RIO 12 Gauge Buckshot

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Not long ago I took my younger daughter and a cousin on a trip to a kid’s resort in the mountains. As usual, I loaded the truck with a top-notch first aid kit, spare clothes and the tool kit. I also loaded a Remington 870 shotgun. (The TriStar Raptor has since replaced it.) The 12 gauge was loaded with buckshot for the first two rounds, followed by two rounds of 12 gauge slug. My daughter didn’t blink, but her cousin Danielle gave her uncle an inquiring look. “I would like to stay at the top of the food chain,” was the only comment necessary.

Shotguns kick!
Shotguns kick, no doubt about it, but the effect at the other end of the range is awesome!

A 12 Gauge Shotgun is a Great Problem Solver

A 12 gauge shotgun is a great problem solver. It will take small game with game loads, larger animals with buckshot at moderate range and kill any animal in North America with a 12 gauge slug. A well named western Republican, lawman and buffalo hunter named Wyatt Earp used a shotgun with slugs during his time as a buffalo hunter—it suited his tastes and budget. (It isn’t well known that Wyatt was a Republican and that the cowboys were Democrats. Politics haven’t changed much—although the backbiting isn’t done with a shotgun these days.) The shotgun is a weapon and a weapons system, with the possibility of using flares, blanks, rubber ball and flash bang loads.

Zombie Target
This Zombie Industries target shows the effect of buckshot. Ouch.

A year or so ago, I purchased a good quantity of RIO 12 gauge buckshot for use in my training with the 12 gauge shotgun. I purchased it because it was inexpensive and readily available in times of shortage. It isn’t easy to find affordable 12 gauge buck and I simply wanted something to send downrange and to use in training young men and women on the shotgun. While I used inexpensive birdshot that doesn’t kick much for beginning training, it is necessary at some point to use the real deal. Buckshot has interesting properties. Buckshot tends to travel in strings. The leading balls might zip past a running target while the next balls in line in the string might hit it. When they strike a body, they tend to travel in pairs. They also do not carry as far as a rifle or handgun bullet. After firing several boxes of the shells, and watching my students do the same, I was impressed—never a failure to feed, chamber fire or eject. I wondered if this stuff goes bang every time—then perhaps it is good enough for duty use.

There are Three Ranges of the Shotgun

The first is a range at which the shotgun must be aimed as carefully as a rifle. This is usually about 7 yards with my open choked riot guns. By 10 yards, the pattern is set at about 4 to 6 inches with the pattern opening about an inch a yard after that. The RIO buckshot opens to about 16 inches at 25 yards with the Remington 870. Naturally, results from a shotgun with a full choke—or a choke at all—would be much tighter. The RIO shells get the nod for home defense. At any reasonable home defense range, the pattern is cohesive and effective. At longer ranges, the pattern is ideal for taking out a running coyote or other pest.

The bottom line—the shells are high quality with a full powder burn in the shotgun barrel. They burn clean and they always go bang.

That is all we may ask.

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RIO Buckshot Specifications

Product Length # Pellets Shot Size Diameter Velocity at 3 Feet
12 Gauge
Royal Buck RB129 2.75″ 9 00 .34 1345
Low Recoil Royal Buck RBLR129 2.75″ 9 00 .34 1200
Royal Buck RB1221 2.75″ 21 4 .245 1345
20 Gauge
Royal Buck RB209 2.75″ 9 1 .29 1345

Source: RIO Ammunition

Tell us about your shotgun and buckshot experiences in the comment section.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (4)

  1. I got my first 12 gauge when I turned eleven. That was 62 years ago and I still hunt with it. It’s a double barrel full choke Utica with 32 inch barrels. I’ve always used either 0, 00, or slug for big game and #5 shot for squirrel, rabbit, fox, coon, possum and turkey. #5 shot works for most medium to small game and there’s less pellets to puck out of the critter

  2. I use shotgun for small and medium game. Buckshot is usually the best choice for most situations and the short range of the woods. I bought a case of RIO, cheap, effective, patterns well, its very high quality shot for the price. The only thing I noticed was that it seemed quite dirty, but that’s a small problem for a high quality round at that price.

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