testing new shotgun loads

Testing new shotgun loads

This is a discussion on Testing new shotgun loads within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; After watching James Yeager and Billy Birdzell doing some shotgun load testing, Im going to do a bit of my own. The results werent exactly ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    testing new shotgun loads

    After watching James Yeager and Billy Birdzell doing some shotgun load testing, Im going to do a bit of my own. The results werent exactly what I thought, and barrel length (from 14", 18", and 22") and cylinder bore to improved choke didnt make THAT much of a difference. The number one factor was the ammo, as it seemed to shoot consistently, almost regardless of the gun. The reduced recoil 00 buck was the tightest across the board...

    ...But thats in their guns. They were testing a 14" 870, a more standard 18" 870, and a 22" Versamax. I have what I think is a pretty standard shotgun that your average person would use for home defense. I want to see how these loads perform in MY gun. Ive never used the reduced recoil ammo, or shot anything but birdshot, 00 buck, and slugs in my shotgun. Its a 12ga Maverick 88 that came with a 28" barrel that I cut down to 18.5". Cut it with a hacksaw, made sure it was square and straight, filed it smooth around the edges, and reblued it. Not fancy, but it works. I bought some ammo to test as shown below. Only a single 5rd box of each, should give me a good idea on which way I should go when I purchase more defensive ammo. I already have the Winchester and Suprema stuff, and Ill post a pic of every round together when the rest of the Federal stuff comes in. Not sure when the results will be posted, probably within a few weeks, but Ill be sure to try and make this as scientific as possible. Im thinking I will test each at 6yards and 12 yards. Those seem like reasonable distances. 6 yards is roughly across a larger room and 12 yards is roughly down a long hallway in a standard house. I will shoot one round per target at each distance, so 16 total. If I happen to see anymore loadings at Walmart or a gun store for a reasonable price, I might add them in.

    When this pans out, Ill be sure to get pictures of each target, make sure they are labeled, and post the results.

    1 --- Olin Military Grade - 00 Buck - 9 pellet - 2.75"
    2 --- Winchester Super X - 00 Buck - 9 pellet - 2.75" (this is what my shotgun stays loaded with)
    3 --- Winchester Super X - 00 Buck - 15 pellet - 3"
    4 --- Federal Premium Flitecontrol - 00 Buck - 9 pellet - 2.75"
    5 --- Federal Premium Flitecontrol - 00 Buck - 8 pellet - 2.75" Reduced Recoil
    6 --- Federal Premium - #4 Buck - 27 pellet - 2.75"
    7 --- Federal Premium - #1 Buck - 15 pellet - 2.75"
    8 --- Suprema - 00 Buck - 9 pellet - 2.75"

  2. #2
    Member Array Enzo411's Avatar
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    I've been watching that series too. Billy definitely brings the vid to a higher level with his knowledge and personality. The 8 pellet, 00 reduced recoil has surprisingly been very interesting in their testing.
    Can't wait to see if you get similar results.
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    Senior Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    Headed out to the range to do the testing today... Range was closed for maintenance. Will try again next week.

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    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    I have been following it as well and am interested in your findings. Keep us posted....
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    Senior Member Array michael t's Avatar
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    Main thing you get with shorter barrel is less FPS Shotgun needs 18to 20" to reach full FPS
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    Member Array jwilson904's Avatar
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    I am betting the federal flight control holds the tightest pattern and the winchesters will kick like a Bay Mule.

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    Member Array donp326's Avatar
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    In my Mossberg 590 the Federal No 1 buck maks a slug hole at 11 yards. I have now about 400 rounds of No. 1 buck.
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    Senior Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwilson904 View Post
    I am betting the federal flight control holds the tightest pattern and the winchesters will kick like a Bay Mule.
    From the stuff I have shot in the past, the Winchester Super X will put a hurting on you.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    Finally got around to doing this test. Ended up testing 10 loadings. The 8 posted above, plus two extra. Full list of loadings is as follows:

    1 --- Olin Military Grade - 00 Buck - 9 pellet - 2.75"
    2 --- Winchester Super X - 00 Buck - 9 pellet - 2.75"
    3 --- Winchester Super X - 00 Buck - 15 pellet - 3"
    4 --- Winchester Super X - #4 Bird - 2.75"
    5 --- Federal Premium Flitecontrol - 00 Buck - 9 pellet - 2.75"
    6 --- Federal Premium Flitecontrol - 00 Buck - 8 pellet - 2.75" Reduced Recoil
    7 --- Federal Premium Flitecontrol - #1 Buck - 15 pellet - 2.75"
    8 --- Federal Premium - #4 Buck - 27 pellet - 2.75"
    9 --- Suprema - 00 Buck - 9 pellet - 2.75"
    10 -- Hornady - 00 Buck - 9 pellet - 2.75"

    Figured I might add some pictures of the shotgun that I used for testing. Exactly the one stated above, its no safe queen, and its in far from perfect condition, but should be pretty illustrative of what most anyone has by their bedside. Basic 18.5" 12ga cylinder bore. Mine has lots of surface rust, a halway down stipple job on the foreend, a cut up foreend to fit the mounting bracket for the side saddle I sometimes use, cut down barrel at 18.5", aftermarket sight to give me something to aim with since original bead was cut off, and an all-around junker. It has been used as a hammer on more than a few occasions. Its nothing to look at, but it has always functioned 100%, today was no exception.












  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    Shooting was done at about 12-15 yards, maybe a hair closer. Id say its a good distance for about as far as you would be shooting in a normal house, such as maybe down a long hallway. One round of shooting was done, one round of each at exactly the same distance, whatever it was. Was a heck of a day. Its an indoor range that goes to maybe 20 yards. There was a guy in the lane directly to my left who was getting his rifle on paper before he goes to a long range. It was some bolt rifle with a big 2-chamber muzzle break... In .300 Win Mag. Every time he shot it when I was up in the lane, there was no divider between us due to the muzzle sticking so far forward. Needless to say, even when I expected it, with single layer hearing protection I was jumping like a bolt of lightning was striking the ground beside me. On top of that, the range was super crowded, the thing that brings the target in and out was on the fritz, and moving about 1' every 5 seconds... And the air conditioning was broken. Its about 95 degrees outside, and this is a packed block building with no ventilation or air conditioning.

    Results? The Federal Flitecontrol works absolutely as claimed. I couldnt believe how tight it is. Out at 12-15 yards, all the shot was going through the same hole as the wad. Im not sure if it was even leaving the wad. Ive never shot a cut shell before, but from the videos Ive seen, this looked like a cut shell going through the paper. Just a single big hole the size of the wad. With the small bit of unburnt powder or whatever it is that looks like a super fine birdshot that goes through the target, I went back to recheck the box to make sure I grabbed the right stuff, and it was what I thought it was. Yep, as suspected, at this distance, the Fliteconteol was shooting hand sized groups. The recoil on all of them, except the non-Flitecontrol #4 was very tame. The #4 buck was also patterning quite a bit larger than the rest. At this distance, it was respectable, but larger. The Winchester stuff tends to beat you up pretty good, but the Flitecontrol, and especially the reduced recoil is a breeze to shoot. If you could afford it, and went to go do a shotgun course where you were expecting to shoot 250+ rounds in a day, I wouldnt think twice. My first experience with anything reduced recoil was great. Not much more push than some target loads. The #4 Federal had a bit more punch to it, and didnt pattern anywhere near as tight as the Flitecontrol loadings. The diameter of the pattern was at least 6x the size. The Flitecontrol loadings are incredibly tight. So tight, that I could understand if someone wanted a bit more spread for an up-close HD gun. If you have a bigger house, need a general loading to double as something to defend your home and the rest of your property (at a slightly longer distance, like 50 yards or so), or a hunting load where you might need that extra distance, or if you just prefer a very tight pattern, this load is hard to beat.

    The Winchester Super X loadings are very stout. Even the #4 birdshot (not a defensive load, but I could see it being pressed into service if you had nothing else and were expecting a super close encounter) has a bit of a thump. It also had quite a spread, definitely the largest of anything I shot. At this distance, its the size of a full torso. The 2.75" 00 buck was the second strongest recoiling load, and the 3" 00 buck really beats you up. Ive put probably 75-100 rounds of it through my gun (just for fun, when I have a friend who wants to feel some recoil, or I decide I want to be a bit of a masochist), and every time I do, it recoils worse than I remember. The 2.75" was grouping roughly the size of the pen you can see in the target. I didnt measure the groups, but the pen gives you something to judge the size on. The 3" loading grouped a bit bigger. Im not sure if thats just due to more pellets, or if it really does group slightly larger. Either way, I wasnt going to put my shoulder through the abuse of putting enough of the 3" through to find out. It seems close enough, maybe slightly larger patterning than the standard shell. The Olin (parent company of Winchester) Military Grade 00 Buck and Super X buck patterned the same, which goes right along with what I would expect, because from what I found online, the MG buck is just a cosmetic difference. Instead of a "hunting" load, its in the plain brown box, plain black font, says MILITARY GRADE, and the shells are dark green/black instead of bright red/brass. The findings are in line with this speculation.

    Suprema? Nothing special. It patterned abut the same as the competing Federal 9 pellet 00 buck. Only noticeable difference is the Suprema has much less recoil. It would get the job done across a room or even long hall. Out at 25yards or more, its going to be spread enough, like the other loadings that had a more average shotgun spread, that it wont be anywhere near as effective. For HD distances, like anything here, it would work just fine. I have shot larger amounts of it in the past, and in my shotgun, it can tend to get a little sticky. Need to really pull that foreend back to get it to extract properly. Other shotguns may not have this issue.

    Hornady was surprising. It patterned super tight as well, for a full power 2.75" 9 pellet 00 buck, it was maybe a hair bigger than the full power Flitecontrol 9 pellet. Wasnt expecting this. I would have expected for it to be closer to the Winchester/Olin.

    When I was done, I had a used up target with some blank space. I wanted to shoot more of the Flitecontrol stuff. At 20 yards, I put 2 rounds of #1 buck and 2 rounds of 8 pellet low recoil buck on the target. I included pics of those for fun, although not really scientific. Both shots of the #1 buck at 20 yards stayed in a space the size of your palm. Thats 30 pellets in roughly a 5"x5" area. Very impressive. The 8 pellet buck went two rounds to the other side of the targer. Again, 16 shells in maybe a 6"x6' area. Very nice. With both loadings, I could shoot them very quickly and accurately due to the low recoil.

    What do I recommend? Who knows. Depends on what you prefer for the task at hand. I think Im going to go with the Federal #1 Buck. The pellets are supposedly the smallest that will penetrate 12" of ballistics gel. Tight grouping, good penetration, low recoil, high volume of pellets. Seems like either this loading of the 8 pellet 00 buck would be preferable for what Id prefer. Im not really sure any of the buckshot loadings from any company would be something I wouldnt recommend, except for the Suprema, and of course #4 birdshot.



















    CIBMike, Enzo411 and 5lima30ret like this.

  11. #11
    Member Array Enzo411's Avatar
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    Nice review and much appreciated. Based on those vids I saw and your review I have to tru some 8 pellet low recoil federal.
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    Member Array Tony617's Avatar
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    testing new shotgun loads

    I went to the range a few weeks ago and retested the Federal LE132 15 pellet # 1 buckshot. My previous test I put the target out at 7 yards.

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1434934311.189923.jpg

    I put the target out at 40' this time and the last shot out of 5 went a bit high. My shotgun is an 18.5" Mossberg 590A1 and has a S&J Hardware +2 extension.

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1434934450.182526.jpg

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1434934465.823346.jpg

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1434934478.713525.jpg

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    Distinguished Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    Great review! It pretty much reinforces what I have always thought, that the #4 Buck, particularly the Federal load would be great at inside the home distances! As a side note #4 Buck works great on coyotes!
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    Member Array bubbatime's Avatar
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    Yeah #4 buck is DEVASTATING. I've heard story's that it was a preferred shotgun load in Vietnam at close range as it put people down quick. It also is good for apartments and close neighbors as it will penetrate less than 00 buck.
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    Member Array flyingron's Avatar
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    I practice with the same Winchester 2 3/4 00 at 25 yards. Patterns are similar. I'm pretty amazed how accurate the Winchester Rifled slugs are at that distance as well.

    I purchased some of the funny loads recently (rubber slugs, etc...). Some time when I get some time to set up a proper backstop on my lot or if I can convince the local range to let me shoot those things I'll have to see how they work. I keep the home defense gun loaded with one of the rubber javelin rounds followed by four 00 Bucks.

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