Buckshot Loads - 3rd Range Report!


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Wittenmeyer
February 27, 2008, 11:56 PM
Today, I went to the range and did some shots of my buckshot reloads.

If you recall, last time I made some rounds that used trimmed shot wads and teflon wraps. The only trouble was that the patterns opened up to something like 20-24 inches, shot at 15 yards.

Again, I'm shooting a 12-ga HR Pardner Pump with 18.5 inch barrel, cylinder choke. This time, I made another report because I discovered that the Down Range wads (DRA-12 1-1/4) fit MUCH better in the shell than the Claybuster wads, whether Win or Rem hulls. First off, they have a deeper powder cup so that the wad can sit lower in the hull, and two, they have longer petals that helps with reaching up to the horizontal centerline of the top layer of pellets in an 8-pellet, 2-per-layer, 4-layer stack order. The Claybuster wads didn't have petals long enough for such a stack order. The petals on the DR wads are also thinner, which allowed me to fit 3-per-layer, 3-layer stack order in win hulls with just about no dimpling of the hulls. I also made some Win loads with CB1114-12 wads to see how they fit and shoot, as they were used for 3-per-layer, 3-layer stack orders in these hulls. I made three shots of each load data and picked a "middle-of-the-road" representation that is not the best nor the worst shot of each load data set. Circles in green are the pellet holes. Red is wad impacts.

First photo - I first shot these targets on the firing line at the range. The rest of the photos were taken after I discovered they have a pattern board range separate from the firing line. Anyway, the pattern in this photo measures at most 13 X 9 inches. The smallest pattern on another target was 11 X 9 inches.

Rem Unibody HBH (high brass head)
W209 primer
Hodgdon HS-6 30.5 grains
DRA-12 1-1/4 wad
#00 buckshot 8 ea, stacked 2-per-layer, 4 layers
Overshot card, yes

Second photo - I found that these targets were not long enough for an upright pattern station, so I had to use ground-level pattern stations. For all these photos, I knelt down to be level with the target. Why there's grass on the left side... The pattern from left to right (or top to bottom right-side-up) is 12 inches in length.

Load data:
Rem STS hull
W209 primer
Hodgdon HS-6 30.5 grains
DRA-12 1-1/4 wad
#00 buckshot 8 ea, stacked 2-per-layer, 4 layers
Overshot card, yes

Third photo - The pattern on one target was only 11 inches wide, but on another, it was 13 X 14.5 inches, and another one was 18 X 16 inches. Inconsistent, even though I had the best fit-to-finish, appearance-wise.

Load data:
Win AA-HS hull
W209 primer
Hodgdon HS-6 30.5 grains
DRA-12 1-1/4 wad
#00 buckshot 9 ea, stacked 3-per-layer, 3 layers
Overshot card, yes

Fourth photo - I was not impressed with this load data set, especially considering that I used CB1114-12 wads in these, which caused the crimps to not lay flat and point up some. I was getting on average 14-inch patterns.

Load data:
Win AA-HS hull
W209 primer
Hodgdon HS-6 30.5 grains
CB1114-12 wad
#00 buckshot 9 ea, stacked 3-per-layer, 3 layers
Overshot card, yes

The conclusion seems to be that while you can get the best fit-to-finish with Win hulls and these components, I didn't quite the accuracy I was looking for. The Remington hulls with the data, on the other hand, gave me really good accuracy. The only issue with these hulls is that they have a smaller diameter than the Win hulls, so that using even the Down Range wads did not give enough room to make 3-per-layer, 3-layer stack orders without significant dimpling of the hulls. I would end up having to cut wads or use wads designed specifically for slugs or buckshot loads along with teflon wraps, at the cost of accuracy. I found that I could get a much better fit-to-finish on the Rem when I switched to the 2-per-layer, 4-layer stack order. I couldn't use this stack order in the Win hull because the wad wouldn't go down far enough. I have to put a call into Hodgdon in the morning to find out if the powder residue is normal. I'm getting lots of residue left in the barrel, sometimes in the receiver after only three shots. This residue is small, short, and curlish with a light brown color. I don't know if it's supposed to be like this. I suspect it might be an incomplete burn. If you have experience with HS-6 like this, please let me know. Thank you!

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Wittenmeyer
February 29, 2008, 01:10 PM
My call to Hodgdon confirmed that the powder residue I have is normal for this powder, as it is an older generation gun powder that leaves more residue than the newer powders do.

I'm happy with the buckshot results I have so far. Now that I know that what I have is normal, this may be the last range report on buckshot loads for some time, unless components change or I go to a shotgun with a longer barrel for longer range shotgun self-defense, but I don't see this happening with the weapons I have at this time.

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