View Full Version : Federal "Premium" vs. "Classic" brands of buckshot

November 20, 2000, 11:10 AM
I have a couple of questions regarding the differences between Federal Premium and Federal Classic brands of buckshot.

A) What do you get by paying extra for the "Premium" brand?
B) Which of the following gives the tightest patterns, and which gives the widest pattern?

1) Federal Premium '00'
2) Federal Classic '00'
3) Federal Classic tactical load '00'

Dave McC
November 20, 2000, 11:40 AM
I've little direct experience with any except the Classic, which was similiar to our old duty load for a while. However...

While copperplating and buffered shot usually tighten up the pattern, only testing with YOUR shotgun will determine the best load for YOUR shotgun. The best thing to do here is to shoot at least 5 rounds of each at a patterning board, large piece of paper,4X4' is a good size, and then see what each kind does.

My chokeless HD 870 gives good groups with the Fed duty load, and about the same with Winchester generic loads. The Premium Winchester 9 pellet load runs a bit larger.

I suggest testing at the range you think the 00 will be used. For HD, measure the longest shot you have in the house and add one yard for GPs.

And if your shotgun is tubed, I'd go with Skt I or IC.

November 20, 2000, 12:12 PM

Your advice to test out the various loads is perfect, except for one thing: I don't have a firing range where I am allowed to shoot buckshot loads. I can shoot birdshot loads, but the buckshot loads are forbidden.

What does "buffering" mean?

Oleg Volk
November 20, 2000, 05:44 PM
Generally plating an dbufering mean less shot deformation and tighter patterns. My 20ga 1300 has very similar (uneven) groups will all brands of buckshot so I might as well use the cheaper stuff. However, SuperX is too long and reduces mag capacity by one, so I stick with Federal.

Dave R
November 20, 2000, 07:04 PM
Brent, can't you drive out in the country somewhere and just shoot some paper to pattern your shotgun with these loads?

I found it very valuable. For example, my Mossy patterns tighter with modified choke than with full choke (more pellet deformation on full choke?) I would have expected "tighter is better" if I hadn't tried it.

Also got a good feeling for maximim effective range. Big difference between 25 yds and 40 yds. 30-35 yds is probably my max effective range.

BTW buffering means the pellets are packed in some inert granular material in the shells, so the pellets are (theoretically) are more protected as they accelerate through the barrel and pass through the choke. The buffer material cushions the shot, preventing deformation (theoretically). I've never tested buffered loads for a difference in performance.

November 20, 2000, 08:01 PM
Usually the difference between premium and inexpensive shotgun loads is the components of course. Premium loads should be using magnum shot instead of chilled shot. It has more antimony and is harder which means less deformation. Less deformation means a tighter more uniform pattern. As Dave and Oleg pointed out copper plating and buffering will improve the pattern too by reducing deformation.

Tactical loads usually mean less velocity and less recoil. The higher the muzzle velocity the wider the pattern.

I predict Fed premium will give you the tightest pattern due to better components. I bet the tactical classic will give you slightly better pattern and classic the widest pattern.

Till you shoot them all in your gun you won't know for sure.


Dave McC
November 21, 2000, 07:10 AM
Brent,SOMEWHERE near you is some kind of shooting pit where you can pop off a few rounds of buck, trust me. It may take driving/searching, but it's there. Many clay ranges now have some sort of patterning board, and that's the best innovation in recent shotgun history.

Patterning serves two purposes. First, testing indicates what the best load for a given mission and shotgun is. Second, you can determine if you're shooting where your looking. One shotgun years ago that confounded me as to why I couldn't hit with it was patterned, and I found it hit about a foot low and another foot right at 15 yards.Some judicious bending by someone who knew what they were doing, and I was back in business.

The guys already explained buffering.