"Estate" buckshot


May 26, 2013, 11:10 AM
The local Wallyworld has some of this stuff, and this is the first time I've seen them stock it. Says "MADE IN FRANCE" on the box (25 round boxes for $20.00) and "00 BUCK 70MM" on the hull. I believe it's imported by ATK, although I'm not sure why, given all the domestic production available.

Anyone familiar? How well does it seem to pattern?

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May 26, 2013, 11:18 AM
It performs like it should. Pattern really well out of my 870, but not so good out of my CZ 712. Only way to find out how it patterns for you is to try it.

Fred Fuller
May 26, 2013, 01:30 PM
Don't know if it's the same company or not - but the old story (from 2004) of Estate brand buckshot is here fwiw: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=73967

May 26, 2013, 01:43 PM
It works well for me. I think it patterns a little better than the Olin "military grade" stuff.
Estate .45 ACP has worked well for me too.


May 26, 2013, 02:21 PM
Estate was bought by ATK )Federal). Those will be made by Cheddite, a large manufacturer in France. Cheddite also makes a lot of hulls and promo stuff for other US brands

May 26, 2013, 02:55 PM
The Cheddite hulls are quality hulls and Estate Cartridge/ATK is quality ammo. I have no idea why they are importing it from France.

Buy some and pattern it in your shotgun.

Just my .02,

May 26, 2013, 02:59 PM
Use it all the time. Works like a champ.

May 26, 2013, 04:14 PM
Good Stuff

May 26, 2013, 06:22 PM
This is the current packaging. Them Frenchies can sure make some purdy brass :D

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss158/5757_photos/001-61_zps8a5c2bbc.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/5757_photos/media/001-61_zps8a5c2bbc.jpg.html)

May 26, 2013, 08:08 PM
Is it brass or brass plated steel?

May 26, 2013, 08:46 PM
I patterened some Military 'spec "00" in my chopped Westernfield/Mossberg and got 9" patterns @ 15 yards. Holes were well spaced and spread inside a 9" circle I drew over them.

What kind of pattern do you look for and at what range?

I would expect a fist sized one @ 5 yards and around that 9" diameter at 10 yards. Basiclly very tight as this gun has shown so far!
I understand there are loads with more than 9 balls of "00"??? Are they 3" Magnums?
I also have read that the FBI demands the use of a #4 Buckshot in their duty guns. Where can you buy this #4? I'd like to try some considering the tight patterns my gun throws.

Fred Fuller
May 26, 2013, 09:03 PM
Interesting. I'll have to look for some. Seems to be a fairly new item, as near as I can tell.

Found this 1:38 video (posted 9 May 2013) ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRd-C9XylOo

From that I see it has a clear plastic top wad under a roll crimp, and no buffer loaded with the pellets. Can't tell anything else from the video. Looks like decent quality loads on the outside, anyway - but the proof is on the patterning board.

ETA: Natchez lists it as in stock at $26.99 for a box of 25 ... http://www.natchezss.com/brand.cfm?contentID=productDetail&brand=CC&prodID=CCI127N00&prodTitle=12%20Gauge%202-3/4%2000%20Buckshot%2025%20Rounds/Box

May 27, 2013, 10:17 AM
Wallyworld charges $20.00 for the same box, although I'm not sure all stores will stock it.

May 27, 2013, 03:53 PM
I can't speak for the FBI as to their choice of buckshot, but for at least 3 decades Customs used no. 4 buck.

Fred Fuller
May 27, 2013, 04:17 PM
Here's some patterning results from the late Mark Penman, from back in the bad old days (July 1998). Just think how long ago that was in Internet years...

Keep in mind, the Estate buckshot patterned back then is definitely not the same load from the OP - the 'new stuff' is at least third generation Estate 00.

NOTE that some things however have not changed. Every shotgun barrel is still pretty much a law unto itself regarding how it patterns. Shotgun loads change from lot to lot, and may change in major ways with no warning. The only way to know how your gun will perform with a given brand/load/lot number is to PATTERN IT.


Buckshot Patterning Test Results

by LF (7/98)

My piece on the NATO L110 tracer round generated a fair amount of responses, so I thought that I'd plumb the same basic ground with a bit on shotgun buckshot patterning. I've read dozens of gun articles and books that mention the importance of learning the size of the groups that come from a "tactical" shotgun, for the obvious reason that this will establish the distance at which a round can reliably be expected to achieve the shooter's desired goal.

Be warned that a major point of this exercise is that EVERY SHOTGUN IS DIFFERENT, so do not take my results as a guide for your own firearm. Go to a gun show or a well-stocked shop and buy as many different large-pellet loads as you can find, and then go through a similar process before settling upon your own choice!

I took nine different 00-buck loads to the range one day, and ran them through my original Beretta 1201FP, which has a 20-inch unchoked barrel with rifle sights. I decided to do the testing at 15 yards, and used a single B-27 silhouette for each series. I fired five rounds of each brand, stopping after every shot to patch up the target with a different-color paster. It was a hot day, and I had a cheap tape measure, so I only figured the resulting holes to the nearest quarter of an inch. None of the pellets landed off their target, so no "make-up" shots were necessary:

Remington Extended Range 12-Pellet Magnum

Largest Group: 21"
Smallest Group: 16.25"
Average Group Size: 19.3"

Estate Cartridge Standard 9-Pellet

Largest Group: 18.75"
Smallest Group: 14.5"
Average Group Size: 16.5"

Remington Reduced Recoil 9-Pellet

Largest Group: 15.25"
Smallest Group: 13"
Average Group Size: 14.2"

Federal Standard 9-Pellet

Largest Group: 15"
Smallest Group: 12"
Average Group Size: 13.9"

Eley 12-Pellet

Largest Group: 15.5"
Smallest Group: 12"
Average Group Size: 13.9"

Sellier & Bellot 12-Pellet

Largest Group: 14.25"
Smallest Group: 12"
Average Group Size: 13.4"

Winchester Standard 9-Pellet

Largest Group: 15.33"
Smallest Group: 11.75"
Average Group Size: 13.1"

Remington Standard 9-Pellet

Largest Group: 13.5"
Smallest Group: 11.5"
Average Group Size: 12.33"

Federal Tactical (Reduced Recoil) 9-Pellet

Largest Group: 13"
Smallest Group: 8.66"
Average Group Size: 11.2"

The next weekend, I pulled out my second 1201FP and just tested the three tightest-shooting loads. The results were:

Remington Standard 9-Pellet

Largest Group: 16.33"
Smallest Group: 10.5"
Average Group Size: 13.6"

Winchester Standard 9-Pellet

Largest Group: 12.25"
Smallest Group: 9.75"
Average Group Size: 10.6"

Federal Tactical (Reduced Recoil) 9-Pellet

Largest Group: 12.5"
Smallest Group: 9.25"
Average Group Size: 10.4"

Notice that the relative positions bounced around a mite. Better yet, my second gun (again, the exact same model, purchased three or four months after the first) shot two of the loads tighter than my original one.

Oh-ho, but it gets even better! I was intrigued by the differing results, and fired another series with my first Beretta with the Federal Tactical. Three rounds into this, I ran out of the original boxes I started out with (the rest were already stored in ammo cans back home), and switched to members of a second 250-round case lot that I just got in. Suddenly I started tossing much larger groups!

The first three averaged 10.8", but the next two rounds patterned at 16" and 12" respectively.

I finally straightened this discrepancy out this weekend, ending up with the following in a side-by-side comparison:

Federal Tactical 00-Buck (Case Lot #214R071)

Largest Group: 15"
Smallest Group: 10.75"
Average Group Size: 12.66"

Federal Tactical 00-Buck (Case Lot #114Y275)

Largest Group: 11"
Smallest Group: 9.5"
Average Group Size: 10.5"

The moral of this story? Cripes, I guess that the consistency of shotgun cartridges is one heck of a lot trickier to predict than rifle or pistol ammo. If you find something that you like, try to get more of the same case lot!

Fred Fuller
May 27, 2013, 04:23 PM
And here from the same source is a piece on the old (Texas made) Estate SWAT 00 low recoil buckshot. Again, note the date. Again, this is not the same load as is presently available - the stuff patterned here has not been made since 2003 or so.

I'd add that at about this same time, following a good bit of experimentation on my own, that an 18" 870 barrel with an extended forcing cone and a MOD RemChoke tube in place using this Estate SWAT buckshot was giving me 25 yard patterns that would pretty much fit on a 3X5" card.

"New" Federal LE buckshot (LE127-00) with the FliteControl wad will do pretty much the same thing out of a CYL bore barrel.


Extended Report on Estate Reduced-Recoil 00 Buckshot

by LF (started 1/28/01)

The Federal Tactical line has set the standard for 12-gauge buckshot performance. This really cannot be emphasized strongly enough: Their 00 load has produced the tightest patterns in every shotgun I have ever tested it in. Many, many others report the same level of results.

For years after it came out, I was able to get cases (250rds) for under $100 out the door -- roughly forty cents per round. Unfortunately, glowing magazine articles and heavy law enforcement purchasing have driven its price up to $150. That's sixty cents per, and qualifies as an "OUCH!"

So I've been auditioning alternatives.

A few weeks ago I bought a box of Fiocchi nickel-plated buckshot that patterned pretty well, and wanted to dig up some more. A quick Google search located four or five places that claimed to carry it . . . but the two which still had it in stock were charging top dollar.

A wider search on "buckshot 00 12 ga" produced a large number of hits, but most were for product from the Big Three (Rem/Fed/Win), and the hottest deals were at best 15% off chain store pricing. Unfortunately shotgun ammo is so darned heavy that tacking on shipping would've jacked the totals to just a tad under Wal-Mart levels.

The Sportsman's Guide folks had Estate Cartridge Company #4 buckshot for thirty cents a round, and they were running a 20% off special for NRA members, which would've brought it down to 24 cents a bang plus shipping. I'd had poor luck with Estate shotgun ammo in the past, with major extraction problems and crummy patterning, but figured that enough time had gone by that the company SHOULD have been able to do at least some tweaking. And for that kind of money even if it still sucked I could at least use it for heavy-duty plinking and practicing malfunction-clearance drills.

I picked up the phone, but had missed SG's regular operating hours. Did another search on "estate buckshot" and found that my old pals at Natchez Shooters Supply had the Estate 00 "reduced recoil" (a slightly lessened powder charge means the payload steps out at a less-thumping velocity, which is the same thing designated by the neater-sounding term "tactical"). The bigger pellets were a plus, and their regular price was only $2.98 for a ten-round box. So I got a case.

[BTW, their order line is 1-800-251-7839, and the ammo I'm talking about is item #ETRR12BK00. Be sure to ask for a free catalog while you're at it.]

Hit the range on a beautiful day, and set up a couple NRA B-8(P) pistol targets at 25 yards. The 5.5" 5-ring and a 11" 7-ring helped in estimating pattern density until I could slap the used targets under my "official" template -- concentric 12" and 6" circles on a sheet of clear plastic. This methodology was recommended by Wiley Clapp in a great American Rifleman article from a while back ('Tactical' Buckshot & Chokes, June 1998), and should be considered superior to simply measuring overall pattern size for at least two reasons. First, tallying the hits on the smaller internal circle identifies load/choke combinations which throw "doughnut"-shaped patterns. Second, it does not overly punish combinations which may yield one or more erratic fliers but are otherwise solid performers.

Patterning Test Results at 25 Yards with Remington 870
#6231 Cantilever Barrel, Modified Choke tube, Burris 1X Scope
Five Rounds Estate Cartridge Reduced Recoil 00 Buck,
9 Pellets per round, 45 Pellets Per Target
Target #1

Pellets in 6" Circle: 19 (42%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 41 (91%)
Target #2

Pellets in 6" Circle: 20 (44%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 39 (87%)
Things were looking too good, so I put up another pair of targets and really locked myself down into the bench:

Target #3

Pellets in 6" Circle: 24 (53%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 40 (89%)
Target #4

Pellets in 6" Circle: 23 (51%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 41 (91%)
Dig it:

20 Round Total (Above Targets Combined)

Pellets in 6" Circle: 86 (47%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 161 (89%)
If you're not up to speed on riot guns, that is ASTOUNDING PERFORMANCE. Luckily I had a box of Federal Tactical in the trunk, and double-checked:

Control Group with Federal Tactical Copper-Plated 00BK

Pellets in 6" Circle: 19 (42%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 37 (82%)
Better performance -- with that particular barrel, and please always remember that shotguns are notoriously picky -- at almost half the price. Definitely worthy of further investigation.

How They Pulled It Off

After using my palm to push my jaw shut, I sliced open one of the hulls to see just what the heck Estate had done. First thing to fall out was the start of what turned out to be a big pile of plastic buffering material just like that used in the Federal Tactical. Nine lead pellets followed, which looked nice and smooth. The convex-bottomed plastic shot cup sat directly on a compressed charge of a flake powder. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Wasn't until I got home and popped apart some competing buckshot loads for comparison that the picture became a bit clearer. The Federal Tactical uses a two-piece wad/cup setup which, when combined, is just slightly taller than the Estate's one-piece unit. An old red-hulled S&B had just a cardboard wad and no shot cup. Others had the standard "shock-absorber"-type wad/cup unit designed to cushion the shot by compressing slightly on firing.

As far as I can tell, the magic lies in the depth of the Estate shot cup (1.75"). Seriously, the thing is really long. Looks like it was originally designed for a 3.5" Magnum.

Peering at a cup cut-out whole with its cargo intact, none of the pellets are touching, as they are held apart by the buffering material. The Federal Tactical is similar, but the "pusher" element which bears against the powder charge necessitates a shorter shot cup (roughly 1.125"), with less space available for separating its pellets.

It appears that the longer cup prevents the softer lead Estate pellets from suffering more deformation in the barrel than the harder copper-plated Federals. That's my best guess. It may not be a major breakthrough technology-wise, but certainly seems like a killer cheapo solution.

Of course, it could be another simple thing. I don't have a chronograph, and don't really notice recoil all that much, so as far as I know the pellets are coming out slower than other brands of low-recoil buck, which again would reduce deformation. Or the pellets are of some extremely hard blend of lead and other metals. Or maybe something about the load is reacting perfectly with my particular shotgun, and would shoot poorly in another.

Second Series of Tests

Pulled my unchoked Beretta 1201FP out of the closet the following weekend, and swapped-out the 870's cantilever barrel for a fixed Improved Cylinder barrel with rifle sights. The latter promised to provide a better check on the Estate load's capabilities than simply sticking an IC choke tube in the 6231, since it eliminated any variables unique to the original barrel that might have skewed the results, like the level of bore polishing, shape of the forcing cone, etc.
Rem 870, IC/RS, 25 Yards, Five Rounds Per Target

Estate Target #1

Pellets in 6" Circle: 13 (29%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 35 (78%)
Estate Target #2

Pellets in 6" Circle: 12 (27%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 28 (62%)
Control Group with Federal Tactical 00BK

Pellets in 6" Circle: 10 (22%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 20 (44%)
Beretta 1201FP, Cylinder Bore and Rifle Sights, 25 Yards, Five Rounds Per Target

[Disclaimer #1: It was not until the last group for this gun was fired that I remembered that it was not sighted-in after a SureFire flashlight rig was reattached, and did not have enough slugs on hand (or time) to resight. So I selected the nominal "center" of the patterns based on where the hits were thickest, which worked out to roughly 3" to the right and 5" lower than the point of aim.]

Estate Target #1

Pellets in 6" Circle: 10 (22%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 22 (49%)
Estate Target #2

Pellets in 6" Circle: 9 (20%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 21 (47%)
Control Group with Federal Tactical 00BK

Pellets in 6" Circle: 9 (20%)
Pellets in 12" Circle: 19 (42%)
Let me end with a piece of advice: Buy this stuff at the current price while you can!

[Disclaimer #2: All testing was performed with ammo from the same case lot. If you want to get a pile, give me a week or so until my next batch comes in. I asked the Natchez folks to grab me two cases from opposite ends of the warehouse. If the rest of it works out just as well, then my early stellar results are definitely more than just a fluke.]

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