20 Gauge buck shot - does any of it pattern well?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by goon, Jun 22, 2016.

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  1. goon

    goon Member

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    I've shot some 12 gauge over the years and found that while old style loads can be a little too open, loads with a good shot cup and especially Federal flight-control wads pattern really well. Lately, I've been impressed by Federal's new "handgun" 000 buck loads in .410 - both the 2.5 and 3 inch versions.

    But I've never found a 20 gauge load that patterns at all from any of the 20's I've owned (all have had modified chokes). It's all just abysmal. Has anyone found a factory load that generally patterns well?
     
  2. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    As with any shotgun you will have to buy several brands and test them in your shotgun.
     
  3. I6turbo

    I6turbo Member

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    My HD gun (12 ga. Auto 5 w 18 inch barrel) patterns all sizes of Buck shot much better with the full choke installed vs. Modified. Based upon pattern testing with smaller shot sizes in years past I wouldn't have expected as much difference as there is with Buck.
     
  4. CaptTripps

    CaptTripps Member

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    I'm going to keep an eye on this thread. I have my main HD shotgun, an 18.5" 590A1. I also have my youth model, 870 20 gauge. I have a lot of buck for the 12 but have not patterned the 20 yet. The only defensive load i have for it right now is Remington 2 3/4" #3 Buck. If your gun has interchangeable chokes I would swap out the MOD for maybe cylinder, and try that.
     
  5. I6turbo

    I6turbo Member

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    To add to the above post about results with Modified and Full chokes, the same Buckshot loads through a Cylinder bore were waaay wide. I don't have the photos of the patterns in front of me right now, but by 7 yards the spread was so great that I did not feel comfortable using the gun for HD. That's what caused me to install the screw-in chokes.

    Mind you, the above was with Buckshot. Bird shot (#7.5 and #8) patterns were normal. They were fairly wide as you'd expect from a Cylinder bore, but not crazy. I was shocked at how wide the Buckshot patterns were.
     
  6. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Can you provide some numbers (as in x diameter circle at 7 yards)? The reason I ask is that the small amount of research we did (hundred man department in south Florida)on basic Remington and Mossberg 12ga riot guns (basic poppers, 18-20" barrels, bead sighted, four round magazines with standard wooden stocks, and improved cylinder bores) all showed a dispersing pattern of one inch spread per yard from the muzzle using pretty standard 2 3/4" 00 Buck rounds (nine pellet rounds). Those weapons would very reliably provide a 7" pattern at seven yards, a 15" pattern at 15 yards, etc. I was comfortable enough with our results to use it as my standard when on the street with the possibility of an armed confrontation....

    All of this was long before the newer "flite control" rounds that gave much better pattern control.
     
  7. I6turbo

    I6turbo Member

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    lemaymiami, I think I have some photos of the pattern test. I'll check and post some when I get home in a couple days.

    EDIT: Below is the only photo of the buckshot pattern testing with the Cylinder bore that I have on this travel computer.

    The two patterns on the left side of the gun are #00 S&B buckshot. The tighter pattern was about 4 yards from the muzzle (shooter was standing about 5 yards from the target, hence the muzzle at about 4 yards), and the wider pattern was shot from about 8 or 9 yards.

    The two patterns on the right side are the same distances but with #1 buckshot.

    Browning%20A5%2000%20and%2001%20buck%20patterns_zpsow94v4vl.jpg

    You can see the #00 buckshot is starting to open up a gap in the middle. Some other testing that I did at slightly longer distances the pattern just kept opening to the point that I knew I wanted some choke. I want a 10 yard target to look about like the 5-yard patterns above. The same gun with screw-in Sporting Clays Full choke provides that type of pattern -- not as tight as the Cylinder bore at half the distance, but some meaningful improvement.

    If I were only going to use the gun for HD or very close-range shooting games I'd probably try Flite Control rounds and see if those improved the pattern enough to suit me instead of installing screw-in chokes (I expect they'd probably work based upon the positive reviews I've read of them). But, I like the gun so much that I enjoy shooting targets and hunting with it, and the chokes are definitely needed for some of those activities.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  8. goon

    goon Member

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    I've tried Federal and Winchester No.3 Buck loadings in a couple different single barrels with Modified chokes. I was expecting a recognizable pattern, but I've always been disappointed.

    The last time I tried it was about 15 yards from a 28 inch H&R Topper. I only found about 8 holes on a 24" square rifle sight in target. Understand, I wasn't looking for much. I basically just grabbed a couple 5 round boxes of buck on the way out of the store to try out. The gun patterns well enough with birdshot loads, but buck seems like a real disappointment with buck.
     
  9. Mayvik

    Mayvik Member

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    I just went through a shotgun class with a 500 stoked with the Spartan #1. Worked just fine to around 30-40 feet. Normally I would prefer the pellet count of #2 or #3 but the course called for 00 (20 haters..) so I picked up the #1 to mimic the pellet count.
     
  10. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    I've never patterned any because I always hunted with a 12 ga., but a few fellows I hunted with back in the day, did use a 20 ga for deer hunting. They all used 3" magnum No. 2 buck, with good success I might add. I skinned some of the deer they killed and they had pretty impressive "patterns" under the skin.

    I've never known anyone who used an open choke for buckshot...at least not for hunting. Far and away, full choke was the most often used, with modified making up 99% of whatever wasn't full.
     
  11. wbstx11

    wbstx11 Member

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    RE: personal defense - I am not a shotgunner (but I have a Rem1100 20ga I love for clays), but in Vietnam we had some 12 ga pumps that were sometimes carried by the point man. Our combat experience showed that the #3 or #4 buck was a more effective stopper than the much publicized 00 buck choice. Keep in mind, most encounters were within 20 feet. Within that range pellet count was far more important than either pattern or caliber of pellet. Just speaking of personal defense, I would much rather have 19 pellets of .25" over 8 or 9 pellets of .34". The shock effect of either will deter them from whatever they are doing, you get more hits, and if you need to, pump 1 or 2 more they're done for sure. I keep #3 buck loaded in my 20 ga for home defense.
     
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