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LeonCarr's 00 Buck-O-Rama

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by LeonCarr, Jan 12, 2013.

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  1. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    This evening I went to the range and did some highly informal, highly unscientific, and highly fun pattern testing of 11 different 00 Buckshot loads.

    The test shotgun consisted of a Remington 870 Express HD 12 Gauge with 18.5 inch Cylinder Bore barrel. I checked the bore diameter at the muzzle with a dial caliper and it measured .730, a true Cylinder Bore. I chose this barrel due to the open choke allowing each load to stand on its own without the effect of choke on the pattern.

    The test consisted of one round of each load fired at a distance of 50 feet. I used sheets of moving/packing paper 24 inches by 24 inches with an orange dot in the center of the paper for the targets.

    I went into the test knowing what some of the tightest patterning loads would probably be, but several loads surprised me. Here are the numbers, starting with the tightest shooting loads first, rounded to the nearest 1/4 inch. All of the loads were 9 pellets, with the exception of the two 3 Inch Magnum loads, which were 15 pellets:

    Federal Tactical Flitecontrol 00 (LE132 00) 1145 fps - 4.00 inches
    Federal Power-Shok 00 (F127 00) 1325 fps - 6.00 inches
    Federal Premium Vital-Shok 00 (P154 00) 1325 fps - 7.50 inches
    Estate Cartridge 00 1325 fps - 9.25 inches
    Fiocchi 12LE00BK 1150 fps - 9.25 inches
    Federal Premium Vital-Shok Flitecontrol 00 (PFC154 00) 1325 fps - 11.50 inches
    Winchester Winlite 00 1200 fps - 11.75 inches
    Winchester Super-X 00 1325 fps - 11.75 inches
    Rio Royal Low Recoil 00 1200 fps - 13.00 inches
    Winchester Super-X 3 Inch Magnum 15 Pellet 00 - 15.00 inches
    Remington Magnum Buckshot 3 Inch Magnum 15 Pellet 00 - 19.00 inches (12 out of 15 pellets on paper)

    Observations:

    No surprise the LE132 Flitecontrol was the tight pattern of the test. My home defense shotgun (The one used in this test) stays loaded with this load.

    The Federal F127 Power-Shok that came in 2nd Place was the big surprise, out shooting several Premium loads including an almost 50% tighter pattern than the full power PFC154 Flitecontrol load. This load is usually found packed 175 rounds to a .50 caliber type ammo can.

    The Federal Premium Vital-Shok P154 load also shot better than its PFC154 counterpart. The only difference between the two loads is the Flitecontrol Wad in the PFC154.

    The Estate Cartridge 00 Buckshot load was interesting in that the pattern consisted of the wad cutting a hole very near the point of impact, and 5 pellet holes comprising the pattern. It appeared that the remaining 4 pellets were staying inside the shot cup. This load is now manufactured by Federal, and is similar in construction to the Federal F127 load.

    The Fiocchi 00 load was the only one in the test with nickel plated pellets. The pellets were contained in a birdshot type wad with no buffer material. Consistent round pattern with no flyers.

    The Federal PFC154 load was the big let down of the test, with multiple lower cost loads shooting tighter patterns.

    Both Winchester 2.75 inch loads, the Winlite and the Super-X, were similar in construction and disassembly of the rounds showed the pellets, wads and buffer used were identical, with different powders used for the different velocities.

    The Rio Royal Low Recoil 00, when bought by the case, cost me $2.51 per five round box making it the least expensive load of the test. With no shotcup, no buffer, and soft lead unplated pellets it still patterned better than the 3 Inch Magnum loads.

    The 3 Inch Magnum patterns were big, with the Remington pattern having 3 out of 15 pellets miss the 24" x 24" target paper at 50 feet.

    In closing, all of the loads tested except the Remington 3 Inch would stay inside the scoring rings of a B-27 Silhouette Target out to 50 feet. Unless you live in a really big house :), any of these loads would work for home defense. I have heard several experts say the best buckshot for home defense is whats on sale. After shooting this test I still like the Federal Tactical Flitecontrol 00, but it is good to know several good alternatives exist.

    I learned a lot testing this ammo, and I just wanted to pass it along.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  2. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    Good info, thanks!

    That's consistent with the similar testing I've done.
     
  3. Greybeard

    Greybeard Member

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    Need to tell 'em 'bout the Mossy ;) 500 with that Numero Uno Federal load: All 9 pellets and shot cup in same 2 1/2 inch hole. :neener:
     
  4. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    The test was conducted at Greybeard's fine Denton County Sports Association (DCSA) facility.

    Yes, his Mossberg 500 shot the Federal Tactical Flitecontrol 00 very well. It is still not an 870 ;).

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  5. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Member

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    Good stuff, thanks!
     
  6. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    Thanks for sharing, LeeeeeooooonCaaaaarrrrrrrr...... :)

    One thing I've noted when doing similar testing in an indoor range is the muzzle flash levels - the field buck loads trend towards much, MUCH more flash than the LE/SD loads.
     
  7. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    Excellent test and write-up Leon. I don't see any Hornady loads in the test. Was that an availability issue or deliberate oversight? I have used them before but never at 50 feet. Either way thank you for posting all the information!
     
  8. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    Hey Havok,

    I did not have any of the Hornady loads on hand, this was kind of a came home from work, loaded up what I had "in stock" and went to the range thing. I have shot quite a bit of the Hornady Buckshot, including the TAP, Superformance, and the Critical Defense and they all felt about the same as far as felt recoil and patterning go, with patterns very close to Tactical Flitecontrol size.

    rbernie...hahahaha you remembered :).

    I shot the 3 Inch Magnum loads last, and noticed that even with all the lights on the Remington 3 Inch Magnums had big time muzzle flash. I turned off all the lights, then touched off another one. The best way to describe it would be a solid white beach ball about three feet in diameter. They may very well be using flash retardant powders in LE/SD shotshells, there was no muzzle flash whatsoever with the low recoil stuff or the premium stuff, in fact the only really visible muzzle flash came from the 3 Inch Magnums.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  9. SenecaGunner

    SenecaGunner Member

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    thanks for the info
     
  10. au_prospector

    au_prospector Member

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    Good stuff!

    Maybe this can be a sticky?

    I would have never guessed you would get such variation of spreads from 4 inches to 13 inches across your 2.75 inch test rounds at 50 feet. Thanks for the info.

    I think I would prefer the tighter groups and now see no need for magnum rounds personally.
     
  11. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    Aside from use as hunting rounds I have never seen any use for 3" rounds myself. All they seem to do is take up extra space and reduce shell count.
     
  12. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    While it is difficult to speak of shotgun pattern performance in other than generalities, the results of LeonCarr's testing fall in line with the bulk of previous experience along these lines.

    Cheaper buckshot shells = soft lead pellets, no pellet protection (plastic collars, shot cups, grex etc), simple fiber wad colums = generally more open patterns. Typical brands are S&B, Rio etc.

    Mid-priced buckshot shells = harder pellets with better protection (grex, shot cups or collars etc), more sophisticated wad columns, usually one piece plastic wads incorporating a shot cup = medium sized patterns. Typical for standard offerings from Winchester, Remington, Federal, Fiocchi (offers plated pellets) etc.

    Premium buckshot shells = very hard alloy and/or plated pellets, lots of pellet protection and very sophisticated wads = tight patterns at longer range. Typical are FliteControl offerings from Federal, Hornady, Speer etc.

    Even with these generalities in place, there is NO SUBSTITUTE for knowing what the buckshot load you are using will do in YOUR shotgun at a given range. Every shotgun barrel is a law unto itself, and pattern testing with the load you are using should be considered mandatory. It matters not what a given load does in any other shotgun - every shooter needs to know what that load will do in his/her shotgun.

    And the only way to know is to pattern it.
     
  13. jonnyringo

    jonnyringo Member

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    Ever shoot any 00Buck out of a turkey choke? Is this even safe? Always wondered about that?
     
  14. gp911

    gp911 Member

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    Safe? Sure. Patterns may be sketchy with a super-tight choke, but that's not always true. Test a couple boxes and post your results.
     
  15. Fred_G

    Fred_G Member

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    Good writeup! I swear I read it before. :)
     
  16. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    Thanks for the test info, I've loaded up with the Fiocchi 12HV00BK load and been very happy with it. 9 pellets at 1325 fps.
     
  17. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    My experience with the turkey type chokes has been mixed.

    Generally choking tighter than Modified with the lower cost buckshot produces larger patterns due to deformation of the pellets when passing through the choke, resulting in larger patterns with more flyers. On the other hand, when using the premium buckshot loads with the plated shot, which is more resistant to deformation both when passing down the barrel and passing through the choke, the tighter chokes can tighten patterns. Another consideration is that when using the standard length interchangeable chokes versus the longer sporting clays type chokes, which have a longer parallel section, the longer chokes can reduce deformation in the tighter chokes due to a more gradual constriction.

    What it all means is that your barrel, your choke, your load, and subsequent combinations of all of those brought together during the firing sequence have to be tested and like most things in the shotgun patterning world, the results might surprise you.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  18. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    Thanks for sharing my 870 wingmaster with a 28 Inch Barrel and mod choke patterns Fiocchi 00 buck pattern tight out to 20 yards.
     
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