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Old November 29, 2008, 05:11 PM   #1
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Chart of 12 gauge shotgun ammo?

OK, I have 2 shotguns, a Remingtom 870 Express and a Mossberg 930 SPX. I am not a hunter, but I do have about 100 rounds of trap loads from when I did skeet shoot. My other ammo is all 00 Buck and rifled slugs (all 2 3/4 inch). When I go to just buy some ammo to bust downrange, I see the varying types of ammo. 8 shot vs. 9 shot, etc. Is 000 Buck more powerful then 00? Turkey Loads better then trap loads? I am schooled in handgun and rifle ammo but shotgun ammo is still a mystery to me.
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Old November 29, 2008, 05:19 PM   #2
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all the shotshell boxes I've seen list the powder charge contained and also weight of the shot. Turkey shot is more powerful than skeet loads which usually are fairly mild.
regarding Buck the number of shot is determined by the size of the shot which weighs more or less depending on size of shot. the makers calculate the shot weight/powder loads to produce pressures well within SAAMI specs. any 2 3/4" shell can be fired in a 3" or 3 1/2" chamber safely.
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Old November 29, 2008, 06:15 PM   #3
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Homer hope I help more than confuse... On real small "bird shot" you are really just seeking more pellets of smaller size for use on very "soft targets" or clay birds. This is 7 1/2,8 and 9.... Nines are the finest. For hunting anything bigger than a dove forget about 9 and for the most part 8's. I use 7 1/2 on occasion for game like squirrel and rabbit but most often I go up to 6 for near shots to 4 for more range. The reasoning is larger pellet will hold impact energy better than a smaller one.
For large birds with any distance you will need the larger shot. Turkey loads in 3 inch and 3 1/2 have HOT powder charge of a max payload of shot as turkey are tuff birds those rounds will kick pretty dang hard!
In buckshot the 000 is a few less pellets of larger balls than 00 which is a bit larger than 0 and on down in pellet size to #1, 2, 3, or 4 buck. As for the shells the field loads are "light loads" for just clays or small birds but I use the 7 1/2 for small game like the picture on the box tells me too. "DRAM EQ" is a signifier of POWER as is "Muzzle Velocity" we have a hand full of guys that will well expound on this with some scientific sounding mumbo jumbo but this is a redneck start...
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Old November 29, 2008, 07:44 PM   #4
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This may help with sorting out the sizes of different types of shot.
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Old November 29, 2008, 09:07 PM   #5
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Where bird shot is concerned, the higher the number, the smaller the shot. 9's are for dove and quail, skeet. 2's are for geese. 6's are great for grouse and pheasant.

With buck, shot size also increases as the number decreases. #4 (about) .24 cal. and #1 (about .30 cal.). #3buck is in between and is about all you'll find in .20 ga. and hard to find in .12 ga.

Work your way up to 0, 00 and 000 things change. 0 buck is uncommon. 00 buck is about .33 cal. and 000 is bigger yet at about .36 cal. if memory serves me correctly (it doesn't always).

Standard load for 00 buck would be 9 pellets (some LE ammo is 8). For 000 it's 8 pellets.

However, if you go to 3" mag. the number of 00 buck increases to 15, while 000 only increases to 10. Has to do with the larger 000 leaving more airspace between pellets so it can't be loaded as efficiently.

A little puzzling, considering 000 appears to be a little more efficiently loaded in the standard 2 3/4" load. Weight may play a part, also.

00 buck tends to pattern better, and the heavier 000 buck causes penetration concerns with LE and home owners alike.

On a final note: The term magnum usually refers to more velocity in rifles and pistols. Where shotguns are concerned, magum refers to more shot, which usually results in less velocity since you can't drive a heavier charge faster than a lighter charge and maintain safe pressures.

Last edited by Nnobby45; November 29, 2008 at 09:23 PM.
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Old November 30, 2008, 04:08 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Homerboy
I am schooled in handgun and rifle ammo but shotgun ammo is still a mystery to me.
Still confused? Let's get really basic...
When selecting rifle and handgun ammo, in a specific caliber, you already know that you have three basic choices:
  • Weight (in grains) Each caliber has its own range of appropriate bullet weights.
  • Type of bullet. There are generics like lead round nose LRN and full metal jacket FMJ, or proprietary names like AccuBond
  • Velocity (in FPS or M/sec) Factory ammo is usually loaded to the allowable maximum. Hand loaders may seek the most accurate velocity for their application.
There is no good and bad nor right and wrong: Each combination is suited to a particular application. The same choices apply to selecting shotgun ammo; but, first consider the variety of shells available, they come in three types:
  • Standard Shotgun Shells for targets, birds, and small to medium game.
  • Buck Shot Shells for larger game, at close ranges, and tactical applications.
  • Slug loads for larger game, at mid ranges, and tactical applications.
These three types have the same three basic choices as your rifle and handgun ammo:
  • Weight (of the total charge) is usually expressed in ounces, or grams for some target loads; but, may be the pellet count for buck shot loads.
  • Type and size of the individual pellets, or style of slug. In the past, shot shells were loaded with lead. Modern shells are also loaded lead-free to meet environmental restrictions.
  • Velocity is identified by FPS (M/Sec) and/or the dram equivalent loading. When shotgun shells changed from black powder to smokeless, the black powder dram equivalent number told folks how powerful the new shells were in a way they understood. This practices continues.
With a little experience, you'll find that it's not that complicated. Like rifle and handgun ammo, the first thing to do is define your intended target. To make things a little easier, some ammo boxes have a graphic of a clay target, rabbit, turkey, buck etc. Also, many loads are labeled for their intended use. With names like Dove, Heavy Trap, Low-recoil Skeet, Squirrel and Rabbit selecting shells is much easier.

Hope this helps. Here's a link to a generalized Shot Shell Selection Chart.
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Old November 30, 2008, 09:06 AM   #7
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This might be what you're looking for. Can anyone help me display this file in this post?
Also, here is the link to it.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf ammo_shot_sizes.pdf (105.2 KB, 456 views)
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Old November 30, 2008, 10:49 AM   #8
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Requested by johnnyeastside

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