Biggest Buckshot!


April 29, 2007, 07:27 PM
I recently tested some of the 3 pellet (.60 caliber hard cast, 315 grain ) buckshot loads from in an unmodified Remington 870 Express with a 26" barrel. Using one of the Briley extended "00 Buck Full" choke tubes widely marketed in the South, I placed three consecutive Tri-Ball loads into a 6.5 inch pattern at 40 yards. The most pleasant finding of this range session was discovering the combined 3 shot / 9 ball pattern centered just a little over two inches above the point of aim - using just the bead and vent rib for sights.

This is real buckshot performance!

Has anyone else here tried these Mega Buckshot?

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April 29, 2007, 08:47 PM
Sounds similar to the old 'buck & ball' loads of the black powder muskets. The lead must be very hard to avoid getting out of round when fired.

April 29, 2007, 11:32 PM
The Tri-Ball is a commercially made 12 gauge buckshot round. The difference is the size and hardness of the pellets. Each pellet is .60 caliber and hard cast. The three pellet load is buffered and contained in a long multi-metal type wad. Each Tri-Ball buckshot pellet weighs in at 315 grains compaired to the 54 grain weight of a typical .325 diameter OO buckshot pellet.

The old Buck 'n Ball load, in contrast, used a bore size ball and 3 small buckshot in the smoothbore muskets of the time.

May 4, 2007, 03:55 PM
The Tri-ball buckshot load takes the ordinary smoothbore into another realm of power and penetration for anything from wild hogs to police roadblocks.

Each pellet strikes a blow comparable to a heavy bullet .44 Magnum round.

Double Naught Spy
May 7, 2007, 09:05 AM
Let's see, Dixie tri-ball at 1100 fps and 315 gr. versus .44 mag 240 gr. at 1300 fps (pistol) give the tri-ball about 846 lbs of energy versus 904 for the .44 mag. Rem .44 Mag Super-X from a rifle gives you about 1760 fps with muzzle energy of a whopping 1650 which is substantially more than a single tri-ball. So each ball actually has a larger diameter and less energy than a .44 mag, but combined the three are impressive.

I put 15 rounds down range out of my 870 with an 18" non-choked barrel. I have a Knoxx-Spec Ops stock that helps with recoil. Recoil was still significant. It is not a cushy load at all. In fact, the three balls produce a combined weight of more than 2 oz. So that is a big load.

The patterning was bizarre and quite variable. At 15 yards, I shot 3 rounds of which two produced groups of 3" or less. The third has 2 balls touching and the third 6" off to the side. At 25 yards, the groups ranged from 3-6", often with 2 balls hitting on top of one another or impacts touching. At 36 yards, the groups opened up to 6-12+ inches, the + being shots that left the target off to the side by some unknown distance.

In short, the pattern isn't anything resembling uniform on a consistent basis. I think this likely has to do with the shot sleeve that holds the shot that sometimes holds onto two of the balls much better than the 3rd ball.

With that said, the patterns were significantly tighter than with standard 00 buck for which I get an average spread of about 1" per yard distance from target. For example, at 25 yards, I get about 22-28" spead.

On the down side, I was shooting a Marine Magnum that can handle the power and size of the rounds in the chamber, but once fired, the shells were actually longer than the ejection port and two did not want to immediately eject and hung up.

The Tri-ball buckshot load takes the ordinary smoothbore into another realm of power and penetration for anything from wild hogs to police roadblocks.

Why are you wanting to penetrate police roadblocks? Most people trying to penetrate police roadblocks are engaged in illegal activities.

May 7, 2007, 08:10 PM
Double Naught:

I got quite a laugh from your comment about penetrating police road blocks!
A second reading of my statement will make it clear the reference was to the usefulness of the Tri-Ball round for hog hunting and for use by police for road block duty.

Perhaps I should have qualified the statement on power to say - each ball is comparable in power to .44Magnum rounds from a 4" revolver.

I am frankly supprised at your ejection problems, the 870 Express guns that I have run these three inch shells through show no ejection problems. Have you previously fired many 3" shotshells through your Marine Magnum?

May 8, 2007, 10:03 AM
my winchester 12 gauge super x rifled slugs say "1600 fps" on the box.
Wonder how accurate that is.

Double Naught Spy
May 8, 2007, 06:18 PM
RMc, I shoot Zanoletti Double Impacts quite a bit from my 870. I don't know why the Tri-Ball hulls didn't want to eject, but two didn't. The gun is rated for 3" shells.

May 8, 2007, 10:17 PM
Double Naught:

Pattern issues: As you know, shotguns are a law unto themselves. My testing has been geared to the hunting use of the Tri-Ball round. Thus the chokes I have the most experience with are .695 to .660 exit diameters. The most consistent patterns with my shotgun have been with extended chokes in .695 to .675 exit diameters. From this latter group virtually all patterns fell under 8 inches at a measured 40 yards. The most consistent in pattern size, point of impact and even distribution of the big buckshot was the combination mentioned at the start of this thread.

June 30, 2007, 09:06 PM

Dave McCracken
June 30, 2007, 10:17 PM
Interesting stuff. However....

I've no probs with the performance of standard Brenekkes on deer. Unless the bear problem gets much worse here or Mastodon season re-opens, they'll do the job.

I do find the research and efforts commendable, I'm just unsure of what question they answer....

July 9, 2007, 01:36 AM

The Tri-Ball loads give a very powerful tight patterning option to buckshot hunters. For example, in your state of Maryland, hunters in Dorchester County are limited to buckshot. Also, across the Southern tier of states feral hogs have become quite common and OO buckshot is very marginal to inadequate in penetration on the gristle shield of big hogs. The Tri-Ball is the only buckshot load with the penetration to reliably take on larger feral hogs.

Dave McCracken
July 9, 2007, 08:41 AM
That makes sense, R. Truly, on hogs I'd opt for a rifle.

I've hunted Dorchester County. Swampy, super thick brush. Buck's allowed because the average shot is best measured in feet, not yards.

Double Naught Spy
July 9, 2007, 08:50 AM
From the link RMc provided...
Up front are three recovered buckhshot pellets from Dixie's brand new 3.5 inch Tri-Ball III. This 1200 FPS load, with only 20 feet of travel before impact slammed its 3 ball load into the wet paper as one.

They slammed in the paper as one, in a straight line, because they were still in the buckshot sleeve (see second picture of wet newspaper). The sleeve is a fairly thick plastic that does a pretty good job of holding the balls together. No doubt it came apart on hitting the newspaper, the balls breaking free.

July 9, 2007, 02:13 PM

The thick plastic wad (originally designed for steel shot) generally falls to the ground 60 feet or so downrange. The front of this wad is open to release the buckshot as soon as air pressure spreads the pre-slit wad petals open. The hard cast lead balls are in no way completely encased during their downrange travel.

October 7, 2009, 01:26 PM
Those of you that like BIG BUCKSHOT for deer, hog and bear hunting take note: Dixie Slugs Co. is taking a production break from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1 to give the guys time off during the hunting season!

Dixie Tri-Ball 3" is my favorite thick cover hunting load. Those three .60" 3/4th ounce buckshot pellets put deer and hogs down quick! The latest patterns I have shot are averaging 4" (yes 4") at 40 yards to the point of aim from my 870 Express with a full choke and vent rib/bead sight!

Like I said, this is Big Buckshot.


#00 Buckshot (.33 / 54 grains)

Dixie Tri-Ball (.60 / 315 grains)

Mike U.
October 7, 2009, 04:42 PM
Thanks for the heads-up about the coming closure for deer season.
I'd better get a move on.
I'm finally able to free up some ammo money and have been itchin' to try those Terminator slugs.

October 7, 2009, 05:02 PM
I thought about trying some tri ball for a buckshot only WMA where I hunt hogs, but was informed by Texas Parks and Wildlife department that this stuff would NOT be considered buckshot by the game warden. If you're in a "buckshot only" area, you'd better check the legality of this stuff. So, I just got some 00 in 10 gauge for that particular WMA. I hunt with handgun, muzzle loader, rifle, or bow otherwise, but they specify the rules on that WMA.

October 7, 2009, 11:10 PM
I have hunted the Gus Engeling WMA near Palestine for several years. They require slugs if using a shotgun saying that they have had too many wounded animals when hunters use buckshot.

I have no personal experience since I have always hunted deer with a rifle.

October 8, 2009, 08:27 AM
This area is Guadalupe Delta WMA Heinz Bay unit. The cover is heavy there, but there is a bluff and it drops down into the marsh. A longish shot would be possible early morning/late evening catching the hogs coming to or leaving cover for the marsh. I really thought that Tri Ball stuff would be the answer and no doubt would be, but I though I should check with TPWD, so I e-med 'em a link to the tri ball site and asked. I was instructed that it was NOT considered buckshot. I can kind of understand since the town of Tivoli is only a few miles from the north edge of that WMA as the crow flies, but still, 00 is pretty danged weak on hogs. I figure it'll take a head shot and to maximize that possibility, decided to shoot my 10 gauge with 18 pellet 00 as it patterns well enough to get a head hit or two even at 50 yards. The tri ball sounds a lot better, though. I mean, you think about it, it's like firing 3 .58 cal Hawkens at once. I have a quite accurately regulated old Spanish double in 12 gauge I don't use for much of anything anymore since steel shot got mandated for waterfowl. It's pretty light and I figured this would be a good use for it. That 10 weighs 9 lbs and it's a long hike down there to where the hogs hang out, LOL. But, unless TPWD changes their minds, I'm stuck with the 00 I guess.

I don't think TPWD is too worried about crippled hogs, they just wanna thin 'em out. But, it could get someone hurt. You ever have to blood trail a wounded hog, you'll understand what I mean. I did that once on a 200+ lber and got charged when I finally caught up with him, put him down with a .357 to the head. It will get your blood pumping, put it that way. Took me five minutes to get over the shakes. LOL I shoot a hog, I wanna put the damned thing down, not have to do that. Inevitably, they head for the heavy cover, the kind you have to crawl through and can't swing a long gun in.

I've run into a 300+ lb big tusker out there one morning duck hunting. He didn't eat me. I was putting out deeks and heard this thing stomping through the marsh. My shotgun was laying on some marsh grass about 20 yards from me and in waders in the middle of a pot hole, I wasn't getting to it too fast. At first, I thought it was a guy's dog. I heard two guys headed for the pothole down from me, guess they scared him up. It stomped right up in the pothole I was in and I could see his tusks gleaming in the moonlight. He was huge, stopped and stared at me. I just froze, couldn't figure what to do, then I jumped and waved my arms and hollered at him, he grunted, and walked on. Whew! ROFL Now, I always sling my shotgun when I'm setting out deeks and there's a couple of rounds in the magazine ready to be pumped in. I wouldn't wanna have to chase that big boy down after pissing him off with 00. LOL!

October 8, 2009, 11:51 AM
Brutal. Monstrous. Will order.

October 8, 2009, 08:14 PM

All boxes of Tri-Ball ammo have BUCKSHOT printed on the factory box.

My opinion:

Since your query was made for the 2008-2009 season:

If the 2009-2010 Mgt. Area regulations are not changed to specify any new size restriction on buckshot, I personally would not worry about it - just my opinion.

Consider also that WW.410 2.5" buckshot ammo contains 3 pellets.


October 8, 2009, 09:21 PM
I wanna order some to try in my old double, anyway. I may decide to carry them and the box on me in case I get checked. "See, it says 'buckshot' right here on the box!" :D

That ol' double would be a good shotgun for this. It's rather tight choked and the barrels are regulated like a high grade double rifle. It shoots slugs at 50 yards right where you put it and it's just got a bead on it. Be a lot lighter to tote than that 10 gauge and should be awesome effective on hogs with what amounts to three 60 cal black powder round balls per trigger pull. Ol' Jim Bridger used to take elk and griz with just one. :D

October 8, 2009, 11:29 PM
I'm not sure I'm clear on this: Mr. McLaney, do you work for Dixie?


October 9, 2009, 06:12 AM
I am on the Dixie Slugs product advisory board and occasionally field test new products. However, I am not employed by Dixie Slugs.


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