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Thread: VN Era shotgun loads

  1. #1
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    Default VN Era shotgun loads

    I was reading an American Rifleman article about VN era shotguns. They said that at one point the loads went from 00 Buck to Number 4 Buckshot as it was more effective for some combat purposes. I don't know much about shotgun ballistics. Can anyone comment on why they might have made this change?

  2. #2
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    27 pellets as opposed to 9 pellets...........I've only seen the OO Buck loads. Have heard of 12 ga flechet rounds, but have never seen any.
    be safe, enjoy life, journey well
    da gimp
    OFC, Mo. Chapter

  3. #3
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    We were issued #1 shot and flechet rounds. I took a flechet round apart to see what the darts looked like. Small very pointy, silver colored with four fins at the rear. These darts were very hard. Never counted the number in a 12ga round.

  4. #4
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    In the early to mid 60s[prior to fleschette rounds]I always was issued OO buck from the arms room[ it seems there was some regulation against slugs!].I never saw #4 buck as an issue item,however, I can surmise , in the bush, that the #4s may give better coverage rattling around through the foliage up close. In later tours [66-67, and 70-71]fleschette rounds were readily availabe for 12 ga. and the M-79 grenade launcher.The OO buck round for the M-79 was VERY popular with grenadiers in the bush,but I don't think there were any #4s for the "pooper". I asked a young PFC grenadier how he liked the M-79 and he said, "Captian I don't like it worth a d*mn. It takes x meters to arm and I'm scaired that a "Charlie" will jump out too close to have it save me."I said,trying to be wise beyond me years, well son,I reacon that 40 mm.grenade to the chest would do lots of damage even if it didn't explode".The PFC got a smile on his face and said,"thanks sir, I have worried about this for a long time but I never thought of it that way!" Nick

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by albert View Post
    I was reading an American Rifleman article about VN era shotguns. They said that at one point the loads went from 00 Buck to Number 4 Buckshot as it was more effective for some combat purposes. I don't know much about shotgun ballistics. Can anyone comment on why they might have made this change?
    Can't remember the "why" (although I'm sure there is one) but in the late 70's or 80's every Federal agency switched from 00 to 4 Buck.

  6. #6
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    The Military did issue some No. 4 buckshot during the Vietnam War. It was called XM257 and had hardened shot that was packed in such a way to give it a higher velocity and a tighter pattern than 00 buckshot. Didn't seem to catch on, though.

  7. #7
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    The 00 buck has a certain range before the shot slows down too much to be effective. Before that range the 9 pellets usually spread so far that the multiple hit possibility has dropped to a too low point. The 27 pellet number 4 was to give the proper mulitiple hits at the max effective 00 penetration range. At that range , however , the lighter pellets did not retain the penitration ability needed.
    We went from heavy enough but not enough of , to enough of but not heavy enough. People went back to the 00 , and the 12 pellet loads became more popular. The actual " best " is the 1 buck of 16 ( IIRC ) pellets. It loses pattern at a longer range than 00 but maintains enough penitration over that range. By the time this was figured out , the damage done by the effectiveness of the number 4 was done and so number 1 never caught on .
    Chris

  8. #8
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    All of the buckshot I saw during that time period (I got out in 1969) was 00 Buck in solid brass shells. I didn't see any other shot issued for anti personnel purposes until I went into law enforcement and then the rationale for it The old shells didn't have buffered shot, those soft pellets really deformed and so the pattern opened really quickly. #4 buck had more pellets as emangee 1917 said and therfore the possibility of more hits. The advent of buffered shot in the 1970s made all buckshot pattern better but the law enforcement preference stayed with #4 buck at least until I got out in the late 90s.

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    True , in the LE light , less penatration is a good thing sometimes.
    Chris

  10. #10
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    You guys interested in USGI shotgun ammunition might enjoy seeing the thread on that subject over at the US Militaria Forum. Lots of photos of different types of USGI shotgun ammo, including Viet Nam era shells, are shown.

    http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/foru...ic=125973&st=0

    Regards,
    Charlie Flick

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