Shotgun accuracy tables

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Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Lumpy on Mon Sep 13, 2021 4:45 pm

Can anyone point me to some tables showing the average accuracy of shotguns based on different variables: barrel length, shot size, lead vs. steel, etc.?
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby smurfman on Mon Sep 13, 2021 5:43 pm

There ain't no such thing, anymore as there is one for rifles and pistols. As with any other device throwing out projectiles much depends on the one pointing the firearm.

And that is another factor - shotguns are pointed rather than aimed unless one is talking of slugs. "Accuracy" with something that may throw out up to several hundred pellets is going to be rather variable as anyone that has done even a modicum of pattern testing will tell you. Changing just the shotshell will often yield wide variables in pattern density depending on the quality and type of components not to mention possible variables from lot to lot and even she'll to shell.

There are some generalities and rules of thumb that tend to be consistent, among them that barrel length has little affect on patterns once past 20"; barrel length has little affect on velocity unless more than 6" from the test length, choke is not necessarily what is marked on the tube or barrel but what pattern one actually gets with the particular shell used. One will use "Improved Cylinder", "Full", etc as reference terms but one still needs to pattern test to determine actual patterns of a particular choke.

Shot size is not the main determiner as to patterns though larger pellets (number 4 and larger) can pattern tighter than smaller pellets with a given choke constriction though this may not hold true with soft, unbuffered shot through chokes tighter than Improved Modified.

As rifles and pistols do not have any such lists as you are looking for, neither do shotguns. There are numerous books and magazine articles regarding the generalities but as there is nothing definitive, one will not find precise information. There are numerous writers over the last century and a half that have made a career of studying shotguns and their performance. That the subject has allowed for such life works is evidence of the unpredictability of this field.
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Rowdy Roddy on Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:13 pm

Shotgun accuracy?

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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Holland&Holland on Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:25 pm

What precisely are you looking for? Perhaps you are asking the wrong question.
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Rip Van Winkle on Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:26 am

About the closest thing I've ever seen is in American Rifleman magazine. When they review shotguns, they publish a pellet count table like this for the Benelli SBE.

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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Lumpy on Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:03 am

Holland&Holland wrote:What precisely are you looking for? Perhaps you are asking the wrong question.
Rip Van Winkle wrote:About the closest thing I've ever seen is in American Rifleman magazine. When they review shotguns, they publish a pellet count table like this for the Benelli SBE.


Something not dissimilar to this. My original motive was a discussion on another board about at what range shotguns become worthless as self-defense or large game weapons. And whether for example a 30-inch barrel is going to be longer ranged than a 14-inch barrel.
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Rip Van Winkle on Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:08 am

Lumpy wrote:
Holland&Holland wrote:What precisely are you looking for? Perhaps you are asking the wrong question.
Rip Van Winkle wrote:About the closest thing I've ever seen is in American Rifleman magazine. When they review shotguns, they publish a pellet count table like this for the Benelli SBE.


Something not dissimilar to this. My original motive was a discussion on another board about at what range shotguns become worthless as self-defense or large game weapons. And whether for example a 30-inch barrel is going to be longer ranged than a 14-inch barrel.

Pellet size and distance are going to be the major variables. The larger pellet will keep it's energy farther out.

I don't know how much velocity can be gained or lost with barrel length, but at shotgun velocities, I can't see it overcoming shot size.

A shotgun wouldn't be my first choice for defense, but if I were to defend myself with one I'd want one with a shorter barrel, to swing faster.
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby hard h2o on Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:09 am

You might want a table or diagram illustrating what pattern sizes might be expected with different chokes at different ranges.

There are a lot of variables there.
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Holland&Holland on Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:15 am

Are slugs in the mix? Or are you looking at shot?
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby crbutler on Tue Sep 14, 2021 1:27 pm

That patterning test is really not very useful, because each gun patterns a bit differently.

I have 3 benelli Super Black eagles that I load for (2 are mine RH, one is the one I lend my brother and is left handed).

They all pattern a bit differently.

Pattern (pellet) energy can be determined ballistically at various ranges, but you need to decide what energy level is adequate at what you are shooting at…

All the NRA test is doing is saying for that shooter with this load the pattern distribution is as shown .

Buckshot is notoriously finicky as far as patterning. It’s still lethal at 100 yards… but can you depend on it hitting your target?

I’ve killed birds at 100 yards with a shotgun using #9 shot.

I’ve had them still be alive when I pick them up after shooting them at 10 yards. It’s all where the pellet hits and with what energy and how it transfers.


The #9 birdshot was 1700 FPS TSS.
The 10 yard was with multiple types of loads with pheasant and ducks.

I’ve also killed coyotes at over 100 yards using T shot hevishot (their dead coyote load).

There are too many variables to make an absolute statement.

For me as far as practical uses: 12 or 10 ga.
Sabot slugs to 150 yards, with accuracy being the reason for the limit. (Only one rifled barrel shotgun)
Foster slugs depend on the gun, but generally deer to 100.
Brenneke slugs for bear defense max 25 yards (penetration limits per multiple sources).
Heavier than lead- with pattern appropriate- will kill to 100+, but patterning limits to 60 yards reliably.
Buckshot to 75 yards, but most guns don’t pattern well enough past 50 yards. Needs to be appropriate size- #4 buck used to be used for up to 100 yard geese- assuming lead buckshot.

Lead shot assuming standard velocities (1200-1300 FPS)
BB-2 to 60 yards
3-4 to about 50
5 to 40
6 to 35

Assuming duck or pheasant sized birds.

Steel- assuming about 1400+ FPS MV
BB-2 45 yards
3 40 y.
4 30, and had better be small birds.

Again, ducks.

Those are a combination of pellet energy and what I’ve seen in the field. Again, that means you had better pattern the gun and make sure you have the right density of pattern at that range. A cylinder bore riot gun isn’t going to pattern at distance with birdshot like a extra full duck gun will.
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Holland&Holland on Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:44 pm

Just get a Grendel and be sure.
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Vlad on Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:15 pm

Holland&Holland wrote:Just get a Grendel and be sure.


Nope, 338 Lapua to make sure...
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Rowdy Roddy on Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:19 pm

Lumpy wrote:
Holland&Holland wrote:What precisely are you looking for? Perhaps you are asking the wrong question.
Rip Van Winkle wrote:About the closest thing I've ever seen is in American Rifleman magazine. When they review shotguns, they publish a pellet count table like this for the Benelli SBE.


Something not dissimilar to this. My original motive was a discussion on another board about at what range shotguns become worthless as self-defense or large game weapons. And whether for example a 30-inch barrel is going to be longer ranged than a 14-inch barrel.


Buckshot?

Birdshot?

Slugs?

It's all different. My days of duck and goose hunting showed a 12 gauge starts to run out of steam at about 40 yards with smaller shot. With buck you could stretch to 50 and a bit if you got a lucky hit. If it won't kill a duck, it might have a hard time with a man. I have been shot with birdshot, guessing 6's but could have been larger, at about 60-70 yards once by an inattentinve duck hunter and it didn't penetrate my clothes. There were three of us in the boat and we all turned away and scrunched up when we saw what was about to happen. Dude shot at a passing mallard between us and him flying about 6' off the water down a marshy narrows.
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby UnaStamus on Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:19 pm

Lumpy wrote:
Something not dissimilar to this. My original motive was a discussion on another board about at what range shotguns become worthless as self-defense or large game weapons. And whether for example a 30-inch barrel is going to be longer ranged than a 14-inch barrel.

Shotguns being used for self defense need to use buckshot or slug, which is going to have different performance than birdshot. Birdshot on a human is a tricky thing, because most animals you shoot with it are small and much less resilient than humans. I mean, VP Cheney took birdshot to the face at close range and walked away from it, while a pigeon will get dropped at 40yds if you used a full choke.

For anything, it’s going to come down to the load and not the shotgun. For buckshot, there are a couple different sizes but 1-buck and 00-buck are the two best options and most heavily supported for tactical use/self defense. There are different capabilities with buckshot based mainly on the type of wad that is used by the manufacturer. Normal buckshot is generally not effective beyond 20-25yds because of how much the pattern opens up. You generally see groups opening up at 15yds, and by 25yds you are struggling to get half the pellets on a body/torso. This means that you have potential for half the pellets to miss and endanger others. I would hesitate to use normal buckshot beyond about 20yds.

In contrast, companies using specialized wads can keep this patterns tight for a lot longer. Federal’s FliteControl wad is very effective, and at 25yds you can get all 9 pellets of 00-buck into a 6” circle. We tested it and noted that acceptable accuracy on it goes to about 40yds on a torso target. I have no experience with Hornady’s TAP shotgun load, but it’s supposed to be similar in performance. So you have specialized wadding that effectively doubles the range of buckshot.

Slug accuracy depends on what slug and barrel you use, be it smooth bore with rifle slugs, or sabots in a rifled barrel. Rifled slugs generally see 100yds accuracy, sometimes slightly farther, before they start dropping like a brick. In contrast, you will see the high velocity sabots easily pulling 200yd accuracy. My longest shotgun kill on a deer was 175yds with a Hornady 300gr 12ga H2k slug using a Benelli SBE with scoped rifled barrel zeroed at 100yds.
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Re: Shotgun accuracy tables

Postby Holland&Holland on Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:06 am

Not to get called out as a nit picker again but Cheney was the one doing the shooting in that incident.
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