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Any Reports On "New" Estate Buckshot?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Fred Fuller, Mar 30, 2004.

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  1. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    A good while back, Estate was bought out, first by Blount, then very soon thereafter Blount's sporting goods group was acquired by ATK/Alliant. All that was discussed here, briefly. I did the search and read the threads I could find, after all I am a newbie here, but I did do the homework first.

    Estate's plant got moved after production of the original low- recoil SWAT load ceased, warehouse supplies dwindled and finally disappeared. That was one of my all time favorite shotgun loads, and I clutched as much of it as my meager ammo budget would allow. I called the company offices in Texas seeking more, and got depressed along with the office staff who were losing their jobs. But I had some big time health problems of my own about then, and went for a long time without being able to handle a gun, or drive, or do other useful stuff like work.

    Time marched on. I got better.

    Then the familiar brown 10-round boxes started showing back up at the web vendors' sites. It made me hopeful.

    But... I am told the _contents_ are not the same. Now, I have not bought any new production, post- Texas, Estate buck. I do not know if things have been changed under the new management, and the construction of the shell is different.

    But I am told it is. I am told it no longer produces those famous patterns.

    Horrors. The thought fills me with dismay. But I must ask:

    Has anyone here dissected one of the "new" loads and compared it with the old? Anyone fired it in patterning tests to compare it with the original Texas load yet? I'd like to know, even while wanting badly to believe that modern global megacorporations actually have enough good sense to leave a good thing alone though it costs a fraction of a cent more per unit not to 'go cheap.' It would really really ruin my day to have to find out the hard way. I'd rather not have to look, not until after I pop the top off the last .50 cal. can full of those familiar made-in-Texas brown boxes, and empty it.

    I'll even make a contribution toward paying for the test/ dissection/ autopsy/ whatever, for a vetted shotgun scientist (or alchemist) here who is willing to undertake the experiment (if no one has, yet). Now after over a year of being seizure free, I am driving- and shooting a little- and working- again. So this isn't a pure pity party, just a request to help out on something that I might find repugnant t have to do myself.

    Please reply below...

    lpl/nc
     
  2. Lawyerman

    Lawyerman Member

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    NO, can't help you. I did find one national wholesaler though about 2 months ago that had 7 cases of the old Texas stuff- on sale. Won't be needing any buckshot for awhile!
     
  3. Aneat

    Aneat Member

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    I bought some Saturday. I came across a deal I couldnt pass up on a Mossy 20" 8 shot 500 so I bought a couple boxes of the Estate "reduced recoil" 00 buckshot to try. I didnt do any scientific tests for pattern. I did di-sect one and it is a nice buffered load of 9 , 00 buckshot. Also Im not sure if its the newer production stuff or not, Ill have to check.

    Im fairly new to the shotgun side of shooting, what is a good pattern/distance to expect from this combo. As soon as the weather improves a little Ill try some more and give a better report of the results.

    Adam
     
  4. Aneat

    Aneat Member

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    Well some news; The stuff I got has the Texas address on the box so I guess any test will be a bit redundant. The guy that was selling the stuff seemed to have plenty and was selling it @$4.25 for a box of 10. I think from what Ive heard and the results in my own gun that I may need to try a get a hold of him and see how much he has left.

    Anyone else interested in stocking up or is this deal not worth the trouble??


    Thanks; Adam
     
  5. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Dunno about the "New" Estate 00. The old stuff is very, very, good in my 870s. I stocked up when Natchez was selling it for $3 a 10 pack.

    Even at the current price, someone who is stocking up on "Serious" ammo may want to pick up a few hundred of these.
     
  6. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    OooooooKay...

    Visited one of my favorite shooting venues this past week, well over an hour away so I don't get there very often at all. Noticed a few boxes of Estate 00 on the shelf, so I asked my friend the counterman if it was old or new. "New" he replied. This particular person is a 'detail man' and new means new if he says so. So I brought home a couple of boxes.

    All I can say from initial external examination is that ATK has DEFINITELY changed it, the changes are obvious upon physical inspection of the shells. THE BOX IS EXACTLY THE SAME THOUGH, complete with the old Willis, TX address. So the box is not a defining clue as to whether you are looking at 'old or new.'

    Number one obvious difference is that the new stuff is loaded in a high brass hull. Second is that the hull markings are different. Third is that to me it looks 'lumpy.' That is to say, the imprint of the enclosed buckshot is visible pressed into the plastic hull from the inside. Fourth is that there is a visible conventional plastic wad in the hull when the shell is 'candled' against bright light. This last is the most not-good observation and likely to have the most potentially negative effect on actual performance. I am conviced that the old extra long shot cup and the extra load of plastic buffering material it held cushioned the buckshot pellets and contributed measurably to improved patterns. That feature is now replaced by a conventional short shot cup pne piece wad setup. We will see if it makes any measurable difference.

    I am going to wait until I can get help from someone with a digital camera to commence dissecting shells for the record. Pattern testing will commence as soon as weather and workload permit.

    lpl
     
  7. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Eagerly awaiting patterning results, Lee. Hope it works as well.
     
  8. Black_Talon

    Black_Talon Member

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    Hate to be the bearer of bad news but the new stuff suuucks, at least in my 870.

    I bought 10 boxes from CTD a few weeks ago and went out and patterned it last week.

    I've got pattern sheets that I'll photograph and post pics of tomorrow. I just measured the patterns, here's the skinny:

    Range: 16 yds.

    870P w/ 18" IC bbl.

    Old Estate 00B: about 6-6.5" patterns.

    New Estate 00B: 10-11" patterns.

    Bleech!

    I just cut open one of the new rounds (I don't have any of the old stuff left to compare it to though) and it has a monopost wad/shot cup. The post is about 1/2" long and the cup is filled with small granulated polyethylene. I'll post pics of this too.
     
  9. sevenpoint62mm

    sevenpoint62mm Member

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    I live in Dallas and still have a hard time finding those old boxes. Being they are a local company (well fairly local) you'd think there'd be hella more around. Anyone got a source?
     
  10. sm

    sm member

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    Black_Talon-

    Good report- Thanks.

    I have no experince with either of the Estate Loads - that said:

    - Did the old load have "buffering" like the old "grex buffering" Win used in their buckshot and XX Mag loads?

    - If so - did is this material different? How so?

    -We need a known Old load to test against the new Load.

    Granted no experience with either load - my gut is telling me the shot hardness is different.

    I have a honorary degree in taking shells apart and playing *smirk*

    I have used the Win [X12XC] 2 3/4 " , 1 1/2 oz XX Magnum loads these have the "grex buffer" have use in all shot sizes made in.

    Now I reloaded using Win components, I duplicated this load and used flour ( for buffer) and my reloads were real hard to tell from factory loads. IN fact some were tighter...shells, guns, loads...no absolutes.

    I piddled with this stuff back then. I was using the hardest #5 shot. If I reloaded - removed from the new factory shell, never fired and used a softer shot...patterns open up. [we know tis already]

    I opened up a Win 00 buck load and some off brand I'd never heard of 00 buckshot load - Pellets of the Off brand - according to the "scientific plier test"[tm] were softer. I kept everything the same the same in the two unfired shells - except the shot...buffers and all...patterns boards don't lie, softer shot will never pattern as good as harder shot.

    Get a whumper thumper longer shell with softer shot and the pattern really gets blown. *grin* 'tis why the 2 3/4" has merit. Also has to do with that bore to payload ratio.

    ...but we all knew that already...*grin*
     
  11. Black_Talon

    Black_Talon Member

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    Here's the pics. Yes, as a said the new shells are filled with granulated polyeythlene (grex), around .010" in size. I cut one of them open, I'll take some pics and post them tomorrow. I have no old Estate shells left. I didn't realize there'd ever be a need for forensic examination of them. :) Oh well, live and learn...

    "old" Estate 00B:
    [​IMG]


    "new" Estate 00B:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. sevenpoint62mm

    sevenpoint62mm Member

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    Wow Talon, thats a very noticable difference in spread. Any idea at what range that was?
     
  13. 444

    444 Member

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    Black Talon: That top target with the old Estate surprises me in that it has that one flyer off to the left.
    During one defensive shotgun class I took, we had one "stage" where we had a bad guy with a hostage in front of him so that you only had a partial head shot. If even one pellet struck the hostage you failed that drill. Obviously you had to "hold off" to a certain extent, and you also had to know how your gun patterned with your ammo. During practice I used Winchester OO buckshot and would occasionally get that unpredictable flyer. You could have 11 pellets in the head of the bad guy and one random pellet in the head of the hostage = failure.
    The instructor told us that if we wanted to game this section of the final skills test, go to the pro shop and buy a couple boxes of Estate buck because it usually resulted in a more consistant pattern without random flyers. I took his advice and in the small amount of shells I fired, he was right. I never had a random pellet.
    I have taken two defensive shotgun courses and both instuctors were very high on Estate buckshot. I believe that Estate was both instructors recomendation as being the most consistant with the thousands of guns they see come through their courses. Now of course we have another variable with the "new" Estate buck.
     
  14. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Talon,

    Well, I guess that pretty well covers it as far as performance of old versus new is concerned. Thanks very much for your patterning work and posting the pictures. I was afraid of that- as soon as I saw the 'new' Estate ammo it was obvious some major changes had taken place.

    If you will PM me a UPS address, I will send you a box or two of 'old' Estate for autopsy purposes and further photographs for posting here. It would be a good idea, I think, to assist in educating fellow listmembers and other shooters so they are not taken in by ATK's apparent attempts to cash in on the excellent reputation established by the genuine Estate 00 reduced recoil load.

    I would suggest contacting ATK and asking them why they found it necessary to change the best performing and most affordable reduced recoil 00 load in the country, but it would probably be a waste of electrons, breath or postage. Alliant are the #1 providers of ammunition to the US military and their civilian sales probably pale by comparison- so complaints from civilian shooters are likely to be ignored. I'd rather focus on getting the word out and educating other shooters that what used to be the number one value in RR buckshot is now a mediocre performer at best.

    Stay safe, y'all

    lpl/nc
     
  15. sm

    sm member

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    Black_Talon

    Clarify for me, to make sure I read your post correctly.

    Old Estate - no grex

    New Estate - grex

    Do I have this understood correctly?
     
  16. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    sm,

    Both old and new versions are buffered. The important difference is in the shot cup vs. wad, as far as I can tell. The old verson had a simple, very long, one piece four- finger plastic shot cup (1 5/8" long overall) with a deeply cupped base which sat directly on the powder charge (there's one on the desk as I type this). The new version has a conventional piston type wad with a short shot cup. There is a lot less buffering in the new load than in the old, since there is a lot less room in the shot cup of teh new version. I'd bet that is what makes the difference, unless the pellets in the new load are appreciably softer as well. Haven't checked that detail yet.

    The easiest way to tell old from new (in my admittedly limited experience so far) is to look at the hulls- old is in a low brass hull, new is in a medium high brass hull. You can't tell by the boxes, so far they seem to be the same. You can see the new load's conventional piston type wad in the hull if you hold it up to a strong light and rotate it, you can't 'see through' the old load because it's full of stuff. Both hulls are the same shade of red, BTW.

    I will no longer recommend the ATK version (the 'new' load) of Estate to anyone for duty use as it is not the performer the original Texas version was. If it is found on sale inexpensively enough to be a bargain, it should serve OK as practice ammo but for anyone looking for tight patterns it can no longer be recommended for duty loads IMHO.

    And thus the search for good patterns through conventional chokes with relatively inexpensive ammo begins again... .

    lpl/nc
     
  17. sm

    sm member

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    Lee,
    Thank you for clarification. I did not see any mention of grex in the Old loading.
    As I stated before , I have no experience with Estate. I'm still in the dark ages on some stuff...still works for ME though.

    Yes I would have to agree - based on experiences on other shells/loadings and taking stuff apart and "experimenting and research" - Estate goofed up big time.

    Deeper shot cup = very good.
    Longer wad and fingers = good, protects shot from deformity= better patterns.

    We used to cut petals short, or remove to make "brush loads" for close game like quail.

    Some principles are proven. Today's shooters are better educated / have access to info. Why do folks keep changing and thinking folks won't notice and pass on to others? [ I know money}

    <scratches head in wonder>
     
  18. Black_Talon

    Black_Talon Member

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    16 yards.

    BTW, there's another thread about patterning that I posted more pics in. You may want to take a look at that one too. Look how well the Hornady TAP Low Recoil works in my new 870P. That's why you should pattern your gun!
     
  19. Black_Talon

    Black_Talon Member

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    Lee - Thanks for the offer, you got PM.



    sm - Just to reiterate what Lee already said, they both have grex.
     
  20. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Talon,

    Got it. I'll dig out a can this weekend and get a couple of boxes headed your way.

    Thanks,

    lpl
     
  21. sm

    sm member

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    Black_Talon

    Thank you for clarification. I also want to thank you , Lee and others for posting and sharing pics of patterns.

    That Hornady Tap IS impressive, and from a 18" IC no less!!

    Threads like this are really informative. We have to pattern for ourselves, with our own guns.

    I'm paying attention to the other tests as well, taking note of gun, and Choke used at what distance.
     
  22. lbmii

    lbmii Member

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    I have some standard Remington 00 buck 9 pellet rounds. I will try to get to the range this Friday and pattern them. I will do a 16 yard pattern. My shotgun has a modified choke and I am interested to compare with the results Black Talon had with the Estate rounds. I also have some three inch monsters that I will pattern. I/we need to get a hold of some sheetrock and hardboard siding and do some wall penetration test with some different common rounds.
     
  23. 444

    444 Member

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    I got a couple questions since I am a shotgun novice.
    What are you looking for in a defensive load ?
    Are you looking for the smallest possible pattern at a given range ?
    Are you looking for a load that will keep all the pellets in a given diameter at a given range ?
    How did you arrive at this given range ?
    Or are you trying to find the load that gives you the longest possible range while keeping all the pellets in a given diameter ?

    A couple real obvious thoughts on my part:
    Inside my house, I think this is all academic: the pattern will be the size of a fist at the longest possible distance.
    When taking a couple defensive shotgun classes I realized that it was quite easy to miss a target entirely at fairly close range when trying to be fast. By having a larger pattern, this increases you chances of a hit. By the same token, if your pattern stays very small, it requires more precision in aiming which I feel takes away one of the advantages of the shotgun.
    Obviously you need to determine the maximum range at which you can put all the pellets into the torso of an average human. But, I think we need to keep this distance reasonable. I mean, this is a shotgun and not a rifle.

    Just hoping for a little discussion on this topic.
     
  24. Old&Slow

    Old&Slow Member

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    I`m glad to see 444 ask the above question, since I`m also new to Shotguns and the Forum I`ve been reluctant to ask about the inherent desireability that many of the more experienced members express for " tight patterns", especially with 00 Buck.

    Actually, I would hope for the opposite in a defensive SG.

    Like 444, in any interior Home Defense situtation I can come up with using a Shotgun, we are talking 20 feet or so. I expect that`s about the norm in most cases.

    To my inexperienced mind, the advantage of a home SG with an 18" barrel, is the ability to have a "spread" of buckshot at 20 feet, perhaps at least the size of a pie plate, that would compensate for the very real possibility that you will be inaccurate in that situtation or be facing several BG`s.

    While hitting the BG with just a few pellets might not end the fight it would surely tilt the odds in your favor for follow up shots.

    I`m not trying to be a wise guy here, start a fight, or be disrespectful, I
    really just don`t get it ?
     
  25. 444

    444 Member

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    One of the reasons I bring this up is that it goes beyond ammo considerations and gets into the gun itself.
    When I decided to take the Gunsite 260 class, I decided I needed a new "trick" shotgun. Vang seemed to be the man. So, I ordered one. I didn't get it in time for the class, but I did use a Vang gun for a little bit of the class and most of the people in the class were using a Vang gun. It was proven (at least to me) that the Vang guns produced significantly tighter patterns than guns like the 870 I was using with a Remington factory barrel.
    After getting a little experience with defensive shotgunning, I started to think that maybe I was going in the wrong direction. I decided that maybe I wanted a little more spread of the pattern. After all, this is a shotgun. Obviously, you need to pattern your gun with your load to see just how far you can engage a target and still get all your pellets on target. But, this range seems to be easily within a reasonable range for personal defense. I think my Remington will put all the pellets in the "A" zone of a silhouette at 15 yards and will keep them all on the body at 20-25 yards. The Vang gun can increase this range by probably 10 yards, but you pay for it at closer range because the pattern is much tighter and requires you to place your shots more accurately.
     
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