Shotgun Patterning, Part 3: Federal FLITECONTROL and More…

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series detailing my patterning tests with my Remington 870P SBS, I shared results that I obtained with ammunition from Hornady, Remington, Federal, Rio, and Herter’s. During my last range session, I tested an old Federal Low Recoil loading that probably predates the FLITECONTROL wad, both 8 pellet and 9 pellet Federal FLITECONTROL loads, Winchester Military Grade Buckshot, and the same Remington Law Enforcement Reduced Recoil Buckshot that I used in a recent shotgun class. The results were, as usual, not all that surprising.

I again followed the protocol that I identified in Part 1, with one shot at 5 yards, a three shot pattern at 15 yards, and a final shot at 25 yards.

Federal Low Recoil 00 Buckshot

First, some old Federal Low Recoil 00 buckshot that I have literally had longer than I can remember. I’m fairly certain that it predates the introduction of the FLITECONTROL wad, and it showed…


 Next, I shot both 8 pellet and 9 pellet Federal FLITECONTROL loads. Both have a muzzle velocity of 1325 FPS.

8 Pellet 00 Bucksot

9 Pellet 00 Buckshot

While there is not a lot of difference between the two, I have to give the nod to the eight pellet load. Everything hit the silhouette at 25 yards with both FLITECONTROL loads, but the flyers with the nine pellet load seemed to spread a bit farther. While both were some of the best performers out of my shotgun, I am not really satisfied when compared with the results observed out of my extra 18” barrel with a cylinder choke.

As I discussed in previous posts, I learned from Tom Givens, and experience has now shown me, that the FLITECONTROL loadings do better out of an open choke than they do out of a tighter modified choke.

A Federal FLITECONTROL wad recovered from a target…

Winchester Military Grade Buckshot

This load is reportedly loaded to military contract specifications and features 9 pellets of buffered 00 buckshot with a muzzle velocity 1325 FPS. I must confess, I was not impressed, except by the impacts of the wads on the target.

Remington Law Enforcement Reduced Recoil Buckshot

I didn’t expect much from this load based on my experience in class, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m still curious what the flechette appearing impacts on the target are indicative of. I don’t know whether I got a bad lot of the ammo, or if it really is just truly crap ammo. Based on everything I’ve heard and read, I’m leaning towards the latter. I won’t be buying any more.

So what have I learned in the process of patterning my short-barreled shotgun?

  • First, while this hasn’t been an exhaustive test, Hornady and Federal Premium seem to be the leaders of the pack. This is not surprising given the Versatite and FLITECONTROL wads.
  • Second, choose your choke constriction carefully. (I am fairly certain that my experience detailed in this series of posts has cemented Robert’s inclination toward Mossberg’s short barrel shotguns with cylinder bores!) I will probably send my barrel off to Hans Vang for his back boring and porting treatment. Tom Givens related to me how he went through three 870P 14 inch barrels before finally sending one to Vang Comp to achieve acceptable results. While back boring won’t change the modified choke constriction, perhaps it will still help overall.
  • Third, returning to my first point, I can confidently rely on either Hornady ammunition or Federal Premium for defensive use inside the confines of my home. However, if I had to fight with my shotgun at longer ranges, I would have some concern about where errant flyer pellets might impact, even with the loadings that perform best out of my gun.

I may yet have more to share on this subject in the future, and I know that Robert has his own version in the works. Stay tuned!

As always, thanks for reading! We welcome civil discourse, questions, and comments. Please follow us here on the blog or on our social media.

4 thoughts on “Shotgun Patterning, Part 3: Federal FLITECONTROL and More…

  1. I know this is an old post, but the odd impacts with the Remington load is because the grex used in the shell is about the size of oatmeal. Not sure what they are trying to accomplish with that load, but that stuff is crap. Worse than just the normal Remington 00 buck loads.

    Liked by 1 person

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