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Best choke for buckshot

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by 1911user, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. 1911user

    1911user Well-Known Member

    What choke would be best (in general) for shooting tight buckshot patterns from an 870 barrel? I'm defining best as the tightest pattern at 25 yards and beyond. It seems IC is better than no choke, but how much is too much choke? This would be for larger buckshot (0,00,000).
  2. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    There's no easy,simple answer. Each shotgun is a law unto itself and only very loose rules apply. Such as....

    Premium ammo usually patterns tighter than generic or Third World stuff. Which patterns TIGHTEST is a mystery until one patterns his/her shotgun with divers ammo.

    Constrictions between 10 and 20 POC usually pattern better(Tighter) with most ammo than no Choke or Full Choke.

    A long forcing cone will usually tighten patterns about as much as one increment of choke.

    Some folks who use buck for deer hunting work up custom handloads and use lots of choke. Usually, these results are good only with one load.

    For starters, I'd use a premium load of 00 and a Modifed or Light Mod.

  3. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

    I had a chance to pattern over 100 Remchoke equipped 870's with a selection of buckshot about 5 years ago. Obviously every shotgun is different, but overwhelming majority responded best overall to modified choke.

  4. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    What they said.

    Plus, see

    I was swapping email with Mark at the time he was playing with this stuff. I was playing with it too, with the same idea- pushing the 'A zone' out as far as possible to simplify all that shotgun stuff down as much as possible. I'm still working on it, but not to the degree I was a while back. I eventually decided to 'settle' and quit trying to push the envelope so much. Problem with buckshot is that you tend to run out of 'oomph' before you run out of pattern, if you are doing things right. Remember that spheres have poor sectional density and that will help with the penetration equations.

    IMHO if you are going to go for a lot more than 25 yards you need to step up your pellet size to 000 buck, and of course doing that will cost you on pellet count unless you also step up to 3" magnum loads. Can you see the spiral developing here? Cost, availability and pain are part of it. And I can promise you that very likely within a few weeks of your finding something that works to your satisfaction, the company that makes the load will change it, or go out of business, or get bought out by a megacorp that changes everything and all your work will start over again. BTDT, more than once, and detailed some of it here too.

    By all means work away at it, and have fun. Share some results here if you would, improving the state of the art is a useful pursuit. But don't forget to keep an eye on penetration with buckshot 'way out yonder as well as patterns, be sure it will still deliver enough wallop to do the job when it gets there. I've been hankering to play with HeviShot 00 loads a bit, but can't get past the price just to play with- I'm a cheapskate at heart, and want the most bang for the buck. Some of the new developments like Heavishot, and Federal's new LE loads, indicate that new options still become available from time to time. And there are always the 'high priced spread' choke tubes like the Patternmaster to play with too.

    Make the acquaintance of a good barrel shop early along. I use Colonial Arms in my hometown of Selma, AL but it isn't really rocket science- there are lots of good machinists out there. That forcing cone stuff really works. Barrel length isn't critical after you have enough length to burn your powder charge- 18" should do it with inches to spare. Sights are a good idea for getting diminuitive patterns on target. Having your barrel threaded for choke tubes will make experimentation with different chokes easier.

    Have fun, keep us posted...

    lpl/nc (when you can use a 3X5" card at 25 yards for patterning paper, you're getting there...)
  5. sm

    sm member

    I agree with the above statements as well.
    No two guns, bbls, chokes are always going to be the same. We suggest running back to store and buying the same lot # of an ammo for a reason, lot changes can make a difference. As Lee pointed out, they quit making a load, or change the load when aquired by another.

    Modified is really really hard to beat across the board as stated. Some like IC, some IC+. Folks forget actual bore diameters vary. NOT all bores are by golly .729.
    For example, MOD is considered .020 constriction [20 points] .020 points of constriction for a .729 are NOT the same for a bore .735, one is "now" .709 and the other is .715. These "six points" in difference , do play a roll downrange.

    Art and Science folks. Only the pattern board can determine for sure for loads at ranges.

    Lee, now while I only pay 50 cents for 100 3 X5 index cards, the FREE playing cards are cheaper. Either the partial deck or brand new ones with a logo...patterning is patterning. :D

    Yes one can 'pattern' a buckshot load onto playing cards or 3x5 index cards. :uhoh: WITHOUT having to spend a lot of money. How does $8 sound to get a bone stock gun to do this with off the shelf loads?

    I have seen the Card Shooters do this too - Some spend big bucks, some find a better performer with less expensive tweaks.

    Tools for tasks.

    True story- I just heard today. Fellow calls the gunsmith, has a 3.5" Shotgun.
    "I need my gun fixed so the #4 buckshot hits what I need it too. I have tried both chokes that came with the gun."

    "Well sir I can take a look at it, I can perhaps see if by chance if there needs to be forcing cone work as well..., The box stores by the way , do sell Rem Chokes - you may want to try one of them, and I do have access to after market ones <names these>...oh by the way- at what RANGES are you pattering at?" - asks the Gunsmith.

    "Pattering, what is that?

    I done tried shooting 5 deer, and missed all of them. I tried 2 3/4", I tried 3" , even 3.5" shells...see it is about 100 - 120 yards from my maintenance barn to this spot where they to come of of the woods..." :eek:

    "Sir, in all due respect, 100 yds is too far for #4 or any buckshot, may I suggest slugs, better yet - you got a 30-30 rifle...that'd be your best best" - Gunsmith.

    "Nope, can't do that, daddy always said to use #4 buck on deer, never slugs , so I use #4 buck for racoons, deer geese...."

    [geese...umm...non toxic loads] Gunsmith is thinking...

    "Sir, I believe you be best served to contact Remington, they made that gun and they make ammo as you know - I just have to be honest and say in this case - Remington advice is better than mine. I do appreciate call...".

    What does a dime and a barrel tell ya young'un?
    Means I got 10 cents and a barrel grandpa

    Just 'cause you gotta shotgun and buckshot....only means you gotta a shotgun and some buckshot loads...about it...until more investigation is done.
  6. MNgoldenbear

    MNgoldenbear Well-Known Member

    I've seen some impressive patterns from Vang barrels on 870s, mostly shooting low recoil 00. Even out a bit past 25 yards, these folks did not have to run slugs for head shots (oops, I mean 'upper A and B zone' shots :) ) near no-shoots.
  7. 1911user

    1911user Well-Known Member

    thanks for the info.

    I'll start with the typical express 20" fixed IC choked barrel with rifle sights and find what brand buck and slugs shoots best in it. The fixed IC choke barrel is about $50 cheaper than the rem-choked equivelent. After some practice and experimenting, if the patterns need to be tighter, I'll buy a reamer and hone to extend the forcing cone. Doing my 2 barrels would effectively pay for the tools.
  8. jaybar

    jaybar Well-Known Member

    PatternMaster is the answer.

    If your barrel can accept screw in chokes get a PatternMaster choke made specifically for shooting buckshot by law enforcement. A quote from their website :
    Yep a 5" to 9" pattern at 25 yds!!! You can shoot regular birdshot through it with a resultant modified to full choke pattern depending on shot size. The bigger the shot - the smaller the pattern. You can also fire Foster type rifled slugs through it. (no saboted slugs please). The choke is really a choke in that there is no constriction; rather, there are little fingers machined into the tube that grab the shot cup/wad and allow the undistorted pellets to exit slightly ahead of the cup. They work!! they are a bit pricey but worth every penny. Go to www.patternmasterstore.com Read the FAQ's and the testimonials. Buy one you won't be disappointed.
  9. 1911user

    1911user Well-Known Member

    jaybar, have you used this choke? I've seen them advertised, but $80 for a choke tube seems expensive.
  10. jaybar

    jaybar Well-Known Member

    I've used a PatternMaster but not with buckshot.

    I've used Patternmasters for large steel shot (2's T's etc.) for goose hunting. Amazingly tight and dense patterns making 80 yard shots (yep I said 80) a non-issue. Chokes mounted on an Remington 11-87 and a Benelli SBE.
  11. Matt G

    Matt G Moderator Emeritus

    I shot a turkey shoot a coupla weeks ago, in which there was a stage where a turkey poster was stapled to a man-sized silohuette and the shooter fired one round of 00 buck at 25 yards. I fired my round out of a cylinder bore M1100 with a 20" barrel. I had 3 holes cut paper, with only one on the turkey (dead center, interestingly enough), with the other six spreading out off of each side of the 2.5' wide silohuette target cardboard backing. So I had about a 3' spread at 25 yards!!! The guy that won it used a high-end load and a super turkey choke that held all of his pellets on the bird at 25 yards-- call it a 6" pattern.

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