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new 870 express for HD but range won't allow buck shot

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Jefs, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. Jefs

    Jefs Member

    Yesterday, I got (and shot (#6 bird shot)) my first shotgun, an 18" 870 express. I've a bunch of pistols, a couple of rifles, but I've never had a shotgun. I was thinking of using it for HD (along with my Glock 20) and I know buck shot is recommended for that use. The problem is that my range, apart from the skeet or trap or whatever it's called ("clay throwers") area, only allows shotguns to be shot at one target at the 25 yard line of the public 100 yrd rifle area and you're not allowed to shoot anything larger than #4 birdshot at that one target. This limitation is imposed to keep the wooden frames from being destroyed by the heavier loads. Now, you are allowed to shoot slugs at other targets (25 yrds recommended) at the 100 yrd range.

    So, my problem is that I'd like to use buck shot in my gun at home but can't test it at the range. Any suggestions? Can I simulate shooting buck shot by shooting slugs (does the recoil feel the same), and, if so, can someone recommend proper slugs for this purpose. I was thinking I might be able to talk a range master into letting me shoot buck shot directly into the berm before anyone shows up at the range to test whether my gun cycles/handles the buckshot properly. So, if I could test the functionality of my gun with buckshot by shooting into the berm and then learn how to handle a shotgun by shooting slugs that mimic the recoil of buck shot I'd be set. Or am I just totally out to lunch with that idea and just plain out of luck?
  2. Guyon

    Guyon Well-Known Member

    Hmmm.... any public hunting land near you? One option might be to take your shotgun there and simply shoot near where you park your vehicle. Shouldn't be too hard or take too long to set up two or three targets and touch off two or three loads of buckshot at about 10 to 20 yards. I can't really imagine an HD scenario at greater distances--unless you live in a castle.

    Of course, you'd need the proper hunting licenses, and to shoot buckshot, you might need to wait till deer season. Check your state regulations.
  3. Jefs

    Jefs Member

    Guyon, excellent suggestion. I'm not a hunter and don't know anything about hunting, so that didn't even occur to me. I mostly shoot pistols at an indoor range 10 min. from my house and have only been to that outdoor range (30 min away) to shoot rifles a few times, so I don't know any of the guys there. I'll ask some hunters about public lands. Thanks for the suggestion.
  4. lawson

    lawson Well-Known Member

    ask at your local gunshop, explain your situation. they should be able to point you toward some hunting land where you can do some target practice with buckshot. you can then get a hang of how your shotgun patterns, and get used to the recoil of double-aught buck out of an 18" barrel.

    i really prefer shooting by myself out in the country. i often go to the indoor handgun range that is 10 minutes away, but the rifle range is 45 minutes away. i figure driving that far, i can just as easily go out to hunting land in the same area. though lately, target shooting has been banned in more and more areas.
  5. Guyon

    Guyon Well-Known Member

    True. Still, if it's isolated enough, I doubt anyone is going to raise a stink over a few shotgun blasts. If you do go to hunting land, be respectful of hunters in the area. That is, if there are several cars parked in a spot, that's not where I'd set up shop and start blasting. Within a few minutes, you might have some irate visitors who want to know (a) why you're shooting near their vehicles and (b) why in Sam Hill you're scaring all the game in the area.
  6. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    #4 birdshot of the same weight and with the same velocity should feel about the same as buckshot. Slugs tend to go faster and have heavier recoil.

    Most ranges will let you "pattern" a gun at the trap range. Tell the RSO there that you got a new HD gun and you just want to pattern it to see where it hits, how much it spreads, and how it feels. It's a commonplace thing where I shoot.

    After that, you can practice with birdshot. Birdshot is a lot cheaper anyway.
  7. Jefs

    Jefs Member

    Thanks guys. I was at my gun shop today picking a marlin 60 to shoot at the rimfire-only silhouette area and told the guys at the shop that the range didn't allow buck shot, and one guy didn't believe me and said he knows a fellow who's always in the shop buying buckshot to shoot there, so maybe the range officers cut slack to those they know. Also, another shop guy told me there is an unmonitored public range at Osceola Nat'l Forrest 1 hr. from my house and that buck shot was prohibited there, but everyone shot it anyway. Well, I CCW and I'm not about to run afoul of any gun laws and jeopardize my CCW. I'm going to get my face known around that range some and then do as ArmedBear suggests and ask if I can pattern at the trap area. I'm in a new arena and appreciate all the tips.
  8. RTFM

    RTFM member

    Hi Jefs and welcome to THR!

    I see three words (groups) that don't necessarily go together from your above post.

    National Forrest.
    shot it anyway.

    Good to see your using your head on that one.

    So how do you like the 870? Other than not being able to put a "full" load through it, how do you like it?

    Again, WELCOME!

  9. Jefs

    Jefs Member

    Thanks for the welcome RTFM. Yeah, concerning the adherence to rules & regs, I may be a newbie (to shotguns) but I'm not a dummy. I've only shot the 870 (or any shotgun, for that matter) once with birdshot and was just shooting to get a feel for it and check that the gun functioned properly. From a beginner's perspective the gun functioned perfectly and I expect to shoot it a lot more, hopefully with some assistance from some the old pros at the range in the future. I was at the range yesterday with my brother-in-law and pressed for time and he only wanted to shoot rifles, so I couldn't shoot it yesterday, but here's the good news:

    I spoke to another range officer, the head guy, and I said, "I've a new shotgun and I'd like to pattern it with buckshot, but was told you can't shoot buckshot here." He said, "you're a member here (they also allow non-member 'day shooters' at 2 areas) and you can shoot into the berm at area X (I think he said 'trap area')." I think might have been able to get a like response from the first range officer had I been knowledgeable enough then to ask "can I just pattern a new gun", but I'm a day 1 beginner with shotguns and have only been to that range a few times, so I didn't know how to handle things. Thanks for all the info, suggestions, and guidance.
  10. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    IMO shot is shot. You can test it just fine with birshot. There's nothing magical about buck other than there's a lot fewer shot in the load and it is deadlier at longer range. Even with cylinder bore at house ranges (10 to 30 feet) you still have to aim. Few people have a 10yd unobstructed clear distance inside their house.

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