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Old May 29, 2011, 08:31 PM   #1
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Buck shot brands

Is there any real difference between brands of 00 buckshot besides price? I look around and see brand names, off brand names, "military grade" shells available. The shot count is the same, the only difference seems to be the price? Is more expensive really better?
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Old May 29, 2011, 08:57 PM   #2
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Big differences, mostly in patterning. Higher priced ammo tends to have better components, harder shot,etc.

However, it's very hard to predict what a given load will do in a given shotgun, best we can do is guess tendencies. With 5 packs so easily available, just test until you find one that gives the results you're looking for. Then buy LOTS of that.
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Old May 29, 2011, 09:37 PM   #3
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Most definitely.

Inexpensive buckshot loads (S&B, Rio Royal etc) generally have unplated soft lead alloy pellets, no shot cups or collars, fiber wads, roll crimps with over-shot cards etc. This means the pellets distort when 'crunched' by the powder charge going off upon firing, distort more going through the forcing cone, bore and choke, and get pushed out the muzzle with 'flats' on them that cause them to divert from a straight flight path. In some cases the over-shot card distorts patterns from the front while the wad being pushed into the pellets from the rear tends to scatter them too.

For 'open pattern' folks, the inexpensive buckshot loads are just the ticket. Around here we reserve a certain quantity of S&B for "to whom it may concern" use in the night, should circumstances ever warrant that approach.

The more expensive loads have hard alloy pellets that are often nickel or copper plated to resist damage on firing and traveling down the bore, substantial shot cups that protect the pellets in the bore and in some cases help hold them together as they exit the muzzle, good wad columns that help soften the blow of firing and star crimps that open smoothly and don't further interfere with the pellets.

I basically quit experimenting with barrels, chokes, choke tubes and buckshot loads in 2008 when I bought my first batch of Federal 00 with FliteControl wads. Since then all I've bought by way of 12 ga. serious shotgun ammo has been Federal LE127 00 and Brenneke KO rifled slugs. I still like to use open choke barrels on working shotguns, and these loads do very well out of every barrel I've tried them in so far.

ymmv of course...

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Old May 29, 2011, 10:24 PM   #4
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My car guns (fall back social equipment) are WW 1300's and seem to like the standard RP 9 pellet OO buck loads. (12B00) I keep two 1oz WW slugs on the buttstock. Both work well in my guns, color coding may come in handy some day.
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Old May 30, 2011, 07:45 AM   #5
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Good prior descriptions.

Let me add...

US star-crimped shells are the shortest (see pic with Nobel and S&B on the left) -- you WILL get five 2-3/4" and 3" Magnum shells of these in a Mossberg 500. They are made for both but NOT that many foreign typically roll-crimp magnum shells.

Plated shot would be so described and is less common (see Fiocchi USA on right in pic).

One of the reasons I was willing to order Winchester #1 Buckshot just before the start of The Great Ammo Run of 2009 despite that the shells do NOT have rows along their length (note the ONLY one in the pics) which arguably makes extraction more difficult, was that I would only use it in a pump gun, and the price was excellent for the largest shot that they used a full-length shot cup in. Those, and it is buffered to help protect against said deformation. OK, I waited 16 months for it and picked up inexpensive Remington WalMart 00 Buck Value-Packs like everyone else here and there the longer I waited on a whim, but...

Otherwise, I typically avoid Winchester ammo and gravitate towards Remington though Federal has the best reputation for consistently good patterning (I did buy some of that recent "military" 00 Buck in .50 cal cans -- too good to pass up on and a friend wanted some). It can be a little disconcerting when you pick up a shell with a roll crimp securing only a piece of cardboard holding the rattling shot back -- I dunno.

FYI, at my home, S&B 21 (vs. 27) pellet #4 Buck from an open cylinder is just the ticket.

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Last edited by Gehrhard; May 30, 2011 at 02:11 PM.
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