Tuesday, December 11, 2012

External ballistics of buckshot

A ballistics calculator for round ball shooting is available as a free download via this link: www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/ctml_experiments/rbballistics/rbballistics.html . Hats off to the programmer for creating this calculator and making it freely available; it's a very nice tool.

I'm not much into muzzle loaders myself, but I do shoot buckshot out of a newfangled breechloader. Because buckshot is just a lot of small round balls, you can use the calculator to take note of the exterior ballistic factors affecting the flight of your pellets.

Among the things you can learn is how much buckshot drops at 100 yards if you know where to hold to hit at 30 yards, or at some other distance. I was interested to see that standard velocity 00 lands a little more than a foot low when held for 30. Smaller sizes and lower velocities drop even more. You can also find out how buckshot blows around in the wind and find out how much velocity and energy your pellets have at various distances. I have no intention to shoot buckshot at 100 yards, unless it is at zombies, but it is interesting to check the numbers. You may find more realistic uses for the program. Let's say you have a buck load and barrel combination that patterns well enough at 40 yards for ethical hunting, but you want to check up on the projectile energy out at that distance. The calculator has that covered.

To get you started with using the calculator, here are the nominal sizes of buckshot. There may be shot size  differences, small ones, from one shotshell manufacturer to another but these are the standard dimensions. If you want to be very precise you can mike the pellets and weigh them, but that's unnecessarily fussy: Buckshot is not a precision munition. The nominal sizes and the Connecticut Muzzleloaders calculator will tell you what you need to know.

Buckshot sizes (see also http://www.hallowellco.com/shot_size_chart.htm )

#4 -------.24 cal
#3 -------.25 cal
#2 -------.27 cal
#1 -------.30 cal
#0 -------.32 cal
#00 -----.33 cal
#000 ---.36 cal

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