Do you realize that a single 00 pellet has less energy and momentum than a .380?
Because 00 buckshot is right at 9mm in diameter, actually 0.33" vs 0.354" (9 mm), we kinda think of 9 pellet 00 buckshot being equivalent to 9, 9 mm rounds. It isn't and it isn't even close, especially when the 9 pellet 00 is low recoil. Here's why:
The total energy delivered to a threat by a 12 ga load, say Federal LE13200 reduced recoil which consists of 9 00 pellets at 1145 fps, is an impressive 1413 ft-lbs. However the energy of each individual pellet is only 157 ft-lbs. A .380 Federal American Eagle, FMJ, has 203 ft-lbs of energy. How significant is all this?
Well, if a threat is shot a distance such that each pellet strikes a different place, i.e. no two pellets strike the same place, then the work done by each pellet, which reflects the ability of the pellet to penetrate, is all you get. A 00 pellet weighs 54 gn and is traveling at 1145 fps (actually that's muzzle velocity) and is very close in diameter to a 9mm. So in a sense it would be like loading your 9 mm handgun with a 54 gn bullet with a velocity of 1145 fps. Who would pick such a round for SD? Yet, that's what each pellet of 00 buckshot is.
Even the lightest 9mm loads, say a Federal American Eagle, has a bullet weight of 115 gns (well over twice the mass of the 00), a velocity of 1180 fps, and an energy of 358 ft-lbs. So 4 shots of such a 9mm load would deliver the same total energy, actually more 1421 vs 1413, than the shotgun. Then if you compare momentum of a single pellet vs a single 115 gn American Eagle 9mm, the 9mm has over twice the momentum. Momentum is the primary effect that knocks things around, i.e. recoil and bone breaking, not the energy. That's why a .223 with about the same energy as a 12 ga shotgun doesn't have nearly the recoil - the shotgun load has far more momentum.
Even a 90 gn FMJ .380 has more energy than a single 00 pellet and has 44% more momentum.
Hmmm, I wonder if I can get a .380 shotgun? :tongue:
Another interesting thing is a single 55 gn .223 @ 3240 fps has almost as much energy as the whole 9 pellet 00 buckshot load - 1281 ft-lbs. The .223 has the same weight as an individual 00 pellet but over 8 times the energy!
Anyway, this is just something to think about when you have nothing else to do, or want to go to sleep or something. This doesn't in any way diminish the power of the shotgun, but on a pellet basis, a 00 pellet is really pretty wimpy. And unfortunately it is the mass and velocity of the pellet that does the work and makes it penetrate.