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Buckshot - tradeoff between amount of lead & velocity

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I just started reloading shotshells this year. I have made small batches of various loads testing for the best ones for use in my Saiga 12. I finally found a lee slug load I am very happy with. I'm starting to make a good stockpile of those. Now I'm trying to find my favorite 00 buckshot load. (I have a lee #00 mold) I've narrowed it down to 2 loads that have worked best:


WIN AA Hull, 209, 32grains SR7625, WAA12R, and 9 pellets of 00 Buck. -Velocity = 1450 FPS




FED Gold Medal Hull, 209A, 34grains Blue Dot, WAA12R, and 12 pellets of 00 Buck. -Velocity= 1350 FPS



It really comes down to the question - "Which is more important in a combat situation, 100 FPS more velocity, or 3 more pellets downrange per shot?" As far as accuracy goes, they seem to be about identical. Yes, I will absolutely most likely only use them for recreation for the rest of my life. But regardless, I want the one thats most combat effective, then I can use my "combat effective" loads for blasting cans.


Which do you guys think is more important?

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Combat situation? Factory ammo. Handloads will lead to prison if it goes to court.

Playing around? Go for more pellets. More pellets=more damage. Your target/game will not notice 100FPS. That's less than 10%difference in muzzle velocity.

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Prison has to do with whether the jury believes you were justified not what load you had. The more I hear that argument, the less I believe it.


As for velocity, standard for double ought is 1325 FPS and it way over penetrates (i.e. more danger to bystanders, not as high a percentage of energy transferred into target, and a bunch of extra flash and recoil ). If you want a more effective load shove in there 12 pellets of #1 buck (lighter) and get your velocity down to about 1325. That is perfect penetration and energy transferrence with more lead on target and a faster recovery. Or try to get 22 pellets (pretty close to an ounce) of #4 buck moving about 1400 FPS. That should give you ideal penetration and transferrance, a much better pattern, with many more potentially lethal and incapacitating wound channels with an intermediate level of recoil.


I have always been disappointed with the patterns I have seen from OO buck and notice that while it has higher penetration in theory at extended ranges, it is moot because you can't be sure to hit your target/ not hit other things. It's overkill for people, underkill for bear. Maybe it is about right for white tail, but it is kinda the poorest choicse for most other things and is the most popular.

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