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Buckshot and choke tubes

Tom396

.30-06
I love me some Federal FliteControl buckshot. However, I only have it in self defense style rounds (LE132-1B). Not the best choice for deer hunting. However, I do have a lot of Remington #1 buck full power rounds. So I'm thinking of pressing those Remington rounds into deer hunting service. I want to use my Stoeger Uplander 12 gauge 26" double barrel.

So I decided to do some patterning with it today. I thought I knew what I'd discover, but I just wanted to make sure. I had previously bought a pair of cylinder bore chokes from Carlson's for the Uplander. I used them as my baseline. The Uplander originally came with a Improved Cylinder and a Modified choke installed. My assumption was that the IC choke would give a small improvement over the open choke and the M choke would give an even bigger one. I tested at approximately 12 yards. I noted almost no measurable difference in the patterns! If anything, the Modified (tightest) choke, gave the worst pattern by 1/2".

So I did a little research and found a few online articles that suggested this sort of result was not all that odd. And that choke tubes do a much better job in tightening birdshot patterns. The theory being that the larger buckshot pellets actually smash into each other when passing through a choke tube and change their shapes. Whatever the truth actually is, I'm just gonna stick with the Cylinder Bore choke tubes. Thoughts? Take care. Tom Worthington
 

Jmm14534

20g
Premier Member
I recently did some testing on 2 of my Mossbergs. A smooth bore 500 and a smooth bore 930. I shot a slug and a 9 pellet buckshot round at 25, 15 and 7 yards. The test was to see the effect of the different sights on each shot gun. Regular bead vs. a GG&G “dotted eye” sight.
I was impressed by the grouping of the buckshot at 15 yards. The “improved” sight system also made a difference and at all yardages.
0691D151-9102-4BA4-B72A-3919A95FA9EF.jpeg 05DB128F-0C4C-4615-B485-EF27CDB77EAA.jpeg 2DB4C890-BE96-4E8F-AB09-83AC83D53052.jpeg 416C0DF3-DB4C-41E9-BA21-1B2D1EE81430.jpeg 30C2B7D0-5FD9-446C-8A50-F173C9601309.jpeg BCD5FA9C-6074-490E-92B9-9FC86B34719E.jpeg

Is it good enough for hunting deer? I don’t know.
Here are the results for what it’s worth.
 

Ernst

.30-06
"Philanthropist"
Tom, from what I've seen over the years chokes work well with birdshot, especially for hunting waterfowl. But with buckshot there's a tendency for the larger pellets to get deformed by the choke restriction and in some cases this actually cause a greater spread of your pattern or deforming of the pattern.

Know there's ongoing debated regarding the use of flight control rounds for home defense. Give the normal spread of 1 inch per yard from the muzzle for normal buckshot I'd pattern your flight control to see you spread at normal HD distances. I've heard of folks actually missing their target at close ranges with flight control. Just a thought for consideration. Your really need some spread at 3 to 5 yards to insure you inflict damage and not sure flight control allows any spread at these short distances.

Regards
 

John A.

Unconstitutional laws are not laws.
Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderator
No two barrels are exactly alike and you'll need to pattern it.

For my work gun, I'm using an 18 inch barrel with a modified choke for everything.

Birdshot (which is good enough for squirrels and stuff).
Buckshot (it patterns OK at 20 or 25 yards). The pattern can generally be covered with a paper plate most of the time
Slug print darn near POA. I'm at maybe 2" to the right of the bullseye at 25 yards.

If you're going to be hunting from a blind or tree stand, measure off the distance you're expecting to take and pattern a few shots at those distances. Then back up 5 steps and do it again until you can't hit a paper plate any longer. That tells you your usable range. And it gets better if you know where to hold. I know a few old timers who can judge range and holdover using slugs that you would not want to tempt fate with them. That's the truth.

There's a few videos on youtube taking 100 and 200 yard shots with slugs.

And as you know, just taking 1 shot at a target doesn't really tell the whole story about how it's patterning. Each shot is going to be a little different than the one before it and the one after it. Take 2 or 3 shots at any given distance to get a better feel for how it's patterning.
 

Tom396

.30-06
Yesterday, I repeated my patterning with #8 birdshot through the same choke tubes. I got exactly the opposite results from #1 buckshot. Tell you what. If somebody was dead set (no pun intended) on using birdshot for home defense, a modified choke tube might just end the fight (over a cylinder bore choke). I also patterned my Federal LE132-1B, just to impress my neighbor. :lol: Take care. Tom Worthington
 

John A.

Unconstitutional laws are not laws.
Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderator
I know a particular young man who is going squirrel hunting this evening and will be patterning two shotguns at the edge of the field to see which he wants to use. Using Super X #6 and some Remington hi brass #5's.
 

Jmm14534

20g
Premier Member
For what it’s worth I’ve attached some pics of some patterning work I did a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to specifically look at birdshot at close ranges to see if it would be a good choice for a first response HD load.
Attached are 4 pics. First the ammo used. Then a backlit “density pattern” of one shot at 25, 15 and 7’ish yards.
4E849CAB-C490-4DC6-B0B8-B6BE2D832DF7.jpeg B8285A02-2672-4DDF-A993-34522BA30E48.jpeg 957906C1-DDBA-45A6-9384-B2021BD18721.jpeg 4815F534-49D5-47EF-AC87-286AEF58C384.jpeg
As you can see even #8 birdshot is going to leave a mark at typical HD distances. it might be a good first choice before going to the more devastating buckshot or heavy slug.
This does not address barrier penetration but I think birdshot would be more friendly to your neighbors than buck shot or a 1 oz slug.
As mentioned. Testing would be required to validate this but please do not shoot your wall!
 
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