Low Velocity Plusses

Dear Bruce:

Thanks for the advice. I think your advice on trap shooting is a lot better than the advice I get from some “full time” trap shooters. It is hard to find a good trap shooting coach. The ones I have run into are good shots, but are not good teachers or coaches. I guess my main reason for looking for a new gun was that most trap shooters are shooting a mono gun of some type for singles and handicap.

Actually, everything you said is true. I use Remington Nitro 27’s 1 1/8 ounce for all my shooting. My friends use 1 ounce loads with 2 3/4 drams of powder for the reduce recoil. They keep telling me that there is no difference between their 1 ounce load and my 1 1/8 ounce load except for the recoil. I tell them with that logic, they should use 3/4 ounce loads to reduce recoil even more. As far as Isaac Newton and I are concerned, 1 1/8 ounces of shot moving at 1250 fp has more potential energy to break targets then 1 ounce of shot moving at 1150 fps. The perceived recoil on the autoloader is definitely better.

OK! I am going to stay with my autoloader. I think I’ll spend my money getting a fancy wood stock for the 11-87 and maybe a $350 fitted aluminum gun case.

Thanks again!


Dear Peter,

One thing that you might consider is going to a slower shell than those Nitro 27s. As an old motor cycle racer, I’m as enamored of speed as the next guy, but not in shotshells. While you would never get me willingly to give up pellet count by going from 1-1/8 oz to 1 oz, I don’t believe that the 1250 fps of those Nitro 27s is at all necessary for most trap shooting. You’ll break just as many targets with a 1-1/8 oz load starting at 1150 fps. Here are the numbers that made me go with the slower shell:

Recoil in an 8# gun with 1-1/8 oz at a MV(3 foot) of 1250 fps is 19.13 ft/lb. Everything the same, but at 1150 fps is 16.02 ft/lb. That’s a 16% recoil reduction.

What do you give up for this 16% recoil reduction? At 40 yards a #7-1/2 started at 1250 fps has 1.14 ft/lb energy (Lowry’s ballistics program). Everything the same, but started at a 3 foot MV of 1150 fps, the 40 yard energy is 1.03 ft/lb. Just about every “pellet strike on target” formula considers 1.00 ft/lb adequate, you don’t really get much return in usable energy for that extra recoil.

The reason behind all this is that muzzle velocity is one thing, but it’s really only the velocity of the pellet when it hits the target that counts. One of the main laws of air resistance is that the faster something starts out, the faster it slows down. What starts out as a 100 fps speed advantage three feet from the muzzle, is only a 30 fps advantage at 40 yards were it counts. The 1150 #7-1/2 arrives at 40 yards at 607 fps, the 1250 pellet at 637 fps. 30 fps is nothing! Nada! Insignificance itself. Shell to shell variation from the same box can easily be 30 fps. So you basically take more recoil and get nothing for it.

Also, (all things being equal), the pattern from a 1250 fps shell can’t be as good as that from an 1150 fps shell with identical components. The 1250 shell has to have a more violent start. This distorts more pellets due to “setback”, resulting in a poorer pattern. Has to be. Got to be. Physics is physics, even when I make it up.

When you go to an 1150 fps shell in that soft 11-87, you’ll have to smell the powder to remember that you’re shooting. There won’t be enough recoil to tell you.

So, by going from a 1250 fps shell down to one of 1150 fps, you save 16% in recoil, suffer no ballistic disadvantage and get a better pattern. Do we have a winnah! Yes, indeedy folks.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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1 Response to Low Velocity Plusses

  1. Dennis Bosch says:

    Thanks so much for posting this. I will reprint it for our Scholastic shooters. Noting hurts the new shooter worse than all that recoil.
    Coach Dennis Bosch


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