Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing recently conducted an eye-opening ballistic gelatin test of buckshot at 50 yards distance. The rounds were shot from a Mossberg 500 12-gauge shotgun with a 20-inch barrel length and full choke. This video shows the results.
Federal (F127 4B)
Federal Tactical (LE132 00)
Hevi-Shot Dead Coyote (42209)
Hornady Critical Defense (86240)
Remington Express (12B000)
Have you tested buckshot at 50 yards? Share your results with us in the comment section.
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Try testing #1 buckshot. This load patterns best in all my shotguns.
Comment by jerry allen — October 12, 2013 @ 6:13 am
As lightly noted by the presenter, the gauge doesn’t matter much as far as energy delivered to target by projectiles.
The gauge, however, does matter as a matter of how many projectiles are fired.
A 12 gauge shotgun shell holds 8-9 pellets of 00 shot, 8 pellets of 000 shot.
A 410 bore gets only 3 pellets of 000 shot per 2 3/4 shell, though there are some 5 pellet shells in 3 inch shells.
Forget about 20 gauge with anything larger than #3 buckshot.
I try to keep with the same length shell, 2 3/4 inch, as a common factor. Otherwise, one ends up all over the map.
The more pellets, the greater chance of a killing shot.
Of course, all of that is moot if one is using a rifled slug or even the venerable pumpkin ball.
The 00 buckshot he used was not standard velocity, but actually reduced velocity. 1150 fps buckshot is reduced recoil, full power 00 buckshot loads of 2 3/4 12 gauge are actually around 1350, interestingly enough, his under powered tests actually reinforces the effectiveness of the cartridge.
When hunting land animals with spreading shot, the only choke in existence for the task is full choke. Close patterns and solid hits are ideal, the spread is nice, but a good central hit with a tight group brings out the true effectiveness of the round. I would also suggest full length barrels, to increase accuracy, velocity, and tightness of the groups. The idea you need to have a short barrel is foolish, you gain a slight amount of maneuverability for a great sacrifice in accuracy and effectiveness.
Don’t be tempted to buy the big 3 inch shells with more shot. You have more pellets, but less energy per pellet. Buckshot is small enough, and with a loss of velocity it loses a lot of hitting power and penetration. To many pellets can ruin the effectiveness of the ones you hit with. No point in hitting him with a few more pellets if none of them have the juice to keep going and kill whatever you are shooting at. Penetration is key. Same thing with #1 buckshot at longer ranges, more pellets, but less energy and damage per pellet. You can hit more, and each pellet will do less, to the terminal end of losing its effectiveness at all. The same concept of bird shot applies here, you can hit with more pellets that will do nothing, or not enough.
000 is impressive. Big, fast, and mean, they keep their energy and danger quite a ways. The big question has been, is the gain of the weight and effectiveness of each individual pellet worth the loss of one whole pellet? 9 pellets of 00 buck, only 8 of 000. Is the slight gain worth the loss of that extra, potentially lethal pellet? It seems that in the oldest question of weight vs. number, 00 buckshot has been the drawn line in the sand. For most, 00 is effective enough, and the individual increase in performance is not worth the loss of a whole pellet.
Do notice that at longer ranges, the shotgun loses its ability to kill very rapidly. Velocity drops rapidly, energy of course sky dives, and the pellet will soon be eating dirt, or failing to penetrate much of anything. Will buckshot kill at 50 yards? Easily. But this is about the effective range of it, any further you are taking risks of under penetration, and vast spreads that may not hit anything, at least effectively. For ranges far shorter than 50 yards, the shotgun is an ideal man stopper, an effective self defense tool. If you can guarantee ranges shorter than this for your situation, the shotgun should be the first choice.
Comment by Michael J. — October 12, 2013 @ 11:28 am
One issue is that no one uses a full choke on a defensive shotgun, IC is the tightest that is practical for defensive use. Hunting maybe, but that was not his focus
When I began deer hunting we ran deer with dogs and used only shot guns with buck shot. Most used full chokes and my guns always shot best with #1 buck. Killed a lot of deer with that combo. I think if I had used a more open choke, the 00 would have shot better. Times have changed since then.3
No, I really haven’t Woody, but this is an interesting post, thank you.
Comment by Bill from Boomhower, Texas — October 16, 2013 @ 8:44 pm
Rio’s Game Load C20 (20 ga 2 3/4″ 00 Buck) has rather optimistic ballistics. But something to consider!
Comment by Theodore Kennedy — October 17, 2013 @ 9:41 am
I’m glad that you all like the video. It was a lot of work to put together but I think the results are worth it.
#1 buckshot is likely the optimal load for self-defense with a shotgun. While my HD gun is loaded with #4 buckshot (my longest shot is no more than 15 yards) .. #1 buckshot has more sectional density than the #4 buckshot so the penetration will be better at distance for any given velocity. And its nasty at close range.
A follow-on test would include #1 buckshot and standard velocity 00 buckshot.
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