As to shooting, I've found a Modified choke can do wonders for patterns beyond 25 yards. In one test I could keep all pellets of the Federal "Tactical" 00 load in an IPSC target's A-zone to almost 40 yards. Why riotguns still use IC or Cylinder bores is beyond me. A Modified choke does no harm to slug accuracy, so that can't be the answer.
Ralph...I have to be careful here since hunting with buckshot is a very controversial subject and can lead to traditional and sectional arguements. Until the last one or two decades, buckshot was the choice in the South. Until the end of that period, deer and bear were run with dogs( another conyroversial subject). Since most of our hunting areas in the South would be what most cosidered heavy cover, the "Standers" were placed at known crossings and escape routes. The "Dog Handlers" would then enter the blocks with the dogs a try to "jump"! Most hunters with 12 gauges used #0 buck and 16 ga hunters #1's. Depending on the quality and tightness of the choke, deer were killed out to 50 yards. There were no tree stand hunters in those days.
Now that I have said that....It was not until the introduction of the WW Mark 5 shot collars and one piece wads or plastic shot cups...that buckshot patterns became equal of those from muzzleloading guns. The culprit in modern guns was, and is, the forcing come ahead out the chamber. Most early guns had a much too sharpe of angle! With today's buckshot we find that Imp.Cyl. seems to shot #00 and#000 best, Mod. choke seems to pattern #1 and #0 best, and when you get below #1's full choke seems to be best. One of the best overall buckshot I have ever tested was a special run shipped by Win-Wes to South Carolina call the "#1 Buck Special".
Now to field use today....Any of the modern buckshot can be killed well out to 45 to 50 yards. However, the shotgun should be tested to see which patterns best. I have one Browning A5's with a Mod. choke that will put all pellets of #1 and #0's in a single sheet of newpaper at 45 to 50 yards.
Another way to look at it...If you are on a stand, you can killed as far as you would take a bow shot!
Be careful handloading in 12 Gauge with Blue Dot powder, shot protector, plastic filler, and above all hard round buckshot...you might extend the range to 60 yards with #000
Yes, we still use buckshot in the swamps wgere fast shots at quick game happens. The major problem with buckshot is range estimation!!!!!Patterning your shotgun and not over shootig the range is the answer.
Now....having tried to answer a potential loaded question, I will say here that I really don't care if the northern hunter is against dog hunting and buckshot. I went through this one other time on the forum and will not again! Best tend to their neck of the woods and leave our traditions to us!
best Regards, James
(Edited by James Gates at 5:11 pm on May 17, 2001)
Interesting post, thanks for your typical thought-provoking input. Up here in Pennsylvania buckshot is a no-no except in Philadelphia County. I think this is mainly due to the sometimes absurd hunter density we have. A shot or series of shots at a moving whitetail could spread pellets over quite an area. In Philly the long-range threat of slugs or rifles coupled with low hunter density supercedes the concern for "spray n' pray" techniques.
I've always thought it would be a good combination for deer, the 000 or 00 buck load and a tightly-choked 12 gauge. Your experience seems to support this belief.
And by the way, I'm one Northerner who doesn't see hunting with dogs as any less sporting than the use of tree stands. Keep runnin' them bulldogs!
I grew up In Illinois. The only thing we hunted with dogs was rabbits and 'raccoons. I will never forget my first trip to Florida, I had been seeing hunters with rifles and dogs from the high way all day and for the life of me I just couldn't figure what you hunted in the woods with a rifle in broad daylight! I finally got up enough nerve to stop and ask a hunter who was taking a break at the side of the road. Here in Wahington the tree huggers have outlawed the taking of Mountain Lion and Bears with dogs and just with in 2 years of the ban the same yuppie tree huggers are crying about there poddles being snatched out of their back yards. Leg hold traps have now been banned also, but expect people to start compalining when we are over run by vermin. I hope you continue to enjoy hunting with hounds. I would most certainly keep a few if my current urban environment would allow. Just looking forward to completing my current assignment and getting back to a rural lifestyle.
Thank you both for your kind words! The point I was , and have tried, to address is....Shotguns and buckshot are a viable method for taking deer and beer...within their limitations! I hunt with a rifle about 50% of time time, 40% with handguns, about 5% with muzzleloaders, and maybe 5% with shotguns and buckshot.
What most hunters outside of the South do not seem to understand is our weather and it's affect on game. Unless it is a light rain day, we do not see deer feeding. Hogs feed at night and bed up in the day, as do deer. We don't have snow to bog up the deer and I have never seen a healhty deer run done with dogs. I have seen hundreds of deer trailed up by our dogs that were shot with bows and even rifles by people who didn't own dogs. These were the same people that later got up on their soapboxs against dogs. I don't deer hunt with dogs anymore, however I have quite a few friends that do. My dogs are hog dogs, some whose strain I can trace back to dogs my great-great grandfather brought from Mississippi in 1867. Our black-lip red and yellow curs come from Virginia in the early 1700's. If only the outsiders would study the facts and talk with the dog owners ( and hunt one time) they would understand the situation. We kill out wild dogs every year.
Well, I'll get down out of the pulpit and stop preaching to the choir!!!! Anyway...it's time to feed the bulldogs!
Best Regards to All, James...."It's Only Fun when The Hunter Can Become The Hunted"
(Edited by James Gates at 9:58 pm on May 17, 2001)
(Edited by James Gates at 10:14 pm on May 17, 2001)
The question on buckshot was my first post. You might say I was testing the waters. Unfortunately, I did not revisit the web site again until today.
Actually I have had quite a bit of experience with buckshot. Some 30 years ago, I downed my first deer with a shotgun. The small spike was downed in a burst of 100 .30 caliber "rounds" (5 - short magnum #1 buckshot loads), at a range of 25-30 yards. Yes. I know that is a "controversial" way to portray the event. If memory serves correct, 87 holes were counted from bow to stern. I had never patterned the WW buckshot loads and the patterns were breaking up on vines and underbrush.
Contrast that experience with the last buckshot kill I made: The large doe (119 lbs.) was running through a timbered bottom about 40 yards out. My first shot downed a small sapling 15 yards out. I settled down and looked for an opening in the path of the doe. Just as the deer entered the opening, I deliberately swung the bead about 1 foot ahead and just below the jaw line. At the shot the deer tumbled heels over head and moved no more.
The same Winchester 1200 with a full choke tube installed was used. The load this time was Federal Premium 2 3/4" magnum 00 buckshot. Tested ahead of time, the load consistently held 8 inch 25 yard patterns.
In taking the doe I was shooting for the head/neck area. Five pellets struck home.
My criteria for a buckshot gun today is simple. The load used must use 00 or 000 buck and hold a pattern no larger than 8-10 inches at 25 yards. This usually results in usable 40 yard patterns in the 15-20 inch range.
In the near future I will be testing buckshot loads through a Patternmaster Choke tube and will report on the same.
Like most Southerners, the majority of my deer hunting today is done from an elevated stand with a rifle, but I still have a soft spot for the smoothbore. Buckshot is a great load for deer - if you use it within its effective range!
(Edited by Ralph McLaney at 7<!--emo&:0--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':0'><!--endemo-->9 pm on Oct. 19, 2001)
Hi, I see this is kind of an old post but thought I'd pipe up. I grew up in Delaware, which requires shotgun hunting for deer. When I was very young (6,7 yrs old??) my very favorite thing other than Christmas was deer hunting with my grandfather. I remember him telling me to always use slugs, because he had shot a deer once at about 15-20 yds with buckshot and never did find it. As I recall, the deer popped it's head and neck out of a thicket and Pappy shot it before it could change direction. Though blood was found, the deer never was.
Thus I was predjudiced against buckshot from a very early age. I was lucky, my shotgun was fairly accurate with Foster slugs and later with Brennekes. Other than the very first deer I shot at (which was at rediculously long range, though I didn't realize it at the time!) that shotgun and I have never missed a deer.
I have patterned Winchester #4 buckshot thru the 20" improved cylinder "slug barrel" of my 870 for defense purposes, and it gives a very open but even pattern at 25 yds. This is just as I would have it. I use the smaller size to minimize penetration through walls.
I haven't hunted big game with the shotgun (except for 4 years when I moved back to Delaware) since moving away in about '86. During the four years I lived back East I used Activ slugs, which grouped about 3" at 75yds from my smoothbore! Who knows what my results would have been with buckshot? Because of my grandfather's advice I never tried it! ID
I don't personally have any experience with buckshot (And God willing I hope I never will. I keep 00 buck in the house for home defense. I hope I never have to use it.) But a friend of mine was hunting with a preacher friend of his in Georgia. He was just visiting, so he didn't have his own guns with him. His friend loaned him a 12 ga with 00 buck. So they're out in the field and He sees this spike buck at about thirty yards or so (maybe a little less I don't remember how far he said.). He lines up the bead on the deer's face and fires. one of the pellets went rite thru the deer's jugular. To make a long story short, the deer ran 500 yards before he leaned up against a tree and died.
A few cents worth from across the big water.
I grew up on sugar cane farm in Zululand in South Africa. The vegetation where we were is Valleys with grassland inspersed with sub tropical rain forest along water courses. Visibility in this bush is about 5m. Our quarry was Bushbuck and Bushpig. To walk and stalk in this bush was beyond my skills, and we generally used both dogs and beaters (i.e. a driven hunt). I say dogs, but ours were really hounds, Beagles, Foxhounds, Blueticks and crosses of these. Nothing has yet to rush my heart like the sound of the first strike on a scent for the day. Unfortunately my father who was manager on this sugar estate (my happy hunting ground for my whole young life) is now retired and we no longer live on the estate, so we can't keep hounds anymore (have nowhere to hunt with hounds anyway), but I hope to buy myself a little patch of Africa one day where I fully intend to tie loose the dogs.
As to Buckshot, we used to carry both rifle and shotgun on our hunts. Shotguns were used up to about 50 yards, rifles beyond that - usually would hold the shotgun in case of game breaking close, with rifle slung for quick access.
We used SSG - sorry I don't know how that corresponds to the American designation - and found it highly effective within the stated range. 50 yards was with a full choke, as we mostly carried double barrel ss guns. The "Spread" barrel was limited to 35 yards. Shots were mostly shoulder or low neck. I don't believe that head or neck shots should be taken unless very close - too many holes in the pattern - check out how small the kill zone on a bucks head is - too much chance of breaking a jaw, smashing sinuses, blinding, etc, but not killing. At the shoulder there is heart, lungs, etc which can be hit - overall a much bigger target.
I preferred the SSG, as this gave you more pellets on the target - can't remember how many - something like 30. Some of our friends preferred LG (which is .357 cal), as they felt it was "more killing" - it only held about 15 pellets.
Have used buckshot and in some situations it's about the best choice. If the deer is running fat out, zig-zagging through brush, and within 30-40 yards, it's about as good a choice as possible. Some of that comes form the instinctive nature of shotgun shooting...and that's pretty much what it is, pass shooting deer.
Friends All.....Although this is an old post, we are still working with specialized slug and buckshot loads. We ahve found that it is very easy to load buckshot that is much more effective than present factory loads. Recently some shooters from up North tested our loads and could not believe the patterns.
For the reloader, let's make a few suggestions:
(1) Use a high capaicity hull like the Fiocchi 3" brown (7mm basewad & 16mm head)
(2) When using #000, #00, and #0.....stack the buckshot in stacks of 2, rather stacks of 3. This allows the tighter chokes to work.
(3) Vibrated the buffer in around the buckshot. Factory loads are premixed and the buffer is not compress around the buckshot tight enough.
(4) Use a slow but powder like Blue Dot. The Fiocchi 3" hulls are primed with the #616 primer, which is very hot.
(5) Use a shot cup cut from a Federal wad or better still, the Ballistic Products Multi-Metal wad.
(6) Use a stacked wad setup, with a BP X12X over powder wad and wool/felt or cut Styro filler wads.
(7) use a tight rolled crimp
Another though on buffer......Mix Motor Mica and BP's "Original" buffer at 1 part to 4 parts. This protects the buckshot and helps keep the load fluid through the chokes.
Above all!......buy the best hard buckshot you can. We have found none better than BP's buckshot.
With buckshot loaded to thies suggestion, you will find the loads will patten completely inside a 24" circle at 40 yards.
Best Regards, James
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