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View Full Version : Weight of buckshot pellet strike for clean deer kill?

RMcL
February 14, 2011, 10:58 PM
To establish the maximum effective range of your shotgun on deer with buckshot:

How would you describe an effective minimum buckshot pattern in terms of buckshot pattern strike weight (rather than pellet size) in a 10 inch kill zone?

sirsloop
February 14, 2011, 11:15 PM
Grab a sheet of paper and pattern YOUR shotgun. Don't rely on internet fairy tales to decide what YOUR gun will patten with a given choke. A good way wound and maim animals is by pushing the outer limits of shotgun effective range using shot. There's a reason why you don't want to hear "use a slug"... its cause you probably have a scope vs a rib/bead and its a rifled projectile that is quite accurate.

I don't think you'll see too many people saying they can confidently put a deer down, with buckshot past like 20-30 yards.

alabama
February 14, 2011, 11:18 PM
I use 00 and whatever range i can get a minimum of 5 holes in a paper plate. I want shoot past 50 yards with mine. Ive only killed 3 deer with 00 from 8 to 30 yards all 3 droped in there tracks from 3 1/2 mag.

sirsloop
February 14, 2011, 11:21 PM
You're talkin twice the amount of lead flyin down range compared to a 2-3/4 shell, remember. 5 out of 18 is a terrible percentage.

idek
February 15, 2011, 03:16 AM
You're talkin twice the amount of lead flyin down range compared to a 2-3/4 shell, remember. 5 out of 18 is a terrible percentage.
I'm not sure what difference the percentage makes. 5 hits out of 18 pellets or 5 hits out of 9 pellets is still 5 hits, isn't it? Maybe I'm interpreting the comment incorrectly.

Getting to the original question, I don't know that I understand that completely either, but I'll throw some random details out there and maybe some of it will apply...

A single 00 buckshot pellet weighs around 60 grains, has a diameter of about .330" and a ballistic coefficient around .045.

Based on Federal Premium 2-3/4" and 3" 00 buckshot, pellets start with a muzzle velocity of 1325 fps. On paper, a single pellet will have approximately 234 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, but will already be down to around 127 f.p. at 50 yards.

Federal Premium 3-1/2" 00 pellets start at 1100 fps, resulting in 161 f.p. at the muzzle and roughly 105 f.p. at 50 yards.

Trying to make comparisons between a buckshot pellet and any bullet is sketchy since bullets are shaped and constructed differently. That said, in terms of weight, diameter, and energy (at 50 yards), each 00 pellet is similar to a .32acp bullet, which isn't known for great destructive properties.

Because round projectiles shed speed and energy so quickly, basing maximum range simply on how many pellets hit near the vitals is probably not enough. There may be a gun/choke/shell combination that will put a bunch of pellets in a 10" circle at 75 yards, and maybe they'll hit with a combined 800 f.p., but nothings says any one of them will penetrate deep enough to be effective. On the other hand, at 10 yards, just two on-target pellets may tear up heart and lungs.

From the standpoint of individual pellet penetration, 40 yards maximum is a common rule-of-thumb I hear, and that's assuming good angles where the pellets don't have to punch through a lot of extra muscle or bone. That said, deer are fairly large in the upper midwest where I live, and the 50 yards alabama mentioned may be suitable elsewhere.

If I really wanted to extend my range with buckshot, I might look into Dixie Tri-Ball shells. Each shell has three 315-grain round balls .600" in diameter with a ballistic coefficient around .085. Starting at 1050 fps in the 3" shell or 1150 fps in the 3.5" shell, each pellet has over 600 f.p. of energy beyond 50 yards.

pabuckslayer08
February 15, 2011, 06:37 AM
Illegal here, just like they should be everywhere for hunting

PawPaw
February 15, 2011, 06:49 AM
Illegal here, just like they should be everywhere for hunting

Totally legal here, and lots of bucks taken each year with buckshot at ranges that would make sense to the archery guys. In these thickets and palmetto swamps, sometime buckshot is just right. I wouldn't trust it past 40 yards, but that's just me.

However, it is incumbent on the shotgunner to try his shotgun at the various ranges with the various ammo and make sure that he's getting a good pattern. There is no sense in wounding a game animal needlessly. But, in the right conditions, buckshot is just the ticket. It is called BUCK shot.

Lloyd Smale
February 15, 2011, 07:02 AM
is buckshot effective. You bet it is. Ive killed a number of deer with it and never lost a single one and at 40 yards or less theres about nothing that hits a deer with more smack then buckshot. That been said i wouldnt fool with anything less then 00 as the lighter buck doesnt have enough weight for real reliable penetration and 40 yards is the max for a good patterning gun as after that the buck runs out of steam. 30 yards is even a better limit. Anyone who claims buck isnt a reliable killer just hasnt seen it used.

dahermit
February 15, 2011, 08:23 AM
To cloud the issue further, buckshot does not travel in a flat plane (as in a paper target), it flies as a three-dimensional "cloud". Therefore, a test pattern would only indicate the likely density if the deer were standing still. If the deer is running, the cloud of buckshot will string along it's length, not just hit the vital area, effectively reducing the number of buckshot that is likely to hit heart/lung area.

dahermit
February 15, 2011, 08:27 AM
...That been said i wouldnt fool with anything less then 00 as the lighter buck doesnt have enough weight for real reliable penetration and 40 yards is the max...I disagree. Of the eight or so deer I have taken with #4 Buck (41 pellets in a 3 inch 12 gauge), I have never had to track any and the pellets that did not penetrate both sides were found under the hide on the other side...full penetration of the vitals. This is observed from actual kills...not opinion or personal theory.

RMcL
February 15, 2011, 12:35 PM
To avoid the arguments on traditional buckshot pellet sizes, I asked what is the minimum weight of buckshot striking in the central 10" of the pattern required for a clean kill. This would determine the maximum effective range of the particular gun/load/choke.

dahermit
February 15, 2011, 01:26 PM
To avoid the arguments on traditional buckshot pellet sizes, I asked what is the minimum weight of buckshot striking in the central 10" of the pattern required for a clean kill. This would determine the maximum effective range of the particular gun/load/choke. There is no way of determining that. It would take extensive testing by shooting a large number of deer and compiling the results. All that you are likely to get in a forum are opinions. And, most likely, in the form of what size buckshot you should use.

idek
February 15, 2011, 01:28 PM
To avoid the arguments on traditional buckshot pellet sizes, I asked what is the minimum weight of buckshot striking in the central 10" of the pattern required for a clean kill. This would determine the maximum effective range of the particular gun/load/choke.
I never heard of any rule of thumb for this. Probably because it's nearly impossible to determine. The same weight that may be effective at 15 yards may be totally inadequate at 40 yards. The form the weight of the shot takes is also very important and I don't think arguments of suitable pellet size can be overlooked. 2 ounces of turkey shot is a lot of lead, but it's still turkey shot. Effectiveness is based on the performance of each individual projectile, not on cumulative mass.

RMcL
February 15, 2011, 05:39 PM
"Illegal here, just like they should be everywhere for hunting"

Not quite - Special hunt areas in southern PA are open to buckshot.

RMcL
February 15, 2011, 05:40 PM
...buckshot not turkey shot.

LSnSC
February 16, 2011, 11:49 PM
You must first determine which pellet and choke combo shoot best from your gun. My Beretta 390 shoots #1's better than anything else and Ive killed a bunch of deer with it. When I started deerhunting ,shooting a deer in front of hounds was how it was done. Tens of thousands are still killed that way every year in the South. You were considered something of an oddball if you bushwhacked a deer from a tree with a rifle.
Buckshot is deadly on game in skilled hands, anyone claiming otherwise is simply ignorant on the subject.

columbia_shotguneer
February 17, 2011, 10:18 PM
Agreed LSnSC, I have killled several truckloads of deer dating back to me youth. I've killed deer with a 20,16,12 gauge shotgun all my life loaded with buckshot. People just need to practice with buckshot, before setting off on a close range rampage after deer, it is very fun to use buckshot loads!

Dave McC
February 18, 2011, 09:31 AM
Dorchester County in MD is the only one in the state where buckshot is allowed, 1 buck or larger. This is due to the extreme thickness of the habitat.

I've taken one meat doe with buck, compared to maybe 25 with slugs. I used 00, range was about 15 yards at most, and she did not suffer for a minute. Center of pattern was placed slightly behind the foreleg,quartering away. Lungs were shredded. Perfect, by my lights.

As with all weaponry used on game, load and choke have to be matched to quarry and conditions, then placed well. Using buck is no more or less ethical than other ammo where it is legal and used under appropriate conditions.

45long
October 12, 2013, 04:39 AM
First consider how 00 buck acts. Basically just a bunch of fliers for a pattern in most shotguns and only 9 shots.11 in a 3" . A good buffered #4 buck patterns more like shot and you can actually get a pattern from #4 buck, plus a 3" magnum has 41 pellets. Next consider the size . They are roughly .24 cal coming out of the barrel at the speed of a CCI stinger (and how many deer have been killed with them?).. Now a person just needs to act as if they were bird hunting and aim for the head neck area. It will drop them like a hot potato. Yes you still have to play with chokes to see what works best for you and don't be using full choke on any buckshot unless you want mega fliers. What happens when you squeeze them down a full choke that wind up with 6 flat sides that look like Dice for shooting craps. You know , the ones with rounded corners, the wind catches the flat sides and sends them into la-la land..Is it legal, probably not in most states, but I for one am not going top criticize some poor 24 year old Hillbilly trying to feed his family in a failed economy.

Will #4 buck kill a deer? @ 35 yards or less,You bet it will. Devastating on coyotes and armadillos too. Now big mule deer? That might be something different don't know. And for home defense it's a no brainer, pump 2 rounds out of a open choked shotgun and you sent 82 pellets toward the bad guy. The cops have figured that out too and now use #4 buck with a rifled barrel for "sweeping" shots.

#4 Buck , My Favorite buck shot. Proven round to me.
That's why I had to jump on this Thread. (Flame away if you need to)

PetahW
October 12, 2013, 04:45 AM
.

My state recently upgraded it's ban on buckshot for deer hunting, from banning it in 20ga only, to totally (all gauges).

I stopped using buckshot on deer over 20 years ago - but I hunt in New England, and not at deer moving fast (pushed by hounds ?) in thick cover, as occurs in some Southern states.

.

dahermit
October 12, 2013, 05:51 AM
Edit

PetahW
October 12, 2013, 07:07 PM
.

2lb-3 lb birds are easier to drop than a 100lb-300lb deer - call it a more intense will to survive.

.

PawPaw
October 12, 2013, 07:32 PM
Illegal here, just like they should be everywhere for hunting
Meh, perfectly legal here, and lots of bucks fall to them every year. They're particularly effective in the palmetto swamps where the ranges are short and the shots are fast. It works for us.

However, back to the original question.
To avoid the arguments on traditional buckshot pellet sizes, I asked what is the minimum weight of buckshot striking in the central 10" of the pattern required for a clean kill. This would determine the maximum effective range of the particular gun/load/choke.

Asked and answered. That depends on your shotgun. How does it pattern with buckshot? Remember, buckshot is simply a round ball, and round balls kill differently than other bullets. A 00 buckshot is basically a .32 caliber round ball and if you put enough of them into the ribcage of a deer, he's going to blow pink foam through his nose and fall over.

My shotgun will put all nine balls of Federal 00 buckshot into the 8-ring of a standard B27 target at 50 yards. Will yours do that? If not, then you need to find the range of your shotgun with your buckshot load and plan your hunt accordingly.

dahermit
October 12, 2013, 07:56 PM
2lb-3 lb birds are easier to drop than a 100lb-300lb deer - call it a more intense will to survive.That is strange, the nine or so deer I shot (I posted eight before, but now that I have been thinking about it, there were more), with #4 buckshot and two I shot with #1 buckshot did not display anymore intense "will to survive" than the pheasants, ducks, and geese I have shot over the years. The deer seemed to respond about the same to "scaled-up" bird shot (buckshot). I will have to talk to some Doctors and Biologists, about how "the will to live", keeps some animals from bleeding to death. :rolleyes:

dahermit
October 12, 2013, 08:11 PM
Because round projectiles shed speed and energy so quickly, basing maximum range simply on how many pellets hit near the vitals is probably not enough. There may be a gun/choke/shell combination that will put a bunch of pellets in a 10" circle at 75 yards, and maybe they'll hit with a combined 800 f.p., but nothings says any one of them will penetrate deep enough to be effective. On the other hand, at 10 yards, just two on-target pellets may tear up heart and lungs.The area behind a deer's shoulder is very thin. After striking the ribs or passing through the small amount of muscle between them the lungs, heart, and liver are soft and easily penetrated. Once those vitals are penetrated, there is no pressing need for the buckshot to exit. I have carefully examined the vitals and the damage done to the deer on each one I have shot. I can attest, that even #4 buckshot has the mass to do a good/fast job of killing deer so shot. At about forty yards, I have found the #4 buckshot under the hide on the off-side. In short, it works well...observed from actual practice. In short, buckshot does not have the velocity and energy of a bullet, but then again, it does not need them.

45long
October 13, 2013, 02:08 AM
As far as the Banning of buckshot on deer. Deer are plentiful in most states, in fact too plentiful most of the time. Conservation Departments usually aren't worried so much as to the fact of whether or not it'll wound deer or too many deer being harvested as they are about running shots with people not looking past their target when they shoot. Buckshot carries a lot farther than bird shot and you don't have to necessarily have penetrating speeds to cause mishaps with stray projectiles. An other factor is that hunting deer with dogs seems incorrect to a lot of people ,therefore the debate entering into the Political Arena and we all knows what happens from there.

CajunBass
October 13, 2013, 06:00 AM
Every deer I've ever killed, save one, and that's more than few fell to Remington 3", No 1 buckshot. That other one fell to a 2 3/4" Remington load of No 1 buck.
I've always found them to be more than adequate.

No idea how many pellets hit or where. If I ever bothered to check, I've forgotten now. I never lost a deer.

bamaranger
October 14, 2013, 02:32 AM
Buckshot legal here, as is hound hunting in certain counties. I have no idea how to answer the "weight of a load) OP. But....buck is a close range proposition, period. As a rough estimate, I'd say no more than 50 yds with an ideal load and choke, handled by a shooter that understands moving targets. Most of the buckshot kills I've seen have been half that, in cover you could hunt rabbits in. At that distance, 00B or #4 doesn't seem to matter.

What seems to happen is that a deer passes a stander and the guy just can't help blazing away, in range or out. But dogs can help with baying up a cripple, or another stander on a drive may get a shot at the same deer.

Very traditional with some folks, and you will not change their minds, I promise.