Reasonable self-defense: Testing the RIA VR82 model

My friend and I rated the Rock Island Armory VR82 20 caliber shotgun as an alternative to the commonly used 12 caliber 12 shotgun as a home defense shotgun. Rock Island Armory VR82 caliber 20 can be an acceptable solution for people of smaller stature. We are still experimenting with VR82 and have not reached a solid conclusion about their suitability and reliability.

I recently performed several three gauge 20 gauge # 1 pattern tests from my VR82 using a full choke. I tested the Rio Ammunition Group 20 g and Game Load with nine # 1 buckshots at 1345 feet per second (FPS), Monarch High Velocity with nine # 1 buckshots at 1345 FPS and Nobel Sport 9 pellets # 1 buckshot at 1300 FPS. I failed to get any Federal # 1 buckshot or any other US-made 20 gauge # 1 buckshot.

During several sessions, I fired five shots from each manufacturer’s No. 1 round. In addition, because I noticed the incorrect labeling of the commercial 12 gauge charges, I opened the shells from all three manufacturers and measured the diameter and weight of the pellets. They all actually contained buckshot # 1.

The figures below show a representative view of each load at the specified distance – not to scale.

At ten yards, all costs showed an acceptable pattern. The average size of a Rio cargo model per ten yards was 4 inches. The monarch was 6.25 inches and Nobel’s cargo was 8.5 inches.

At fifteen yards, the Rio’s cargo opened to an average of 9.25 inches. The Monarch’s load was 10.75 inches and Nobel’s load was 11.5 inches. These are average measures, so the Monarch and Noble loads have caused larger patterns. The Rio load was quite consistent between 8-10 inches.

At twenty yards, the Rio cargo opened to an average of 12 x 12 inches. The Monarch load was 22 x 14 inches and the Nobel cargo pattern was so large that I didn’t bother to continue that round for that distance.

Within the normal distances of townhouses, at ten yards and under all loads, it throws an acceptable pattern. The burden of Rio is probably acceptable within a distance of about 12 yards.

There is a low light training season in Texas, and in the afternoon, just before the low light training began with a fellow shooter, I ran a VR82 test. As an experiment, we both fired Rio, Monarch and Nobel bullets in low light and after dark. The blast from the mouth of the Rio and Monarch cargo was quite tame; however, the shot from the mouth of the Nobel Cargo was impressive.

In this case, we have recorded several examples of the Nobel Sport # 1 missile. I’ve seen flashes of sparks (shooting birds and shotguns) at steel targets before, but these were impressive. I believe that sparks are caused by a different metal in the alloy than lead. At the time we were shooting, I thought the streak of light in one of the photos was material returning from the target. When I looked at the video, I realized it was coming from the ejection port. I was also surprised by the flame coming from the discharge hole in one of the distillation apparatus. I guess burning powder grains.

Below are two short video assemblies of a two-shot and three-sided sequence with a Rock Island Armory VR82 20 caliber shotgun against steel targets just for fun.

Video sequence of two shots

Video sequence of three shots

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David Berry

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