i barrowed this from the basement of SW:
Taken from http://www.tacticalshotgun.ca/ballistics_shotgun.html
Before you begin to read this realize that all of these shots were taken from a known distance and angle into bare Ordinance Gelatin is a controlled enviroment.
This does not take into consideration the effects clothing, weather, range, tempurature, cover, or body structure.
YWMV, IANAL, not valid in Guam or Puerto Rico, only driven on Sundays by a little old lady going to church and back.
Federal Classic #4 buck shot out of an 18 inch barreled Remington 870 Marine Magnum. The shot column struck a little low...this photograph was taken without the ruler to show the entire shot load.
Temporary stretch cavity was approximately 10 inches long. Permanent crush cavities were on average 14.5 inches deep.
Generally...#4 buck is the minimum shot size we recommend for all purpose tactical applications.
Up for observation was a 2¾ inch load of federal classic #4 buckshot fired from an 18 inch barreled Remington 870 Marine Magnum.
#4 buckshot is what we here at www.tacticalworks.ca consider the minimum all purpose buckshot load for tactical applications. It balances decent penetration with a higher projectile count; increasing your first round hit probability over both #1 buck and 00 buck at medium shotgun range. If all pellets strike the intended target (likely when utilized at closer range) #4 buckshot offers several times the effective wound channel creation capabilities over both #1 and 00 buck.
#4 Buckshot Magnum
Federal Classic #4 plated magnum buck shot out of an 18 inch barreled Remington 870 Marine Magnum.
Impressive and consistent penetration of 15.5 inches was observed.
Perspective on the entrance holes and wound tract.
Given the 3 yard range, we were surprised the pattern had opened up as much as is evident in this photograph.
Closeup of the entrance holes.
Tested was a 2¾ inch load of federal premium #4 plated magnum buckshot fired from an 18 inch barreled Remington 870 Marine Magnum.
#4 buckshot is what we here at www.tacticalworks.ca consider the minimum all purpose buckshot load for tactical applications. While a standard #4 buck load typically has a payload of 27 pellets, this magnum load from federal has 34. Not a load for the recoil sensitive.
2¾ Remington #1 Buckshot (16 pellet) shot out of an 18 inch barreled remington 870 marine magnum
In this shot, the temporary stretch cavity exceeded the elastic limits of our gelatin block and ruptured out the top and side. An additional shot was conducted into a second gelatin block below at a slightly increased range to measure the temporary stretch cavity.
Overall penetration was approximately the same as the first shot, however the shot pattern was slightly larger at the 5 yard range as compared to the 3 yard range of the original shot.
Perspective on the entrance wound of the 16 pellet load fired from 5 yards.
A 2¾ inch load firing 16 .30 cal pellets, this offering from remington fired from an 18 inch barreled Remington 870 Marine Magnum exhibited excellent average penetration of approxiately 16.5 inches. Temporary stretch cavity measured approximately 8.5 inches. Shot recovered exhibited minimal deformation.
In our opinion, this load is superior to 00 buck for selection as a tactical shotgun load. While exhibiting slightly less penetration, overall penetration is still acceptable and if all pellets strike their intended target there is potential to create approximately 77% more wound tract with the additional 7 pellets.
#00 Tactical Buckshot
2¾ Remington Tactical Managed Recoil Buckshot (8 pellet) shot out of an 18 inch barreled remington 870 marine magnum
While this particular load patterned well in the test shotgun, surprising dispersion was noted in the gelatin media (one pellet was not even recovered). We speculate that is related to the moderate shot deformation observed in the pellets recovered.
This 2¾ inch load of Remington Tactical Managed Recoil 00 buckshot fired from an 18 inch barreled Remington 870 Marine Magnum surprised us with it's considerable penetration of 20.5 inches. Temporary stretch cavity measured approximately 8.5 inches in length. Shot recovered exhibited some moderate deformation. The first 5 inches of the permanent crush cavities were all interconnected by tearing effected by temporary stretch.
Reduced recoil buckshot loads are becoming more and more popular they tend to pattern significantly tighter than the higher power loads in addition to being easier to shoot. Not as much a trade off in the penetration department as one might imagine, we would have no hesitations recommending this load for use in a defensive or tactical situation requiring buckshot.