OO Buckshot penetration?


December 6, 2004, 11:00 PM
How much could you expet OO buckshot to penetrate in ballistic gelatin/humans at ranges of say, 5 yards, 10 yards, 15 yards, 25 yards, 50 yards, and 100 yards? Thanks!

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December 7, 2004, 12:32 AM
Chances are more than enough, but I would still like to see numbers.

Al Thompson
December 7, 2004, 02:13 AM
Based on my experience with SC deer, I would not be surprised at complete penetration (especially with plated shot) under 25 yards, would not expect it at 50 and wouldn't count on it at 100 though it would be potentially deadly.


December 7, 2004, 02:55 AM

'Complete' meaning through and through (or to the hide on the far side)?

Lethality at 100 would then be, what, 6-8 inches?

I have no buckshot experience obviously.


December 7, 2004, 03:10 AM
I have not found any reliable data on this. However there was a good scientific test done by the Canadian Gov on the penetration of various birdshot as well as Single Ought Buck (about 16+ inches).

Here is the link: http://www.cprc.org/tr/1998/03/tr-1998-03.pdf

There are also some articles from the Firearms Tactical Institute web site. The problem I have with some of their numbers is that they do not site their sources on a lot of the data they give.


If you search the web you will find some forensic write-ups on shootings involving buckshot. It seems 0, 00, and 000 buck goes through and through the human torso on a regular basis.

Here is No 4 buck:


The below data is also from the Firearms Tactical Institute web site. But please note that the site did not give its' sources and I have not found any data to fully support these numbers.

12 Gauge Penetration Tests
10% Gelatin
Load Number of Pellets Penetration
@ 7 yards
000 Buck 8 14" - 16"
00 Buck 9 13" - 15"
1 Buck 16 12" - 14"
#4 Buck 27 9" - 11"
#6 Shot (Hard shot) 280 4" - 6" @5 yd
1 oz Foster Slug - 18"
450 gr SABOT Slug - 21"

The main page is:

I have tested single ought buck (my home defense round) and all 12 pellets penetrated completly through 7 to 8 inches of wet phone books and kept on going without a problem.

Al Thompson
December 7, 2004, 10:42 AM
Care, complete means exit wounds.

I "think" (IME) that the numbers reported by lbmii are pretty much in agreement with what I witnessed. Ribs do tend to take the steam out of buckshot though.

After popping a medium sized hog with #1 buck at 30 feet or so, for me, buck is reserved for deer drives and people. The #1 buck (favorite here too) simply didn't get through the gristle plate.

Fred Fuller
December 7, 2004, 02:16 PM

Patterns will be pretty wide at 100 yards out of any shotgun I have ever seen, and if that weren't enough of a problem I expect penetration would have fallen off a good bit too- especially with smaller buckshot pellets. I moved up to 000 buck when I was experimenting at 100 yards, using 3" magnum Federal Premium loads (10 hardened plated pellets per load) out of an 18" barrel with the forcing cone extended and a Patternmaster choke tube. That was getting me 40-50% of pellets into E type silhouette targets at that range, with pellets sometimes penetrating the 2X4" and 2X6" boards the target frames were made of. I never went any further than 100 yards out with buckshot, and mostly stuck to the 000 buck loads. I think you're getting into slug territory out that far, and you are definitely into 'area target' versus 'point target' mode with all the shotguns I have ever seen. I would not consider hunting with buckshot at that sort of range, though it might be OK for antipersonnel applications.

I would like to do some work with Remington's HeviShot 00 loads, according to the press they offer significantly better penetration than lead pellet loads. But at a real premium price... and I thought the 3" Federals were premium.


December 8, 2004, 04:47 PM
Does anyone know of any law enforcement or FBI type testing on buckshot? You would think that this data would be out there somewhere. I have not been able to find it.

December 8, 2004, 09:29 PM
I would be interested in hearing anything about my favorite 20 gauge buck pellet. This is the little known Federal 20 gauge 3" loading of #2 buck. This load patterns well out of my 20 gauge Saiga. It patterns much better than any of the #3 loads I have tested.

Still a short range proposition, I am sure.

December 8, 2004, 09:46 PM
I've already assumed that there have been very few terminal ballistics tests of 12 gauge buckshot because no one has ever questioned it's effectiveness.

December 9, 2004, 09:47 AM
Tests have been done.. I just don't know where they are.

At 50 or 100 you might get ONE pellet on target.

Max range for buckshot is basically 30-35 yards. Past that, get slugs.

December 9, 2004, 12:47 PM
Yeah, Mr. Murphey is right. Tests have been done at least to 50 yards. There are some on firearmstactical if you can find them. Seems they did 25 and 50 yard penetration tests. And as Mr. Murphey said, maybe 35 yards, more than that your odds of buckshot working well enough go way down.

R.H. Lee
December 9, 2004, 12:54 PM
I don't know what one 00 pellet weighs, but seems to me that it would not have sufficient mass to carry much energy at 100 yds. What distance does the shot remain in a column (from a cylinder bore) before it starts to disperse?

Fred Fuller
December 9, 2004, 05:38 PM
Patterns - good patterns- at 50 yards out and even further are doable, given the right eqipment and loads. Penetration at further out than 50 yards or so is apt to be less than desireable unless larger/heavier pellets are used. Even then performance is apt to be marginal.

I started working on this in the '98-'99 time frame and was in regular correspondence with Mark Penman of RTP, NC until he left us. Mark was also working on some of the same theories and applications. See his article "The 75- Yard Riot Gun? at http://www.jtk3.com/laissezfirearm/870full.htm .


December 9, 2004, 11:18 PM

00 buck = 33 cal, 53.8 grain X 9 = 0.77 square inches and 484.2 grains total

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