Nickel Plated F Coyote Load Looks Promising

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 .

Pellet count and penetration table
Pellet count and penetration table


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.

27 pellets in a 10
27 pellets in a 10″ circle at 40 yards, this load and choke will kill coyote

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.

Hevi-shot BB, Rem. Turkey X-tra Full choke, 32 pellets in 10
Hevi-shot BB, Rem. Turkey X-tra Full choke, 32 pellets in 10″ at 40 yards, this is a coyote killer too

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.

Lead T shot, Dead Coyote Choke, 40 yards, 18 in the 10
Lead T shot, Dead Coyote Choke, 40 yards, 18 in the 10″

Next up will be killing a few coyotes with each.


Nickel Plated F Buck Coyote Load
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Nickel Plated F Buck Coyote Load
Testing nickel plated F buck coyote load.
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9 thoughts on “Nickel Plated F Coyote Load Looks Promising”

  1. I’ve found Winchester Varmint-X in BB to pattern nicely in a Patternmaster choke.
    I was shooing a Mossberg 930 using the Code Black (Goose) choke.
    Do you have any gel penetration data for the Winchester load ?
    Chokes by Briley and Carlson’s Dead Coyote did not fare well.
    Thanks for the info.

    1. Jody, according to KYP shotgun ballistics software, copper plated BB at 1,300 fps gets 3.7″ of gel penetration at 44 yards. That is with the inputs adjusted for my typical conditions at 5,000 feet elevation.

    2. Let me see if putting an image in a reply works.

      Penetration chart

      The Hornady BB load listed should be comparable for penetration, as it’s also BB shot at 1,300 fps, which is the same as the Winchester Varmint X load.

      1. Dave,

        The Hornady & Winchester loads seem to lack down range energy.
        Do you consider these two loads to be adequate for coyote ?

        1. Within reasonable ranges, yes, lead BB will definitely kill coyote. For close in, tight cover work, it’s high pellet count and decent pattern spread can be assets. That said, I personally do prefer loads with better penetration.

  2. nickel plated F 1-3/4 oz=======what do you mean by the “F”?? Can I buy a similar load, over the counter? So many different loads out there.
    Here in central California farmland I’ve used only shotgun to kill my 30 coyotes this last winter..Remington 870 turkry/predator , Carlson coyote choke, and 3 1/2 ” Dead Coyote T shot,, has dropped ’em out to 80 yards> I really believe in thier moto—-“I didn’t come this far to miss”

    Really enjoy your read FRED

    1. Fred, “F” is the size of the buckshot. F buck is .22 caliber. It is the next size bigger than T shot which is .20 caliber. For lead buckshot coyote loads, the sizes are:

      T – .200
      F – .220
      #4 – .240

      As far as I know, there isn’t a factory load with F buck. It’s a hand load only proposition. In the lead shot, the F has more energy and penetration than T shot. With a higher pellet count and denser patterns than #4 buck. My experience has been that F has all the penetration needed for coyote with better patterns and more pellets on target than #4. I think it’s the sweet spot for lead buckshot coyote ammo. But, again, as far as I know, you do have to load your own to use it.

      – Dave

  3. I cannot think of a better coyote load than good old 00 buck. It’s how hard you hit them not how often.

    1. I don’t agree, at all, for my purposes there are many loads that work much better than 00 Buck, but to each his own!

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