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Old May 24, 2017, 11:05 AM   #1
2damnold4this
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Maximum effective range of buckshot

Brass Fetcher did a test of several types of buckshot. The criteria they used for effectiveness was the number of hits on a paper target and whether the shot could penetrate 12" of gel.

It seems that some buckshot loads can penetrate 12" of gel reliably at quite long distances. As shooters, we are responsible for every projectile that we fire and a lot of those pellets were missing their intended target when the range opened up.
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Old May 24, 2017, 12:34 PM   #2
TheDevilThatYouKnow
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Yes, and?
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Old May 24, 2017, 12:45 PM   #3
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Anyone else find that page hard to follow?
I skimmed it, the charts seemed confusing.

Personally I like #4 buck for HD.. I figure it should be good for anything within 10-15 yards which will cover any single shot on my property/home.

00 I would imagine would be ok out to 40-50 yards.. out of a cylinder bore shotgun I'd imagine the spread would be a bit too wide beyond that.
Although probably still lethal.
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Old May 24, 2017, 12:47 PM   #4
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And... 50 to 60 yards will get 50% of the pellets hitting the target somewhere if you pattern test your shotgun and use plated, buffered loads.
My personal experience with a cylinder bore 20" barrel on a Mossberg 500 will only do that out to 25 yards. At 40 yards the spread is over 5 feet and on a man size target I was lucky to get two hits. Neither of those hit were likely to be into vital areas.
If you are going to use a shotgun for self defense, pattern the ammo and know what your gun shoots well.
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Old May 24, 2017, 01:35 PM   #5
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Just as nobody can tell you what your fight might look like, nobody can tell you how your shotgun will pattern with any given load.

The Federal flitecontrol wad (and its derivative, the Hornady Versatite) does drastically shrink groups out of my guns and many that I have seen, but it is no guarantee. Some of the ported shotguns I've seen don't seem to like it much and my turkey gun doesn't do as well with it as my 18" Pardner pump.

I feel comfortable that I can keep all of the pellets on a paper plate at 25-30yd with the Federal flitecontrol LE low recoil buckshot load out of MY gun. Any farther than that and I start to worry about sending shot out into the unknown.
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Old May 25, 2017, 11:24 AM   #6
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I also have a cylinder bore 18.5" barrel and I've just been using WallyWorld 00 buck. It patterns well and is cheaper than the "magnum" 00 buck from my LGS. I can hold almost all the shots on a man sized target at 25 yds, and that's all I'll need for in my apartment.
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Old May 25, 2017, 11:36 AM   #7
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Here's the rub:

I can get a buckshot load to pattern tight enough out to 40 yards.

Problem is that that same load and choke at 10 yards
is way too tight for close-in home defense.

Remember, one advantage of a shotgun in home defense is the close spread.
Using tight chokes negates this advantage!
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Old May 25, 2017, 11:47 AM   #8
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The number of hits on a target at whatever one thinks is long range for buck shot is the only criteria that matters.
"...tight chokes negates this advantage!..." That's why Cylinder or IC chokes are used with buck shot. Mind you, at 10 yards, even no choke doesn't spread much. And the pattern at 40 yards doesn't matter. Unless you're hunting. And buck shot is unreliable for hunting.
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Old May 25, 2017, 03:12 PM   #9
Jim Watson
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There is a difference between hunting and military combat shotguns and civilian defense and duty shotguns.

On the one hand, the spread of shot is meant to improve chances of hits with multiple hits of Elmer's No 3 downing a goose, or several buck downing a buck... or a German, q.v. WWI trench gun. The pellets that miss are disregarded in the hunt and might hit another enemy in war.

But on the mean streets, we are warned that we are responsible for every projectile we launch and should not shoot at a felon any farther away than we can be reasonably sure of putting the entire shot charge on his person.
That range will be determined by how far your choke will deliver about a one foot pattern (Shades of Pahoo Ka Ta Wah and his consistent dinner plate size patterns of "split buckshot" at whatever range.) and how far you can center it on an assailant... whichever is shorter.

Just as well have a carbine and more tries in the magazine.
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Old May 25, 2017, 03:58 PM   #10
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Like many others have posted, I think it's important to pattern the gun and know where the pattern is in relation to the sights.


I wonder if when we hear of shotguns being ineffective at stopping an adversary at 40+ yards, the people using them were just missing or skipping buckshot off the ground because they didn't know their patterns or where the pattern hit in relation to their sights.
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Old May 25, 2017, 04:39 PM   #11
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ALWAYS pattern as it might give you some surprises !! With a very tight choke , if you want a HD load use spreader shot !
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Old May 26, 2017, 04:47 AM   #12
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patterns

My interpretation of the OP's inference, is that buckshot, with multiple projectiles, carries significant liability (perhaps additional liability?) when used in certain environments/conditions for SD/HD or possibly LE. My impression is that he frowns upon that load for that reason. That is my interpretation of his intent.

A friend uses the expression, "Every bullet you shoot has a lawyer attached to it". Certainly true in this day of litigation.

My thought is that most SD/HD and LE shootings are still relatively close range affairs, well under 7 yds for the most part. At that distance, any pattern, from any barrel regardless of choke, will still be fairly compact, say 20" or so. Who knows what your fight will look like? But the numbers are there and have been pretty constant over the years.

Effective range v. maximum range, v. lethal range, are three different concepts. I've seen a lot of OO buck shot at agency qualifications back to 25 yds, and experimented with it out to 100. A OO buck is lethal farther than many realize, catch a pellet in the temple at 100 or more and you're done, but effective range for SD or hunting (deer) is likely about 25 yds in my observation, and max range no more than 50.

My own practice, when the only long gun available to me on patrol was a shotgun, was to load with slugs. Buckshot performance on barricades and cover, like auto glass and sheet metal, was not encouraging. At home, as I do not think I will encounter an intruder in the bedroom hall driving a Ford, my shotguns still carry buckshot, #4B or OO both acceptable.
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Old May 26, 2017, 06:23 AM   #13
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A guy I knew was a prison guard told me they were taught to aim forward of the on coming mob at the concrete which would riccohette of the ground and make a level pattern to take out the first rank
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Old May 26, 2017, 08:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaySendero
Remember, one advantage of a shotgun in home defense is the close spread.
Using tight chokes negates this advantage!
If you are talking about having a wide pattern of shot from a typical shotgun at home defense ranges, you probably won't get it. With a 18 inch cylinder bore barreled shotgun, at 10 yards, there is an excellent chance of the target taking the vast majority to all of any Buckshot load on a hit. For home defense situations, you want as tight patterns as possible with a shotgun, such as with Federal's flitecontrol loads, so you score as many hits as possible to stop the threat. It won't matter much at 10 yards or less but as the ranges increase, it gives you more flexibility to engage a more distant threat.
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Old May 26, 2017, 08:17 AM   #15
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I've never used flightcontrol shells.
How much of a difference do they make in cylinder bore shotguns?
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Old May 26, 2017, 08:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaranger
My thought is that most SD/HD and LE shootings are still relatively close range affairs, well under 7 yds for the most part. At that distance, any pattern, from any barrel regardless of choke, will still be fairly compact, say 20" or so.
At 7 yards, I'd be surprised if Buckshot hits generally spread more than half that distance. If you are generally getting 20 inch patterns at around 7 yards, your barrel is probably flush with the end of your shells
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Old May 26, 2017, 08:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSixpack
I've never used flightcontrol shells.
How much of a difference do they make in cylinder bore shotguns?
Pretty good. I have used them in the Mossberg 590A1 12 Gauge and can generally land all 9 of the 00 pellets in the 8 ring or better at 25 yards.
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Old May 26, 2017, 05:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
My interpretation of the OP's inference, is that buckshot, with multiple projectiles, carries significant liability (perhaps additional liability?) when used in certain environments/conditions for SD/HD or possibly LE. My impression is that he frowns upon that load for that reason. That is my interpretation of his intent.

A friend uses the expression, "Every bullet you shoot has a lawyer attached to it". Certainly true in this day of litigation.

My thought is that most SD/HD and LE shootings are still relatively close range affairs, well under 7 yds for the most part. At that distance, any pattern, from any barrel regardless of choke, will still be fairly compact, say 20" or so. Who knows what your fight will look like? But the numbers are there and have been pretty constant over the years.

Effective range v. maximum range, v. lethal range, are three different concepts. I've seen a lot of OO buck shot at agency qualifications back to 25 yds, and experimented with it out to 100. A OO buck is lethal farther than many realize, catch a pellet in the temple at 100 or more and you're done, but effective range for SD or hunting (deer) is likely about 25 yds in my observation, and max range no more than 50.

My own practice, when the only long gun available to me on patrol was a shotgun, was to load with slugs. Buckshot performance on barricades and cover, like auto glass and sheet metal, was not encouraging. At home, as I do not think I will encounter an intruder in the bedroom hall driving a Ford, my shotguns still carry buckshot, #4B or OO both acceptable.

Several things got me thinking about buckshot and range.

On thing was an article in the American Rifleman mentioned a shootout between two federal agents and two criminals. The article mentions the 12 gauge shotgun with buckshot being ineffective at a little over 40 yards

The Brassfetcher article also got me thinking about buckshot. Some folks have posted on this forum about buckshot being stopped by heavy leather jackets at various ranges and being ineffective at stopping an assailant. I have found buckshot to be extremely effective on deer out to 25 yards with the right load and the Brassfetcher article with its penetration test seem to jive with my limited experiences on deer.

I want my home defense and deer hunting shotgun to shoot a tight pattern. I don't think it's a disadvantage to hit an attacker with eight pellets of 00 in one entry hole as the shot will spread out rapidly in tissue. I don't think that 00 buckshot is stopped by leather jackets or is ineffective at ranges of 40 yards if you hit your target. Pellets that don't hit the target could present a liability to innocent people or property and certainly don't harm the intended target.

I use 12 gauge Hornady Critical Defense 00 with its version of a flight control wad in a cylinder bore barrel and it holds tight groups at the ranges in my house and does well out to 30 yards out of my gun. I want every singe pellet on my target, whether it's a deer or an attacker and don't care if the shot makes only one entry wound.
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Old May 27, 2017, 05:05 PM   #19
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I totally believe in matching the buckshot to the gun to control the pattern. But, I am convinced that over half the deer killed with buckshot are usually one or two "Lucky" hit. The first time I ever used buckshot to hunt deer was the last. It was the last day of doe season and I was at my brother-in-laws house helping him with something. The neighbor came over and asked if we had doe tags because they were going to drive the swamp. We had tags and I had a S/S shotgun in the truck. I dug around in the truck and found some Federal 00 buck. Well, I was down in a corner and a big doe pops out and stands there. I shot at her neck and was about 25 FEET away. I could not believe it. She did not jump, just turned her head and saw me and took off. I could not believe I missed. Flash ahead one year. My brother-in-law kills a big doe right at that spot with his bow. This is in the mountains where nobody uses a shotgun. When he went to skin it he called me up. There were about 7-8 pellets in the deer from right below the head to halfway back the body. The pellets stuck in the meat and the hide grew back over the pellets. I totally believe that a leather coat could stop buckshot in certain circumstances.
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Old May 28, 2017, 10:43 AM   #20
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I've used a 12" target to pattern both my 12s. Barrel length and choke selection matters a lot.
18.5 sawed off (professionally) covers the 12" pretty completely at 7 yards. At 15 yards, half the load misses.
The 28 with a cylinder is about 8" spread at 15 yards.

As a result of how they fire, I'll use buck in the 28 and the win defender 3 00 followed by a slug in the 18.5

The wallymart buck, are you talking the federal or the brown box drab green buck?
The brown box stuff patterns same as Hornady loads, as intended. The federal acts like slugs with 1 buck mixed in.
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Old May 29, 2017, 01:12 AM   #21
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buckhshot

ATN082268,

I would agree that my figures for that post are not accurate. Not sure what I was figuring, but 20" at 7 yds is indeed too generous a figure. The accepted norm is 1" per yard from an IC or CYL choke.

I never was any good at math. Thanks for the check.
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Old May 29, 2017, 03:53 PM   #22
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Quote:
We had tags and I had a S/S shotgun in the truck. I dug around in the truck and found some Federal 00 buck. Well, I was down in a corner and a big doe pops out and stands there. I shot at her neck and was about 25 FEET away. I could not believe it. She did not jump, just turned her head and saw me and took off. I could not believe I missed. Flash ahead one year. My brother-in-law kills a big doe right at that spot with his bow. This is in the mountains where nobody uses a shotgun. When he went to skin it he called me up. There were about 7-8 pellets in the deer from right below the head to halfway back the body. The pellets stuck in the meat and the hide grew back over the pellets. I totally believe that a leather coat could stop buckshot in certain circumstances.


Had you patterned your shotgun with the Federal 00 buck? I think it's more likely that you missed the deer than getting a 30" spread at a bit over eight yards. I don't see a deer's hide being enough to keep a hit with seven or eight pellets from penetrating to the far side of the deer at that close of a range.
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Old May 30, 2017, 04:25 AM   #23
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What does patterning the gun have to do with anything? The buckshot did not penetrate the side of the deer, the easiest part to penetrate. Obviously you know nothing about deer. By the time a deer is 3 years old, the hide is twice as thick. If you are going to pattern it like a turkey load, you may as well use a slug.
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Old May 30, 2017, 11:12 AM   #24
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Here is a video were a fellow kills a Canadian mule deer at 55 yards with Federal 00 buckshot. link to video He butchers the deer in the video and we can see that the five pellets that hit penetrate through the deer and are stopped by the hide on the far side.

I think 55 yards is pushing the range for buckshot but at closer ranges such as 30 yards or less, I'm confident that 00 buck will cleanly kill any deer, if you have patterned your gun and hit the deer in the vitals. I wouldn't hunt a deer with a rifle I hadn't sighted in and I won't hunt deer with a buckshot load I haven't patterned out of my gun.
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Old May 30, 2017, 03:42 PM   #25
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You don't know what you are talking about. I would rather rely on experience than sit on my butt and watch videos. What does pattern have to do with penetration?
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