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Thread: Informal Buckshot Test

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    Default Informal Buckshot Test

    I've read that in some states buckshot is legal for deer.So I got kind of curious--I put a big cardboard square behind a life sized cardboard deer target.I was shooting a Savage 12 gauge model 179TD pump,with a 30 inch barrel and fixed modified choke. I placed a bright red sticker in the center of the vital area to use as an aiming point. Two shots at 30 yards with the standard 2 and 3/4 inch Remington 00 buck load put 3 pellets into the deer's body with each shot --none in a vital area,along with a few in the legs. backing up to 40 yards (and aiming high) put 3 in the body,none in the vitals. I had read that the Hornady "TAP" defense loads produce super tight patterns --so I gave 'em a try. At 40 yards--2 shots put only one pellet in the vitals--and a few in the guts.Moving in to 30 yards--two shots put 4 or 5 pellets into the vitals with each shot. Now of course,a different gun/load/choke combination could give different results. I'd always heard that IC was best with buckshot--yet my 870 with a 20 inch IC choked barrel shoots doughnut hole patterns beyond 20 yards--hitting pretty much everything except where you aim. Incidently--the Hornady load (fired from the Savage) put all 9 00Buck pellets in the vitals at 20 yards.

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    Like you say, different guns would make for different results, but that's an interesting test to make.

    Next thing to learn about is penetration.

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    I've used buckshot successfully for deer on three occasions. All of my experience produced DRT terminal results. I've seen many dozens of deer harvested using buckshot and IME the smaller buckshot is better. Patterning my guns displayed significantly better results with #1 buckshot or smaller and I prefer #4. On deer sized animals with proper loads and chokes (with smaller size buckshot improved modified or full choke proved best), they are very practical at ranges out to 40 yards which is further than I could possibly shoot in some of the places that I hunted. One of the deer I shot proved to be the most devastating wound I've ever inflicted upon an animal. The deer was about ten paces away and you could literally push your fist through the wound channel from one side of the deer to the other.
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    I have dropped a few deer with oo buck in states where it is legal and I think 30 - 40 yards is a max for sure. I patterned some myself years ago and it was very disappointing beyond 35 yards or so...
    Now, I have dropped a ton of coyotes with # 4 buck - some out to 75 yards or farther - very devastating load - and will roll a goose outa the sky easily at 100 yards - ahhh, those were the days...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    I have dropped a few deer with oo buck in states where it is legal and I think 30 - 40 yards is a max for sure. I patterned some myself years ago and it was very disappointing beyond 35 yards or so...
    Now, I have dropped a ton of coyotes with # 4 buck - some out to 75 yards or farther - very devastating load - and will roll a goose outa the sky easily at 100 yards - ahhh, those were the days...
    Oh, yeah, you could bring down Messerschmitts too, if they got that close.

    I think that EKC, got a couple, one time ago. Nobody ever found out, until I made it up.

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    We use a lot of buckshot at work for training and quals. We only shoot buckshot to 15yds and go with slugs after that. But, with the 870, 20" barrel cyl bore most of the guns will print from 6" to 9" patterns at 15yds and it's easy to get them all on an IPSC target at 25yds. The barrels have all been sent to Vang for treatment. Some brands of 00buck shoot much better than others and the Vanged barrel helps as well. I would be confident at 40yds with the right gun and ammo. Maybe a little farther

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    Buck shot or any other shot size for that matter fired through a cyl bore will not hold a tight pattern at long distances. Cyl bore primarily is for home defense or rifled slugs. If you are going to shoot buck for deer and want a decent pattern then step up to a modified choke or better. There are also a lot of aftermarket chokes out there designed for buck shot too. If your shotgun does not have interchangable chokes then look into another barrel and check the owners manual to see if there is a recomendation for the shot size you are using as some full chokes are too tight to shoot shot sizes larger than BBB. As well you might want to step up your sights to something better than just a single bead, ghost rings work for me. Now I have never hunted with buck shot so I can't speak from experience on how deadly it is but I would use it for home defense (I recomend the tritium ghost rings too).

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    When shooting the shotgun for qualifications, 00 was limited to 15 yards. Anything after that requires a slug. This shooting Vang prepped barrels.

    You may want to try your test using a full choke to determine the difference.
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    I think most shot guns with the same chokes and ammo will show different results. I have shot a bunch of Vanged 870's with 14" and 18" barrels and different brands of "tactical" buck shot and slugs. Those Vanged barrels always shot the tightest pattern and I would want one if I was hunting with buck shot. It is smart to pattern any shot gun and load out to the distance you will use it.

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    Yup, there is a real difference from barrel to barrel as to how they will pattern with different loads. As a range master, I had the opertunity to work with 20 to 30 different 870s. Most are 18" or 20" but I did shoot a couple of the 14". All are cyl bore and all are Vanged now. When I started, none were vanged and it took a carefully placed shot to place all pellets on a B27 target at 25yds. After the barrels were Vanged it was easy to get all pellets on the B27 with any of the guns although some shot better than others. I have used several different brands of buckshot and types. Some work a lot better than others. The 8 pellet Rem tactical shoots very tight patterns.The buffered shot loads seem to work better as well. I wish I had access to vanged barrels in different chokes to test. Couple of things I have found, 1. You just can't tell what a particular shotgun is going to do until you try it. 2. The Vang process does work. 3. The 14" guns are really neat and shoot better than one might think.
    Smitty, if you have some more hard drives, I'd be happy to help with some more penatration tests. I have a 41mag load that I've been wanting to try on something.

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    rbuck351:

    I'll let you know.

    What in the world is "VANG"?

    I've never heard of it, before.

    Thanks
    Smitty of the North
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    Vang is a guys name. Vanged barrels are shotgun barrels that have been modified by his company. He does several things to them depending on what you want. One of the most popular things is to ream the throat from a rather sharp shoulder to a much longer taper. I believe it to be about a 2" taper. This apparently causes much less distortion to the pellets as they are moving from the shell into the barrel and has proven to produce tighter patterns. Drilling a bunch of holes on either side of the front sight as a compensator is supposed to reduce muzzel lift and is fairly popular as well. I think they also do back boring which is supposed to produce tighter patterns but I'm not even sure what that is. The throat reaming part does work. I'm not too sure on the other stuff. I believe most of his work is done for law enforcement guns. I don't know whether redoing the throat helps with birdshot or not but it does work for 00buck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Oh, yeah, you could bring down Messerschmitts too, if they got that close.

    I think that EKC, got a couple, one time ago. Nobody ever found out, until I made it up.

    Smitty of the North
    I think you may be right about EKC Smitty as he wus run outa Missouri and had to move to Iowa - wow how much trouble do you have to stir up to have THAT happen?
    My experience with OO buck was mainly in 870's with 28 or 30in bbls - full choke.
    The # 4 buck was shot outa Rem1100's with 30in full choke or my favorite for coyotes was a pair of Ithica 10ga - 32in full choke - what a thumper!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    I have dropped a few deer with oo buck in states where it is legal and I think 30 - 40 yards is a max for sure. I patterned some myself years ago and it was very disappointing beyond 35 yards or so...
    Now, I have dropped a ton of coyotes with # 4 buck - some out to 75 yards or farther - very devastating load - and will roll a goose outa the sky easily at 100 yards - ahhh, those were the days...
    Smokey--just curious--how do you think penetration would be on a deer with #4 buck,at say 40 yards(or perhaps a bit more)? We used to shoot brush wolves(coyotes) mostly with 22 magnums,but some with #4 buck and a few with 00. Frankly,it was so long ago I don't remember much about how the 4B penetrated--and of course,these were not deer sized animals. My late father told me of how he had dropped 3 deer with the old Remington/Peters paper-hulled 00 buck loads--I think he said they were all around 30 yards as I remember. When we shoot to qualify each year,we're shooting 870s with I believe,20 inch IC barrels(not vanged).They put the whole 00 load in the kill area of a police silhouette target at 15 yards.But at 25--starting to doughnut hole,with maybe 3 solid hits and the rest in the outer fringe areas. Of course,we shoot slugs too.

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    Thank You, rbuck351:

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    Lengthening the forcing cone in a shotgun barrel, which is one of the main things VangComp does, will improve patterns significantly with any size shot. It also tends to reduce felt recoil somewhat. The reamers are available from Brownells and it is generally a pretty simple operation that oftentimes yeilds significant results, with some variance from gun to gun of course. That was always one of the first things I did when I got a new shotgun, don't hunt birds too much up here so haven't done one in a while but I am a believer.

    As far a Buckshot goes I tend to like the smaller sizes for the denser patterning ability, rather have 3 .25cal hits in the vitals than 1 .33cal one. But unless I was in a dire situation I don't think I would use it for anything bigger than deer. My only on game experience with buckshot is on coyotes and one big gobbler.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce1965 View Post
    Smokey--just curious--how do you think penetration would be on a deer with #4 buck,at say 40 yards(or perhaps a bit more)? We used to shoot brush wolves(coyotes) mostly with 22 magnums,but some with #4 buck and a few with 00. Frankly,it was so long ago I don't remember much about how the 4B penetrated--and of course,these were not deer sized animals. My late father told me of how he had dropped 3 deer with the old Remington/Peters paper-hulled 00 buck loads--I think he said they were all around 30 yards as I remember. When we shoot to qualify each year,we're shooting 870s with I believe,20 inch IC barrels(not vanged).They put the whole 00 load in the kill area of a police silhouette target at 15 yards.But at 25--starting to doughnut hole,with maybe 3 solid hits and the rest in the outer fringe areas. Of course,we shoot slugs too.
    Bruce, I think it would kill a deer but I would not expect exits - also it might ruin a significant amount of meat if you had many hits.
    I would not use it myself, the problem is it's pretty hard to tell 40 yards from 50 when a running deer is passing and I think the 4 buck would loose major killing power with every 10 yards added. I am not sure its even a legal load anywhere for deer?
    I may have to do some phone book tests though just for fun to see what happens!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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