Heavier or Faster Shells Make Any Difference?

Sir Technoid,

Two questions kind Sir:

I do not seem to be recoil sensitive in anyway. Perhaps because I shoot quite a bit and all manner of rifles, pistols and shotguns. My clay’s gun is a Browning 525 Sporting. I think it must weigh 50 pounds or so, give or take a few. Anyhow, what difference does an eighth of an ounce or a 100 fps make in performance?

I think therfore I am confused.

Thanks in advance,


Dear Steve,

Congratulations on not being recoil sensitive. I’ve also been accused of insensitivity, but not as to recoil.

1/8 oz of shot or 100 fps does make a recoil difference. In an 8# gun and using a 1200 fps load, going from 1 oz to 1-1/8 oz raises recoil 27% from 16.1 ft/lb to 20.4 ft/lb.

Or raising the 1-1/8 oz load from 1200 fps to 1300 fps, raises recoil 24% from 20.4 ft/lb to 25.2 ft/lb. Over time, this will affect most people, but who is counting?

Is it worth it? Well, going from 1 oz to 1-1/8 oz does give you over 12% more pellets. If you maintain a give standard for an acceptable pattern fringe, 12% shot more means that your effective pattern can be increased by a good bit. If your pattern of #8s is 77% and your fringe is a 2 pellet strike, 1 oz of shot will give you a 26″ wide pattern of 531 sq/in. 1-1/8 oz of shot within the same parameters, will give you a 27.5″ wide pattern with 595 pellets in it. A pattern that is 1-1/2″ wider doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you win or lose a shoot by one bird, it does matter. Just as long as the extra 27% of recoil doesn’t bother you. (All you gas gun shooters who don’t have to worry about recoil, just smile and nod your heads.)

Does 100 fps extra speed matter? That’s a touch harder to quantify, so I’ll just make some stuff up. Yes, it matters a little, but not much. Example: A #8 pellet started at 1200 fps through a Modified choke has .84 ft/lb energy at 40 yards. A #7-1/2 started the same way has 1.05 ft/lb under the same conditions. Start that #8 at 1300 fps and the energy at 40 yards goes up to .92 ft/lb, still not an adequate replacement for the #7-1/2. You’d have to push that #8 a bit over 1400 fps to equal a 1200 fps #7-1/2 a 40 yards.

Yes, even a little bit of energy might help break the clay target better, but I really don’t know how much difference it makes. I’m sure it’s not a whole lot in any case.

So my take on it, using Ed Lowry’s ballistics program as above, is that more pellets definitely do make a difference, but a higher velocity benefit isn’t quite as clear. But it is certain that both cost a great deal more in recoil.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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