys remember to get their beads on the target in close.

Federal is even developing, or has, already, a buckshot load that doesn't release the shot until it hits the target. Not sure what special purpose it fills, but I imagine the bowling pin effect would be dynamic.:cool:

April 17, 2009, 12:42 PM
I keep my Mossy 590 loaded with Low Recoil 00 Buck. I did some patterning tests at the range with 3 brands at 10 yards:

Federal Flitecontrol - 1" pattern
Remington low recoil - 3" pattern
Foicchi low recoil - 5" pattern

I put a limbsaver on it, and I consider it good to go.

Katrina Guy
April 18, 2009, 05:55 PM
I've got the Federal L.E. with "Flight COntrol", it's out now and some standard Remington 00 hunting type Buckshot is back in, who wants a 1" pattern? Might as well be shooting slugs.
But I do plan on obtaining some other Low Recoil buckshot, thanks for the informative info.

April 18, 2009, 06:16 PM
Pretty good for LE, probably not what you'd want for a home defense gun.

April 18, 2009, 06:17 PM
who wants a 1" pattern? Might as well be shooting slugs.

All buckshot loads have a "one inch" pattern at some range. And all get too thin at some point, also.

FliteControl simply extends the effective range of cylinder bore (actually all) shotguns. Yes, the range where you "might as well be shooting slugs" increases, but it's that way with all HD loads anyway at typical HD ranges, and the range at which you have a pattern that's still tight enough to be effective, increases, also.

There's a tradeoff either way you go.

April 18, 2009, 06:39 PM
KG, The key word is "law enforcement".. They need an increased range for 00 buck as a "man stopper" since they may be needing a 40 yard shot. But for HD/SD I personally don't want any more spread. If was laying cover fire at 20 yards or more the spread would come in handy. In the house I want a hole big enuff to drive a john deere thru without getting it bloody...

Katrina Guy
April 22, 2009, 05:08 AM
encounter where LE is across the street kind of thing ("HEAT" movie was just on the other night), you make a valid point, which ends the validity of a LE type shell for home defense. I was just looking for a low recoil 00 without the flight control pattern etc etc.

January 22, 2010, 02:41 PM
when your in the prediciment you won't know or feel a difference because your body and mind are "ALL JUKED UP", believe me... after the mess is cleaned up if you have a family, you will most liklely move. it's a very bad experience.

January 22, 2010, 05:06 PM
theboxoftruth says birdshot leaves too shallow a round to get more than an inch or so under the skin--definitely not a stopper.

The Box of Truth is mistaken. Ballistic gel tests show that low brass, 2 3/4 inch dove shot (7 1/2) will penetrate 6 inches when fired from 10 feet. That's quite fatal if you put it in the center of mass.

As I always say, at home defense ranges, anything coming out of a 12 gauge barrel is going to be lethal, including most "non-lethal" or less than lethal rounds. Use whatever you like.

Shawn Dodson
January 22, 2010, 06:24 PM
There are two ways to reduce recoil of a shotshell filled with buckshot.
Decrease velocity
Decrease the number of pellets

The Winchester "low recoil" shotshell ammunition pictured uses 8 pellets instead of the customary 9 pellets. Velocity similar to traditional 9 pellet loads.

Whereas "low recoil" shotshell ammunition loaded with 9 pellets is usually propelled at reduced velocity. Penetration potential is not substantially affected by the lower velocity.