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How Far Is a Shotgun Deadly?

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Matt presents an interesting competition shotgun here: the barrel ends before the mag tube ends, which has gotten everyone freaking out, he says, because people are of the opinion that the shot is going to spread out. He demonstrates that it is not the case by firing a round, and the shotgun fires well enough.

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He says everyone knows that yes, a shot will spread with this design, but video games and movies would have viewers believing that it spreads much quicker than it actually does. He tests this by putting the barrel of the shotgun around five feet away from a paper target and fires. There are two holes: one large one from a wad that holds all of the lead BBs in it, while the other hole was made by the lead BBs. At five feet, the spread is only about the size of a half-dollar.

But Matt has chokes at the end of the barrel – silver tubes inserted inside the barrel that constricts the diameter of the barrel, making the BBs come out through a smaller hole. So what happens if there’s a bigger choke? He puts in a bore that is opened more than the other choke, loads the shotgun, and fires at the same paper target. The second shot opened up a lot more, creating more damage in the form of a larger hole and spread in the target – but the difference was only significantly more.

Matt wants to find out how much these chokes spread a shot at longer distances, so he has set up four more targets. He fires at 10, 20, 30 and 40 feet using the full choke. At 10 feet, the spread is pretty tight, but as the distance grows, the spread becomes wider with most in the middle. At 40 feet, the pattern resembles a group of polka dot holes, with a smaller hole in the middle. This proves that shooting at anything at 40 feet with a shotgun will still do plenty of damage.

He puts in the cylinder bore with a wider opening and fires. The pattern at 10 feet already looks very different, with a much wider spread and a bigger hole in the middle. At 40 feet, the spread is all over the paper, meaning there wouldn’t be much damage using this choke.

He uses a combat smooth bore shotgun with no choke just for comparison, and the spread is pretty wide as close as 10 feet. At 40 feet, there is still some damage, and in real life, would still drop a person.


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