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Question for deer hunters who use Buckshot

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by RMc, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. RMc

    RMc Well-Known Member

    This is a buckshot discussion not a slug discussion:

    For those who depend on the multi-pellet strike of buckshot to bring home the venison, what is the minimum pattern standard you use to determine the maximum range you will fire on a deer with #1 Buckshot or 00 Buckshot? What criteria did you use to arrive at your minimum standard?

    In other words what is the specific minimum number of #1B or #00B pellet strikes on a specific size target that you would use in pattern testing to determine the longest distance you would take a shot at a deer?

    The minimum buckshot pattern that you know will give you the confidence to say, borrowing a line from the late Dave McCracken:

    'I look at the deer and think,"This animal is dead if I choose to make it thus"....'
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  2. hboy35

    hboy35 Well-Known Member

    my experience

    we took our first deer with 00buck this year. Hit it with 8 pellets at about 22 yards using a 28" barrel and (stupidly) an improved cylinder choke. I thought we were going to be shooting slugs, so I screwed it in before leaving the house. Got to the stand and wound up using buckshot. Still kept the pattern about pie plate size--dropped it right there--one shot. Shredded heart and lungs. All pellets lodged just beneath the skin on the OPPOSITE (or would have been exit side of the deer). In the future will use a tighter choke, but probably not shoot much longer distance, just for my comfort level.

    Might have better luck posting this question on THR under the Hunting tab. thanks
  3. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Well-Known Member

    hboy35 - Congrats on the deer!

    I use the good 'ol paper plate as the determining factor when patterning buckshot for deer hunting.

    The only buckshot I use for deer are 00, 000, and the Dixie Slugs Tri-Ball.

    If I can keep all of the pellets inside that paper plate at whatever range, that range is the maximum range. The Dixie Slugs Tri-Ball will do it out to 50 yards with an Extra Full Turkey Choke. The various Federal Flitecontrol offerings will stay inside the paper plate out to 35-40 yards. Some people claim this is overkill, but having all of the pellets hit the vitals minimizes wounded animals and all day tracking.

    The MOST important thing is to test pattern everything. The stories you hear about buckshot wounding deer, deer run off, and never being seen again are due to loading up whatever buckshot in whatever shotgun and not knowing what the pattern is or where your point of aim/point of impact is.

    Just my .02,
  4. jogar80

    jogar80 Well-Known Member

    Just curious... why not use a slug instead? I find them to be accurate and HARD hitting
  5. RMc

    RMc Well-Known Member


    That "pie plate" (9"-10") entire pattern pellet strike resulting in a DRT, is being seen often these days as many hunters use their smoothbores with buckshot from elevated or thick cover ground stands.


    Your 100% paper plate (9" to 10") pattern strike for maximum range is indeed a high standard! However most do not realize just how far improvements in conventional buckshot have advanced. The Dixie Tri-Ball buckshot round is gaining quite a following as a go-to round for big feral hogs.

    I would like to see more about the circumstance in which you choose traditional buckshot sizes and when you choose Tri-Ball buckshot.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  6. Franklin7X57

    Franklin7X57 Member

    I guessing he's hunting with dogs is the reason for the buckshot. My test is similar to Leon, but I'm looking for 3-4 pellets in the pie plate. Then I want the rest in a nice even pattern about the size of a garbage can top. I also don't like anything smaller than 1Buck, but pattern is the key, even it you have to use 2 3/4" buckshot.
  7. RMc

    RMc Well-Known Member


    Would that pie plate and garbage can lid translate to a 10 inch core and 20 inch total pattern size? What Gun/Load/Choke Tube combination do you find best for your hunting style? What is the maximum distance at which your gun/load/choke tube will meet your minimum pattern standard?
  8. Franklin7X57

    Franklin7X57 Member

    maybe a little bigger on the overall pattern 30". Most of our shots are moving sometimes fast. Alot of deer are missed close, buck fever, too tight a pattern???
    For me I'm looking for a 30"-36" pattern with 3 or 4 in that 10" plate at 50 yds. I still have a useable pattern at 20 yds too.
    Look at some of the turkey shows on TV, they miss with some of them super tight chokes.
    I finally sent a Remington 1100 barrel off about 25 years ago. They were offering a "Buckshot Special" Briley chokes, lenghten the forcing cone and backbored it. It now shoots most buckshot and turkey loads well.
    In an open field at a standing deer 50-60 yards is a dead deer, in the woods those 3 or 4 that pellets that I was counting on to be in the pie plate maybe deflected by branches etc. so distance will be shorter.
    If we didn't run dogs I'd want something more in line with Leon.
  9. Captcurt

    Captcurt Well-Known Member

    Back when we had a shotgun only area I took several bucks with #1 buck. Ranges ran from 30 to 50 yards and all were DRT. My gun patterned best with a modified choke. The last buck took 7 pellets in the lower neck and chest area at a range of around 50 yards. I never would have hit that one with a rifle. He was in high gear thru thick brush. Went down so fast that he turned a cartwheel.
  10. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Well-Known Member

    Growing up in East Texas, I grew up with folks who hunted deer with dogs. Deer Hunting with dogs is now illegal in Texas, but you can still use them in some counties to track a wounded deer and use them statewide to hunt hogs. The old timers I knew who hunted deer over dogs swore by #1 Buckshot, usually in a semi-auto like a Browning Auto-5 or in a pump with no disconnector like an Ithaca 37 or Winchester Model 12. Most deer were DRT, but some of them were wounded and never found.

    Fast forward to today and Buckshot is better than ever. I like the larger shot sizes to maximize penetration and incapacitation. The areas where buckshot shines in is usually thick, heavy cover (Pine Forests/Thickets and Post Oak Savannahs where I hunt) where having to track a wounded deer is not fun.

    To answer RMc's question, I would use Tri-Ball all the time except for availability. Dixie Slugs makes IMO the best buckshot and slug loads on the market, but you have to order it through the mail with check or money order since he does not take credit cards. Sometimes 00 or 000 Buckshot is just easier to get. Even with the current ammunition drought you can still find 12 Gauge 3 Inch Magnum 00/000 on the shelves. I will be making another Tri-Ball order soon to do some serious testing out to 50-75 yards, and hopefully test it on a hog if the cowardly things will show up the same time as me :).

    Just my .02,
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  11. FMF Doc

    FMF Doc Well-Known Member

    When I have to. There is a hunting club where I am that does pushes with dogs, and only buck shot is allowed. Infact, I believe that only 12g 2 3/4 or 3" 00buckshot is the only thing alowed. Other than that, I prefer my rifle.
  12. RMc

    RMc Well-Known Member

    This appears to be a case of matching pattern density to the hunting conditions - exactly the same thing shotgunners do in choosing loads for wingshooting.

    What Buckshot load do you use and what constitutes a "usable" 20 yard pattern?
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
  13. RMc

    RMc Well-Known Member

    For the same reasons many hunters use:

    Shotgun Slug:
    - Slug only hunting areas by law.
    - Slug only required by landowner or hunting club.
    - Slug is the best choice for the hunting conditions

    - Buckshot only areas by law.
    - Buckshot only required by landowner or hunting club.
    - Buckshot is the best choice for the hunting conditions.

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