Shotshell suggestions


August 6, 2014, 09:30 PM
My shotguns are my least used and, as a result, neglected firearms. They sit in the corner of my safe untouched and rarely fired.

My selection of shotshells reflect my negligence. I have a case of mixed brands and shot sizes with very little focus. Most were brought for a hunt and stashed away.

As far as my guns go I cover everything from riot, slug, turkey and birds.

Last winter I took the first steps to become a more responsible parent to my shotguns by buying a ammo can of Federal 00 buck (75 rounds in the can). With Fall coming up I would like to acquire more shells at sale prices.

I am thinking that since #6 lead shot is commonly used for pheasants it will fill my need for big birds and serve as a respectable close range self-defense load.

All of this brings me to my question is what brands of shotshells are the most consistent in shot patterns & power?

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Fred Fuller
August 6, 2014, 09:36 PM
Your shotgun will dictate which loads it prefers as far as patterns are concerned.

Your major concern should be reliability of function in your shotgun, so once again the shotgun itself has much to say as to what you should buy.

Best advice I can offer is to buy small quantities at first, experiment with them, and then buy in quantity what works best in your gun as far as reliability and patterning are concerned.

August 6, 2014, 09:46 PM
Good advice from Mr. Fuller above. Every shotgun patterns different. I shoot a lot of Estate brand on clays and birds. When I bought most of the 6 and 7.5 shot (by the case) it ran about $4.75 a box. Now even at places like academy its still under $6 a box.

To me 6 shot is a pretty good all around. I've busted clays and got my limit of quail with it with a 16 ga, mainly because that's what I found last minute.

Keep birdshot for birds. Not wanting to start a debate, but that's what it's for.

August 6, 2014, 10:03 PM
I have pumps, side x side and single shot so functioning isn't much of a issue. While most likely there will be differences in how the 28" barrel guns will pattern does any brands stand out as more consistent performers?

In other words I don't do enough hunting to go to the trouble to pattern each load in each individual gun, then buying different brands for different guns and keeping track of what brand goes with what gun.

Let me rephrase my question this way, with so many choices what are the lower quality brands? That will help narrow my search and spend my limited range time wisely.

p.s. I got two big pieces of cardboard tonight from work for pattern testing.

August 6, 2014, 10:07 PM
Those miscellaneous shells you have stashed from hunts past may be a good starting point for patterning your guns. It would be a funa nd interesting way to get more closely acquainted with those 'kids'. Shoot 'em up with learning uppermost in your mind.

Fred Fuller
August 7, 2014, 11:03 AM
functioning isn't much of a issue

That depends on several factors.

Some years back I was on my way to my first serious 3-day defensive shotgun class. I had done all my homework, and prepared ahead of time, so I thought. On the way to class, literally, we stopped by a regional gun shop and on a whim I picked up a flat of Fiocchi birdshot that was a lighter load than I had at home. I figured I might save myself some grief in the recoil department, since we were slated to fire several hundred rounds in three days.

Now, I knew the advice against taking anything new, untried and untested to a class. But did I think this simple substitution would make any difference? Of course not! I had a tried and proven 870 plus another as a backup, and while this was my first formal class from a world class instructor, I had literally decades of experience behind a shotgun going in.

And the Fiocchis worked fine ... till we got to a drill called Rolling Thunder. In short, that drill involved firing about fifteen rounds at near load and shoot speed, and when the gun got hot, it stopped extracting fired shells. Oops.

Swapping shotguns and shooting the backup gun fixed the short term problem, but that particular barrel never has really gotten along with that particular brand of shotgun shells despite having the chamber honed and polished.

Moral of the story is, don't take too much for granted...

August 7, 2014, 12:30 PM
Funny, I shoot Fiocchis all the time with no issues, same for the wally world federals, all of your better grade Remington (Gun Club, STS, etc.) and Winchester (AA)

Stay away from the Win Universals and Super Speeds - just about the worst ammo ever made - thumps hard, extraction issues, and generally pattern very poorly.

As far as CONSISTENCY is concerned, the better ammo will always be consistent; that said, how they perform in YOUR gun needs to be determined

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