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Old 03-15-2017, 05:37 PM
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There's a lot to be said for having a shotgun, and after talking to a guy recently who doesn't believe in them because he thinks they spray buckshot all over the place, I decided to see exactly where my shotgun puts out buckshot.

I took my old Stevens 67E with it's factory 20 inch barrel, rifle sights and smooth bore (IC choke) to the range with some Remington 2 3/4" 00 buckshot. Nothing fancy, no flight control wads or whatever some of the other rounds have. This is the good old $5 a box of five round stuff.

I made up some targets and set them up at 5, 10, and 15 yards. The gun did very well, and I figure that 15 yards is as long as I could think of shooting indoors, especially where I live.

I measured them later on and the groups measured out to be 3 1/2 inches or so at 5 yards but I don't know where the wad ended up in all that, the 10 yard group was 4 inches and the 15 yard group was 6 3/4 inches at its widest point.

I guess what I was trying to do was, like we set up and pattern our shotguns to hunt, you need to see what they will do at different ranges if you use them for personal defense. I'll play around with different ammo but this stuff surprised me at how good it did with this gun, of course not all will do the same, why we pattern and test them.

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Old 03-15-2017, 06:43 PM
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Dave,

Great information, thanks for sharing.
I keep a Remington 870 12ga 18" barrel loaded with 2-3/4" 00 buck on the first floor.

00 buck in 2-3/4" 12 ga is nine (9) .32 cal projectiles being shot at once.
Definitely going to stop them at the door.
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Old 03-15-2017, 06:47 PM
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I've done the same excercise with my shotgun as well. Matter of fact I have that same Remington buckshot ammunition. I use a Remington 870 express with an 18 inch barrel, cylinder bore. I seem to recall having similar results to yours, but it's been a few years.

I also tried it with 3 inch 00 shells, they have 12 pellets. Because of the recoil with those, and the patterning results I had with the non-magnum shells, I decided that 9 pellets were plenty for defensive purposes at those relatively close ranges.
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Old 03-15-2017, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David LaPell View Post
There's a lot to be said for having a shotgun, and after talking to a guy recently who doesn't believe in them because he thinks they spray buckshot all over the place, I decided to see exactly where my shotgun puts out buckshot.
That guy obviously doesn't shoot shotguns much.
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Old 03-15-2017, 08:23 PM
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POA vs POI is always good to know, even with a shotgun.
At the very front of my safe is a 18" Rem 870 with a magazine full of Federal flight control "00" buck. Bought a bunch of it when it first came out and was $4 a box of 5. With that 18" barrel it punches a fist size hole at 25 yards.
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Old 03-15-2017, 09:49 PM
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I did the same test with my "house gun", an external hammered 12 ga. double barrel.


I set it up at 10 and 20 yrds and I was surprised at how tight the buckshot pattern was.
I also tried 3 inch shot shells and slugs.
I found out that shooting at known distance is important info because what I thought I knew and how it actually shot was two different things!

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Old 03-15-2017, 10:42 PM
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My house (and only remaining) shotgun is an elderly Stevens 12 gauge side-by-side, 2 3/4 inch chambers, sawed to twenty inches so no choke. I load it with #4 buck.

I live in an apartment; so at the longest range I would need to take an indoor shot the pattern would be kind of a large, ragged slug effect. No more than three and a half inches in diameter, but a busload of caliber .24 pellets arriving in a bunch and very fast.

Pretty destructive, I suspect.
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:46 PM
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I have read countless posts and articles by "experts" bad mouthing shot guns as HD weapons, and in same article singing
the praises of some kind of AR with lights, lasers,ect. They obviously have no idea what they are talking about. At practical
HD ranges there is nothing better for the average guy. The bigger
the shot, the less of it in a load- but you get more penetration.
For most normal bad guys at HD ranges the size of shot really
doesn't matter. Any one who has done much hunting with a
shotgun knows this. I am kind of fond of #4 buck myself.
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Old 03-16-2017, 01:23 AM
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The Columbus, Ohio PD Ordinance dept., did extensive tests in the early 70's on Remington 870 riot gun patterns. They found that with #4buck the pattern could not expand bigger than 1 inch per yard from the muzzle. So the maximum pattern at 30 yards was 30". It was usually smaller and with Skeet or IC chokes substantially smaller. A small amount of testing was done just to confirm that 00 & 000 buck shot did not expand any faster than 1" per yard also. These tests were done in order to have on file certified results for policy choices and to my knowledge were never used in a trial. There were penetration test done on car grills, windshields, windows & doors, but I never heard any conclusive results.

I do know that in 1968 at the Ohio Penitentiary riots, When the penitentiary wall was breached, the first man through the wall turned down a 1928 Thompson SMG, a M-2 Carbine, and Rising SMG's, in favor of a Stevens 67 and a hip pouch full of #4buck. Several police departments (especially Columbus PD) and National Guard troops were involved, but all weapons and ammo were from the Ohio Highway Patrol armory, and everyone had their choice!

My own testing has lead my to use #4 birdshot or smaller in my in town condo as a HD ammo in the 870 and 97. The penetration of modern construction walls was far too great with #4buck. In several pre 1900 farm houses destined for demolition I fired #4buck, #4 birdshot and #7 1/2 birdshot down hallways, up staircases, and at 90 degree angles to walls. The walls were of 3 construction techniques. 1) Old rough saw 2x4 studs with wood lath and 3 coat plaster (scratch, brown and top). 2) older finish sawn 2x4 studs with extruded mesh lath and 2 coat plaster (brown and Top) 3) Modern pine 2x4 studs and rocklath (similar to drywall) with a topcoat. This is much harder than current drywall techniques!

No wall stopped complete penetration at 90 degrees of #4buck, #4 bird shot had a few pellets make it between the wood lath thru the second surface and metal lath. The rock lath walls stopped almost nothing at 90 degrees. At glancing shot down halls and up stairs, no shot of any size made it into the side rooms, this was because the studs absorbed any shot that penetrated the plaster. However on the wood and metal lath walls the 2 sizes of bird shot deflected of the top coat and ricocheted down and around the hallway!

I never had to "Test" my theories on people, but a few raccoons have been in my cross fire with #4 & #7.5 bird shot (Less that 5 yards) and needed no follow up shots! In my 32 year war on raccoons I've found they are tougher than many people at surviving well placed 38 special +P.

I hope this helps you plan ahead. Ivan

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Old 03-16-2017, 06:32 AM
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I tested my Remington 870 with various Remchokes with hunting loads to learn more about what to expect from my hunting shotgun. With a cylinder choke I can confirm Ivan's one inch per yard maximum spread as a rule of thumb.

Birdshot is laughed at by many that have never seen someone taking a load in the face; that person won't give you any dirty looks ever again.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:34 AM
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I'm not a hunter, but when I dispatch injured deer after they've been hit by cars at traffic accidents, at about 5 yards, the 2 3/4" federal tactical buckshot still makes a relatively small, singular hole. I imagine it would be quite the fight-stopper in a defensive scenario.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David LaPell View Post
I made up some targets and set them up at 5, 10, and 15 yards. The gun did very well, and I figure that 15 yards is as long as I could think of shooting indoors, especially where I live.

I measured them later on and the groups measured out to be 3 1/2 inches or so at 5 yards but I don't know where the wad ended up in all that, the 10 yard group was 4 inches and the 15 yard group was 6 3/4 inches at its widest point.

I guess what I was trying to do was, like we set up and pattern our shotguns to hunt, you need to see what they will do at different ranges if you use them for personal defense. I'll play around with different ammo but this stuff surprised me at how good it did with this gun, of course not all will do the same, why we pattern and test them.

That's some surprising results there. My experience has been the same as that of other posters using the 870: 1" per yard expansion, from an 18" barrel.
You are getting ~1/2" per yard. Impressive.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:38 AM
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I tested my Remington 870 with various Remchokes with hunting loads to learn more about what to expect from my hunting shotgun. With a cylinder choke I can confirm Ivan's one inch per yard maximum spread as a rule of thumb.

Birdshot is laughed at by many that have never seen someone taking a load in the face; that person won't give you any dirty looks ever again.
I saw surveillance footage of a intruder shooting a lady in the chest area with a 12ga loaded with birdshot, from about 5 yds. It was in the library of a university, and she unknowingly walked upon the scene as the man had just entered the door.

She didn't flinch, didn't drop, didn't show any sign of anything, other than surprise...and she turned and walked away.

No birdshot for me, thank you. I'll stick with 2 3/4" 00 buck.
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:03 AM
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Has anybody here ever met or heard of someone who was on the receiving end of a load of 00 Buck that survived? If so, did the engagement continue after they were hit?

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Old 03-16-2017, 01:15 PM
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When I patterned my 500 with the #4 and 00 Federal Flite Control, at HD distance of 15 & 20 yards, there was little spread.

Then I came across an interesting video that added some more data using gel, although with an 870.

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Old 03-16-2017, 01:38 PM
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I keep a S&W police 12 gauge by the bed, magazine full of 2 3/4 "00" buck, nothing in the chamber. My thoughts, if needed anyone who knows anything will be quickly departing at the sound of racking a round in the chamber is heard. If they don't leave on their own, 2 guys with a stretcher will provide assistance...
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Old 03-16-2017, 02:00 PM
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While getting hit with a load of #4 buck(27 x.22) or 00 Buck(9 x.33) is surely going to ruin a persons day,in my 1st hand experience using them to stop an armed robbery in progress I found them lacking in penetration and internal organ damage.

In the few times I used it out of an Ithaca M37 with barrel cutoff at the front of the hand guard it fail to drop the assailant and allowed them to get out the door while still in possession of their weapon.

The rifled slug was very effective.

Assailants hit with well placed SWC lead bullets from a 4" model 10 and a 1911 never got out the door.
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Old 03-16-2017, 04:31 PM
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Round ball BCs are low - .045 for a .319" round ball and .049 for a .350 round ball according to Lyman - but people seem to over estimate the velocity loss at social shooting distances - as evidenced by the video posted above and his failure to add extra blocks on the end.

For example,

Published 12 ga #00 buck velocity seems to vary from about 1200 fps to 1600 fps, but let's call 1,350 fps average.

If we consider a pure lead .330" #00 buck ball that weighs 54 grains at 1350 fps at the muzzle and use a BC of .047, we get these velocities:

5 yards = 1295
15 yards = 1200
25 yards = 1122
35 yards = 1061
45 yards = 1012
55 yards = 971

It's essentially a velocity loss of 10 fps per yard, but only until the pellet is sub sonic. Once it is subsonic, the velocity loss decreases to only about 5 fps per yard.

As a result on a 70 degrees F day where the speed of sound is 1128 fps, the difference between 20 yards (1159 fps) and 40 yards (1035 fps) is just 124 fps.

The energy of a 54 gr round ball is not overly impressive at 218 ft pounds at the muzzle at 1350 fps, and

201 ft lbs at 5 yards
173 ft lbs at 15 yards
151 ft lbs at 25 yards
135 ft lbs at 35 yards
123 ft lbs at 45 yards

That compares to a high velocity 40 gr .22 LR with 141 ft pounds at the muzzle and 122 ft lbs at 30 yards.

But...the #00 buck is drilling .33 caliber holes, is still going to give you ample penetration in the 16"-18" range even at 40 yards, and is potentially delivering all 9 pellets to the target at the same time with a pretty useful dispersion pattern that increases the potential for an effective CNS or cardio pulmonary hit.

That combination of penetration, .33 caliber holes and useful dispersion with a high probability of a vital hit is what makes a 12 ga 2 3/4" #00 buck load with 9 pellets very effective at stopping assailants. A 12 ga 3" #00 buck load with 12 pellets is even better.

Pure lead or copper plated shot?

If you go with pure lead shot you'll possibly get some expansion of the pellets. But there is no free lunch as you'll also get more shot deformation in the barrel than with harder copper plated shot and you'll get larger patterns.


#00 buck (54 gr, .330") versus #4 buck (21 gr, .240") versus #4 birdshot (3.3 gr, .130")?

All of the above have their fans but #00 buck is the only one that delivers adequate penetration and it is I think the sweet spot in size, weight and number of pellets.

Penetration with #4 buck drops to 8 to 12" and with #4 birdshot penetration falls to 4 to 8". That just isn't enough.

Plus as the pellet size gets smaller so does the BC, and consequently velocity loss rapidly increases.

The downside is that heavy clothing presents a pretty significant impediment to penetration with all of the above small round balls as even #00 buck is pretty light and lacking in sectional density.

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Old 03-18-2017, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protected One View Post
That's some surprising results there. My experience has been the same as that of other posters using the 870: 1" per yard expansion, from an 18" barrel.
You are getting ~1/2" per yard. Impressive.
It all depends on the choke. First off the 1" per yard is just wrong. If that were the case you'd have a 25" pattern at 25 yards. My gun, Mossberg 930 SPX with cylinder choke, has about a 10" pattern with Remington Reduced Recoil Buck at 25 yards. And, every gun will be different. So, patterning is important.

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Has anybody here ever met or heard of someone who was on the receiving end of a load of 00 Buck that survived? If so, did the engagement continue after they were hit?
Yes, I know of at least one survivor.

An internet friend who is a retired police officer tells one story. He was trying to apprehend a suspect who had a 12ga. The guy had just had enough and blasted my friend's partner in the midsection. He said the guy just stood there (didn't fly back like the movies) in shock. They took him to the hospital where he received life saving surgery. Yeah, he lived, but he was very messed up.
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Old 03-18-2017, 11:30 PM
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Over ten years ago I did some extensive testing involving five different shotguns and three brands of 2-3/4" 00B shells (9 pellet). What I learned is the extreme spreads at 15 meters were all over the place and I couldn't make any generalities or conclusions. The usual generality is that it will be 1" per yard or less.

I have found that in my personal short-barreled 12 ga. pump (a Stevens 67A with barrel cut to 18-1/2") that Remington #4 Buck patterns better than 00 Buck. And that's what I use.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:11 AM
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I saw surveillance footage of a intruder shooting a lady in the chest area with a 12ga loaded with birdshot, from about 5 yds. It was in the library of a university, and she unknowingly walked upon the scene as the man had just entered the door.

She didn't flinch, didn't drop, didn't show any sign of anything, other than surprise...and she turned and walked away.

No birdshot for me, thank you. I'll stick with 2 3/4" 00 buck.
Birdshot does not have deep penetration but works mostly on exposed skin surfaces giving a shock to many nerves, thick clothing, even a bathrobe can change effectiveness dramatically.

I personally use 00 and slugs loaded intermittedly in a Remington 870 after seeing people soak up as many as 11 bullets fired from a 9mm semi auto at close range and being still mobile for a little while.
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:10 PM
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In this discussion "bird shot" is basically being referred to as anything other than buck shot. There are huge variations in the power levels of bird shot. I've shot dove, chukar, pheasant, crows, ducks, geese, sand hill cranes, and yes even an emu and used some very potent bird shot loadings doing it. Currently I have 00 buck in my home defense shotgun primarily because I want the added range in case of an outdoor conflict. If I thought the conflict would be limited to the interior of my home a heavy load of #4 or even #6 lead high brass max dram bird shot packs a mighty powerful punch and I would feel well armed up close and personal using such a load.

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Old 03-19-2017, 04:25 PM
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I once saw the results of someone being hit in the abdomen with a load of "bird shot" at close range. It's not pretty, as it penetrated well into the chest cavity, and in this case, it was instantly terminal. I've felt that #2 or #4 shot at close range is more than adequately effective and will prevent over-penetration of walls when used inside a house, unless the target is wearing very heavy clothing. In which case I would go for a head shot. But I wouldn't go any smaller than #4 (#4 shot, not #4 Buck).
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
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In this discussion "bird shoot" is basically being referred to as anything other than buck shot.

.....

If I thought the conflict would be limited to the interior of my home a heavy load of #4 or even #6 lead high brass max dram bird shot packs a mighty powerful punch...
As long as you're correcting the use of generalities like "bird shot", we should correct all of them. Yes, "bird" shot can be anything from #12 to #2 depending on the bird being hunted. So, it's important to be precise.

Along with that, the term "high brass" has no meaning. Look at this pic:


In this image we have 4 shot shells. The two on the left are 00 Buck and the two on the right are slugs. If you're thinking the "high" brass would have more punch/power, you'd be wrong. In fact, the most powerful of these 4 is the one on the left which has the lowest bras and the highest velocity, 1325FPS. The least powerful are the two on the right which are reduced recoil. Both have a velocity of 1200FPS even though one is high brass and one is medium.

There was a time when high brass meant more power. That is no longer true and should not be used as an indicator. You have to read the box.

Also, the term "dram" should be said as "dram equivalent". Dram is a unit of mass and is almost never used. Dram equivalent means the number of drams of black powder the smokeless powder is equivalent to. Since almost no one uses black powder with shot shells anymore, it's pointless. A better indication of power is velocity used in conjunction with the ejecta mass. So, a 1oz load at 1200FPS is more useful information than 1oz 2 3/4 DR EQ.

Then, if we're really interested in effectiveness, it depends if the shot is buffered or not. Buffered shot will not expand as much as unbuffered shot. In fact, the difference is dramatic. At 40 yards a typical effective pattern diameter is 30". A buffered load at that distance will be half that size.

There's more, but I'll stop here.
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Rastoff View Post
As long as you're correcting the use of generalities like "bird shot", we should correct all of them. Yes, "bird" shot can be anything from #12 to #2 depending on the bird being hunted. So, it's important to be precise.

Along with that, the term "high brass" has no meaning. Look at this pic:


In this image we have 4 shot shells. The two on the left are 00 Buck and the two on the right are slugs. If you're thinking the "high" brass would have more punch/power, you'd be wrong. In fact, the most powerful of these 4 is the one on the left which has the lowest bras and the highest velocity, 1325FPS. The least powerful are the two on the right which are reduced recoil. Both have a velocity of 1200FPS even though one is high brass and one is medium.

There was a time when high brass meant more power. That is no longer true and should not be used as an indicator. You have to read the box.

Also, the term "dram" should be said as "dram equivalent". Dram is a unit of mass and is almost never used. Dram equivalent means the number of drams of black powder the smokeless powder is equivalent to. Since almost no one uses black powder with shot shells anymore, it's pointless. A better indication of power is velocity used in conjunction with the ejecta mass. So, a 1oz load at 1200FPS is more useful information than 1oz 2 3/4 DR EQ.

Then, if we're really interested in effectiveness, it depends if the shot is buffered or not. Buffered shot will not expand as much as unbuffered shot. In fact, the difference is dramatic. At 40 yards a typical effective pattern diameter is 30". A buffered load at that distance will be half that size.

There's more, but I'll stop here.
Well said. I used base terms in response to base terms.
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Old 03-22-2017, 12:45 PM
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The 870 I have for HD is loaded with Winchester 2 3/4 slugs. It has a sling on it that holds 10 slugs. Very good post on the birdshot info. A deputy I work with swears by plain bird shot for HD.
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