I informally patterned my 1300 Defender a few evenings ago and it was an eye opener. All I had was Federal "maximum" #1 buckshot loads and many Estate "tactical" #4 buckshot loads. The 1300 I have is bone stock and has a cylinder choke. Sighting is via the super fancy ubertactical fiberoptic front sight.
The goddamn shotgun sprays out the #1s at 25 yards something fierce- as in 18" plus. How plus? I dunno, as that is how wide the paper was. When I closed to 15 yards it was still close to filling the 18" paper.
I tried the #4 loads at 15 yards and it was a nice round pattern. I closed to 10 yards and it was 8" in diameter, nicely centered.
I will do these tests again and measure each and every pattern, as well as introduce some 00 and 000 loads.
Unfortunately I was heckled by a pair of spring loaded pepper poppers while I was trying to concentrate. They had to be dealt with and before I knew it I was standing surrounded by empty shells, the ringing sound of steel in my head and a barrel that was too hot to touch.
I learned two things. Patterning is better than operating on faith. The next time I do this I will carefully record the results. There was way more spread than I thought there would be. I think I could use some choke on some of these rounds to cut down on pattern size. Any recommendations for loads I should try would be appreciated.
The second thing I learned is pepper poppers are cheeky.
As for recoil, well, what recoil?
What he said.
Test and pattern each new round/load to find what your gun likes the best. And to get tighter patterns consider either having choke tubes installed or your barrel "back-bored".
The choke tubes have all the problems of choke tubes. But the back-boring is a one-time, permanent, every-shot modification that generally tightens up a gun's patterns. Ask your gunsmith about either job.
I once had a Rem 1100 with a cut-down barrel that would blow perfect donut shaped patterns with buck. A beautiful 25" circle with absoutely nothing in the center at 25yds. I had the barrel back-bored and the patterns tightened up by about a 1/3 and "filled in" nicely.
Interesting. Everybody is right- test the shells. I have yet to pattern any #1 buck, but it's on the list.
That seems odd though. I've got 8" groups with PMC reduced recoil 00 with my Defender at 25 yards.
Experiment with chokes. I've found that chokes do the exact opposite with buckshot that they do with birdshot. The same ammo above rendered 19" groups with a modified choke NEF. Granted, I switched guns, but that gun is semi consistent in groupings. I can count on an 8" groups at 12 yards, and 18 - 19" at 25 yards as long as it's 00. The thing that changes with the ammo brand is the gaps in the middle.
Keep testing and keep us posted.