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#3 buck 20 gauge spread pattern ?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by shamus, Apr 5, 2006.

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  1. shamus

    shamus Member

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    I have minimal experience with shotguns. Having inhereted a 20 gauge pump, I have loaded it with #3 buckshot for home defense. At home defense ranges, what pattern of spread am I looking at for a 28" full choke barrel? Should I cut the barrel down to open the choke? Does it matter?
     
  2. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    At typical household distances (unless you live in a palace) the pattern size will be quite small no matter what barrel length/choke you use. Shortening the barrel will make the gun a bit handier indoors but will not really affect pattern size at across-the-room distance.

    If you decide the shorten it, remember to measure twice and cut once to be sure you comply with all applicable laws. Federal minimum is 18" from bolt face to muzzle measured inside the bore, and careful people allow at least a quarter inch more. Remember that there may be state or local laws that apply to you also, be safe not sorry.

    You didn't mention what make/model pump you have, could be that a shorter barrel is easily available for it. You should test the patterning of the barrel you have, could be it does really well and you'd be butchering a treasure without knowing it.

    lpl/nc
     
  3. Greybeard

    Greybeard Member

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    Agree with Lee.

    I had 20 gauge featherweight Ithica 37 chopped to 20". Gunsmith who did it sez barrel is too thin to thread for choke tubes, so it's "cylinder choke" from now on. From it, spread at 15 yards with #3 buck is around 18".
     
  4. carpettbaggerr

    carpettbaggerr Member

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    Why not take it to the range, and find out for yourself?

    Every gun is different. And if you're using it for self-defense, you should get some practice anyway.

    Cutting the barrel will increase the size of the pattern, but at indoor distances, it's unlikely to make much difference. It will make it easier to handle, though.
     
  5. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Describe the pump gun.

    I kinda like choked barrels and I'd be reluctant to cut one down if the gun it's attached to is worth shooting.

    Maybe I'm getting old or something, but I'm starting to think that semiautos and screw-in choke tubes are just an unnecessary cleaning nuisance unless there's a real need for their benefits.
     
  6. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

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    The 15 yards referenced previously is twice as far as across a typical room in a house. I imagine any choke with any shot size in a "non-spreader load" would result in a spread of less than a foot across a typical room.
     
  7. Jacobus Rex

    Jacobus Rex Member

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    As a very rough rule for an open choke, you will get around 1" of spread for every yard of range. This is a very rough rule of thumb.
     
  8. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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  9. shamus

    shamus Member

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    The gun is a 28" barrel, full choke smooth barrel.
     
  10. shamus

    shamus Member

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    I went out and tested it

    Remington #3 Buckshot at 8 paces. Spread was about a 5" circle.
     
  11. MadMag

    MadMag member

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    I cut down a Winchester 1300 20 ga. to about 18 & 3/4. I was concerned....did not want to damage even a low cost gun. But it really worked well. Great to maneuver in house. Only patterned at about 15 yards #3 buck for about 15" plus. My range did not allow closer target. I then installed new sights.

    Anyway, the whole job was easier than expected.

    I wanted to add: I read (I think G&A, not sure) about a year ago that they conducted a test starting with a 30" 12 ga. barrel using buck shot and tested pattern & velocity. they reduced (cut off) the barrel in one inch increments and then tested. They got below 18" before they had any noticeable difference in pattern or velocity. They were surprised by the results.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2006
  12. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    My wife's 20ga Featherlight 25" DeerSlayer puts #3 Federal into 8" at 15 yards. That is exceptionally tight I believe.
     
  13. MadMag

    MadMag member

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    That is tight. I guess we should also point out that the shell does make a big difference. Depending on how that manufacture packages the shot.

    I am planning to try some 3" #2 buck soon. That's the lowest number I have seen. Not sure if they make #1 or 00 for 20? Maybe someone knows that answer.
     
  14. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

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    I don't think there are any 20 gauge factory buckshot loads larger than #2.
     
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