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10 Yards, 3 Loads, 14" Shotguns

  1. I wanted to tell you the results I got today with my 14" Not-A-Shotgun 12 gauge Mossberg with the Shockwave Grip. This was a modification I made on a pistol-grip-only model 500.

    The choke was fixed cylinder. I fired only one each of the three kinds of double-ought shells I had ready to hand at a measured 10 yards from the muzzle. Each shell was fired at a clean target.

    General rule of thumb is that from a cylinder bore shotgun, shot will spread roughly one inch per yard distant from the muzzle. That general rule was greatly at odds with what I found.

    My 14 inch barrel gave the following extreme distances between pellets at 10 yards distance. All shots were fired using the strap on the fore end and raising the pistol grip to eye level, sighting with the bead. Most patterns were higher than I thought I was pointing.

    A center chest strike would have resulted from a hold between belly button and sternum on an average American male.

    Three shots from cylinder bore:

    1. Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch 00 Buck, 12 pellets. 5 3/4 inch diameter, nicely rounded. Centered six to seven inches higher than I aimed.

    2. Spartan 2 3/4 inch 00 Buck, 9 pellets. 6 1/2 inch diameter evenly spread in a rough 4 inch circle except for the stray which opened up the pattern.

    3. Winchester low recoil 2 3/4 inch 00 buck, 8 pellets. Rounded pattern 8 1/8 inch extreme diameter in a rough circle.

    If future tests confirm today’s results, I plan to buy more of the Alphamax for this gun. I like the increased number of pellets. I was focused on the targets and did not notice any difference in recoil between the different shells. IMO, the difference in pattern size here between the Eley and Spartan was negligible.

    I moved on to my Mossberg 590 Class III, also with a 14" barrel, bead sight and grip strap on the pump. Believe I captured all pellets but two on paper. Because this barrel accommodates screw-in chokes, I shot each shell with each of three screw-ins. Same 10 yards distance from muzzle to target face.

    Using a Winchester "modified" screw-in choke:

    1. Eley Alphamax, 8 1/8 inches, nicely spread out.

    2. Spartan, 9 5/8 inches, one pellet lost off target. I flinched left firing this one!

    3. Winchester, nicely centered 4 inch group with flyer taking it out to 5 1/4 inches, still nice!

    Using a Carlson's full choke screw-in:

    1. Eley, 7 1/4 inches, rounded group not evenly dispersed.

    2. Spartan, lost one pellet, 7 1/2 inch pattern widely spread, flinched left again!

    3. Winchester, 4 1/2 inch nicely centered, evenly dispersed. Flinched left AGAIN, but pattern was tight enough that no pellets were lost.

    Using Winchester Turkey Extra Full screw-in choke:

    1. Eley, 5 1/8 inches, tight 11 pellet group 3 1/4 inches, 12th pellet wandered off.

    2. Spartan, 7 inches, pretty evenly distributed.

    3. Winchester, 5 inch oblong.

    Sure does take a long time to do this, waiting for the line to clear to change targets. One shot is not enough to base a case purchase on, but will shoot some more and extend the distance for promising loads.
  2. Oh that is good stuff and awesome. Thank you for sharing. I have wondered those results in my head so I enjoyed reading your post.
  3. My Tri-Star cylinder bore puts 9 pellets of 00 buck and 27 pellets of #4 buck on an 8X11 sheet of paper at 30 feet. Ideal I think for home defense distances. I like the "full chest" spread. (Slugs are centered pretty good also.)
  4. Thanks for the great testing protocol, great data.
  5. #
    #4 Buck tends to spread out a little quicker than 00 in my testing.

    Its one of my favorite HD loads because of it..
  6. It's been two months and 13 days since I was last able to shoot buckshot
    at paper 10 yards distant. The AlphaMax I liked so well is no longer
    available anywhere I looked, at any price.

    Newt asked about cheap PMC in another thread, so I got on his bandwagon
    with a case of it, cheap enough!

    At a measured 10 yards from the muzzle I shot three 12 gauge shotguns.

    A 14 inch barrel fixed bore Mossberg made up of a Model 500 with the
    Shockwave barrel, magazine, pump handle and grip.

    A 14 inch barrel slightly shorter Mossberg that I spent $200 on in taxes.
    This, with a factory 590 barrel came threaded for screw-in chokes. I
    shot it with an Extra Full #2 extended and ported choke. Looks like
    Kicks, but not so marked. The choke extends 1.5" from the muzzle.
    I know, "buckshot doesn't do well from tight chokes". Sue me.
    Hogue soft grip.

    An 18.5 inch Remington 870 Express Magnum with cylinder bore. Not just
    for comparison, but because I've never patterned this gun before.

    I shot left to right alphabetically:

    PMC low velocity (1200 FPS) 9 pellet 00 buck, 2 3/4 inch LV12BK OO LE;

    Sellier & Bellot 2 3/4 inch 9 pellet 00 buck, SB12BSG;

    Spartan 2 3/4 inch 9 pellet 00 buck, SA1200;

    Winchester Ranger2 3/4 inch 8 pellet 00 buck (low recoil) RA12008.

    Kept the targets, one per each kind of shell in each of three shotguns.
    Took all morning because I had to wait for cease firing to retrieve
    targets and set new ones.

    Wish I knew how to post pictures!

    PMC 8.25 inches, pretty evenly spread a
    around a pellet-free empty space the
    size of my spread XL hand.
    7.75 inches, all but one in a 6 inch
    diameter group I which I could cover
    with my spread hand.

    Spartan 7.75 inches, pretty nicely filling
    the space covered by my spread right

    Winchester 7.75 inches wide by 4 inches top to
    bottom. 4 inch circle in between
    extreme left and right pellets
    held the other 6.

    I don't like the empty space left in the middle by the PMC.
    Was not able to tell any difference in recoil, maybe because I was
    focused on the targets. Any of the other three loads will do for my
    indoors gun with a maximum realistic distance of 11 yards.
    Looks like I'll load it with S&B.

    Tax Special Mossberg, now 1 inch shorter overall than my Shockwave
    equivalent because of different grip and choke. Extra full #2 choke.

    PMC 4.75 inches, nicely rounded.

    S&B 6.25 inches, rounded.

    Spartan 6 inches rounded, empty center
    roughly 5X3 inches.

    Winchester 4 inches. Without flyer, 3 inches
    in a circle with 3X2.5" empty center.

    I don't like the empty space in the middle of the Spartan pattern.
    Don't like the loss of more than 10% of pellets from Winchester.
    The PMC clearly wins the $200 taxed Mossberg. It has a future as
    a car gun load and maybe a yard gun, after I test it at 15 yards.

    Finally, since I shot it, here are the full size 870 results.

    PMC 7.5 inches, rounded, 6 inch diameter
    empty center.

    S&B 5.5 inches, rounded, 5.5X3.5 inch
    empty center.

    Spartan 8.5 inches oblong. Omitting flyer,
    7 inch nice spread.

    Winchester 5.5 inches with a 5.5X4 inch void
    larger than my fist.

    S&B wins the Remington tentatively, pending 15 yard testing.
    Ammo carrier to be determined will carry Federal Flite Control #1

    Soooo I've decided what I want to feed three of my shotguns, subject
    to change as I shoot them more. No decisions on lights, did put a
    Meprolight front bead on the Shockwave, gun most likely to be kept
    indoors. Choke sure did make a difference!

    Annnnd changing from the Turkey choke to the Extra Full #2 seems to
    have shrunk by an inch in diameter the buckshot loads from Spartan
    and Winchester in the Class III Mossberg at 10 yards.

    Also, the choke seems to have tightened the pattern over what I got
    from the full sized Remington.
  7. Patterning always produces some results that go against common belief.

    In my experience a high quality shell will always pattern better through a CYL than a cheap shell through a full choke.

    I personally shoot Winchester AA or Rio shells through a MOD or IMP CYL. Uniform hardened shot and a quality wad means more than the choke IMO.

    Last time I patterned a shotgun for turkey hunting my buddies laughed that I was shooting Federal Flite-Control shells through a MOD choke....until the saw the results. People couldn't believe that I wasn't using an extended aftermarket choke because that was what they had been told to do.

    And you are sure right about one thing...patterning is a lot of work. I won't do it a a public range for the reasons you mentioned. I need a private setting where I can change targets and distances whenever I want.
  8. It is fun playing around - shooting to see your pattern.

    I have shot hundreds of shells from a dozen or more shotguns at paper targets - at close range.

    Buckshot, cheap WM birdshot, full power hunting loads.

    I have never had an empty center - I have no idea what would cause this - maybe a rifled barrel but I don't think that is what you are using.

    When you look at your results - are there any of them that you would say -

    If I hit a BG with this load he will just LOL and walk away?

  9. No, Z, none of these barrels were rifled, used only the one screw-in choke, and it was not rifled, either.

    No idea why the void in the center of the patterns. I find that troubling, because
    I expect the greatest concentration of pellets to land at my point of aim, center mass.

    At the 10 yard distance, I believe any one without armor shot with any of these loads from any of these shotguns could wait a really long time for an ambulance without much worry. As the distance increased from the muzzle, that might result in only two or three decent hits in the center of the torso, only one or two high enough to reach the triangle from nipples to throat.

    Given these results, I have zero idea how anyone ever harvests game with buckshot not in a Federal FliteControl wad! Just me, I know there's a history of success the whole world over. I'm not a very stealthy guy.

    After looking around, have decided YET ANOTHER shell might help me, and will drop my allowance on https://ammoliquidator.com/sellier-...12-pellets-00-buck-case-250-total-rounds.html
    This is the cheapest 12 pellet 00 I've found. I'll have fun shootin' 'em up, might even fill in some of those empty spaces.
  10. You can always try 0 or 000 or #4 buck shot.

    I have a supply of WM Winchester 15 round 00 value packs stored away for a rainy day - they seem to do a decent job at typical HD ranges.

    I never thought the high end buck shot was worth the extra $ - for inside the house HD - my view would change if I was hunting deer.