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Old 07-11-2013, 10:14   #1
RutgersGrad
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#4 Buck 21 pellets vs #4 Buck 27 pellets

Ok. I was looking at getting some #4 Buckshot to shoot in my 870P. Never shot that load before. I have noticed that it seems to come in two types, 21 and 27 pellet. Even offered in both my the same manufacture. What is the difference between the two other than having less pellets? And what would the advantage be to having the 21 pellets over the 27?
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:16   #2
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When they call a shotsell "magnum" it usually means it just has a larger payload
Im guessing the 21 shot load will move faster.
Thats what i would go with if I were to use a marginal load like #4 buck. 21 holes is plenty, IF they go deep enough
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Old 07-11-2013, 17:42   #3
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Originally Posted by gofastman View Post
When they call a shotsell "magnum" it usually means it just has a larger payload
Im guessing the 21 shot load will move faster.
Thats what i would go with if I were to use a marginal load like #4 buck. 21 holes is plenty, IF they go deep enough
This is true
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Old 07-11-2013, 21:43   #4
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Yep, Magnum loads in shotshells are normally heavier but they also typically have less volocity than their more standard counterparts.

The reason for this is very simply Shotguns operate at a very low pressure point compared to rifles and pistols. Modern shotguns operate at basically the same operating pressures as their muzzleloading counterparts from 150 years ago. Hence you find Dram Equivilent Load data on all modern shotgun ammunition which reflects the equivilent pressure for a given number of drams of blackpowder.

When you make a magnum shotshell like say a 3" or 5" you can't safely increase the operating pressure of a shotgun shell to drive the heavier payload as fast as a standard load. So you end up with a heavier payload but usually less velocity. Or the same payload as a standard shell but with a slight gain in velocity. Again, the pressure is the limiting factor. Shotguns have thin cartridge cases and thin barrels.

Magnum shotshells were available but generally not commonly used by people until the advent of steel shot made necessary by the Federal Migratory Bird Act that mandated steel shot for waterfowl about 1991. Before that most duck hunters carried a standard load of #5 or 6 lead shot and killled truckloads of ducks with no problem. Sometimes goose hunters used magnums for pass shooting high flying geese. But not many.

I still hunt turkeys with a 2 3/4" load of #5s and have yet to have a bird walk away from being shot with that load. All my buddies are convinced they need 3 or 3.5" loads for Turkeys. Yet they never have tried to kill a bird like their fathers and grandfathers managed to do for decades with standard loads.

In terms of buckshot...many deer have fallen to the gold standard of manstopper loads--the 2 3/4" shell with 9 OO pellets. Its long proven ability on people is perhaps unrivaled in the history of modern firearms.

The extra capacity of the magnum case makes a lot of sense for steel shot loads where the size of the shot must be bigger than its lead cousin to perforn the same task and of course lead is also less dense than lead so a 1 1/8 ounce of steel shot occupies a lot more volume than a similar load of lead.
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Old 07-11-2013, 22:13   #5
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21 pellets of a decent quality load of #4 buck should be adequate, but I wouldn't suggest going any lighter in terms of pellet weight. The 27 pellet load is going to have noticeably more recoil, and will be slower to follow up with.

Personally, I am VERY partial to #1 buck, especially Federal's low recoil "tactical" version. 15 plated pellets in a buffering material contained in a Flite-Control wad. The entire shot group makes one hole to at least 15 yards from my 590, and is well within a dinner plate to about 30 yards.
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Old 07-12-2013, 00:17   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Bird View Post
Yep, Magnum loads in shotshells are normally heavier but they also typically have less volocity than their more standard counterparts.

The reason for this is very simply Shotguns operate at a very low pressure point compared to rifles and pistols. Modern shotguns operate at basically the same operating pressures as their muzzleloading counterparts from 150 years ago. Hence you find Dram Equivilent Load data on all modern shotgun ammunition which reflects the equivilent pressure for a given number of drams of blackpowder.

When you make a magnum shotshell like say a 3" or 5" you can't safely increase the operating pressure of a shotgun shell to drive the heavier payload as fast as a standard load. So you end up with a heavier payload but usually less velocity. Or the same payload as a standard shell but with a slight gain in velocity. Again, the pressure is the limiting factor. Shotguns have thin cartridge cases and thin barrels.

Magnum shotshells were available but generally not commonly used by people until the advent of steel shot made necessary by the Federal Migratory Bird Act that mandated steel shot for waterfowl about 1991. Before that most duck hunters carried a standard load of #5 or 6 lead shot and killled truckloads of ducks with no problem. Sometimes goose hunters used magnums for pass shooting high flying geese. But not many.

I still hunt turkeys with a 2 3/4" load of #5s and have yet to have a bird walk away from being shot with that load. All my buddies are convinced they need 3 or 3.5" loads for Turkeys. Yet they never have tried to kill a bird like their fathers and grandfathers managed to do for decades with standard loads.

In terms of buckshot...many deer have fallen to the gold standard of manstopper loads--the 2 3/4" shell with 9 OO pellets. Its long proven ability on people is perhaps unrivaled in the history of modern firearms.

The extra capacity of the magnum case makes a lot of sense for steel shot loads where the size of the shot must be bigger than its lead cousin to perforn the same task and of course lead is also less dense than lead so a 1 1/8 ounce of steel shot occupies a lot more volume than a similar load of lead.

Makes a lot of sense to me, thanks BB, I think I learned something here.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:08   #7
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In my admittedly limited experience with #4 buck, I've found it to throw very loose patterns, from two different guns, and both Improved Cylinder and Modified chokes. At room distances it's fine of course, but past 12 or 15 yards, most of the pellets turn into flyers.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:05   #8
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3"

if your gun has a 3" chamber you can shoot 3" shells 41 #4 buck. that's what I use on coyotes sometimes 50% more.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:13   #9
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Originally Posted by method View Post
In my admittedly limited experience with #4 buck, I've found it to throw very loose patterns, from two different guns, and both Improved Cylinder and Modified chokes. At room distances it's fine of course, but past 12 or 15 yards, most of the pellets turn into flyers.
I would say that a lot of that depends on the actual load being used. I have had some buckshot that performed exactly like you mention, and I've had some (namely LE packaged low recoil) that shot very tight patterns out to 25 yards. The Speer Lawman and Federal Tactical has (by FAR) the tightest pattern of any buckshot I have tried, with both making golf ball sized holes past 15 yards, and still keeping all the pellets in the torso of a B25 target at 30+ yards.
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:20   #10
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Originally Posted by WoodenPlank View Post
I would say that a lot of that depends on the actual load being used. I have had some buckshot that performed exactly like you mention, and I've had some (namely LE packaged low recoil) that shot very tight patterns out to 25 yards. The Speer Lawman and Federal Tactical has (by FAR) the tightest pattern of any buckshot I have tried, with both making golf ball sized holes past 15 yards, and still keeping all the pellets in the torso of a B25 target at 30+ yards.
Well of course it depends on the load being used, and I think I only tried 2 or 3 #4 loads. If I recall correctly though, the tightest patterns I got with #4 at 15 and 20 yards were bigger than the worst 00 loads I'd tested.

Not sure I'd trust the penetration of #4 at much more than room distances anyhow.

Last edited by method; 07-12-2013 at 12:23..
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Old 07-12-2013, 13:00   #11
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Interesting information, thanks... Now can the same be said comparing 9 pellet 00 Buckshot vs 12 pellet 00 Buckshot?
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Old 07-12-2013, 17:20   #12
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Years ago the LASD deputy's could load their shotguns with either 00 buck or #4 buck with 21 or 27 pellets. I wondered what the difference in those two loads were with respect to patterning. One day at the range I loaded up a shotgun with both #4 and 00, and fired each load at standard B27 silhouette targets at up to 25 yards.

I looked at the pattern for all holes inside the 8-ring, anything outside of that was a "flyer" for my test. When it came to the #4 buck, even out at 25 yards, I couldn't place my hand on the target anywhere inside the 8-ring without covering up at least one of the holes in the target. On the 00 buck target I could place my hand where the 00 buck would have missed a spot the size of my hand. The #4 buck seemed to have a tighter pattern probably due to the higher number of pellets; I don't recall if the pattern spread any more with either load.

I decided to keep my own shotgun loaded with #4/27.

Bottom line, buy some of each and test it yourself. See what you like. YMMV.

On a side note: I set up multiple B27's, one behind the other at set distances and took one shot through all of them just to see how the pellets spread at different distances. The instructors thought I was nuts until I explained what I was doing. They would do that for the academy classes to show the effect of shotgun pellets. Most recruits thought shotgun shells shot one bullet. That gave them a sense of how many pellets came out with every shot and how they spread out in a cone shaped pattern.

Bill

Last edited by CA Escapee; 07-12-2013 at 17:22..
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Old 07-12-2013, 17:24   #13
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Interesting information, thanks... Now can the same be said comparing 9 pellet 00 Buckshot vs 12 pellet 00 Buckshot?
Or just to throw a monkey wrench in the works, what about a 2 1/2" 00 buck with 6 pellets?

Bill
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Old 07-12-2013, 17:40   #14
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Or just to throw a monkey wrench in the works, what about a 2 1/2" 00 buck with 6 pellets?

Bill
Most of those mini shells run very small powder charges, and aren't going to generate enough velocity to penetrate enough to reliably hit vital organs. They also will not reliably cycle in semi-auto shotguns, and even in some pump guns.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:20   #15
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Originally Posted by WoodenPlank View Post
21 pellets of a decent quality load of #4 buck should be adequate, but I wouldn't suggest going any lighter in terms of pellet weight. The 27 pellet load is going to have noticeably more recoil, and will be slower to follow up with.

Personally, I am VERY partial to #1 buck, especially Federal's low recoil "tactical" version. 15 plated pellets in a buffering material contained in a Flite-Control wad. The entire shot group makes one hole to at least 15 yards from my 590, and is well within a dinner plate to about 30 yards.
I like both #4 and #1 for defense against human threats. Here's a test of the 27 pellet #4 buck load from Remington I did a while ago:


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