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Remington Hevi-Shot "B" .017 Cal

by L.P. Brezny

In a pellet size just under buckshot, BB is classed as the last of the normal waterfowl shot sizes, Remington Hevi-Shot "B" at .017 caliber is coming into the market place for 2004, and its effective range is just about unlimited. "Unlimited" is not a misprint here and I mean the B shot can be lethal on waterfowl to ranges as great as 90 yards based on early computer ballistics reviewing.

Taking B shot out on to the test range located in the White Gates area of the Black Hills, being one of the only safe backstops I could find to shoot the stuff (a whole mountain to shoot at). The following results confirmed my suspicions regarding this big pellet sizing of the now well known and deadly Remington Hevi-Shot . Locking the Remington 3" 12 gauge Hevi-Shot loads into a Remington 870 3.5" Express, then setting the barrel over my Chronotech Model 33 skyscreens for velocity testing, the chronograph returned a muzzle velocity of 1379 f.p.s. Using a three shot string, being these are not bargain basement loads at a couple of bucks a piece, the average for the new loads muzzle velocity stood at 1331 f.p.s. The shotshell box states the velocity to be an even 1300 f.p.s.

Right off recoil was an up front consideration with the new 3" 1 1/2 fodder. These heavy weight waterfowl loads are not just designed with dense Hevi-Shot pellets, but the payload is the same as the old lead shot short waterfowl 2 3/ 4" mags of thirty years ago. I was impressed, but had a hard time keeping my right ear plug in my head as the recoil kicked it out, and opened the 870 action as if it were a 50% autoloader. I was shooting off hand and not from the bench which would have doubled the pain without question.

Author during test trials of Remington Hevi-Shot loads. You need to dust off a whole lot of game to gain workable information regarding the new direction in non-toxic shot.
Choked It to Death
While I have been preaching about using more open chokes with Hevi-Shot for some time, in this case because the load is designed to shoot much further then 40 yards, I went to two high performance tubes after shooting a few patterns with modified chokes.

Shooting my Remington 870 Express Magnum mounting a Remington extra full Hevi-Shot choke tube, which doubles as a turkey tube, and a second gun being the Benelli Nova mounting the Strangler wad stop system, I shot patterns that were very workable to a range of 60 yards. When shooting the standard 40 yard pattern most percentage prints were inside the 95% mark, and held to 70% well out to 55 yards. Some fall off was observed at 60 yards regarding the big 1 1/2 payload of "B" shot, but for the most part all patterns were field workable to this extended range limit, and indicated even greater range extension if required. It should be pointed out, however, that I was testing in the Black Hills of South Dakota at an elevation of 4000 feet above sea level. Better patterns are generally the case in this thinner mountain air. Shooting on a hunt with the Wildfowl staff some years ago near Denver, Colorado, I was blown away by the net effect of T steel 3" on geese well out over the 50 yard mark. The lighter air resulted in the birds being damaged significantly by massive number of pellets in the pattern. This damage was well beyond what we generally see during sea level hunting operations over goose decoys.

My conclusion here is that when taking Remington Hevi-Shot "B" afield, your most likely working at extended ranges, and turning to long range high performance choke systems is by far the best plan if you’re trying to get the most out of these new bulldozer type loads.

Penetration Testing
In terms of penetration, the new B shot seems to have no end to its ability to cut things up and drive deep into test subjects and related material. Shooting slabs of salt pork about 1 7/8" thick the B shot just went through the material like a hot knife through butter at 60 yards. I have observed #2 steel bounce off slab pork at 40 yards, and even Hevi-Shot in fine #7 1/2 shot just get inside the surface of the tough tissue.

A Knock’m Down Production hunter shooting the new Savage Stevens 411 12 gauge side by side Remington “B” Heavy-Shot. Recoil was a problem with the fixed breech guns. These new loads are not easy-going on the guy or lady behind the receiver.
During one test a single pellet of Hevi-Shot “B” completely penetrated the pork slab sending a coil of rope-like material out the back side of the slab. This meat had been pulled by the quickly exiting pellet, and that indicated a spent pellet with a great deal of retained velocity left with it.

In my opinion, the pellet of Hevi-Shot “B” could have still penetrated to a lethal level to at least 80 yards. As to that penetration damage event, time will tell as the new shot is chambered in shotguns along the passing points and goose blinds during the coming year.

Looking Back at the Field History of Large Hevi-Shot
Even though Remington B is a new factory loaded shot size in Hevi-Shot the pellet size has been around for some time among we load development types. I worked with Jay Manafee of Polywad Inc. with both B and BB Hevi-Shot two years ago during tests involving hand loads and prototype factory loads against fox and coyotes. These are heavy skin and tissue type critters in terms of target classifications, and when coyotes come down with a given load, a goose doesn’t stand much of a chance at all within a workable range limit.
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