16 shotgun loads patterned for SD with a twist...
For those that are new to shotguns, let me explain what patterning means. Patterning only applies to shot or buckshot. We fire a certain load at a target at some distance(s) to see where the pellets strike the target. And that’s called patterning a shotgun.
I’ve recently experienced a renewed interest in shotguns and decided to see for myself what loads do what. So I went to two stores and wound up with 16 loads that I felt appropriate for HD (Home Defense) and headed to the range.
Just about every shotgun patterning session I’ve seen deals with the spread of the load at some distance as do the patterns I shot and will show here. A good bit of my motivation to do this was to identify the best rounds to meet my goals for HD. I have two simple goals: minimize recoil and maximize spread at 7 yards. Some consider 5 yards to be about right for SD; some homes could justify 10 yards, - combined rooms, long hallways, etc. so I think I’ve picked a happy medium at 7 yards. That’s not the twist, but I'm getting there, hang with me a bit.
I not only wanted to see the pattern, but I wanted to see what would happen with a near miss. Unlike some that believe in a life or death gunfight, they won’t miss a shot, and in the case of a shotgun ALL pellets will not only hit the threat but, no doubt will be perfectly centered on the COM (Center Of Mass). However I believe it’s just possible I might miss, just barely of course, never by a whole inch or anything that huge :tongue:. So I wanted to know what to expect from a near miss with each load.
A shotgun is very unique in that you can miss and hit at the same time!!! :shock: . I’ve done a bunch of reading and research lately and I get two impressions of what is commonly believed about shotguns. One is the belief that a shotgun should produce tight patterns. I read time and time again about how tightly this load or that load patterns. Some manufacturers have taken advantage of that ill conceived notion and produced very tightly grouping loads. And, tight patterns might be spot on for hunting, but this is commonly believed for SD (Self Defense) ranges and applications too.
THAT MISSES THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE SHOTGUN!!!!
The heart and soul of the shotgun is that it fires multiple pellets in a spread pattern. If it won’t spread the pellets, you might as well be shooting a big bore rifle with limited range.
Pellet spread as a desirable thing, seems to be lost lately. Why have they been referred to in the past as scatterguns? The spread pattern of multiple projectiles is a good and desirable characteristic. The spread is more forgiving, as we shall see, for POI (Point Of Impact) error, it spreads the impact out over a larger area which should produce more trauma to larger portions of the body, and if our aim is off a bit, and we’ve chosen the right load, the spread catches the threat and inflicts serious wounding. They may not be incapacitating, but the will certainly degrade his abilities and probably momentarily disorient him – it may even incapacitate him.
Here's the twist:
Soooo, it is important to me to find a load with a wide spread at 7 yds, so here's the twist of a twisted mind :image035: - I fired three shots, one low center a complete hit for pattern clarity followed by two intentional near misses to see what I get from various loads. The first miss is on a shoulder and the second a near miss on the head. For the shoulder miss, I aimed at the edge of the silhouette where a bullet would just graze the arm at just about the point of the shoulder. For the head, I aimed at the ear lobe. I think when you see the pics, you’ll see where the term ‘shotgun effect' comes from.
WHAT OTHER GUN CAN YOU MISS HALF YOUR SHOTS AND HIT HALF YOUR SHOTS ALL IN ONE SHOT!!!
So you can miss and still hit with up to 10 or so shots depending on the load used! That’s why we want spread, not tight groups.
The following pics cover two posts because I can only get 12 pics per post and I have 16 pics.
Ok, because my preface has been fairly long, I’m going to the second post for the first 12 pics.
The test gun is a Benelli Supernova Tactical with a pistol grip. It's essentially a pump shotgun with an 18.5" barrel and I think it's a fixed modified cylinder choke - I'll have to look that up.