Saturday, April 18, 2009

Buckshot fired from a rifled shotgun barrel? Hmm......

.

Having taken a good look at various types of buckshot loads fired from both a short riot gun with no choke, and a full length shotgun with a full choke, We appeared to have a good handle on how buckshot is going to behave at the target.

But.... one test was left out, even if improbable. What happens when buckshot is fired through a rifled shotgun barrel meant to spin slugs? Will we see the 'Donut of Doom' so commonly espoused? Will it effect the pattern at all?


A rifled shotgun barrel is designed as a slug thrower, not a 'shot' thrower. Sure, it will go bang with shot and stuff will come out the end of the barrel, but what happens after that is not so clear. The spiral rifling meant to impart spin on a solid slug and stabilize it. It will impart the same spin on the shot charge. It must have an effect, but exactly how much of one was unclear to me till today.

Using a single shot H+R rifled slug gun in 12 gauge, I fired three rounds of #4 buck at
a silhouette target. The #4 buck has 24 pellets per shot charge, and leaves sufficient 'pattern' for analysis. Three rounds.... nearly 75 pellets, and enough to make a judgment on what happens (click on the target photo to enlarge).

The firing distance was about 35 feet, and roughly 30% of the pellets hit the silhouette with any effect. The rest.... decorated the hillside. The conclusion is clear; a rifled barrel will force the shot to spread at a very rapid pace. Where a cylinder bore shotgun will place all it's buckshot on center mass at that distance, a rifled barrel will splatter most of the pellets far and wide, with only some hitting the target in a useful manner. The 'donut' of shot did not appear on this target, and the pattern was without... well.... 'pattern'.

Would I use it for defense? If there was no other choice, yes. Given any choice at all I would prefer a smooth bore of any type over rifled for shooting buckshot.







11 comments:

Brigid said...

While Jim waits in the safety of the jeep.

Good work!

Mo said...

Excellent report. Thanks for posting

immagikman said...

Great report, thanks for the useful information that you consistently provide.

JHardin said...

What about performance the other direction - shooting sabot slugs from a cylinder bore?

Carteach0 said...

Hmm... slugs from a cylinder bore, as opposed to a rifled bore. Good idea.... Future post!

Huey148 said...

good report but not surprising given the amount of press, both electronic and print, that has circulated about the Taurus Judge .410/.45 LC pistol so much this past year and the effect of firing .410 shot from a 4" rifled barrel would have. Same result. The shot cup spins coming out of the barrel and the resulting pattern is going to be larger. Not real important if you see the marketing vid that Taurus puts out (shooting an assailant through the passenger side window of your car)but for normal field use, well useless - as you point out.

Nice video, well done.

Sp00k said...

Only thing I use my rifled barrel for (the main purpose) is to increase the accuracy of my sabot rounds. Everything else, including slugs, I use the smooth bore barrels.

Duane said...

To make it worse find some old 'euro' hunting ammo I had. This was around 15 years ago. The shot was cubic but around a #4. From an 18" cylinder bore the spread was rather extreme, from your test I would think you'd get hits on targets to your sides.

Ed said...

Thanks, I had wondered about this.

Linoge said...

Sabot rounds do not work particularly well in smoothbore shotguns... trust me. They will certainly get to the target (or at least near it), and will probably do a lot of damage, but the whole tip-forward thing kind of goes right out the window.

Thanks for the post, though, Carteach0... definitely good information.

eatpete said...

stumbled across this thread while i was searching for answers. i cant believe this guy is comparing 4buck in a rifled barrel with 00buck in a smooth bore.
how about doing the same test with the same ammo for a proper comparative analysis.