0000 Super Buckshot
Deer Hunting 12 gauge 3 1/2 Load
And 10 gauge 3 1/2 Load
Using Ballistic Products Inc. 0000 Super Buckshot
And Reloading Products
Warning: Reloading is dangerous. This article is given as a guide. It works for me with the shotguns and materials referenced below but may not work for you. Follow your own published reloading manuals and don't exceed maximum component equivalents. Failure to comply with standardized warnings of reloading; lead and all other pellet types; dram equivalence; powder and primer storage and measurement; component applications and the safe appropriate use of firearms per se or the use of published data exactly shown may result in accidents with serious injury and/or death to the shooter and/or bystanders.
Before you even think of reloading 0000, please check your State hunting regulations to see if 0000 is allowed. In the Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations under "Legal Use of Firearms" it says, "No restrictions on shot size except for spring gobbler season...." Therefore at the time of this article in Virginia, 0000 is allowed.
I have been searching quite a while for a load, which would stretch out the distance for those long shotgun shots. Having watched two truly great bucks laugh at me as my 000 pellets rained down in a swamp twenty yards before them as I shot six times each at them, convinced me I needed something which would have more knock down power at greater distances than a shotgun is supposed to be used. I am not a proponent of shooting long range (150 yards +) at deer for fear of just wounding the animal, but there are those instances when you see a monster and you just have to try. On the day above, the deer were absolutely memorable. The first deer I just herded to my friend Bob who had a 30-yard shot. The deer measured 30 mm in diameter at the base of the antlers with 7 1/2 inch G2s and an 18-inch spread. It was a perfect eight point deer and largest he had ever shot. The other deer, his twin, just leapt away laughing. This set me on a quest to find larger shot.
The one I let get away and Bob got!
Ballistic Products Inc. (http://www.ballisticproducts.com/), along with their fine line of reloading materials and reloading manual, was the answer. As of today, I am able to place 8 out of ten 0000 (.38 caliber) pellets in an 8-inch circle at 50 yards with every shot with my 12 gauge and 10-11 out of 12 in the same area with my 10 gauge.
The following is how I obtained this accuracy:
Shotgun: Benelli Super Black Eagle 12 gauge 3 1/2 inch shotgun, 24 inch barrel. The shotgun has been Pro-ported and the forcing cone lengthened by Mag-na-port International, Inc. (http://www.magnaport.com/index.html). This was a necessary operation for my shotgun and reduced groups tremendously. It also has a Kicks HF X-Full choke (which is for steel shot but is actually an improved modified choke for lead shot). The improved modified size choke limits the number of fliers encountered from last second constriction of large shot.
MEC Steelmaster 3 1/2 inch
New Federal 3 1/2 shells (already primed)
37 grains of Blue Dot powder (1226 f.p.s.)
One X12X (an "X" Seal Overgbore Gas Seal)
One NC12 (Nitro Card Wad)
One TEF12 (Teflon Shot Sleeve)
Ten 0000 Super Buckshot (randomly stacked) (1 7/8 ounces)
Five dips of Original Shot Buffer
One COS12 (Clear Overshot plastic Disk)
One 5/8 inch wooden dowel
Load the Federal 3 1/2 shell (new and primed from Ballistic Products Inc.) with 37 grains of Blue Dot powder.
Insert the X12X gas seal and then the NC12 Nitro Card on top of it. Use the 5/8 inch wooden dowel to push down firmly the Nitro Card and X12X on the powder beneath them.
Insert one TEF12 shot sleeve by finger into the hull until it conforms to the shell. It is perfectly sized to spread out with both ends just touching forming a circular Teflon inner wrapping. (Without the TEF-12, leading of the barrel may occur with decreased performance.)
Drop in ten 0000 Super
Buckshot. Due to the large size of the buckshot (.38 caliber), the shot
will randomly stack. Tap the shot
shell lightly with your fingers to arrange them at their lowest stacking.
Using a Ballistics Products dipper and Original Shot Buffer, slowly dip in approximately five scoops of buffer while lightly tapping the shot shell to let the buffer settle in the void spaces around the buckshot. The goal is to have enough buffer in the shell to cover the shot by approximately 1/4 inch. Be careful not to let the buckshot rise above the buffer while tapping the side of the shell. The shot must touch each other and stay in its original position while dropping the buffer in around them.
Insert one COS12 overshot plastic card. I have used a .030 inch thin overshot card, which is paper. I don't recommend this with the 12 gauge 0000 load. With the randomly stacked shot, you do not get a flat platform upon which to place a flexible paper overshot card. Upon crimping, one side of the overshot card will press down at an angle. I have found that perfect crimps rely upon a perfectly flat base. The COS12 gives you that flat base.
Now that you have covered the shot with about 1/4 inch of buffer and have the COS12 overshot plastic card on top of everything, take your 5/8 inch wooden dowel and press down firmly on the overshot card. The overshot card should be perfectly level in the shell at this time. If not, you don't have enough buffer in the shell. Take out the overshot card, drop in a tad more buffer and repack. Using the wooden dowel will compact everything in the shot shell (without protruding 0000 buckshot bumps out the side of the shell) and will leave you with about a .45 inch gap at the top of the shell.
Crimp the shell. The crimps will come out perfectly every time. If you have bumps on the side of the shell after crimping, you are doing something wrong and should readjust your crimping and/or buffer amount. Your shell might not load in your shotgun without having perfectly smooth sides.
Finally, go to the range. See how your shells load and cycle through your action without shooting. Next, shoot your shells one at a time. Check your weapon for any problems. Check your first fired shot shell for any problems. Seeing no problems, load your magazine and fire three shots. Recheck everything. If everything is fine, pattern your shotgun. Finally, go hunting and take home some game!
I also have a 10-gauge
Browning BPS shotgun. This shotgun
is also Pro-ported and has had the forcing cone lengthened in a 24 inch barrel and
is topped off with a Kicks HF X-full choke (actually an improved modified choke
for lead shot).
I use a MEC 600 Junior Mark
V 10 gauge reloading press for this shotgun shell.
I can load twelve 0000 Super Buckshot (2 1/4 ounces) in a 10-gauge new
Federal 3 1/2 shell. The 10-gauge
size allows for the shot to be stacked uniformly side by side, two on two.
For these shot shells, I use one X10X ("X" Seal
Overbore Gas Seal) then two #NC Nitro Card Wads, a #TEF-10 Teflon
Shot Sleeve, twelve 0000 Super Buck Shot, buffer and a Thin Overshot Card
I used a different buffer
than that in the 12-gauge, #MIX-47 (Mix #47 Buffer).
Dip in enough buffer to come to the top of the Teflon
Shot Sleeve and a .030 inch Thin Overshot Card is used in place of the Clear
Overshot Disk. For these rounds, I
placed the shot shell on top of my rifle brass-cleaning vibrator while pouring
in the buffer. The vibration worked
much better than just tapping the side of the shell while loading buffer.
The paper Thin Overshot Card
can be used with this load as the 0000 buckshot lay inside the Teflon
Shot Sleeve coming exactly to the top of the wrap.
The Thin Overshot Card sits perfectly on top of the 0000 buck, buffer,
and the Teflon
Shot Sleeve giving you a level flat base upon which to crimp.
Prior to crimping, remember to lightly press down on the overshot card
with your wooden dowel to firmly seat everything in the shot shell and insure
the overshot card is perfectly level.
With 43 grains of Blue Dot
(1267 f.p.s.), I get a 50-yard pattern of 10 to 11 shot in an eight-inch circle. Wow, that's shooting!
However, you should note, a pump 10 gauge throwing heavy shot has quite a
pounce. I only recommend it for
someone who doesn't mind receiving quite a recoil! This is not a shotgun that you can shoot at the range all day
without going to the chiropractor the next day for a fix.
Using Ballistic Explorer version 5.5.4 by Oehler Research Inc. (http://www.oehler-research.com/explore.html), the buckshot paths for the 12 gauge and 10 gauge are very similar.
at 50 yards, the shot should drop 1.4 inches at 75 yards, 4.3 inches at 100
yards, 9.1 inches at 125 yards, and 16.3 inches at 150 yards. 200 yards
should be about a 36 inch drop. Out to 150 yards is about all you can
expect to really knock out a deer. However, I have put shot randomly in a
200 yard target. This is really just too far to be reasonable. Out
at 100 yards, I aim dead on and get three pellets in an 8 inch circle.
After that, the buckshot keeps spreading out and you get fewer pellets in the
kill zone. My conclusion, keep your shots closer than 150 yards.
Remember though, just one .38 caliber 0000 pellet placed in a vital area should
be able to kill a deer on out to 150 yards.
Zeroed at 50 yards, the shot should drop 1.4 inches at 75 yards, 4.3 inches at 100 yards, 9.1 inches at 125 yards, and 16.3 inches at 150 yards. 200 yards should be about a 36 inch drop. Out to 150 yards is about all you can expect to really knock out a deer. However, I have put shot randomly in a 200 yard target. This is really just too far to be reasonable. Out at 100 yards, I aim dead on and get three pellets in an 8 inch circle. After that, the buckshot keeps spreading out and you get fewer pellets in the kill zone. My conclusion, keep your shots closer than 150 yards. Remember though, just one .38 caliber 0000 pellet placed in a vital area should be able to kill a deer on out to 150 yards.
I really believe these are the best shotgun loads for deer hunting I have
ever come across. Please remember
the initial warning at the beginning of this article.
Reloading can be dangerous.
Any day in the woods is a good day. Good luck.