#1 Buck Explained

When it comes to shotgun ammunition, you have a great deal of choices at your disposal. Most people are very familiar with certain types like the “00 Buck” but each bullet size and pellet count is a little bit different, making them better or worse at certain tasks.

Buck shot is large and for larger game like deer, while bird shot is for smaller game and birds in flight. The size of the bullets or “shot” will decrease as the number of the shot type increases. This means 000 buck is very large compared to #12 bird shot. The #1 buck is right in the middle in regards to size of the shot in each round in the buck category.

#1 Buck Applications

HuntingShot Size Chart - As the name implies, #1 Buck can be used for hunting deer and other game of all sizes at short to medium range though it may be less effective than the larger 00 Buck. This depends on where you live, as not all deer are created equal throughout the world. Deer in Idaho are much larger than deer in Florida on average.

If shooting in an area filled with small brush and thickets, the dispersion and rapid energy transfer of 1 Buck can be more desirable than even a .30-06 unless the range is extreme.

Home Defense- There is some debate about the best shotgun ammunition for home defense but 1 Buck has a lot to offer those who choose a shotgun for this application. The biggest advantage is a combination of penetration and contact area. If 00 Buck will shoot through 6 pieces of drywall and you live in a crowded apartment building, you might cause a lot of damage to property and possibly injuries. The 1 Buck will go through less drywall and have more pellets in the shot than the 00 making it a better choice for a lethal yet not as penetrative round.

The second half of the combination is that there are about twice as many pellets in a 1 Buck load as compared to the 00 Buck.  This leads to more wound channels and a greater likelihood of multiple system trauma, which is a known fight stopper.

Your shotgun itself will be a huge factor in both of these applications so you’ll want to go to a shooting range and try various types of shot at various measured distances. You might be surprised by cohesiveness of the pellets if you’ve never shot a shotgun before because a popular misconception is that the pellets just burst out immediately like spitting milk out of a straw. This is not how shotgun shells are designed to work, the pellets are held in a shot cup that keeps them from starting to spread until about 5-7 yards.

For home defense take a look around your home and adjust your shot and even your shotgun for those specific conditions.  While shorter barreled shotguns can help the pattern to open quicker, the real advantage is in the lighter weight and faster handling that the shorter barrel provides.  Many authorities on home defense agree that measuring the longest possible shot you will have in a home defense situation and using that as a starting point for patterning your shotgun, the results in different shot sizes and even brands can be surprising.

1 Buck is a great "compromise" load that doesn't really give up too much of anything on 00 or 4 Buck.  Whether loaded for deer, coyote or other game, or carried in your home defense gun, 1 Buck has good penetration and a great punch.