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Short barrel buckshot patterns

Short barrel buckshot patterns
« on: January 07, 2019, 07:44:13 AM »
I needed to pattern a short barrel (14.375") 12ga shotgun shotgun ("firearm" per NFA stuff) and was a little surprised at the pattern sizes. I shot about a dozen patterns and these two photos are typical of all of them. In the photos below, on the white cardboard, there are two shots of standard 2 3/4" 9 pellet 00 buck (the top marked holes are a 1st shot before a sight adjustment), the pattern was only 5 1/4" across at 10 yards. You can see four 00 pellets still in a clump in one spot. I would have expected this pattern from a 28" modified barrel, but not a very short cylinder barrel. The brown cardboard is a 12ga Minishell at 8.5 yards (four 1buck and seven 4buck pellets). Interesting, but not surprising, the Minishells pattern noticeably wider (7 7/8" spread at 8.5 yds) and more like I expected. I'm assuming that lower velocity equals wider spread. This just goes to show that choke is much more of a factor on the shot string than barrel length. The Minishells are 1200fps and the 2 3/4" 1325fps.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 07:47:13 AM by texweatherby »
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Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 10:23:46 AM »
There has always been a lot of "mystery" and "theory" about what the barrel length of a shotgun has to do with performance.  Should not a full choke 20" barrel pattern like a full choke 28" barrel.  Apparently not, because the shorter barrel will have a lower velocity.  But will the lower velocity make the shot pattern open up much more.  Some gun writers used to say, that the longer barrel lengths on field shotguns are preferred, for the improvement in "swing," and "pointing," that the further away the front bead is from your eye, the better you can "point" the shotgun.  Then again, some quail hunters like the shorter barrels, because they "point quicker."  Who knows.  I have seen the late Tom Knapp, shotgun master shoot doubles and triples with the shotgun UPSIDE DOWN.  Then I have heard of guys saying they got tighter patterns by "magnetizing" their steel shot loads.  At the "turkey shoots" around here, back in the day, they banned handloads; you had to use the loads provided, because some people were supposedly putting some kind of "sticky substance" mixed with the pellets, to make the patterns tighter.  Who knows.  MM

Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 10:35:21 AM »
Yep, I've heard some of that stuff too. I do have to say that I was a little surprised at patterns not much bigger than a grapefruit at 10 yards out of that short cylinder barrel. I was expecting dinner plate sized patterns.
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zonie

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Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 10:58:17 AM »
I would almost think lower velocity shotgun pellets would group better and shorter barrels I think could possibly reduce  group size because of shot/pellet deformation caused by higher velocities and also longer barrels,  just an idea anyway.  Hard pellet/shot may act differently also size of choke and wad and buffering would make a difference.

Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 12:28:47 PM »
Out of the four or so I have tested, that would definitely be the Aguilla Minishells. All of them spread more than a slug LOL!
Come and take it.

Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 02:35:10 PM »

My Home Defense is a Benelli M4 Super 90 and I shoot 3" Magnums with #4 buck. It leaves a hole about the size of a grapefruit at 15 yards. A chest shot at 10 feet will make an apple sized hole in whatever it comes in contact with. I'd rather do that than risk a non lethal shot with a slug. Mine is semi-auto so a second shot is just a trigger pull away.
Weatherby Rifles:
M5 USA .257
M5 USA 6.5-300
M5 USA 300
M5 German 300
M5 .308 TRR
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Other:
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Brn XBolt HC Speed 300 WSM
McMil G30 Dynasty 270 WSM
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Mar 1895 SBL 45-70
Win 94 pre 64 30-30
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2 AR-15 Match Wylde .223
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Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 03:08:56 PM »
Here are a few things I've learned through my training and experience from work with short barrel shotguns which I'll group in barrel lengths between 14 and 20 inches.  When you shoot rifled slugs or even 00 Buck shot you end up with a hole in the target which is caused by the wad in addition to your the shot or slug you shot.  The further back you are from the target the bigger the pattern.  Also the shorter the barrel the bigger the pattern is when shot from shorter barrels opposed to longer barrels.  The reason for this is the shot is constricted in the barrel longer.  To explain this further in a very crude way think of two funnels, one with a short spout and one with a longer spout.  When you pour water through the one with a short spout the stream coming out gets bigger opposed to the one with the longer spout.  This is more noticeable when you have barrels with bigger differences in length.  For an example if you shoot the same 00 Buck out of a 14" barrel and one that's 24" long the 24" barrel will have a smaller pattern at the same distance. 
Nothing is better than a Weatherby, big bore magnum, or a Colt.

Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2019, 03:52:49 PM »

My Home Defense is a Benelli M4 Super 90 and I shoot 3" Magnums with #4 buck. It leaves a hole about the size of a grapefruit at 15 yards. A chest shot at 10 feet will make an apple sized hole in whatever it comes in contact with. I'd rather do that than risk a non lethal shot with a slug. Mine is semi-auto so a second shot is just a trigger pull away.
+ 1
Roger
Faster horses,younger women,older whiskey,and more money.

Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2019, 04:38:34 PM »
I always saw the advantage of a shotgun with buckshot was wall penetration is less and less likelihood of innocents being hit by accident.  In my close neighborhood, that is not unlikely.  Am I wrong?  My house is CBS construction (concrete block/stucco) . Bullets of any kind will have a hard time penetrating 10" of concrete but there are windows! I have killed a lot of deer with 12 GA. slugs, 74 caliber! Ugly!

When you're talking about shooting inside a house and limiting over penetration you'd be better off going with smaller shot because it's less likely to over penetrate and is still effective because the shots are taken at short distances.  I wouldn't recommend going down to number sixes or 7 1/2's but if you went with 0 Buck or number 2's it's going to be a bad day for whatever is on the receiving end. 
Nothing is better than a Weatherby, big bore magnum, or a Colt.

Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2019, 08:38:10 PM »
I had thought all my life that: shorter barrel automatically equals wider pattern, but my testing this past weekend did not bear that out. Although full house buckshot loads are devastating, I do think the Minishells are great for close range defense in the house because of less noise and penetration through walls. Figure this - those 2 3/4" or 3" buckshot rounds were designed to take deer out to about 50 yards. Shooting a thug across your living room at 5 yards does not require that level of power to do massive damage. Check out this video guys, educational for sure.


This is why I added a short shotgun (my hunting shotguns are too damn long for inside) to my defense toolbox!
Come and take it.

Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2019, 10:02:25 PM »
Great informational Video Tex. Thanks for sharing.
Roger
Faster horses,younger women,older whiskey,and more money.

Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2019, 04:05:35 PM »
It seems you have made the correct choice in going with the short barrel shotgun with buckshot Tex.
Roger
Faster horses,younger women,older whiskey,and more money.

Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2019, 05:13:28 PM »
Plus, one helluva fun range toy Roger! I recall you also have one of these beasts, except yours is prettier than mine LOL. If you ever got stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere (hell, anywhere) one of these would make a good friend to have around there too.
Come and take it.

Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2019, 06:23:06 PM »
Pretty never made any gun shoot better than another. Lol I did try the Challenger short shells I ordered from Brownells and had no problems with them. They are a good bit cheaper than the Aguila minis.
Roger
Faster horses,younger women,older whiskey,and more money.

zonie

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Re: Short barrel buckshot patterns
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2019, 09:56:28 AM »
Years ago shotgun hulls were skived and shortened to around 2 " or so,  these are shot in not exactly stock  semi auto shotguns used in competition steel plate shooting for fun,  these hulls were hand skived and re-loaded to whatever you wanted, so the idea is the same as re-loading for accuracy in a rifle, but in a shotgun.  most of the stuff I seen were smaller shot when shooting uspsa poppers.  It will knock the dog snot out of a steel popper so I have no doubt it will work for home defense. the whole purpose of this was to increase magazine capacity without lengthening either barrels or aftermarket tubes.  Of course these guy's used speed loaders, usually 11 shot or 14 shot skived or more. 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 10:00:59 AM by zonie »