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Buckshot: Minimum pattern/maximum range.

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Buckshot: Minimum pattern/maximum range.

Old 05-12-2013, 09:29 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Buckshot: Minimum pattern/maximum range.

First of all this is a thread about Buckshot. Please do not post on slugs, rifles, handguns, or archery.

In many areas, it is not uncommon for deer hunters to use Buckshot for close cover stand hunting. There has also been an increased awareness of the need to pattern the load combination for both pattern center and density.

For this purpose, what would you consider the minimum acceptable pattern to establish the maximum range at which to shoot a deer? Why?

Here is an example of stand hunting with buckshot. The deer is DRT from a 20 gauge with #2 (.27") buckshot. See frame 3.25:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvDMN4PlcZA

Last edited by RMcL; 05-12-2013 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:06 AM
  #2  
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I'm sure I'll be contradicted, but I wouldn't push it past 30 yards, and I'd stick with head/neck shots.

Why? Mostly experience (failure) and observation.

I grew up hunting with buckshot, my father used it, so did everyone else. I killed my fair share of deer with it. Once in a while I would "miss", I always chalked it up to excitement, moving target, etc.

About 10 years ago I shot the deer of a lifetime with 00, 3 times, 32 yards (I stepped it off). I saw him go down, only to see him trot/limp off. I found what was left of him a few months later, unfortunately buckshot usually doesn't usually make for a good blood trail. I was pretty sick about the whole thing, and made up my mind to use rifled slugs after that.

I started looking at deer others had shot with buckshot, and I realized that the pellets don't penetrate enough for a clean kill, at least on a consistent basis, especially later in the season when deer have their winter coats.

Again, I'm not judging anyone who hunts with buckshot. I just think slugs are a more efficient way if you have to hunt with a shotgun.

Last edited by Uncle Nicky; 05-13-2013 at 05:13 AM.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:31 AM
  #3  
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I personally have a very limited experience with buckshot. I have attempted to kill 2 deer with it which were the first 2 deer I had ever shot at over 25yrs ago. My Dad and Gpa thought it would be a good idea for me to use buckshot in 12ga since it had more pellets than a slug. Thinking it would increase my chances for success. I'm not gonna sit here and tell you that I have sniper capabilities but consider myself a better shot than most. I did not recover either deer and both were neck/head shots under 35yds. The first ran over a ridge and was killed by another hunter about 300yds away on opening day of rifle season. The 2nd deer was never found nor was any blood except a dozen drops on the ground the size of marbles. I to am not judging anyone who uses it as maybe some people are just better with it than others but as for me I stopped using it after consecutive woundings and no deer. I really dont know what would be considered a great pattern or ethical distance to hunt with it. My personal opinion is after shooting it and losing deer that I won't ever be using it again unless the hunting laws forced me into it for certain areas which I dont fore see. Anyways good luck and I know this wasnt really much help but its just my $.02 on the subject. However I would love to see your pattern pics and distances if you decide to shoot it at the range. Good luck.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:05 AM
  #4  
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One of the persistent problems with the use of buckshot is the failure to pattern and establish a minimum pattern / maximum shooting distance.

Failure to sight in a slug gun, handgun, or rifle is generally understood as a serious case of operator error. Failure to pattern test with Buckshot to establish pattern center and the limits of adequate pattern density is just as serious a case of operator error.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:18 AM
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I consider my max range when I get less than 5 pellets inside a 10 inch circle or an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper (on it's side)...

With my Browning B-80 I'm good to 40 yards with my improved cylinder and Winchester Supreme 00 buck in 3 inch magnum...

With my 1100 and it's smooth bore deer barrel it's 35 yards and Winchester Supreme 2 3/4 inch and #1 buck...

With my 12 gauge double it's 35 yards with 2 3/4 Winchester Supremes 00 buck in the full choke barrel and Winchester Supremes #1s in the modified barrel...
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by nchawkeye View Post
I consider my max range when I get less than 5 pellets inside a 10 inch circle or an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper (on it's side)...

With my Browning B-80 I'm good to 40 yards with my improved cylinder and Winchester Supreme 00 buck in 3 inch magnum...

With my 1100 and it's smooth bore deer barrel it's 35 yards and Winchester Supreme 2 3/4 inch and #1 buck...

With my 12 gauge double it's 35 yards with 2 3/4 Winchester Supremes 00 buck in the full choke barrel and Winchester Supremes #1s in the modified barrel...
Do you increase the minimum number of pellets in 10" when you step down from 00B to #1B? Why or why not?
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RMcL View Post
Do you increase the minimum number of pellets in 10" when you step down from 00B to #1B? Why or why not?

Nope, because I've killed enough with the #1s to know what they will do...Frankly, 3 pellets into the ribs will easily kill a deer quickly...I just go with 5 to give me some leeway...
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:18 PM
  #8  
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Buckshot....after using it for many many years, shooting literally 100s of WT with it I'm not a big fan. If that is what you are limited to use then you have to do the best you can.... like said patterning is far more important than most hunter think. Some barrels just like certain brands and sizes of buckshot more than others. I learned this the hard way with an A5 that I had more deer run off from than I will admit. After yrs of stupidity I finally took the gun to the range. After testing many brands and sizes of shot the cause of my failure was starring me in the face. The barrel threw most any BS put through it all over the place. Federal Premium 000 3" were the ticket! Out to 40yds 5+ rounds in 20in circle every time. Since the change they don't get away......

Bottom line select the gun and pattern it with numerous brands and sizes of BS. I prefer larger shot sizes and copper coated pellets. Penetration is vital IMHO I prefer big deep hits or clean misses. 000 tends to offer that in most cases.

Even with all the testing I consider BS as a 40 yd weapon. Sure some are killed at much further but I would suggest most have a lot of luck factored in.

If you want a consistent 50yd buckshot gun they are out there but you will have to custom order your rounds and shoot a. .O65 choke. Triball will put 3 rounds in a 5 inch circle at 40yds but you better aim.... that's 3 20ga slugs at one time... they don't run off very often with that load...I promise...

Last edited by buckwild41; 05-13-2013 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:23 PM
  #9  
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Buckshot= junk past 30-40 yds. No expansion + no exit = no blood trail! Good luck on finding the deer if it doesn't drop on the spot!
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:37 PM
  #10  
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I did some testing with Buckshot some years back.

Gun was a Benelli SBE 3.5" 12ga.

Choke was a Pattern Master custom tube, this tube is made with buckshot & large steel shot in mind (BBB & T steel). It did about the tightest patters of buckshot I've ever seen on paper. But a paper test does not show you how well it will penetrate. SO..............

2nd test!

Target was a 1 gal. milk jugs filled with water. Load was Fed. Premiums 18 pellets 00 buckshot.

1st. shot = 30yds with 11 hits on jug which all exited.

2nd. shot = 40yds with 6 hits on jug & all exited.

3rd shot = 45yds with 5 hits of which 4/5 exited.

Based on failure of 1 pellet to exit a plastic milk jug of water I figured that was about it for buckshot for MY gun & choke combo as water does not give as much resistance as muscle & bone.

I would like to say however that I have to agree that everyone who intends to use buckshot MUST pattern test & determine how far it is going to be effective through that gun & with that load. A change of load should mean more testing & of course the same for any change in choke used.
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