Shotgun Patterning, Part 2: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly!

As promised, I’m sharing some more pattern testing results with my Remington 870P SBS. This time around, I shot Hornady BLACK buckshot, Remington buckshot, and the cheapest buckshot I could find, Rio Royal Buck buckshot. Suffice it to say, I chose the title of this post for good reason, and you definitely get what you pay for. When you’re buying ammunition to stake your life and the lives of your family on, don’t try to save money!


The Hornady BLACK buckshot is an eight pellet load with a muzzle velocity of 1,600 FPS that is marketed specifically for personal defense. I don’t know whether it uses the Versatite Wad, and I’m honestly not sure how exactly it differs from Hornady Critical Defense. (If any of our readers do know, please comment and educate me.) The Remington buckshot is a nine pellet load with a muzzle velocity of 1,325 FPS. Finally, the Rio Royal Buck buckshot is again a nine pellet load with a muzzle velocity of 1,345 FPS. All are 2 3/4 inch shells. I would only rely on one of the above for defensive use in my gun… and I’ll bet you can already guess which one is in my magazine tube as I type this.

As I did before, I fired one round at five yards, three rounds at 15 yards, and a final round at 25 yards. I explained my rationale for this sequence in the first article that I posted last week.

The Good (Hornady BLACK)


Just for comparison purposes, below are the previous results with Hornady Critical Defense… really not a lot of difference that I can see.


The Bad (Remington Buckshot)


I suppose it would get the job done, but compared to Hornady offerings, this load does not inspire confidence for me. There were definitely a couple of pellet strikes off the silhouette at 25 yards, and I counted 10 hits outside of the down zero with the three shot pattern at 15 yards. I will eventually compare this load with the reduced recoil version, but based on my recent experience in class, I don’t expect to see a lot of difference.

The Ugly (Rio Royal Buck)


I certainly am not trying to disparage Rio Ammunition here, but results are results. I specifically reversed the adjoining target backers to better see where hits off the silhouette were. Even at 15 yards, pellets entirely missed the IDPA silhouette. You can see those taped hits in the 25 yard photo, and the pattern was commensurately worse at 25 yards. Would you want to take a shot at a bad guy standing near your family with this stuff? I pose that as a rhetorical question only, of course.

I will probably finish up my pattern testing in another one or two range sessions. Then I plan to compare these results against some of the same ammunition shot out of my Vang Comp modified Winchester Defender 1300. I suspect that will cement my decision to send off my short barrel for the back boring and porting treatment.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to post comments and/or questions. If you’re not already, please follow us here on the blog or on social media.

7 thoughts on “Shotgun Patterning, Part 2: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly!

  1. I don’t know if they have if there is a difference in the wads between the Hornady Black and the TAP. Dissect one of the shells with your pocket knife, and it has a Versatite Wad in it!


    1. Dr. House,

      I’ll have to do that in the next week or so. Unfortunately, I’ve got to go buy more Critical Duty first! I’ll write it up with photos in a brief post…


      Liked by 1 person

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