Is It the Choke or the Shell?

Joe Hunter conducted the following shotshell comparison, pitting Remington Gun Club vs. STS vs. Nitro 27 shotshells.

"After purchasing two boxes of each load, five shells were sacrificed to examine the internal components and the other 45 shells of each were shot at the patterning board to evaluate their performance potential."

12ga Remington Gun Club Target load with 1 1/8-ounce of #7 ½ lead shot at a listed 1,200 fps.
12ga Remington Premier STS Light Handicap load with 1 1/8-ounce of #7 ½ lead shot at 3 DE (1,200 fps).
12ga Remington Premier Nitro 27 Handicap load with 1 1/8-ounce of #7 ½ lead shot at a listed 1,235 fps.

Lead Shot Details
Gun Club / “Hard Gun Club Shot”, #7 ½ ( 375 pellets / 485.5 grains).
STS / “High Antimony Hard Lead Shot”, #7 ½ (408 pellets / 492.2 grains).
Nitro / “High Antimony STS Magnum Shot”, #7 ½ (420 pellets / 503.1 grains).

"When I weighed out 492.2 grains of shot (1 1/8-ounce) and then counted the pellets to establish the “true” 1 1/8-ounce pellet count by weight, the Gun Club’s came in at 380 pellets/1 1/8-ounce (492.0 grains), the STS’s came in at 408 pellets/1 1/8-ounce (exactly 492.2 grains), and the Nitro’s had 411 pellets/1 1/8-ounce (491.8 grains). It would appear from the true pellet count that the pellets in the Gun Club’s are of a lower antimony content than the STS’s and Nitro’s. This would account for some of the lower pellet count in the Gun Club’s payload. The STS’s and Nitro’s must be very similar in antimony content since their true pellet count numbers were very close. Knowing that pellet size also influences pellet counts, I checked the diameter on 10 pellets from each load to get an average pellet size and all were within + or - .005" of the expected .095" diameter for #7 ½ lead shot."

Of course, what matters most is how they perform so here are some pattern numbers from a 12-gauge Browning Citori w/ 28" Invector-Plus barrels and Briley flush chokes to allow for performance comparisons (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).

Gun Club / 216 (58%)
STS / 277 (68%)
Nitro / 267 (64%)

40 YARDS / M
Gun Club / 236 (63%)
STS / 293 (72%)
Nitro / 302 (72%)

Gun Club / 260 (69%)
STS / 295 (72%)
Nitro / 307 (73%)

Gun Club / 263 (70%)
STS / 313 (77%)
Nitro / 309 (74%)

40 YARDS / F
Gun Club / 272 (73%)
STS / 321 (79%)
Nitro / 321 (76%)

"As far as the GCs are concened, they just could not keep up with either the STSs or the Nitros when it came to putting pellets in the pattern at 40 yards with any of my chokes. Heck, the GCs with the full choke could only get close to the LM choke performance of the STSs and Nitros. The GCs did however perform up to factory standards for the choke, i.e., + or - 5% for F / 70%, IM / 65%, M / 60%, etc.

The STSs and Nitros were pretty much a dead heat, there just isn't enough difference between the STS and Nitro raw pattern numbers to worry about. Through the LM and LF chokes the STS load put a few more pellets in the patterns, through the M and IM chokes the Nitros put a few more pellets inside the pattern, and with the F choke they both had the exact same average pattern number."

Up to 12% more pellets to start with, and beyond that . . . . higher pattern efficiency.
The best example is the "Modified" one. Many people assume a choke marked "modified" means something. It doesn't.

40 YARDS / M
Gun Club / 236 (63%)
STS / 293 (72%)
Nitro / 302 (72%)

Same gun, same choke, same payload weight, same shot size. Yet, it could be 236 pellets in a 30 inch circle, or it could be 302 pellets in a 30 inch circle. That's right at 28% more pellets in a 30 inch circle at 40 yards. And, there are far worse shells than Gun Clubs. Consider what that 28% is:

28% is MORE than the difference between Improved Cylinder performance and “Extra Full” or "Super Full" choke performance. It isn't just the choke, it isn't just the shell . . . it is the specific combination of both that really matter.



Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.



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