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Old 03-02-2014, 01:06 AM
.60 caliber buckshot .60 caliber buckshot is offline
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Default Buckshot: Minimum Pattern = Maximum Effective Range

What size bullseye would you choose to represent the vital zone of a deer?

When you pattern test your Shotgun/Choke/Buckshot combination - what is the minimum number of your favorite buckshot pellet size that would deliver a reliable quick killing pattern hitting the vital zone of a deer?
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Old 03-02-2014, 02:31 PM
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this doesnt really answer your question but my browning silver 28 inch barrel with an extra full choke and 3 inch OO buck shot is my key to success.. i've killed a truck load with this combination and have never patterned it.. afraid if i did it would make me shoot different and it only takes 1 buckshot sometimes to kill one


but if i was to want to pattern a gun for dog hunting i'd use a poster board from walmart and draw about 4 rings and aim for the middle at about 40 yards and then try several different chokes and buck shots to get it how you want it.

make sure you get several poster boards and do your rings on the different poster boards the same so that you can compare them

good luck
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:34 AM
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I like about 15 #4s in an area slightly bigger than a regular plate. If those don't get it then he isn't going far with all those #4s hitting around his legs anyways. The one I killed last year with buckshot had 3 broken legs plus the vitals were ripped up.
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:20 PM
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Default 00 buck at 25 yards

I'd use 00 buckshot. 9-pellets each .33" diameter and about 60 grains. Muzzle velocity about 1300 f.p.s.

I expect a group of about 15" at 25 yards from a long-barreled shotgun with some kind of choke.

Even from a 20" barreled cylinder-bore riot shotgun, I'd still expect good buckshot to keep all the pellets to pattern within about 18" or 20"

I normally consider the deer's vitals about 8" diameter. If I can consistently ring an 8" steel plate or knock over a coffee can at a certain distance with a certain gun and load, I say it's good enough for deer hunting from that distance.

So if I'm shooting 25 yards and getting a 15" - 20" pattern, obviously not ALL my pellets will hit in an 8" kill zone. That's OK with me. A few of them will be in there. Others will hit lungs, diaphram, neck, maybe spine, etc. Plenty of opportunity for the "other pellets" (the ones that didn't stay in the 8" kill zone) to contribute to dropping the animal.

P.S. Per this guy's test of a 12-gauge 00 buckshot load at 21 feet, those .33 lead balls tend to penetrate about 12" to 15" deep into ballistic gelatin. That's pretty good penetration, even if they don't expand much and don't create huge messy wound channels with wide cavitation.

Video removed by moderation
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:17 PM
.60 caliber buckshot .60 caliber buckshot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogHunter4Life View Post
this doesnt really answer your question but my browning silver 28 inch barrel with an extra full choke and 3 inch OO buck shot is my key to success.. i've killed a truck load with this combination and have never patterned it.. afraid if i did it would make me shoot different and it only takes 1 buckshot sometimes to kill one
So you fear that if you knew how your gun patterned that you might not take some of the shots you have?
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:25 PM
.60 caliber buckshot .60 caliber buckshot is offline
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[quote=GunnSmokeer;8536170]I'd use 00 buckshot. 9-pellets each .33" diameter and about 60 grains. Muzzle velocity about 1300 f.p.s.

I expect a group of about 15" at 25 yards from a long-barreled shotgun with some kind of choke.

Even from a 20" barreled cylinder-bore riot shotgun, I'd still expect good buckshot to keep all the pellets to pattern within about 18" or 20"

I normally consider the deer's vitals about 8" diameter. If I can consistently ring an 8" steel plate or knock over a coffee can at a certain distance with a certain gun and load, I say it's good enough for deer hunting from that distance.

So if I'm shooting 25 yards and getting a 15" - 20" pattern, obviously not ALL my pellets will hit in an 8" kill zone. That's OK with me. A few of them will be in there. Others will hit lungs, diaphram, neck, maybe spine, etc. Plenty of opportunity for the "other pellets" (the ones that didn't stay in the 8" kill zone) to contribute to dropping the animal.

P.S. Per this guy's test of a 12-gauge 00 buckshot load at 21 feet, those .33 lead balls tend to penetrate about 12" to 15" deep into ballistic gelatin. That's pretty good penetration, even if they don't expand much and don't create huge messy wound channels with wide cavitation.

video removed by moderation

Are you saying the maximum range you will shoot with a 9 pellet 00B load is 25 yards with a 20" pattern?

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Old 03-03-2014, 11:31 PM
.60 caliber buckshot .60 caliber buckshot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouper throat View Post
I like about 15 #4s in an area slightly bigger than a regular plate. If those don't get it then he isn't going far with all those #4s hitting around his legs anyways. The one I killed last year with buckshot had 3 broken legs plus the vitals were ripped up.
So with #4B the minimum pattern, to establish the maximum range you will shoot, is 15 pellets in roughly a 10 to 12 inch circle?

How far then is your maximum range with what choke and what #4B load?

Last edited by .60 caliber buckshot; 03-07-2014 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .60 caliber buckshot View Post
Are you saying the maximum range you will shoot with a 9 pellet 00B load is 25 yards with a 20" pattern?
Correct. I would test the gun and the ammo prior to going hunting deer, but the distance that more than 2 out of 9 pellets would stray outside of a 20" circle, that would be too far. I want most 00 buck pellets to hit a 5 gallon bucket, but I can live with a couple stray fliers.

EDITED TO CLARIFY: I think I could probably go 35 yards, since my goal would be only to get 7 out of 9 pellets in a 20" circle.
I just Googled for range reports from other people who patterned their shotguns with 00 Buck, and may people are getting 12" patterns at 25 yards. That's better than I expected. Of course the gun matters, the choke matters, and the ammo matters. One guy reported one brand of ammo giving 15" patterns while another gave 30" patterns from the SAME GUN at the SAME DISTANCE.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:43 PM
.60 caliber buckshot .60 caliber buckshot is offline
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Twenty inches seems like an overly large vital zone area to base a minimum effective pattern on. Wouldn't setting a minimum number of hits in the 10" pattern core be a better approach?

It seems to me that a shotgun that could not place 100% of a 9 pellet 00B pattern in 10" at twenty five yards, would not deliver an effective pattern at 40 yards.

Last edited by .60 caliber buckshot; 03-05-2014 at 09:03 AM.
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  #10  
Old 03-05-2014, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .60 caliber buckshot View Post
So you fear that if you knew how your gun patterned that you might not take some of the shots you have?
No not at all .60. Let's say after 5 years with this shotgun I've killed 75% of the deer I've shot at (which I think is about right). Now all honesty most of the time that I think back on my kills I don't remember where I aimed or if I had one eye closed. I just know I've done it so long its habit to point and shoot in general direction (its more complicated than I make it sound, and safer). Let's say I pattern my gun and take my time and put the bead right on the bullseye and it shoots a foot low, then next time I have time to shoot my mind will make that foot accommodation and I may miss every time.

This may not make sense but maybe it does. Once you get use to a gun and a choke and a shell it don't matter what the pattern looks like, because the style you shoot it may be perfect
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:13 AM
.60 caliber buckshot .60 caliber buckshot is offline
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DogHunter4Life:

I can certainly understand how you might feel that way about patterning.

However, using your example: What if the gun that, unknown to you, threw the pattern a foot low also produced a "doughnut" pattern as well. Then your reluctance to pattern could very well be the reason for the 25% missed or wounded/unrecovered deer you shot at.



Quote:
Originally Posted by DogHunter4Life View Post
No not at all .60. Let's say after 5 years with this shotgun I've killed 75% of the deer I've shot at (which I think is about right). Now all honesty most of the time that I think back on my kills I don't remember where I aimed or if I had one eye closed. I just know I've done it so long its habit to point and shoot in general direction (its more complicated than I make it sound, and safer). Let's say I pattern my gun and take my time and put the bead right on the bullseye and it shoots a foot low, then next time I have time to shoot my mind will make that foot accommodation and I may miss every time.

This may not make sense but maybe it does. Once you get use to a gun and a choke and a shell it don't matter what the pattern looks like, because the style you shoot it may be perfect
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:24 PM
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Are you saying that 25 % of deer shot at are missed or unrecovered?
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:40 PM
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true .60.. i'd hate to kill everything i shot at..haha kidding

headsortails... both.. i'm sure ive wounded a few over the years and i'm sure i've just flat out missed some over the years..i've flat out missed one before at 6 steps..the wadding went farther than the deer was..it happens i reckon!
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:47 AM
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I do not worry about my shotgun pattern much because if I can see over 30-40 yds I have a rifle in my hand. Half the guys I run dogs with don't even carry shotguns.
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Old 03-07-2014, 12:20 PM
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Focus on pattern can neglect the importance of penetration. Regardless of pattern, pellets need to penetrate at least 10" to do their job. 00 buck and 25 yards. Sure, if a pellet clips the spine, deer can be dropped further, but the odds favor long tracking jobs and iffy recoveries that come down to the skills of the dogs, the lay of the land, and the size of the property (or the willingness of the hunter to trespass in pursuit of his wounded deer). If you can track legally for a mile or two you have more leeway than if the property line is 1/4 mile away.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:19 PM
.60 caliber buckshot .60 caliber buckshot is offline
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With conventional small buckshot*, (1, 00, 000), penetration without a concentrated core pattern is a recipe for wounded and lost game. Which is why I find the "pattern does not matter" attitude of many buckshot users to be appalling.

That most factory buckshot is formed from soft lead does not help pattern or penetration.

*Largest commercial lead buckshot load, (Dixie Triball), uses hard cast .60"/ 320 grain pellets.

Last edited by .60 caliber buckshot; 01-31-2016 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:36 PM
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Default two hits

HYPOTHETICAL: so are you saying that if your shotgun and that particular ammo throws a wide pattern, but evenly distributed (no "doughnut hole") and you shoot from a distance where you get 2 or 3 buckshot pellets (let's say size 00- there's a lot of data and real-world feedback on how they penetrate in meat) in the eight-inch kill zone, and the other 7 or 10 pellets hitting everything from the neck to the flank, shoulders to elbows...

... that would be unacceptable? Since only 2 out of 9 (or 3 out of 12, or 3 out of 15) buckshot pellets in the right spot can't be counted on to do the job?

You'd want "most" of your pellet payload to impact within that 8" kill spot around your aiming point? (I agree that would be nice, but for most shotguns that would mean really close-range work).
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:42 PM
.60 caliber buckshot .60 caliber buckshot is offline
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Gunsmokeer:

Perhaps I should clarify my statement thus:

With conventional small buckshot, (1, 00, 000), penetration without a concentrated core pattern is a recipe for wounded and lost game at all but extremely short range. Which is why I find the "pattern does not matter" attitude of many buckshot users to be appalling.

For years the talk of dog deer hunting camps has been tight buckshot patterns. In light of the improvements made in factory buckshot ammo and chokes in the last four decades, it is hard to believe that hunters today would settle for just 20-25 yard effectiveness. It is equally hard to believe hunters would not want to establish a what the actual maximum effective range of their deer gun is by taking the time to seriously pattern it. It seems to me that pattern testing a buckshot gun is the shotgun equivalent of sighting in a rifle!
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:28 PM
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heres why i think a "pattern" does not really matter

how many true dog hunters out there get those nice and stopped poses at 20 or 30 steps?? not many.. so why would you pattern a gun when almost none of your shots are like they are when you are patterning your gun?? everything comes into effect...wind, rain, humidity, deer speed, top of box shooting downward or shooting on a level, bushes or trees in the way, full out sprint or trotting, and 10,000 more conditions....

my point is that to me it is more important how that particular person feels and shoots with his gun in the field than just saying i put 9 of 12 shot in a pie plate at 40 yards... just my 2 cents!!

another thing that annoys me (i'm sure i'll get bashed on this one too) is all these folks wanting to take clean ethical shots dog hunting.. geez folks.. maybe 10% of all dog hunting shots are ethical.. i know nobody wants to wound a deer but if you wait on complete ethical shots, you may not ever shoot!!
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:25 AM
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The good and the bad of a shotgun is that multiple projectile aspect. I work medical, I've seen a guy shot in the face less than 15ft with #6 and only ending up blind, while another man was shot at from roughly 75-100yds and died from one pellet going in under his armpit and hitting his aorta. It was 8 pellets of buckshot and only 3 or 4 hit the house he was standing in the doorway of.

To answer your question, I shoot 8 pellet hornady critical for deer, it patterns best for my 26" full choke. I go with the furthest I can keep 4 out of 8 pellets in 12". You can find all over the internet how 00 buckshot has enough penetration. At the distances your worrying about not penetrating enough, your probably not going to be grouping well enough to responsibly take the shot. If i were shooting triball .6 pellets I'd want 2/3 hitting within 12" Even though, if you think about it, a ton of deer have been dropped with lighter projectiles for years.
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Old 03-08-2014, 03:49 PM
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Default going to make me test!

That's it !!!
You guys have spiked my curiosity and caused me to recognize that my memory isn't what it used to be.
I don't remember if I ever patterned my shotgun or not.
I am going shooting tomorrow.
I will take the shotgun (with the longer sporting barrel with a "modified" choke) and pattern it with buckshot.
My goal will be to answer this question:

"How far can I shoot and still get a clear majority of my pellet load in a 20-inch circle."

And, if I have time, I'll stack up some soft pine boards or sheets of scrap drywall and see how much less penetration there is at 40 yards (what I consider about max distance for buckshot hunting) compared to 50 feet (an easy point blank distance for scatterguns).
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:12 AM
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i'm curious how it turns out...add pictures of course!!
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:29 AM
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Default done-- I was wrong

Done! But, not with my 12 gauge with the fixed bored choke.

I used my 20 gauge, 22" vent rib barrel, that uses short little screw-in choke tubes.

I put in the "FULL" choke tube and shot Federal 3" magnum 20 ga. buckshot, #2 buck (the largest size I can find at most retail locations). That's an 18-pellet load.

RESULTS on PATTERN (shooting at large sheets of white paper) and PENETRATION (shooting at a baffle stack of 3/4" soft pine boards, spaced about an inch apart from each other .


25 yds pattern: way too wide. Over 24" and beyond the edges of my target paper. Gaps in the pattern the size of a football. 15 out of 18 pellets landed on the poster-board paper. Only "one" pellet would have hit an 8" circle around my aim point.

25 yards penetration: weak. Pellets penetrated two of the 0.75" pine boards and bounced off the third.


50 feet- pattern: better. 17 out of 18 landed in a 20" circle, and "four" were in the 8" center kill zone. So IF my pellets had sufficient penetration, I'd say this pattern would be OK for deer hunting. But it's only 50 feet! I expected this kind of pattern at 25 or 35 yards.

50 feet-- penetration: same lack of penetration. Two boards totaling 1.5" of soft pine wood got penetrated, but the next board in line was just dented.

30 feet pattern: Now THIS gave a pretty tight pattern, but man is it close. Ridiculously close. Spitting distance, it seemed like. The pattern was about 8" wide. So all 18 pellets hit together in group the size of a canteloupe.

30 feet penetration: Still unimpressive. They drilled through 1.5" of soft wood (I shot both the stack of 3/4" boards and another test -shot at some 2x8 lumber (not pressure treated). In comparison, I shot my 3.3" barreled compact 9mm at this same wood, and it went through 4.5" of wood and embedded itself in the last board for a total of nearly 5 inches (hollowpoint, but it didn't expand with a plugged nose).

BOTTOM LINE: My shotgun throw much wider patterns than I expected, and while I knew that #2 buckshot (only .27 caliber) was only throwing about as much lead as a .22 short, I just expected more penetration.

Pics later. They're in my phone with a million others and I don't feel like sorting them out right now.
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Last edited by GunnSmokeer; 03-11-2014 at 12:30 AM. Reason: underlining
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:42 PM
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The last deer I shot with buckshot was about 40 yds. 2 shots did the job, one thing I noticed was 1 round was plated and the other was just lead, the plated buckshot penetrated through deer and was found under hide, almost full penetration where the regular lead pellets where found in the deer's chest cavity, but had flattened out somewhat, now that being said, the plated shot was 2 3/4, and the non plated was 3", difference in speed or harder shot, not sure, but shoot nothing but 2 3/4 loads of plated now.
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Old 03-15-2014, 06:03 PM
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After doing this for almost 38 years I can honestly say, I don't know. I've seen older gentleman kill them DRT with the same gun they've been shooting for 40 years and WHATEVER buckshot they happened to have. I've seen seen folks with the "latest and greatest" not be able to hit sand falling off a camel. There are just too many variables that come with each situation to know for sure. I've stood on the dog box with my Dad and watched him roll them up at 70-80 yards and watched folks COMPLETELY miss at 12 steps. As I've gotten older I've started leaning more towards "it's the Indian and not the arrow".
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