When I conducted research for a series of articles on buckshot ammunition, I was surprised to find that most of the # 00 buckshot rounds I encountered were not actually loaded with # 00 bucks. Has it always been that way and nobody told me?
At first I noticed something that seemed to be the size difference in the pellets when I split buckshots from two manufacturers for some pictures – even though both were supposed to be # 00 buckshots (standard pellet # 00 has a diameter of 0.330 inches). At first I thought that visual tricks played a difference in color; however, when I measured the pellet sizes from each shell, the pellets in the shell shown in the image on the left were larger than the standard pellet diameter # 00 and the pellets in the shell on the right were smaller.
As soon as I discovered the discrepancy, I obtained as many 12 gauge # 00 factory rounds that I could put my hands on and a bag of # 00 nickel-plated shots from Ballistic Products, Inc. I opened five rounds from each manufacturer and measured the diameter and weight of all the pellets in each shell. Then I averaged the diameter and weight measurements for all pellets from each manufacturer, including 45 pellets, which I randomly selected from the bag Ballistic products # 00 buckshot pellets.
The load of # 00 buckshots from all US manufacturers (except one) averaged just over 0.320 inches, or the average of # 0 buckshots. Remington was an exception because I suspect it was a “roundness” problem. Remington pellets were almost elongated with some dimensions over 0.33 inches and others well below 0.32 inches. I averaged Remington’s measurements to the best of my ability. I discuss this in more detail below.
All Fiocchi “00” rounds were loaded with Shot No. 1. Tornado # 00 was the only round actually loaded with Shot # 00. Tornado is a trademark of the M90 ammunition factory in Croatia. The Ballistic Products buckshot and the Sterling and Luce # 00 buckshot shells had all pellets larger than # 00 buckshot. Sterling and Luce are brands that seem to be loaded in Turkey. The table below shows the average pellet size of each manufacturer.
* Update: I received several loads of Hornady TAP Light Magnum # 00, some Nobel Sport # 00 Law Enforcement 12-Pellet Grenades, a some Tunet (made in France) # 00 9-law enforcement pellets. The average diameter of the TAP pellet is 0.318, Nobel Sport # 00 pellets the average diameter is 0.328 and Tunet # 00 Law Enforcement the average pellet diameter is 0.325.
The weight averages for the pellets loaded by each manufacturer are, with some exceptions, the normal weight for specific buckshot sizes. In other words, Fiocchi # 1 pellets weighed an average of 41.0 grains, which is close to the standard weight of 40 # 1 grains. The Federal, Speer and Hornady pellets weighed 48 grains, which was close to the standard # 0 48.3 grains. The table below shows the average pellet weights of each manufacturer.
* Update: The average weight of Hornady TAP Light Magnum # 00 pellets is 48.8 grains. Nobel Sport # 00 Law Enforcement 12-pellet shell the average weight of the pellet is 58.5 and Tunet # 00 The average weight of 9 law enforcement granules is 57.3 grains.
As you can see, Remington, Winchester, Nobel Sport and Tunet were an exception in terms of pellet weight. This is where the “roundness” seemed to have entered the image of the Remington buckshot. When I measured the diameter of the Remington pellets, I noticed that they are far from perfectly round and this may correspond to the weight of the Remington pellets.
In terms of roundness, the pellets from Ballistic Products Inc., Federal, Speer and Hornady, as well as the pellets from foreign manufacturers, were all very close to spherical in shape and their weight range reflected this consistency. I guess so lead alloy v Winchester, Nobel Sport and Tunet pellets can play a role taking into account the above standard weight.
Does the target object match the size or weight of the pellet that hits it? Probably not. However, I find it interesting that many manufacturers do not load the # 00 pellet size they advertise. When you think about it, a pellet that weighs 5 grains less than the pellet standard saves a pound of lead for every 1400 shots produced. ** That’s a significant amount of lead, given the hundreds of thousands of shots that manufacturers make.
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** There are 7,000 grains per pound.