Rethinking my home defense load
I took my Benelli M2 Tactical to the farm today and after unloading and stacking 300 bales of hay I managed to sneak off for some blasting. The Benelli (or my "Tomato Stake" as I like to refer to it) is a relatively new gun in my home. I've only had it a few months and up to today only have about 200 rounds through it. So far so good but today I wanted to pattern some loads and had my eyes opened a little.
The most impressive load from a short range perspective was some old Federal Tactical (made before they made the Flite Control Wad) low recoil #4 Buck. At 7 paces--about 20 feet--that load gave a very nice 10-11" pattern. At 3 paces--roughly 9 feet it gave me about a 4" pattern.
It was clearly THE best spread of the day (meaning it threw the biggest patterns at the short distances.) I prefer 00 Buck but if #4 can give me those kinds of spreads at short distances it might be the way to go inside.
The 00 Buck Federal tactical low recoil and the 00 Winchester Ranger Low recoil loads gave of roughly golf ball size at 3 paces and about 4-5" at 20 paces.
So the #4 Buck gave the biggest pattern.
Here's something interesting: The new Federal Tactical LE Low recoil loads are impressive at beyond 25 yards. For example I could keep 3 pellets on a standard sheet of paper (8x10") at 40 yards with every shot! That's pretty good for a buckshot load out of a IC barrel! So the Federal Tactical Low Recoil with the flite control wads work well and would serve me as an intermediate range load.
I had read reports that the Federal Flite Control Buckshot loads do really well at longer shotgun ranges. My experience the past two years in a duck blind using the Federal Black Cloud loads (uses the exact same flite control wad) has proven to me that the flite control Black Clouds are a very effective duck killer at 40-45 yards with an improved cylinder Benelli Vinci.
The gun shot 15 slugs...Rottweil, Winchester and Federal randomly loaded (I had a bowl mixed up of all kinds) into 4" group at 50 yards It was about 4 inches to the right. But that was offhand unsupported. I could probably bring that down to 2" with a rest.
In all I put about 120 rounds down range today. 3" turkey and steel duck loads, Remington Light STS target loads, 3 or 4 brands of slugs, and a bunch of different buckshot. The gun never missed a lick. I've got a little over 300 rounds through the "Tomato Stake" after this afternoon and its been perfect so far. I'm almost to the point where I will trust it for HD.
“Est Nulla Via Invia Virute”