Commercial 20 gauge Buckshot Loads; The Greatest 20ga Buckshot Test in the World Series Part 1

This is going to be the first post in a series about going down the rabbit hole of 20 gauge buckshot.  I am thinking that it is going to be at least 3 parts.  We are going to look at the commercially available loads.  These are the ones that you can buy off the shelf.

Part two, three, four and maybe more are going to look at patterning these commercial loads,  which choke constrictions work best, theoretical hand loads and their ballistics, and then patterning of those loads.  I’m also going to play with some TSS (tungsten super shot) size T shot.  I’ll do a dedicated post on that insane stuff.  The results are so unbelievable they will just distract from this series.

If you can’t use buckshot you probably wont find a lot to relate to in this series.  If you can’t use buckshot for deer, possibly you can use it for hogs, or predators.  A lot of youth use 20 gauges.  It’s what I started with too, I just never left it.  I own 12 gauges, but I like to suffer a bit, so I maintain the sub gauges.  With the advances in shot technology, and reloading, I think I can match and exceed 12 gauge buckshot ballistics.  I think with some tinkering I can make an honest 50 yard 20 gauge buckshot gun.


If you can use buckshot, deer dog hunt, predator or hog hunt, or are interested in big pellets in general you’ll probably find some usable info here.  Lets jump down this rabbit hole.

This first post is mainly a chart of the commercial 20 gauge buckshot loads I could find.  There are 10.  I don’t know which powder each uses, or which buffer each uses even though I documented their weight.


One thing you will notice is that none use wads of any sort, not counting the over-powder wad which does nothing for pattern.  I can tell you I’ve already shot 3 or 4 of these loads through my Jebs .590 choke and they suck even at 25 yards.  .590 is equivalent to improved modified or light full choke.  There are no standards in the choke industry.  No one has good knowledge of what constrictions do best with 20 gauge buckshot.  But not to worry, we are going to find out once and for all very soon.  I’m not expecting too much when I break out the board to really test all the loads at one time from a bench.


You can see velocity and energy for both the total payload and each pellet.  I highlighted some of the high numbers.  I’m looking for some good data on buckshot penetration.  But solid conclusions are evasive.  One metric I thought might be a good point to measure from is the energy of a high velocity 22lr.  More research is needed.  In part two we are either going to look at 20 ga Rem chokes, or pattern these loads through said chokes.  I’d like to get one or two more chokes to test, but the ones left I don’t have and would like are a little spendy and at this point I might have more dumped in chokes than the gun is worth.  Stay tuned.


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