I did some pattern testing with my hand loaded shot shells in my 870 recently. Shot three loads, HS BB 1-1/2 oz, lead T 1-1/2 oz, and nickel plated F 1-3/4 oz, through three different chokes each, Mod, Turkey Extra Full and Dead Coyote.
Using my 870 Express 12 gauge, at 40 yards. All 3″ loads. Shooting standing up on my hind legs. Wind was blowing pretty good.
Circles are 10″. Drawn around the densest part of the pattern after the shot. Figure I’ll treat pattern density and getting it centered on point of aim as separate issues.
So, this little chart first. I think having the pellet count, velocity and penetration numbers handy help put everything into context. The data is from the KYP ballistics program.
The “3.7 Gel Yards” column is the distance KYP calculates each load to penetrate 3.7″ into ballistic gel. The 3.7″ is a number Bob Morris came up with based on his experience, as the minimum needed for killing coyote. I’m just running with it .
Skipping right to the chase! The 1-3/4 oz. NP F shot with a Dead Coyote choke was the clear winner of the day.
That’s 27 pellets in the 10″ circle. 45 pellets hit the 24″x24″ backer. There are 49 pellets in the load. So, 55% of the pellets in a 10″ circle at 40 yards, that should rug out a coyote pretty good!
I know, one shot, hardly qualifies as data. Need to shoot four or five in a row, and see what the shot to shot variation is like. But, for a variety of reasons, that wasn’t the plan today. One shot of each load and each choke was all I was good for this time.
Still, that F shot load is showing some real promise.
This was the best pattern with 1-1/2 oz. of Hevi-shot BB, with a Rem. Turkey Extra Full extended choke. I was disappointed in the pattern with this load and the Mod choke – will do a more thorough comparison in the future though. But with 32 out of 72 (44%) in the 10″ circle it also looks like a coyote killer. I noticed this load does hit low, compared to the others too. A good thing to find out, as I will be trying these on coyote.
And this was as good as I could do with 1-1/2 oz. of lead T shot, with the DC choke. With 18 of 51 pellets in the circle (35%) I think it’s the least impressive of the three loads, but still a definitely serviceable coyote load.
Next up will be killing a few coyotes with each.