Which shotgun do you prefer for buckshot

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Dennis

Senior Member
I will be changing to using buckshot for deer hunting is there any shotgun you have experienced that gives you the best patterns. What choke works best for you?
Can you tell any difference in barrel length?
Is the aftermarket cokes that much better?
I will be using a 12 gauge
Would it be worth going to a 3.5" gun?
I know these are questions that are opinions but I would like to here from someone with real experience
 
I'd look to a moderately priced OU such as a CZ or Yildiz. You can add sights, if desired, to the rib and you have two choke choices which can also contain two different sizes of Buckshot. I.E., 000 & 00, or maybe #1 and 00.

You're now able to have a load for up to 30 yards and a better one for perhaps out to 40-50 yards.

Added: I forgot to mention, you may also want to use one barrel with a good slug and the second for the best buckshot load. You can utilize the barrel selector or double triggers to use which load is most appropriate.
 
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Dutch

AMERICAN WARRIOR
I use a 870 Express 12 ga. and shoot 3 in. 00 and #1 buck. with a Buckkicker Xtrafull choke.

Good tight patterns out to 60 yds. (as far as I have patterned it) using Rem. and Federal 00 and Winchester #1

The Rem Choke Modified and # 1 buck is deadly on deer out to 40yds, I have used this combo with good effect for years. I bought a Buckkicker last year and was amazed by the patterns it throws.
 
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RoosterTodd

Sinister Operative
I use a 870 Express 12 ga. and shoot 3 in. 00 and #1 buck. with a Buckkicker Xtrafull choke.

Good tight patterns out to 60 yds. (as far as I have patterned it) using Rem. and Federal 00 and Winchester #1

The Rem Choke Modified and # 1 buck is deadly on deer out to 40yds, I have used this combo with good effect for years. I bought a Buckkicker last year and was amazed by the patterns it throws.
Yep, modified choke in an 870 with #1 buckshot is what I use. I'll have to check out that Buck Kicker Xtrafull choke. My previous experiences with full and extra full chokes and buckshot haven't been as good as using a modified choke.
 

Tom W.

Senior Member
The 870 express 3" with 00 or 000 in 2 3/4 or 3", or my 1100 with 2 3/4 00 or 000. The 1100 I bought around 1983 or so and it has a 30" full choke vr barrel. I killed a lot of deer with that shotgun before I bought a center fire rifle.
 

Mr Bya Lungshot

BANNED LUNATIC FRINGE
The 870 express 3" with 00 or 000 in 2 3/4 or 3", or my 1100 with 2 3/4 00 or 000. The 1100 I bought around 1983 or so and it has a 30" full choke vr barrel. I killed a lot of deer with that shotgun before I bought a center fire rifle.
With clear high brass Sellier and Bellot buckshot 2 3/4 out past 100yards allday.
Not sure the past 50 yard problem been doing it and doing it well for many years.
 
If talking factory and regular shells, an 835 with mod choke and 00 Roman candle will reach. Seems like the older ones had better barrels. High dollar shells and chokes are another story. Worth it if you're real serious I guess.

Longer barrels tend to be easier to work with and easier on the ears.
 

NCHillbilly

Administrator
Staff member
870 or Mossy 500 with #1 buck, or 00 if you can't find #1. Modified choke.
 

Nicodemus

ADMINISTRATOR
Staff member
Yep, modified choke in an 870 with #1 buckshot is what I use. I'll have to check out that Buck Kicker Xtrafull choke. My previous experiences with full and extra full chokes and buckshot haven't been as good as using a modified choke.

Same with my old 835. If I`m shooting deer, I use the modified choke. If I want to sweep an alley or the front yard, the full choke. #1 buckshot in both cases.
 
make a choice of choke and load and pattern.

I’ve always used 00 and a mod choke out of a few different Remingtons. I personally choose to keep shots with buck under 40y. (One exception was 870 smoothie slug barrel. IC I think. Not the best for buck, so wait for them to get a little closer)

Temped to post some last season pics of properly applied buck shot, but they're pretty messy. But buck is effective.

The mod choke also is good for sluggers and brenneke ko’s, in my guns. So switching is easy. Like when seeing pigs on a deer hunt.

Land owner where we hunt requires buck on drives. Hunters choice when hunting stands or solo.
 
My favorite is a 12 gauge, 3 inch chamber 870 Express, 26" vent rib barrel, Briley .695" exit diameter extended Full choke. When loaded with shells containing three 22 gauge* buckshot pellets, it holds 6-8" patterns at 55 yards.

* Three .60" / 315 grain hard cast buckshot pellets @ 1060 fps. Complete penetration is the norm. These are pressure tested handloads.
 
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Tom W.

Senior Member
My buddy once bought a very light H&R 3.5 inch single shot and three boxes of shells from one of his co-workers.fo $50. The forearm was the Schnabel design, looking very nice.
We had a rule... He who owns the new firearm takes the first shot.
I was young and he was younger, both kinda stupid then.
His ammo was I believe 2.5 oz #4 turkey loads. The first one he fired the barrel escaped his left hand and his right hand caused his nose to bleed and eyes to water. I watched and when it was my turn. I grabbed not only the forearm but the barrel as well. To say that the shot was impressive wouldn't be giving it justice. Having fired a few heavy rifles in my time I knew to roll a bit with the recoil.
Now I know of two firearms that I have no desire to shoot. An Encore .454 and that beast
 
My buddy once bought a very light H&R 3.5 inch single shot and three boxes of shells from one of his co-workers.fo $50. The forearm was the Schnabel design, looking very nice.
We had a rule... He who owns the new firearm takes the first shot.
I was young and he was younger, both kinda stupid then.
His ammo was I believe 2.5 oz #4 turkey loads. The first one he fired the barrel escaped his left hand and his right hand caused his nose to bleed and eyes to water. I watched and when it was my turn. I grabbed not only the forearm but the barrel as well. To say that the shot was impressive wouldn't be giving it justice. Having fired a few heavy rifles in my time I knew to roll a bit with the recoil.
Now I know of two firearms that I have no desire to shoot. An Encore .454 and that beast
Heavy loads in a poorly set up ultra-light single shot 12 bore are not the way to go.
 

blakely

Senior Member
Marlin model 90 over and under in 12 ga. Killed my first 8-point at 14 years old. It was an 85 yard shot with 000 buckshot. He ran about 35 yards and piled up.

Saw my dad kill a deer with a S&W 12 ga pump at a stepped-off 100 yards with 3" 00 buck. That gun had a 30" full choke barrel.

Both of those deer were killed in the mid-80s while running dogs.
 
My experience patterning buckshot (#3, #2, #1, and #00) from various shotguns at distances of 15, 25, and 40 yards showed me that the ammo brand and plating /wad / buffer system makes as much difference as barrel length, or choke. No one factor alone makes any large difference for the bigger buckshot pellets. For smaller shot sizes, choke constriction matters most. But any buckshot size below 00 doesn't seem to penetrate deep enough in soaked wet newspapers or wooden boards (soft pine lumber) to suit me, so I'd limit my deer hunting buckshot to just 00 buck loads.

One thing that didn't matter at all was barrel length. Shooting the same shells out of a 12" barreled sawed-off tactical shotgun showed basically the same patterns as what I got from 18.5" and 20" shotguns. Ditto for shotguns with 26" barrels and flush-fitting screw-in choke tubes vs. 22" shotguns with the same kind of flush fitting choke sets, each with the same level of choke (Modified and IC, I think I tested). Barrel length doesn't matter, so I'd go with whatever length you consider handy and easy to use in the field.

I will say that I get tighter patters from extended choke tubes that stick out beyond the gun's muzzle, AND even tighter patterns for the same level of constriction in guns that have fixed chokes built into the bores from the factory.
 
Dennis,

I suspect you have had advice that has run the gamut from many sources. Regardless, some serious patterning is needed to determine what specific choke and specific load will work best in your shotgun. Buckshot ammo is not generic commodity, so if someone says, my shotgun likes 00B, it is almost meaningless.

Suggestion: When you have chosen a shotgun, it will likely have several OEM choke tubes that came with the shotgun. Start there. OOB is the most popular size and in turn is the easiest load to find.

Limiting this discussion to three inch 12 gauge lead 00B buckshot from the big three US makers, here is an overview of what loads are usually available:

Note: Each year there may be changes in the loads available, pellet stack geometry and in wad/shot cup types used.

Remington Express: 15 pellet 00B, buffered with no shot cup, three pellet per layer stack.

Winchester Super X: 15 pellet 00B, buffered with no shot cup. Three pellet per layer stack

Winchester Double X: 12 pellet 00B, higher velocity, copper plated, no shot cup, Three pellet per layer stack.

Federal:
Power-Shok: 15 pellet 00B, shot cup and buffer. Three pellet per layer stack.

Premium Vital-Shok: Copper plated pellets, shot cup, buffer and "spiral" (offset/staggered) pellet stack designed for tight choke use.

Premium Vital-Shok with Flite-Control Wad,: 12 copper plated 00B pellets and buffer. Patterns not as choke dependent. (often patterns best with cylinder and improved cylinder chokes)

All the above are available in 5 packs, so it quite convenient to put together a selection for initial pattern testing.

My starting point is 25 yard patterning for a quick elimination test. If your Gun/Choke/Load will not fire 100% patterns into 10 inches at 25 yards, it likely will not give satisfactory patterns at forty yards - or more. When you have narrowed your choices, then pattern at longer distances.

Taking the time to learn what your shotgun will actually deliver can be a satisfying experience. Much like the satisfaction of having a well sighted-in rifle and the personal range time to know its practical field limits.
 
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I've always heard the best combo for 12 gauge was, buckshot with 1-buck, from a modified choke barrel. I started my deer hunting career at about 10, using a shotgun, a 20 gauge, with pretty good luck for a couple years.

I upgraded, to a 12 gauge, with a full choke, using 00-buck. I will be honest, I didn't have the best luck. I hunted that way for a few years, until it dawned on my to check my pattern, at about 30 yards. Come to find out, the pattern was totally unacceptable! In hind sight, you have to pattern your gun with different loads. It took trial and error to learn that, as a young teen, without an experienced hunter guiding me along.

At 17, I switched to a rifle, and all changed for the good!

IMO, personally I’d always prefer a rifle over a shotgun for hunting deer. This is coming from someone, who has deer hunted with dogs for over 40 years!

Even in thick cover, I’d probably use a lever action 30-30 with a 1-4x . I’m just not a shotgun man for deer....
 
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