Any Reports On "New" Estate Buckshot?


Fred Fuller
March 30, 2004, 01:10 AM
A good while back, Estate was bought out, first by Blount, then very soon thereafter Blount's sporting goods group was acquired by ATK/Alliant. All that was discussed here, briefly. I did the search and read the threads I could find, after all I am a newbie here, but I did do the homework first.

Estate's plant got moved after production of the original low- recoil SWAT load ceased, warehouse supplies dwindled and finally disappeared. That was one of my all time favorite shotgun loads, and I clutched as much of it as my meager ammo budget would allow. I called the company offices in Texas seeking more, and got depressed along with the office staff who were losing their jobs. But I had some big time health problems of my own about then, and went for a long time without being able to handle a gun, or drive, or do other useful stuff like work.

Time marched on. I got better.

Then the familiar brown 10-round boxes started showing back up at the web vendors' sites. It made me hopeful.

But... I am told the _contents_ are not the same. Now, I have not bought any new production, post- Texas, Estate buck. I do not know if things have been changed under the new management, and the construction of the shell is different.

But I am told it is. I am told it no longer produces those famous patterns.

Horrors. The thought fills me with dismay. But I must ask:

Has anyone here dissected one of the "new" loads and compared it with the old? Anyone fired it in patterning tests to compare it with the original Texas load yet? I'd like to know, even while wanting badly to believe that modern global megacorporations actually have enough good sense to leave a good thing alone though it costs a fraction of a cent more per unit not to 'go cheap.' It would really really ruin my day to have to find out the hard way. I'd rather not have to look, not until after I pop the top off the last .50 cal. can full of those familiar made-in-Texas brown boxes, and empty it.

I'll even make a contribution toward paying for the test/ dissection/ autopsy/ whatever, for a vetted shotgun scientist (or alchemist) here who is willing to undertake the experiment (if no one has, yet). Now after over a year of being seizure free, I am driving- and shooting a little- and working- again. So this isn't a pure pity party, just a request to help out on something that I might find repugnant t have to do myself.

Please reply below...


If you enjoyed reading about "Any Reports On "New" Estate Buckshot?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 30, 2004, 08:39 AM
NO, can't help you. I did find one national wholesaler though about 2 months ago that had 7 cases of the old Texas stuff- on sale. Won't be needing any buckshot for awhile!

March 30, 2004, 07:26 PM
I bought some Saturday. I came across a deal I couldnt pass up on a Mossy 20" 8 shot 500 so I bought a couple boxes of the Estate "reduced recoil" 00 buckshot to try. I didnt do any scientific tests for pattern. I did di-sect one and it is a nice buffered load of 9 , 00 buckshot. Also Im not sure if its the newer production stuff or not, Ill have to check.

Im fairly new to the shotgun side of shooting, what is a good pattern/distance to expect from this combo. As soon as the weather improves a little Ill try some more and give a better report of the results.


March 31, 2004, 12:27 AM
Well some news; The stuff I got has the Texas address on the box so I guess any test will be a bit redundant. The guy that was selling the stuff seemed to have plenty and was selling it @$4.25 for a box of 10. I think from what Ive heard and the results in my own gun that I may need to try a get a hold of him and see how much he has left.

Anyone else interested in stocking up or is this deal not worth the trouble??

Thanks; Adam

Dave McCracken
March 31, 2004, 06:08 AM
Dunno about the "New" Estate 00. The old stuff is very, very, good in my 870s. I stocked up when Natchez was selling it for $3 a 10 pack.

Even at the current price, someone who is stocking up on "Serious" ammo may want to pick up a few hundred of these.

Fred Fuller
May 24, 2004, 02:11 PM

Visited one of my favorite shooting venues this past week, well over an hour away so I don't get there very often at all. Noticed a few boxes of Estate 00 on the shelf, so I asked my friend the counterman if it was old or new. "New" he replied. This particular person is a 'detail man' and new means new if he says so. So I brought home a couple of boxes.

All I can say from initial external examination is that ATK has DEFINITELY changed it, the changes are obvious upon physical inspection of the shells. THE BOX IS EXACTLY THE SAME THOUGH, complete with the old Willis, TX address. So the box is not a defining clue as to whether you are looking at 'old or new.'

Number one obvious difference is that the new stuff is loaded in a high brass hull. Second is that the hull markings are different. Third is that to me it looks 'lumpy.' That is to say, the imprint of the enclosed buckshot is visible pressed into the plastic hull from the inside. Fourth is that there is a visible conventional plastic wad in the hull when the shell is 'candled' against bright light. This last is the most not-good observation and likely to have the most potentially negative effect on actual performance. I am conviced that the old extra long shot cup and the extra load of plastic buffering material it held cushioned the buckshot pellets and contributed measurably to improved patterns. That feature is now replaced by a conventional short shot cup pne piece wad setup. We will see if it makes any measurable difference.

I am going to wait until I can get help from someone with a digital camera to commence dissecting shells for the record. Pattern testing will commence as soon as weather and workload permit.


Dave McCracken
May 24, 2004, 05:39 PM
Eagerly awaiting patterning results, Lee. Hope it works as well.

May 24, 2004, 09:08 PM
Hate to be the bearer of bad news but the new stuff suuucks, at least in my 870.

I bought 10 boxes from CTD a few weeks ago and went out and patterned it last week.

I've got pattern sheets that I'll photograph and post pics of tomorrow. I just measured the patterns, here's the skinny:

Range: 16 yds.

870P w/ 18" IC bbl.

Old Estate 00B: about 6-6.5" patterns.

New Estate 00B: 10-11" patterns.


I just cut open one of the new rounds (I don't have any of the old stuff left to compare it to though) and it has a monopost wad/shot cup. The post is about 1/2" long and the cup is filled with small granulated polyethylene. I'll post pics of this too.

May 25, 2004, 01:47 AM
I live in Dallas and still have a hard time finding those old boxes. Being they are a local company (well fairly local) you'd think there'd be hella more around. Anyone got a source?

May 25, 2004, 02:52 AM

Good report- Thanks.

I have no experince with either of the Estate Loads - that said:

- Did the old load have "buffering" like the old "grex buffering" Win used in their buckshot and XX Mag loads?

- If so - did is this material different? How so?

-We need a known Old load to test against the new Load.

Granted no experience with either load - my gut is telling me the shot hardness is different.

I have a honorary degree in taking shells apart and playing *smirk*

I have used the Win [X12XC] 2 3/4 " , 1 1/2 oz XX Magnum loads these have the "grex buffer" have use in all shot sizes made in.

Now I reloaded using Win components, I duplicated this load and used flour ( for buffer) and my reloads were real hard to tell from factory loads. IN fact some were tighter...shells, guns, absolutes.

I piddled with this stuff back then. I was using the hardest #5 shot. If I reloaded - removed from the new factory shell, never fired and used a softer shot...patterns open up. [we know tis already]

I opened up a Win 00 buck load and some off brand I'd never heard of 00 buckshot load - Pellets of the Off brand - according to the "scientific plier test"[tm] were softer. I kept everything the same the same in the two unfired shells - except the shot...buffers and all...patterns boards don't lie, softer shot will never pattern as good as harder shot.

Get a whumper thumper longer shell with softer shot and the pattern really gets blown. *grin* 'tis why the 2 3/4" has merit. Also has to do with that bore to payload ratio.

...but we all knew that already...*grin*

May 26, 2004, 09:23 PM
Here's the pics. Yes, as a said the new shells are filled with granulated polyeythlene (grex), around .010" in size. I cut one of them open, I'll take some pics and post them tomorrow. I have no old Estate shells left. I didn't realize there'd ever be a need for forensic examination of them. :) Oh well, live and learn...

"old" Estate 00B:

"new" Estate 00B:

May 26, 2004, 09:31 PM
Wow Talon, thats a very noticable difference in spread. Any idea at what range that was?

May 26, 2004, 09:56 PM
Black Talon: That top target with the old Estate surprises me in that it has that one flyer off to the left.
During one defensive shotgun class I took, we had one "stage" where we had a bad guy with a hostage in front of him so that you only had a partial head shot. If even one pellet struck the hostage you failed that drill. Obviously you had to "hold off" to a certain extent, and you also had to know how your gun patterned with your ammo. During practice I used Winchester OO buckshot and would occasionally get that unpredictable flyer. You could have 11 pellets in the head of the bad guy and one random pellet in the head of the hostage = failure.
The instructor told us that if we wanted to game this section of the final skills test, go to the pro shop and buy a couple boxes of Estate buck because it usually resulted in a more consistant pattern without random flyers. I took his advice and in the small amount of shells I fired, he was right. I never had a random pellet.
I have taken two defensive shotgun courses and both instuctors were very high on Estate buckshot. I believe that Estate was both instructors recomendation as being the most consistant with the thousands of guns they see come through their courses. Now of course we have another variable with the "new" Estate buck.

Fred Fuller
May 26, 2004, 11:16 PM

Well, I guess that pretty well covers it as far as performance of old versus new is concerned. Thanks very much for your patterning work and posting the pictures. I was afraid of that- as soon as I saw the 'new' Estate ammo it was obvious some major changes had taken place.

If you will PM me a UPS address, I will send you a box or two of 'old' Estate for autopsy purposes and further photographs for posting here. It would be a good idea, I think, to assist in educating fellow listmembers and other shooters so they are not taken in by ATK's apparent attempts to cash in on the excellent reputation established by the genuine Estate 00 reduced recoil load.

I would suggest contacting ATK and asking them why they found it necessary to change the best performing and most affordable reduced recoil 00 load in the country, but it would probably be a waste of electrons, breath or postage. Alliant are the #1 providers of ammunition to the US military and their civilian sales probably pale by comparison- so complaints from civilian shooters are likely to be ignored. I'd rather focus on getting the word out and educating other shooters that what used to be the number one value in RR buckshot is now a mediocre performer at best.

Stay safe, y'all


May 26, 2004, 11:36 PM
Clarify for me, to make sure I read your post correctly.

Old Estate - no grex

New Estate - grex

Do I have this understood correctly?

Fred Fuller
May 27, 2004, 12:13 AM

Both old and new versions are buffered. The important difference is in the shot cup vs. wad, as far as I can tell. The old verson had a simple, very long, one piece four- finger plastic shot cup (1 5/8" long overall) with a deeply cupped base which sat directly on the powder charge (there's one on the desk as I type this). The new version has a conventional piston type wad with a short shot cup. There is a lot less buffering in the new load than in the old, since there is a lot less room in the shot cup of teh new version. I'd bet that is what makes the difference, unless the pellets in the new load are appreciably softer as well. Haven't checked that detail yet.

The easiest way to tell old from new (in my admittedly limited experience so far) is to look at the hulls- old is in a low brass hull, new is in a medium high brass hull. You can't tell by the boxes, so far they seem to be the same. You can see the new load's conventional piston type wad in the hull if you hold it up to a strong light and rotate it, you can't 'see through' the old load because it's full of stuff. Both hulls are the same shade of red, BTW.

I will no longer recommend the ATK version (the 'new' load) of Estate to anyone for duty use as it is not the performer the original Texas version was. If it is found on sale inexpensively enough to be a bargain, it should serve OK as practice ammo but for anyone looking for tight patterns it can no longer be recommended for duty loads IMHO.

And thus the search for good patterns through conventional chokes with relatively inexpensive ammo begins again... .


May 27, 2004, 12:31 AM
Thank you for clarification. I did not see any mention of grex in the Old loading.
As I stated before , I have no experience with Estate. I'm still in the dark ages on some stuff...still works for ME though.

Yes I would have to agree - based on experiences on other shells/loadings and taking stuff apart and "experimenting and research" - Estate goofed up big time.

Deeper shot cup = very good.
Longer wad and fingers = good, protects shot from deformity= better patterns.

We used to cut petals short, or remove to make "brush loads" for close game like quail.

Some principles are proven. Today's shooters are better educated / have access to info. Why do folks keep changing and thinking folks won't notice and pass on to others? [ I know money}

<scratches head in wonder>

May 27, 2004, 09:58 PM
Wow Talon, thats a very noticable difference in spread. Any idea at what range that was?

16 yards.

BTW, there's another thread about patterning ( that I posted more pics in. You may want to take a look at that one too. Look how well the Hornady TAP Low Recoil works in my new 870P. That's why you should pattern your gun!

May 27, 2004, 10:04 PM
If you will PM me a UPS address, I will send you a box or two of 'old' Estate for autopsy purposes and further photographs for posting here. It would be a good idea, I think, to assist in educating fellow listmembers and other shooters so they are not taken in by ATK's apparent attempts to cash in on the excellent reputation established by the genuine Estate 00 reduced recoil load.

Lee - Thanks for the offer, you got PM.

Clarify for me, to make sure I read your post correctly.

Old Estate - no grex

New Estate - grex

Do I have this understood correctly?

sm - Just to reiterate what Lee already said, they both have grex.

Fred Fuller
May 28, 2004, 07:03 AM

Got it. I'll dig out a can this weekend and get a couple of boxes headed your way.



May 28, 2004, 08:03 AM

Thank you for clarification. I also want to thank you , Lee and others for posting and sharing pics of patterns.

That Hornady Tap IS impressive, and from a 18" IC no less!!

Threads like this are really informative. We have to pattern for ourselves, with our own guns.

I'm paying attention to the other tests as well, taking note of gun, and Choke used at what distance.

May 31, 2004, 02:06 PM
I have some standard Remington 00 buck 9 pellet rounds. I will try to get to the range this Friday and pattern them. I will do a 16 yard pattern. My shotgun has a modified choke and I am interested to compare with the results Black Talon had with the Estate rounds. I also have some three inch monsters that I will pattern. I/we need to get a hold of some sheetrock and hardboard siding and do some wall penetration test with some different common rounds.

May 31, 2004, 06:21 PM
I got a couple questions since I am a shotgun novice.
What are you looking for in a defensive load ?
Are you looking for the smallest possible pattern at a given range ?
Are you looking for a load that will keep all the pellets in a given diameter at a given range ?
How did you arrive at this given range ?
Or are you trying to find the load that gives you the longest possible range while keeping all the pellets in a given diameter ?

A couple real obvious thoughts on my part:
Inside my house, I think this is all academic: the pattern will be the size of a fist at the longest possible distance.
When taking a couple defensive shotgun classes I realized that it was quite easy to miss a target entirely at fairly close range when trying to be fast. By having a larger pattern, this increases you chances of a hit. By the same token, if your pattern stays very small, it requires more precision in aiming which I feel takes away one of the advantages of the shotgun.
Obviously you need to determine the maximum range at which you can put all the pellets into the torso of an average human. But, I think we need to keep this distance reasonable. I mean, this is a shotgun and not a rifle.

Just hoping for a little discussion on this topic.

May 31, 2004, 07:14 PM
I`m glad to see 444 ask the above question, since I`m also new to Shotguns and the Forum I`ve been reluctant to ask about the inherent desireability that many of the more experienced members express for " tight patterns", especially with 00 Buck.

Actually, I would hope for the opposite in a defensive SG.

Like 444, in any interior Home Defense situtation I can come up with using a Shotgun, we are talking 20 feet or so. I expect that`s about the norm in most cases.

To my inexperienced mind, the advantage of a home SG with an 18" barrel, is the ability to have a "spread" of buckshot at 20 feet, perhaps at least the size of a pie plate, that would compensate for the very real possibility that you will be inaccurate in that situtation or be facing several BG`s.

While hitting the BG with just a few pellets might not end the fight it would surely tilt the odds in your favor for follow up shots.

I`m not trying to be a wise guy here, start a fight, or be disrespectful, I
really just don`t get it ?

May 31, 2004, 07:26 PM
One of the reasons I bring this up is that it goes beyond ammo considerations and gets into the gun itself.
When I decided to take the Gunsite 260 class, I decided I needed a new "trick" shotgun. Vang seemed to be the man. So, I ordered one. I didn't get it in time for the class, but I did use a Vang gun for a little bit of the class and most of the people in the class were using a Vang gun. It was proven (at least to me) that the Vang guns produced significantly tighter patterns than guns like the 870 I was using with a Remington factory barrel.
After getting a little experience with defensive shotgunning, I started to think that maybe I was going in the wrong direction. I decided that maybe I wanted a little more spread of the pattern. After all, this is a shotgun. Obviously, you need to pattern your gun with your load to see just how far you can engage a target and still get all your pellets on target. But, this range seems to be easily within a reasonable range for personal defense. I think my Remington will put all the pellets in the "A" zone of a silhouette at 15 yards and will keep them all on the body at 20-25 yards. The Vang gun can increase this range by probably 10 yards, but you pay for it at closer range because the pattern is much tighter and requires you to place your shots more accurately.

May 31, 2004, 08:17 PM
What are you looking for in a defensive load ?
Okay , since I have no shame, ego, and smarts, this is what I want in any defensive load no matter platform ( shotgun, rifle, or handgun).
I also FEEL IMO, There is NO Holy Grail or Absolutes.
Now that I have done the disclaimer bit, and clarifed how stupid I am...heck I don't even recall ever owning a flowered shirt, don't have one now and I don't point guns at self...much less have my pic took doing so.

1) Reliability of ammo in said firearm.
2) POA/POI of ammo, in said firearm, and ammo being consistent in said firearm.

[ I put a LOT of value in shot placement - if 1&2 are not present - it ain't gonna happen]

3)Ammo for task - to the best of my ability.

Meaning , for me - If I need to use my shotgun to fire rounds to keep a criminal 50 yds away from "taking potshots" toward me and other innocents- I'm better off using slugs than pellets of some sort. same applies if a 4 legged critter is threatening a child, oh heck, even an adult is in fear of life and at that range, I know what I can do with a slug.

4) I like short shot strings - personally. I base this on moving targets. I don't really expect BG to be stationary, I ain't gonna be stationary. So since one or both is in movement, I want a short shot string.

5) A given one should test THEIR GUN and AMMO at the longest expected yardage, plus a bit more for a cushion.

6) AMMO avalibility. I like the ability to obtain as local and as easy the ammo. a) in order to better test a variety, b) once a load ( or loads) are found the ability to buy more of same lots.

--Now if I find , and I prefer more than one load known to me, if I order a slew of it, I want to test it again, lot #'s can differ in my gun. I also want the ability if I need to pick up something, pellet or slug type, with more than one load having been tested for defferents tasks...well kinda nice if I waltz into a gas station, local Mom&Pop and they have it. I may be returning home from bird shooting...not have any defence loads with me, and get a call to run by and check on something, might be a rabid critter threatening kids happens...It DID happen to me. Bait shop had the loads , granted different lot #'s ...but worked fine for the task.

Yes I have been told over and over again I tend to think "out of the box". Granted I was taught some stuff, but even so, back then I was sometimes " way out of the box".

Each person has a different type of defence need. These needs may in fact differ with the same individual. Civil is different from inside the Abode.

They fella may be using rock salt to keep pests from watermellons, ( or kids like me). Fella may use slugs to hit a critter so pellets don't hit the John Deere, family car, or Momma's flower pots. He may use buckshot for on "past the living area" ( yard) or he may use NOT use slugs because of yard, neighbors property, cows, horses. Inside the house, farm shop, barn, business in the city, warehouse...etc.

So where I feel a person has to be careful with internet information is to see and learn what is a good starting point for THEM to test in personal firearms, that best represents a similar situation.

Firearms...yeah well...I always fuss about gun fitting shooter. I also take into consideration the fact we have folks from NOT in the US and legal restrictons. Guns and ammo availibilty...

I take into consideration the person with diminished physical abilites, maybe no hand, arm, arthiritis...

So a single bbl, double bbl, O/U, SxS, pump, Semi, . be it .410. 28, 20, 12 ....well it is the shooter, not the firearm. It is shot placement.

So no matter how aware and all the various levels we all are...just living long enough to gain "life experience" , getting started in taking personal responsibility, or various degrees of training, personal, LEO,or Military.

Hey, I've given away a number of single shots, from .410 on up...for folks to use...some have tranisitoned to other platforms and levels of training...but I figure that 80 y/o lady with arthitis gotta right to defend as much as the fellow with a nicer SG and a number of courses under his belt.

Okay, it is confirmed, "I are" wired different from some and "way outta the box".

June 1, 2004, 01:28 AM
I think the shot spread should be based on the expected range. I think about 5 to 6 inch spread at 6 yards is good for my situation. Also shot density is important as well. There is an inverse relationship between shot density and penetration. For a given power level, the more pellets you have the better shot density you have but the smaller size your shot will be and the lower the penetration you will have.

With large shot you get penetration with small shot the total square inches of the holes made by the shot are much larger. As an example; 27 pellets of No 4 buck has 1.22 square inches of holes, 16 pellets of No 1 Buck has 1.13 square inches of holes, 12 pellets of single ought has 0.96 square inches of holes, and 9 pellets of double ought has 0.77 square inches of holes. But no 4 buck has about 7 inches of gelatin penetration, I have read but can't confirm that no 1 buck has about 12 inches of gelatin penetration, single ought has about 16 inches of gelatin penetration, and I have read but can't confirm that double ought has about 23 inches of gelatin penetration.

I decided to test a lot of different brands and types of shotgun shells and found some big differences in the spread of shot. For instance, if you want to "fill a hallway with lead", Federal Magnum No 4 buckshot with 34 pellets has a very wide spread and will do just about that. If you want a tight pattern there are some premium and some low recoil Double Ought Buck that will do that for you.

Buy a variety of different shells and test them out. Do some research. I have decided on Remington 12 pellet single ought buck and Winchester or Remington 16 pellet No 1 Buck for my particular situation and shotgun (see photos at the Buckshot Pattern thread).

I have not posted the photo yet but Federal No 1 Mag 20 pellet was excellent at 6 yards. I think Federal discontinued this round so I need to get a hold of some made by Winchester to test out.

This Friday I hope to test some 3-inch number 4, OO, and OOO buckshot. I will post the photos.

June 1, 2004, 01:31 AM
9" paper plates make good targets for testing SG loads.
Hold one over your chest, kinda explains itself.

Fred Fuller
June 24, 2004, 10:20 PM

Should get a package out in UPS to you Saturday, with any luck. Sorry for the delay, the white- coated ones (MD= me doctor, you patient) have been giving me fits again. I hate it when they start messing around with my meds.

Anyway, despite the delay I hope you have your patterning paper ready and the 870 clean. Thanks for sharing the pics you have made available so far. Let me suggest you set up a couple of pics of old and new unfired shells side by side for easy external comparison for folks who haven't seen both types, both the markings on the hull and on the head.

Many thanks,


June 26, 2004, 09:22 PM
Let me suggest you set up a couple of pics of old and new unfired shells side by side for easy external comparison for folks who haven't seen both types, both the markings on the hull and on the head.

Yeah, I'll take pics of the markings + headstamp, plus I'll cut them apart and take pics of the wad column + shot cup too. And of course I'll pattern them.

Too bad they won't be here this coming Monday, I'm gonna do a little patterning. I only get the opportunity to do this about once/month so it may be a while before I get out again.

Fred Fuller
July 8, 2004, 11:05 PM
Hmmm. Now this makes me wonder if ATK hasn't gone and swiped Estate's former wad system for use in Federal branded products, and started selling the old Federal setup as new Estate buckshot. Well, if it hits the market it will be easy enough to tell, but I betcha the new Federal stuff won't be available for under five bucks for a 10- round box, like the old Estate was.

OBTW, all you open buckshot pattern fans can fell free to say "NYa nya na nya nya" if you want. I still like patterns tight. Six inches at 20 meters sounds good to me.

And OBTW again, the shipment of old style Estate is on its way to Talon for testing and pics- this thread ain't dead yet!


15 June 04

At the IALEFI Conference in Dayton, OH, Federal demonstrated their latest iteration of reduced recoil 00 buckshot. At twenty meters range the cluster of pellets was barely more than six inches in diameter. For all practical purposes, this round is a slug! A new wad system is responsible for the extremely tight pattern.

Tight buckshot patterns are desirable to a point, but I believe this goes too far. At twenty meters, I'd like a buckshot spread of twenty-five centimeters (ten inches), much as is routinely yielded using the Wad Wizard and Vang Comp system and standard, 00 buckshot.

The Federal folks indicated that the same wad technology would be available shortly with "standard recoil" shotshells also.


Dave McCracken
July 9, 2004, 08:14 AM
Lee, that's pretty darn tight. Maybe too tight, maybe not. My standard of 15" at max range means this stuff should be effective out to about 30 yards.

September 27, 2004, 09:20 PM
So I got the samples of "old" Estate 00B that Lee sent to me and patterned them a few weeks ago. Took pics of the construction of the "old vs. new" shells too. Here we go:

First I pulled apart a sample of each and visually inspected and weighed the components:

"Old" Estate:

Grex - 44gr.

Powder - 20.4 gr of a dull flake powder

Shot - 446.3 gr, 9 pellets

Cup/Wad - One piece, 42.8 gr

"New" Estate:

Grex - 38 gr.

Powder - 21.1 gr of a shiny flake powder

Shot - 442.4 gr, 9 pellets

Cup/wad - 2 piece, short cup with a piston wad below it.

Powder. "Old" on left, "new" on right:

Sectioned. "Old" on left, "new" on right. Note the long, roomy shot cup in the old Estate and the shorter, more cramped shot cup in the new loading:

Cup/wad. "Old" on left, "new" on right. Note all the extra room in the older style, one piece cup. All that extra room is filled with grex, which cushions the pellets in the older loading much better than the more cramped cup in the newer loading:

September 27, 2004, 09:21 PM
(continued due to THR restrictions on number of images per post)

External view. "Old" on left (with short brass), "new" on right (with tall brass).

So, how about some patterns? These were all fired at my customary distance of 16 yds from an 870P with an 18" IC bbl.

Old Estate, 2 patterns:

New Estated, 2 patterns:

I also shot a few patterns with an 18" cyl 870 and a 20" cyl Ithaca M37 with very similar results. All "New" Estate patterns were about double the size of the "Old" Estate loads.

Much thanks to Lee Lapin for his kind donation of the (rare, out of production) "Old" Estate loads for testing!

September 28, 2004, 06:13 AM
Thats extremely dissapointing, I traded for some estate buckshot at the Awerbuck shotgun course I took, and was impressed by the pattern. Of all the buckshot I tested, it was the second tightest pattern I fired. THe Hornady TAP was the nicest, followed by the estate, then ranger and remingon RR. Now I find it was the old buckshot I was testing. Hopefully they realize they went wrong, and go back to the old method of making the SWAT buckshot. Great review and pictures of your patterns and tests. Thanks for taking the time to do this, and post results.

September 28, 2004, 07:09 AM
Anyone tested Fiocchi? Tried some of their reduced recoil buckshot loads and they patterned very tight at 25 yds from Baikal 20 in sxs with mod choke. They were inexpensive from Graph and Sons, but ends are not sealed up. Much cheaper than Federal, Win or Rem. Not sure of their velocity, but seemed to have minimum recoil for practice.

Fred Fuller
September 28, 2004, 10:46 AM

Thanks much for the pictures and analysis- excellent! Collaboration of the finest kind, methinks, and should be helpful to anyone who wants to know the difference in the old Estate and the new.

I am deeply sorry to see the old Estate line go, the Texas company was a great outfit and I miss them a lot. Too bad they were swallowed up by a mega-corp leviathan like ATK, which can afford not to be concerned about the needs or desires of civilian shooters since it produces mostly defense contract items and caters to government sales.

Now it is time to move on and let the dead past bury its dead.

Our friend Eric The Ammoman has the new much- vaunted Federal 8- pellet 00 buck round available currently at $109 for a case of 250 rounds. If you are a tight pattern subscriber, this round should make you happy based on several reports I have seen. You can see the offer online at if interested. Just click on "12 ga" in the list of calibers at the top and then scroll down past the low recoil slugs.

That $109/case price works out to just over $.43 a round if my figgers don't lie. Back in the good old days a 250 round case of 'old' Estate was about $75 delivered, that comes to about $.30 a round. Oh well. Nothing lasts forever...


Fred Fuller
September 28, 2004, 06:57 PM

Odd things going on with the database here- it reported my reply didn't make it through, yet it's here. No dupe- I hope anyway. We'll see if it shows up again, seems the forum software has been double and triple tapping a lot lately.


September 28, 2004, 09:32 PM
The Hornady TAP 00B has patterned very tight in all four different guns I've tested it in. 2 were 18" IC 870's, one was a cyl 18" 870 and the other was a cyl 20" M37. All patterned quite similarly at 16yd. FWIW. The Hornady TAP is easier to find than the new Federal, and generally cheaper.

October 6, 2004, 04:35 PM
What effect would using a choke have on the patterns? My Mossberg 590 A1 DA has a fixed Modified choke. I am curious as to what different chokes do to buckshot patterns.

If you want a tight pattern then would you not be better off having a choked barrel?

October 6, 2004, 11:49 PM
Dave and others,

Why would you consider a pattern too tight? What would be the downside, aside from penetration issues?

Dave McCracken
October 7, 2004, 08:44 AM
Here's my opinion, repeat, opinion, on tight buck patterns.YMMV.

We shoot only to stop someone committing violence. It's important to stop them right then.

The immense energy on a shot load works best at stopping when it's concentrated in a small area and in the vitals.

Here's the Ladder of Effectiveness that we worked out a decade ago on the old Prodigy Net.Effectiveness goes down as the ladder does.

Big holes,center mass.

Small holes, center mass.

Big holes elsewhere.

Small holes elsewhere.

Scare them with the noise.

"Holes", in this context, mean wound channels, both temporary and permanent.

A 12 gauge 00 load with zero spread means a bigger "hole" than 9 smaller .33 caliber ones, though the second is not useless. In fact, a .73 caliber 12 gauge load with zero spread is quite effective,regardless of the size of the pellets.

If we're reducing the threat level in our environment, it needs to happen fast. Inserting that unspread load into the CNS of an adversary comes close to a guaranteed instant stop.

And, a load of shot in a pattern of palm size is just as effective. But once things open up, effect drops somewhat.

Buck, up to about 15" in spread, is probably the most effective anti personnel load extant. After that, it's still not a Nerf load, but the stray pellets post a threat to non adversaries.

Why 15"? Measure the width of your torso at the armpits.

Since shotguns,loads and chokes can vary, patterning with YOUR shotgun, choke and load is the only way to learn just what the most effective ranges are.

Fred Fuller
October 7, 2004, 05:05 PM
lbmii wrote:

I am curious as to what different chokes do to buckshot patterns.

If you want a tight pattern then would you not be better off having a choked barrel?

Generally chokes work 'better' the tighter they are and the larger the shot size used. In other words it might be possible to adjust pattern sized in a fixed choke gun by changing shot sizes. Buckshot is _very_ large shot so it tends to be influenced a lot by choke constriction, and a small increase in choke constriction generally produces markedly tighter patterns- up to a point. It is possible to _overchoke_ buckshot, thereby blowing patterns open wider with a tighter choke. Usually this is caused by distortion to the pellets and/or the pellet swarm caused by passing through too-tight choke constrictions.

Usually, up to a point, you will indeed get tighter patterns from a choked barrel. But very few things with shotguns are absolutes from barrel to barrel. As Dave and others oft reiterate, the pattern board is the only _sure_ way to discover what YOUR individual shotgun/barrel does with any given load. Thus the frequent resort to generalities in this small missive...

pittspilot wrote:

Why would you consider a pattern too tight? What would be the downside, aside from penetration issues?

I'm not sure why you would raise the question of penetration, unless you are thinking about patterns that are so tight as to _appear_ useful at ranges where buckshot begins to lose effectiveness due to loss of velocity and therefore loss of penetration. More on that in a moment, with your kind dispensation.

There are essentially two main schools of thought regarding defensive shotguns and their patterns. Some people prefer a more open pattern, feeling that the defensive shotgun's role is literally that of a 'scattergun' or alley cleaner. They feel that hits with a few pellets are better than a clean miss with what they consider a too-tight pattern.

Other people prefer tight patterns, with the idea that they want maximum effectiveness from delivering the full load of pellets to the intended target. They do not consider shotguns as scatterguns per se, but as multiple-projectile launchers capable of providing the most effective shoulder weapon available when loads are properly directed. Some want to not be bothered with worrying about performing 'select slug' drills when ranges open out into the zones where soft-pellet, unbuffered buckshot loads from an open choked shotgun are less likely to be effective.

Some folks are actually pretty open minded on the issue and don't understand what all the fuss is about. I am not about to tell anyone what they should think on this matter, everyone's decisions regarding home defense are a personal matter and each individual should exercise their own due dilligence in deciding what is right for them and their own unique situation.

A lot of people suffer from the illusion that shotgun patterns open magically to about 30 inches at the muzzle and remain coherent for a hundred yards or so. Of course Hollywood is responsible for a lot of these misconceptions, as with many other things. Within ranges measured in the size of an average room, ANY shotgun- even a blunderbuss with a belled muzzle- is going to produce a single ragged hole for a pattern. And it doesn't usually matter too much what is fired at those ranges either, the results are pretty much certain to be catastrophic. Not always instantly fatal of course, I know of more than one bungled suicide attempt with shotguns (one turned successful very quickly when the indvidual actually shot himself again at the scene- at first that one was investigated as a homicide).

Again, every shotgun is a law unto itself as far as patterning is concerned. Various shot sizes, different loads, even different lot numbers of the same ammunition can have an effect on patterns. The only way to _know_ what a given gun will do is to pattern it scientificaly.

Now, as to penetration issues. Generally in defensive applications penetration is not going to be a problem simply because range is apt to be relatively short. Most often the intended use for defensive shotguns is inside the owner's dwelling, and few people concerned with defending themselves live in castles or mega-mansions. Some of us who live in rural areas may need a shotgun outside as well, and in that case ranges might open up a bit, even approaching 100 yards and beyond. In cases of this nature shotguns become poor excuses for carbines or rifles pretty quickly, even loaded with slugs. But few occasions will arise where a justifiable claim of self defense can be raised when an assailant is over 100 yards away, and then that is usually a job better suited to a rifle or carbine.

Buckshot is a poor performer at extended range for two reasons:
1) It is round in shape, therefore its ballistic coefficient/sectional density is low
2) It is usually launched at relatively low velocities compared to rifle rounds

Both these issues make buckshot problematical at long range. At close range, it is not an issue regardless of choke. Full house loads of 00 will penetrate about 20" at close range, while the 'reduced recoil' offerings go about half that. Remington reports its new HeviShot alloy buckshot penetrates 18% deeper than ordinary lead pellets. And there is 'frangible' buckshot that will disintegrate on striking hard surfaces. Penetration will vary with shot size, weight, speed and range (larger/heavier/faster/closer will penetrate deeper). But at any reasonable defensive range (out to 50 yards or so) penetration shouldn't be much of an issue. Patterning, however, might well be.


('way out in the country, with an 870 _and_ an AR-15 on the ready rack)

If you enjoyed reading about "Any Reports On "New" Estate Buckshot?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!