Who Makes the Better Target and Dove Shotshells? Part Two
Four specific 12 gauge shotshells were evaluated through a Fabarm XLR5 Waterfowler, a Remington V3, a Benelli Vinci, and a Browning B-80. Some of the results with the Remington V3 and the Fabarm are on a brief video. For video purposes only, I used a sold black 17.25 inch Shoot N*C square to be able to better show the actual pellet impact. The actual pattern comparisons were conducted with the very precise Target Telemetrics system, shown below.
The shotshells used were Browning BPT (loaded by Olin-Winchester), Remington American Clay & Field, Federal Top Gun, and Fiocchi White Rino. All shells were 1-1/8 oz. loads of #7-1/2 shot. I was surprised by the results.
The Remington American Clay & Field loads were the easy pick of the litter, the most consistent shells from shot to shot, offering the best pattern efficiency for a specific shotgun / choke combination.
The Browning BPT loads were horribly erratic. That was not surprising, considering the tragically poor quality of the shot they contain.
I was disappointed with the Fiocchi White Rino loads. Although the shot quality appeared good, generally the same diameter, spherical, and 5% antimony, the patterns were not up to snuff, showing minimal performance improvement over the economical Federal Top Gun. To be fair, White Rinos are not at all the only shotshells that Fiocchi offers, but in this match-up the results were less than impressive.
The easy winner in this series of tests was Remington Clay & Field. As a bonus, it is also the best hull for reloading. Retailers set their own prices, of course, not manufacturers, but these Remington loads seem to run $80 for a case of ten 25-round boxes. The Fiocchi White Rinos are priced similarly. The most expensive shell, the Browning BPT came in dead last, despite not having a reloadable hull and selling for $90 a case, or thereabouts. Save your money is all I can say: if there is a shell that deserves a "do not buy" rating, this is it.
The Federal Top Gun shells rate a very honorable mention. Although substantially bettered by the Remington loads, they are available in many areas (including this area) for about $55 a case. For casual clays, they are a very solid value pick, and the 3.5% antimony shot is superior to most shotshells in their price category. They are available in 12 and 20 gauge only.
What is the kill zone of a dove? How many clays on the field have you seen with one, two, or even three holes in them that didn't break? When it matters, you can expect cleaner kills, less wounding losses, and cleaner breaks / additional breaks with what the Remington Clay & Field loads have shown to deliver. As always, there is no substitute for patterning your own individual shotgun, with its own individual barrel or barrels, your specific choke tubes, your ambient conditions, at the range or ranges you intend to shoot at. We all have to pattern our own shotguns just like we have to sight in our own rifles: there is just no way to shortcut that process.
Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.