One of the big advantages to the shotgun is the ability to use different ammunition depending upon the application. Slugs can reach out and bird shot can cover a wide area at closer ranges. In an effort to gain a bit more knowledge over a few different 12 gauge shells – I decided to do a small test.
Up front – let me go ahead and state for the record I have always used #8 bird shot for inside the house, and 00-Buck for outside security.
OK – lets look at what I found……..
First -the ammunition selection:
I obtained samples of standard 2 3/4″ shells of #8 shot, #6 shot, 00-Buck, and a specialty defensive load made by Winchester - the PDX1 Defender.
Here are some pictures of the actual boxes. Yes – that Federal 12 gauge #8 box is old and still works great.
Next - I wanted to see specifically what is inside each load:
The 00-Buck (generally pronounced double-ought buck) in a 2 3/4″ inch shell holds 9 lead balls which travel in excess of 1300 fps. Each ball is .33 caliber. Think about it………that is 9 .33 caliber lead balls traveling at over 1300 fps. Devastating.
The #6 shot load is typically used for taking small game such as rabbits, squirrels, and a variety of birds. The 2 3/4″ #6 12 gauge shell sends a load of .11″ mini-balls downrange at almost 1300 fps.
I did not get a picture of a #8 shot shell opened up. The #8 shells contains 1 ounce of .09″ lead shot and travels out the barrel at around 1290 fps. This shot is small – I mean very tiny. It would take more than 10 individual balls lined up next to each other to equal just 1 inch.
The Winchester PDX1 Defender is a unique shell in that it contains 3 00-Buck pellets along with a 1 ounce slug. This payload exits the barrel at 1150 fps. Here is a sales promo sheet for more information.
One of the main tasks that was planned was to document the shot pattern of these different loads at different ranges.
I ran several trials – 7 yards, 15 yards, and 25 yards. I took several pictures for each trial. Putting together this post I ran into a problem – many of the pictures just do not show the shot pattern unless the picture is HUGE.
With above in mind - I will summarize my findings and show some pictures that turned out good.
All shots were taken at a piece of cardboard that measures approx 42″ inches across.
#8 12 gauge shot - I shot from 3 distances……..7, 15 and 25 yards.
7 yards – At 7 yards the group was approx 16 inches and heavily peppered.
15 yards – At 15 yards the group expanded greatly through the Remington’s cylinder bore barrel to close to 38 inches.
25 yards – I needed a bigger piece of cardboard - many pellets impacted the cardboard however they were spread pretty thin.
#6 12 gauge shot - I shot from 3 distances……..7, 15 and 25 yards. Results very similar to the #8 shot.
7 yards - At 7 yards the group was approx 16 inches and heavily peppered – just a few rounds less than the #8 but larger holes.
15 yards - At 15 yards the group expanded to close to 36 inches or so.
25 yards - I needed a bigger piece of cardboard - many pellets impacted the cardboard however they were spread pretty thin.
00-Buck - I shot from 3 distances……..7, 15 and 25 yards.
7 yards - At 7 yards the group was approx 7-8 inches.
15 yards - At 15 yards the group expanded to close to 14 inches or so.
25 yards - Approx an 18″ inch spread.
PXD1 Defender -
7 yards - At 7 yards the group was approx 10 inches. There are clear signs of parts of the wadding impacting the cardboard as well.
15 yards - At 15 yards the group expanded to close to 14″-15″ inches or so.
25 yards - The group opened up a lot. Spread was approx 28″ inches with the 3 00-buck pellets dispersed out and around the slug.
Thoughts on results:
First – I was wanting to include 000 and 0000-Buck in the trial but was unable to locate any.
Second – 00-Buck continues to impress me with its power and shot pattern. As long as the shooter does their part – the shotgun filled with 00-Buck will do its part. I honestly expected the group size of the pellets to be much larger at 25 yards.
Third – The Winchester PDX1 Defender is an interesting concept – but overpriced in my book. I would rather load up with 00-Buck.
Lastly – I still like #8 or #6 birdshot for in-home use. Over-penetration is a concern of mine and these two loads certainly helps control that. I am planning on some penetration tests upcoming.
- – Rourke