First, I'm not enamored with shotguns (except double-barreled ones for dove huntin') but yesterday We evaluated some new 00 Buck anti-personnel rounds from Federal ATK.
After years of shooting regular 9 pellet loads of 00 Buck I had formed a pretty low opinion of it except for inside about 20 yards.
We shoot a man-sized silhoette @ 25 yds max and usually 3 or 4 of the 9 pellets hit outside the scoring area....in other words, dispersion is awful.
A man-sized target could possibly be missed completely @ 50 yards by normal 00 buck loads.
Nay-not-so with this new Federal round! This stuff is amazing! It uses a "flight control" wad....very thick/tough plastic one piece wad. The 9 pellets are inside a shot cup but it isn't split into 4 fingers like a normal birdshot wad. The shot cup doesn't "peel back"...the air resistance eventually slows down the wad from drag and the pellets are then free to go on their merry way.
The old "rule of thumb" for normal buck is about 1" spread for every yard of range...(example 20" spread at 20 yards) although I think it's somewhat more than that counting flyers.
We shot this Federal Tactical load yesterday & @ 25 yards the spread was about 12"....at 15 yards virtually all the pellets would stay in a head size target!
We moved back to 50 yards and got a spread of about 24" to 28"....just about half of what we have been experiencing w/regular buckshot.
We deemed 35 yards as the range where you could expect maximum spread & still have a bunch of hits on a man size target.
We were using Rem 870 riot guns w/cylinder bore (no choke).
This load is rated at 1325fps.
I'm thinking it oughta work pretty good for any critter within 35 yards (jumping wild boar out of creek bottoms?)...beware though, up close it shoots so tight that you could manage to miss!
I'll bet if they would load this with harder pellets to resist deformation, it would really hammer at longer ranges.
Anyhow, if you are looking for some better than ever before buckshot loads, this stuff aint bad.