The last comparison I saw of the Olin/Winchester 12 gauge 9 pellet 00 buck vs Winchester 12 gauge 9 pellet 00 buck was several years old now. I finally got around to getting some of the military 00 buck at the local Meijer and wanted to see if there were any differences with current production shotshells...
The "military grade" 00 buck is produced by Winchester (marked as Olin which is the parent company that would have contracted with the govt for production). There is no year of production on the box or rounds. These are 12 gauge 2 3/4" 00 buckshot and have the following listed spec (from Cabelas):
"Buckshot loaded to military specifications is now available to the civilian market. Each 12-gauge 2 3⁄4" shell has a nine- pellet load of buffered 00 buckshot produces a muzzle velocity of 1,325 fps. All cases are green with a black anodized head for low visibility. Five rounds per box." I have seen this described on other sites as "contract overruns" available to the public.
This is a comparison to Winchester Super X 12 gauge 2 3/4 00 9 pellet round. The Super X is also listed as clocking in at 1325 fps.
The crimping and headstamps are the same between the 2. A peak inside of the shells. There is no discernable difference in shotshell casing thiskness. There are 9 cast lead pellets in a white buffer that sits upon 2 compressed fiber wads. The wads have a thin plastic seal on the top and bottom of each wad.
Carefully getting down to the powder charge... - It is held in place by a white opaque plastic retainer in both shells and the powder visually is the same. (sorry no scale to measure)
From a previous review by another reviewer back in 2010, both of the older production rounds had brown paper wads.These seem to have changed to brown compressed fiber wads that are sealed top/bottom with a thin tape-like liner. My guess is that this current wadding (compressed fiber with tape sealing vs unsealed brown compressed paper previously) will be less likely to be affected by high humidity. Paper/cardboard temds to attract water, so the "upgraded" wads might store better in humid environments - total conjecture.
Both shells are manufactured by Winchester and differ externally by anodizing and green hull color of the military shell. Crimping, headstamps, and most all of internal components appear to still be the same between the 2 with a change to compressed fiber wads from preious production years. There was no weatherproofing/sealing on the primer (al la centerfire 5.56 ball rounds) or differences in crimping of the military shell. It is hard to tell and likely minor, but the white buffer appears to be more uniform, slightly larger and a slight greyish-white in the military shell and the fiber wadding appears to be "more compressed" (while both Win and Military wads are 0.75 inches in height), less "rough" (see pic 3) and more uniform also in the military shell. Only internal differences and they might be my old eyes...
While there may be a difference in the type of powder (reduced flash, burn characteristics, weight, etc), the velocities for both are listed at 1325 fps.
Next up is the range report when I can get out to shoot here shortly.
EDIT to now include Range Report
Finally got to the range and here are the patterns out of my Shotgun:
Shotgun: Benelli M4 | 18.5 inch barrel | Modified choke
Targets: 18 x 24 inches with 9 inch center circle
I patterened the loads at 7, 15 and 25 yards. At 25 yards, I shot 3 separate targets and took the "worst" pattern to see if there were differences - there were.
NOTE: This is NOT a test to bash the loads - I simply want to see if there is a difference between the 2 in my barrel...
At 7 and 15 yards, the loads were identical. At 25 yards, I had 1 shot of the 3 taken of the Super-X, that had 2 pellts off the 11x24 in paper. The other 2 (25yard) Super-X shots still has all pellets on the paper but were wider than the Military.
Table measurements were inches. -2 denotes 2 pellets off paper.
Reference circle is 9 inches in diameter
At least in my Benelli M4, the military shell was a bit more consistent so perhaps there is something more than cosmetic differences. I was impressed that for a "standard" shell (no cup wadding), the Military version kept ~75% of pellets in a 9 inch circle at 25 yards. These are not the best shells but they are not the worst. They go bang each time I pull the trigger, cycle reliably in my semiauto and at 15 yards (HD distance), both pattern hand sized groups (at ~6 inches). YMMV
Again, this is not a post to bash these loads, I only put up these pics to show how my barrel patterns a couple other loads.
For comparison, my barrel loves Federal PD132-00. At 25 yards, the spread is less than 6 inches
Flight control is not a given in every barrel though. This is TAP FPD (2.75 in, 1600 fps with versatite/flightcontrol wad). This round is worse than the Winchester Military (13.5 in Military vs 15 in for the TAP FPD) out of my barrel.
Awesome job, cant wait for the range report
What are the wads heights, out of interest?
Wad heights were the same between the two at 3/4 (0.75) inches exactly. The "quality" of the military wad seemed a bit better, less rough. If you look closely at the 3rd closeup pic with the wads, the commercial Win looks rougher to my eye. Could be shell to shell variation though.
I'm interested in seeing how they shoot compared to the older versions. It looks like Winchester is still doing the same thing as before; using the exact same load in both the SuperX and the military shells, and just changing out the hull and packaging.
Regardless of the packaging and aesthetics, the stuff still sucks.
Originally Posted By SRT_312:
Regardless of the packaging and aesthetics, the stuff still sucks.
I don't guess you'd be wanting to do head-shots at 60 yards with it, but for up-close fighting it looks like just the thing. Keep in mind that I'm not obsessed with squeezing the tightest group out of a 12 gauge, as some are. It's a tool for a specific purpose to me, and if I need precision shooting with mine, I'll use a slug first.
Count me as one of those some. The only buckshot I will pay money contains some variation of the Flite Control wad, be it Federal, Hornady, or Speer. When I can get a smaller patter at 25yd than this crap makes at 5, I dont see the point.
I have zero use for unpredictable or exaggerated patterns.
There has begun a bit of a cult in the self defense community in recent years, that if your buckshot pattern isn't the size of a dollar bill at 40 yards, your ammo is crap. Really? Two concepts: 1) Know your pattern and, 2) ammunition selection based on task at hand.
I concede that a tight pattern for a particular buck load gives an extended range vs a load that is more open. But low recoil, tight patterning loads may not be worth anything at the distances they still pattern cardboard well Failure to stop example But what about hit probability during movement? And what about groups of stuff? A quarter sized group of buck is more likely to miss a moving "thing" than 9 pellets the size of a watermelon. Are we so worried about stray pellets/shot we have forgotten about selecting ammunition to the task at hand? A group/pack of feral dogs? A gang/group of crackheads? A running coyote? A running crackhead...
My point is, that a load that patterns "big" has a specific application vs one that is stupid tight at the same distance. By understanding a shot pattern, the shooter can intelligently select the situation that this round would best fit. Don't discount something because you don't know where to apply it. Know what it does, then figure out if/when you can use it. That is the whole point of patterning.
Originally Posted By IsotopeGear:
The shotgun is the most versatile weapons system out there IMHO. By simply switching the ammunition I use, I can go from hunting a 1500 pound moose to a half pound dove with the same gun (my apologies to my military friends for using the G-word). The variety of ammunition is its' strength - and weakness. This is a thinking man's tool. Ammo selection to the task at hand is key. It is not a rifle. If you want a rifle use one. Or use a slug in particular situations. There has begun a cult in the self defense community in recent years, that if your buckshot pattern isn't the size of a dollar bill at 40 yards, your ammo is crap. Really? Two concepts: 1) Know your pattern and, 2) ammunition selection based on task at hand.
We are talking about buckshot here. I concede that a tight pattern for a particular load gives an extended range vs a load that is more open. But what about hit probability during movement? And what about groups of stuff? A quarter sized group of buck is more likely to miss a moving "thing" than 9 pellets the size of a watermelon. Are we so worried about stray pellets/shot we have forgotten about selecting ammunition to the task at hand? A group/pack of feral dogs? A gang/group of crackheads? A running coyote? A running crackhead...
My point is, that a load that patterns "big" has a specific application vs one that is stupid tight at the same distance. By understanding a shot pattern, YOU can intelligently select the situation that this round would best fit. Don't discount something because you don't know where to apply it. Know what it does, then figure out if/when you can use it. That is the whole point of patterning.
Thanks for the education. You really ought to consider the guy you are talking down may know more than you give them credit for.
I am well aware of patterns, what they are, how they act, and what uses they serve. I am of the opinion, one shared by the vast majority of folks who carry shotguns for serious use, that a tight, predictable pattern is desirable in defensive situations. Cheap, shitty ammo not only patterns poorly, its quite unpredictable. Flite Control loads are also considerably more accurate than any other buckshot, most especially the cheap Super X type stuff. This, to me, is a far larger benefit than the size of the shot pattern. In addition, the reduction of the size of the pattern causes more severe, concentrated tissue damage. Its not a cult that believes such things, its the majority of those who know better. There is no place in a defensive situation for stray pellets. None. This is isnt hunting or sporting clays. The Flite Control wad has risen to the forefront of the defensive shotgun for a reason, and CDI points aint it.
Cheap shitty buckshot has its place. Serious defensive use is not one of them.
IMHO, there is still a place for standard loads like SuperX and similar loads. FliteControl does not replace standard buckshot...it complements it.
I choose the shotgun because I want the increased hit probability of a pattern...otherwise, I would use 5.56.
Standard buck is my general purpose load, while I retain FliteControl for longer distance.
Great comparison sir
I would love to see a comparison to the Winchester double xx load . It is listed at 1450 fps and copper plated . Wonder if it is worth the extra cost.
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