Shotgun Ammo Tests

So I have been trying to decide what kind of 12 gauge ammo to purchase in quantity. In the past I have simply purchased what was on sale at the time. I never did a performance comparison before, for 12 gauge ammo, that was all 00 Buckshot and specifically for self defense.

Mossberg 500
I ran this test with my Mossberg 500.

I picked the Mossberg for the test because it is the most reliable, stable, known quantity shotgun of all the ones I have in the collection. I wanted this test to be about the ammo not the shotgun.

All of the ammo below came from Lucky Gunner. Historically I have purchased Remington 2 3/4" standard 00 Buckshot. It's what was usually on the shelves and I never really thought twice about it. But I never bought it in quantity either. A box of 5 got me through hunting season with 3 shells to spare usually.

Here is what I compared:

In general every round performed flawlessly. I was going to post pictures of my targets but they were so similar in pattern (and so torn up) that I didn't bother. All were shot at 10 yards. The only notable difference was that the Remington 3" shells contained more buckshot, a noticeable amount more.

Remington - Standard - 2 3/4" 00 Buckshot

I started the test with these because they are what I have shot the most in the past. I was able to establish a baseline with these. Weather the target is paper, a deer or a knife wielding burglar,  these will get the job done!

Winchester Ranger - 2 3/4" Low Recoil Law Enforcement Ammunition

I had never tried low recoil 12 gauge rounds before. I was very happy. I personally don't mind recoil. I kinda like it actually. These rounds made me wish I had brought along a 20 gauge shotgun to compare kicks. It was noticeably lighter even though the pellet count and pattern were the same as the standard Remington 2 3/4" rounds. These would great if you were planning a long day of training. They would also be great in my other Mossberg 500 shotgun with a short barrel and pistol grip.

These are great for pump shotguns. I am not sure these would cycle my Saiga 12 gauge though.

Sellier and Bellot - 2 3/4" SB Buck Shot

These rounds performed just like the Remington standard buckshot. Recoil felt the same and the pattern on the target was the same. The most notable difference was the price. $1.00 a round vs $.60 a round.

Remington - Magnum - 3" 00 Buckshot

These shells kicked the hardest, as expected. I don't mind the recoil. My wife would NOT like bruises they would leave on her. At 10 yards the pattern on the target was about the same diameter but there was a lot more holes. This shotgun had a smooth bore and no choke. I understand that the pattern can be tightened up on these rounds with a full choke, extending the range. Great for hunting but not really an issue as defensive rounds at 10 yards.

I should also note that I could fit one less of the 3" shells in the Mossberg.

My conclusions:

I am surprised to discover that the Remington 2 3/4" shells I have bought the most in the past came in last in this side by side comparison. All functioned really well and I'd be happy to have any of them when the pending Zombie Apocalypse hits. Here is the specifics:
  • For performance I like the Remington 3" Magnums the best. More lead per trigger pull. I swear the target looked like a whole mag from my Glock 9mm shot in one trigger pull. I am a big guy so the extra recoil doesn't bother me. I will use these when I deer hunt from now on.
  • The Seller & Bellot 2 3/4" performed well AND has a great price point. I love value when I am looking to buy 1000 rounds. But not at the expense of performance. These performed.
  • The Winchester Ranger Low Recoil rounds were great. At a price just under the Remington Standard 00. These would be sweet for special duty and you can be sure I will be ordering some.
  • Note: I now have to try the Sellier & Bellot 3" Magnum shell.
I think my next tests will be a variety of low recoil 2 3/4" shells. Several manufacturers produce them now.

Maybe I will do a test to see what my Saiga 12 like to eat best!

I may do another side by side of several 3" 00 Buckshot brands.

Too much fun!

BTW, If you are, like me, looking for Buckshot in quantity has multiple options at good prices. A quick peek tonight shows six different brands as low as $115 per 250 round boxes. 

--All and all good fun and I learned a lot. I think the UPS guy is gonna hate me now!


    ZerCool said...

    I didn't know anyone still used buckshot for hunting! Up here in NooYawk, large game can only be hunted with single-projectile ammunition - and I don't spend a lot of time tracking deer. ;-)

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the links. I never tried low recoil shells before.

    CTone said...

    "I picked the Mossberg for the test because it is the most reliable, stable, known quantity shotgun of all the ones I have in the collection"

    That's my conclusion, too.

    I've been interested in reduced recoil loads for awhile now; there's no real reason for full on buckshot in the home that I can think of, unless you're outside and have to shoot into a goblin's car. I'm going to have to check them out.

    Good write up!

    Andy said...

    I agree with CTone... no reason not to use the low recoil stuff for self defense. (and a good write up :) ). If you try the other low recoil ammo, let me know. I'd like to see how it stacks up.

    Anonymous said...

    I've seen the low recoil "Law Enforcement" rounds at the gun store. They are usually twice what the regular ones are. Thanks for the link.

    Sandy said...

    Do more reviews like this! I like this kind of information I can use.