Buckshot: Minimum Pattern = Maximum Effective Range

#41
DH4L, you are right, it happens to all, rifle,bow,dog hunting, people miss for one reason or another, I would hope anyone who misses one, does all they can do to find the animal, and finish the job as quickly as they can, I personally think you owe that to the animal and sport. Again, I am no expert by any means, I have just spent the time to test my guns with different loads and chokes to get the best patterns I can within my determined ranges, be it shotgun or rifle, and I use that info to determine my maximum ranges under controlled conditions, because we all know it's not the same as real world conditions.
 

jfish

Senior Member
#42
what DH4L is saying I think is that this is little different than shooting a deer standing still. Yes the occasional deer will jump out stand then run, hopefully you get a shot while standing. More than likely these deer are at a run. Sometimes all you can see is a flash, and I am not exaggerating that. For instance a big buck can run so fast but so low it will amaze you at how low they can get. The only way I can explain this is go dog hunting and have one come by very close at full speed. Most are still at a good run. This is like shooting birds instead of still hunting. The same theory applies. At times you have to learn to lead the shot according to the varibles given. No one is better than 75% on average shooting birds and seriously its nearly the same thing. You pattern buckshot in a gun to see what it shoots the best is correct but just because you can hit 10 out of 15 pellets in a circle at 50yds doesn't mean your going to hit a running target in the shoulder for a dead kill. Sometimes you have to wait for the deer to clear trees, trucks, sometimes even people before shooting so that you have a clear target/shot. My point is that there are a lot of variables in shooting a running deer. The good shots seem to be gone. My grandpa shot them with a 22mag running. In the head. I am not exaggerating. Anyone here in my home town knows it. It happened a lot. Sure he missed a few but he was an exceptional shot. Its not even legal now and for a good reason also. Just try and imagine shooting a moving target first before criticizing a guy for asking. Its very different from target scenarios unless you have been there in the heat of the moment so to speak.

I don't mean that bad in anyway or directed negatively towards any person.

Dog hunting is something everyone should try. Some say not but I have seen a few converted that said it. Dog hunting was a tradition that is way different now than it was years ago. It used to be very laid back, fun, and used not to cost an arm and leg. Now days its trucks, guns, radios, tracking collars, etc. Not all of that is bad. GPS collars are outstanding, wish I had them years ago. The sound of a pack of hounds coming to you, the breaking of brush, and then......a 40 pound yearling pops out is nearly enough to stop your heart. You were all excited just to say hey if you only had a rack. Just wishing you had just had a big buck pop out instead. Its a rush.
 
Thread starter #43
The quote below is an example of the rhetorical technique known as reductio ad absurdum.


so your going to keep several different shells in your pocket and when you see the deer run across the road you will 1st decide buck or a doe 2nd decide if it has forks (depending on club) and 3rdly decide what the distance is and then finally decide which shell to put in your gun??:pop:
 
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Big7

Senior Member
#44
Usually, with most people still hunting they either hit and kill or just flat out miss. There is a big difference ETCHIALLY to just spray lead when you admit you know you only have a 75% chance.

Not exactly the same as spraying lead at rats in the landfill.

To each his own I guess.

AND... I think MOST still hunters are way above 75%.

That's just me. Recon someone needs to start a poll??
 

jfish

Senior Member
#46
I know I am going to get blasted for this and I don't mean it personally but hunting with a bow and bleeding one out or waiting an hour or so to start tracking one (which I have seen with guns also, still hunting) is no different than what dhfl is talking about. It doesn't happen often he was just saying that it happens.

I just watched a hunting show few weeks ago where guy shot a huge 8 pointer in the morning hours. Finally found it like at dusk dark. He tracked it and made it get up twice. That isn't ethical either is my point. That same thig happens with still hunting at times. It's something you do not want to happen but it happens is what these guys are trying to say.

Everything cannot be a target range scenario. If it were it would be called killing deer and not hunting deer.
 
Thread starter #47
jfish,

The whole point of this thread was to open a discussion of what constitutes a minimum quick killing pattern in order to establish a reasonable maximum range for popular buckshot sizes.

No one reasonably contends that buckshot pattern testing completely equals field use. The same is true of sighting in a rifle, slug gun, or muzzle loader. Certainly practicing with a bow on a backyard range fits as well.

Unfortunately the thread completely sidetracked when some contended that varying field conditions negated any need to determine the effective limits of the gun, choke and load combination.


I know I am going to get blasted for this and I don't mean it personally but hunting with a bow and bleeding one out or waiting an hour or so to start tracking one (which I have seen with guns also, still hunting) is no different than what dhfl is talking about. It doesn't happen often he was just saying that it happens.

I just watched a hunting show few weeks ago where guy shot a huge 8 pointer in the morning hours. Finally found it like at dusk dark. He tracked it and made it get up twice. That isn't ethical either is my point. That same thig happens with still hunting at times. It's something you do not want to happen but it happens is what these guys are trying to say.

Everything cannot be a target range scenario. If it were it would be called killing deer and not hunting deer.
 
#48
i agree with you jfish.. i would have replied sooner but was at work all day.. dog hunters get bashed no matter what we do.. we cant do anything right if you talk to non-doghunters..good thing is that we live in a country that still allows this practice and i'm going to do it until i die

i agree that there are more wounded with dog hunting..i'd like to say DUH!! doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure it out..do i make unethical shots sometimes running dogs?? heck yes i do.. so does everyone else at times..its no difference than somebody shooting one with a rifle ****her than they have practiced, or shooting one right at dark, or shooting when you can only see certain parts of the deer.

i agree that this thread was sidetracked and some of it is my fault but you can go out and shoot your shotgun with as many different loads but it wont do very much.. yeah you may find the tightest pattern gun but some people doesnt need that

i liked the analogy with dove hunting.. anything that is moving at a good pace is going to be TOUGH to hit no matter how good of a shot you are.. and big7 i wouldnt want to hunt with you..hard to compete with someone that never misses!! i like hearing those miss stories
 
Thread starter #49
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jfish

Senior Member
#50
I know 60 caliber I stated above what my experience was with buckshot. I hate that some don't have "if you cant say anything good why say anything at all" approach. No reason to be so negative on a thread just because you don't agree with some thing. If you have valid input then use it if not just don't say anything.

Buckshot is a crazy animal really. Only thing you can do is try and get the best pattern in the target world no different than any other weapon. Penetration will depend upon that to a certain extent. I have seen them barely penetrate the skin at 50 yds to go all the way through them at 75. Crazy as it sounds it just dependant totally upon the conditions at hand and shot placement. Bone stops it pretty fast. Shoot a hog with it and you will see. Just my opinion based on my past experience.

j



jfish,

The whole point of this thread was to open a discussion of what constitutes a minimum quick killing pattern in order to establish a reasonable maximum range for popular buckshot sizes.

No one reasonably contends that buckshot pattern testing completely equals field use. The same is true of sighting in a rifle, slug gun, or muzzle loader. Certainly practicing with a bow on a backyard range fits as well.

Unfortunately the thread completely sidetracked when some contended that varying field conditions negated any need to determine the effective limits of the gun, choke and load combination.
 
#51
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?
On topic:
In 00 I would be very satisfied with one pellet in the killing zone for a reliable quick kill, BUT-


Slightly off topic:
For me, the test for an “ethical” quick kill shot is different between hunting with dogs and shotguns and stand or still hunting with a rifle. When hunting with dogs the hunter is a unit comprised of himself and his dog(s). A seriously wounded deer has a much greater chance of being run down by the dog part of the unit or harried to the point of bleeding out or exhaustion when it can be recovered because the dog part of the unit knows where the deer is. In my opinion, the dog hunter has a much higher probability of recovering a wounded animal simply because the dog is a part of the unit.


For this reason the number of pellets in the killing zone of a deer at a particular range is not that important in dog hunting. It is more like hunting quail. The purpose of the shot is to stop the quail from flying off so that the dog can find it. If the bird drops dead, that is great, but if it is stopped from flying off the dog will probably make the hunt a successful one.


Patterning a shotgun is important both to quail shooting and deer shooting, but more from the standpoint of how even pattern is and how far it holds tight enough to reliably critically wound the animal hunted.



But that is just one old man's opinion.:)
 

asc

Senior Member
#52
On topic:
In 00 I would be very satisfied with one pellet in the killing zone for a reliable quick kill, BUT-


Slightly off topic:
For me, the test for an “ethical” quick kill shot is different between hunting with dogs and shotguns and stand or still hunting with a rifle. When hunting with dogs the hunter is a unit comprised of himself and his dog(s). A seriously wounded deer has a much greater chance of being run down by the dog part of the unit or harried to the point of bleeding out or exhaustion when it can be recovered because the dog part of the unit knows where the deer is. In my opinion, the dog hunter has a much higher probability of recovering a wounded animal simply because the dog is a part of the unit.


For this reason the number of pellets in the killing zone of a deer at a particular range is not that important in dog hunting. It is more like hunting quail. The purpose of the shot is to stop the quail from flying off so that the dog can find it. If the bird drops dead, that is great, but if it is stopped from flying off the dog will probably make the hunt a successful one.


Patterning a shotgun is important both to quail shooting and deer shooting, but more from the standpoint of how even pattern is and how far it holds tight enough to reliably critically wound the animal hunted.



But that is just one old man's opinion.:)
Well said sir.

IMO .60 cal is just a troll.
 
#54
On topic:
In 00 I would be very satisfied with one pellet in the killing zone for a reliable quick kill, BUT-


Slightly off topic:
For me, the test for an “ethical” quick kill shot is different between hunting with dogs and shotguns and stand or still hunting with a rifle. When hunting with dogs the hunter is a unit comprised of himself and his dog(s). A seriously wounded deer has a much greater chance of being run down by the dog part of the unit or harried to the point of bleeding out or exhaustion when it can be recovered because the dog part of the unit knows where the deer is. In my opinion, the dog hunter has a much higher probability of recovering a wounded animal simply because the dog is a part of the unit.


For this reason the number of pellets in the killing zone of a deer at a particular range is not that important in dog hunting. It is more like hunting quail. The purpose of the shot is to stop the quail from flying off so that the dog can find it. If the bird drops dead, that is great, but if it is stopped from flying off the dog will probably make the hunt a successful one.


Patterning a shotgun is important both to quail shooting and deer shooting, but more from the standpoint of how even pattern is and how far it holds tight enough to reliably critically wound the animal hunted.



But that is just one old man's opinion.:)
Yeah, I'd agree with the deer dogs having a much better chance of finding the deer than a wounded deer without dogs on it. Usually, if a deer is wounded, and the dogs don't quit him, because of the shot, or blood scent, that deer will be run down and found.

On the topic of buckshot, I personally didn't have the best results with it when I started deer hunting at age 10 to about 14. Part of it I guess was my lack of knowledge of the effective range. I'd always try to push my shots too far.

It wasn't until I tried to pattern my gun at about 45 yards and realized how few pellets would hit a 4x4 sheet of plywood. My best advice would be to try a few different loads and see which works best if you prefer hunting deer with a shotgun.

For me, once I moved up to a rifle, I'd never go back to a shotgun for deer reguardless of how thick the cover, even with running dogs.

Unless I was in a state that only allowed shotguns, I wouldn't do it.

Just me though.....
 
Thread starter #55
Before posting this response, I conducted a search of the forum for buckshot discussions. It became clear, that many were searching for answers on how far conventional buckshot can be effective. Indeed the answers seemed to reflect a great divide among hunters that use buckshot.

The divide appeared to settled along the issues of pattern and maximum range. Just as in this thread, most would indicate a preference for this or that buckhshot load, but when the word "pattern" came up the division was clear. In so many words the answers of those who actually pattern their loads, spoke of maximum ranges under 50 yards. The non-patterning side seemed to casually mention shooting at ranges of 70 to 100 yards! What a difference!

Those who wrote of deer that were dropped in their tracks - or nearly so - mentioned multiple vital area hits. Frankly that coincides with my own hunting experience with the big smoothbore.

Yes, there will be times when misjudged range or other circumstance leads to a "golden BB" vital hit where the deer is recovered - often only due to canine assistance. However, I don't think for a minute that anyone on this forum would want that to be a regular part of their hunting experience.

It seems to me that taking time to pattern your buckshot gun is no different than making sure your other equipment is in top shape for the hunting season.

When it comes to buckshot, I think the following is excellent advice:

just pattern it and see..
 
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Dustin

Senior Member
#56
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?
Short answer, there isn't a minimum number, I shot a buck at 10 yds once with Remington 3 1/2" 15 pellet 00 buck out of a Mossberg 835 with a 24" barrel, pellets stopped inside the far side of the hide pattern was about 12" diameter, NO pellets penetrated the deer, he was DRT.

Same load, gun, etc. at 85 to 100 yds (not sure exactly how far but at least 85) shot a buck two pellets hit the deer... one hit his G2 and broke off a 3" piece of antler, the other hit his shoulder went through his heart and out the other side of the deer... complete penetration, also DRT.

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.
When I first got that Mossberg I patterned it, out of 25 shots of the Remington 3 1/2" 15 pellet 00 buck, 6 of those shots were "doughnuts", 4 had flyers everywhere, 14 put 5 pellets or more inside a 24" circle at 40 yds and 1 put all 15 pellets inside a 10" circle at 40 yds... that's why patterning isn't as important at some people say, what happens if one of those doughnuts happens when I shoot at a deer? but, what if the perfect pattern happens? That's the variables that can happen in a real world experience.

I also have patterned a Mossberg 500, Remington 2 3/4" 9 pellet 00 buck, out of 5 shots, 4 were around a 20" pattern at 30 yards, 1 put all 9 pellets inside a 8" circle at 30 yds. Why?

Excellent example of why patterning buckshot loads is vitally important to deer hunters. This particular Gun/Load/Choke combination is obviously lacking in effective pattern density much beyond 20 yards!
See above of why the standard thing of "fire a shot or two and see how it patterns" doesn't work, you might get that magical shot or two and the rest not be worth crap.

Pattern testing can provide a basis for having two different buckshot loads with you. Depending on the cover, you would then have the choice of using the wider patterning load or the tighter patterning - longer range load.
When I go with my 835 I always have two different sizes with me, Remington 15 pellet 00 buck and Winchester 3 1/2" 54 pellet #4 buck, first shot is for power all others are extra holes. sometimes I throw a .69 (I believe) round ball in the with some 0 buck under it.

As far as changing with the terrain, patterning is not really gonna help, not that I can see anyway.

What size circle would you choose to represent the vital zone of a deer for the purpose of pattern testing?
Take the average size of deer in your area, look at a shoulder mount for example, measure from belly to back at front shoulder, I have a doe mount that goes 21" so I use a 24" circle as the kill zone size.

All that said, I've never dog hunted a day in my life, as much as I would LOVE to do it.
 
#57
^well that sums it up nicely. I understand patterning your gun but if a buck is doing 30 mph when he hits the road or flying by me I want a little more spread than a turkey-type pattern. I have missed way more from a tight pattern than crippled from a loose. I'll be honest too, I like to see a dog pile on a buck.
 
#59
What is described above is not true patterning. All you have done is take a shell you think you like and see what the pattern looks like.
True patterning includes multiple loads and or chokes if your gun uses chokes. Certain guns and or chokes like certain shells or size of buckshot.
Longer barrels seem to produce more consistent patterns with a wider variety of shells. I started checking buckshot patterning when I went to a 21" barrel. I love how easy it is to get into and out of truck and in heavy cover. It just took more pattern work to get consistent patterns.
Some guns don't like OOB. They may like OOO or #1. If you like a size check multiple brands to get what you want.
If you must use X brand then check the different size buckshot to get patterns you want.
At some point in life, you have to do the things required to do something right.
 
#60
Killed a doe last year with one pellet hit her in the backstrap and cut an artery she bled out on the inside in 50 yards never left a drop of a trail
 
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