For all of you closet 20ga lovers, Federal recently released the 20ga 2 3/4" Personal Defense #4, 24 pellet buck. I took some to the range for a comparison to Federal Premium #3 20 pellet buck and Remington Express #3 20 pellet buck. All shooing was done with a Remington Youth 20ga with a 18.5" bead sight barrel. Modified and Full choke tubes. I did not use a I/C choke as last time I patterned buck the modified was the same as I/C.
The Remington is the only "high brass" load and it was also a little longer overall. The Federal loads are copper plated which should help penetration.
As with other patterning I've done with 20ga buck from 5-10 yards the patterns were about the same, ~8". The pattern opened up a little at 10-15yrds, `10", but not drastic. However after 15-20yrds the patterns opened up quite a bit. More than I would want for HD. The difference between modified and full and modified choke was also minor, ~1-2" at 10yrds, but as one would guess, I noticed fewer flyers and a tighter center patterns with the full choke.
As for Federals new PD round nothing overwhelming to report there. Patterns were about the same. Felt recoil was a little less but barely noticeable (only 75fps less than standard Federal). Id think theyd be a good choice for the 20ga SxS's like the Stoeger Double Defense or Coach. The Remingtons had the most thump but they are rated at 1220fps. I still feel my Mossberg 930 12ga with Federal Low recoil loads has less felt recoil than the 20ga offerings. The 20ga still has the 12ga beat in light weight and compactness. I would have liked to see the PD round with the fight control wad. They make 20ga turkey offerings with it. I thought they’d find a way to use it for the buck shot.
All and all not much difference between them. I give the Federals a leg up over the Remington due to the copper plated shot, otherwise shoot what you can buy at your local store. A 20ga with #3 or #4 buck will put an end to any wrongdoer. Looking at the targets you can imagine the shreaded mush that the medical examiner would have to sift through. Side note, order some of these life size color targets from letargets.com. Its alot different shooting at someone who looks real and is looking back at you.
Federal PD Modifed Choke 10yrds
Federal PD Full Choke 10yrds
As the guy on Laugh-In used to say, "Verrrrry interesting".
Not sure that I would drop down to #4, as the #3 pellet has been the classic sized buck for the 20 gauge for many, many years. Not that much difference in size, but with pellets that small, every 0.01" helps.
I wish that Federal would load a 2 3/4" with #2 buck. The #2 buck works excellently in the 3" 20 gauge, but recoil is naturally kind of stiff.
For that matter, #1 could be loaded side by side, similar to the way #000 is in the 12 gauge. 8 pellets of #1 would be just about right for a 2 3/4" 20 gauge.
For some reason, the ammunition manufacturers seldom ever listen to my wishes, though.