00 Buck Vs 4 Buck: Which is better for hunting?

In the world of hunting, ammunition selection can make all the difference, and the choice between 00 Buck and 4 Buck shotgun shells can be pivotal. These two options offer distinct advantages, so let’s delve deeper into the nuances to help you make that perfect shot when it counts.

When it comes to hunting, the choice between 00 Buck vs 4 Buck shotgun shells boils down to one key factor: “precision.”

In this article, we describe the difference between these ammunition. No need to waste time, let’s get started.

00 Buck

00 Buck ammunition, or “double-ought” Buck, is a potent choice for hunting. With nine .33-inch lead pellets in a 2.75-inch shell, it’s perfect for more giant games like deer or wild boar. Its widespread pattern and high stopping power are effective for close to medium-range hunting.

Yet, it’s best for shorter ranges due to over-penetration risks. Ideal for close-quarters accuracy and stopping power.

4 Buck

4 Buck ammunition is versatile, featuring around 21 .24-inch lead pellets in a 2.75-inch shell. This balance between shot count and pellet size makes it practical for medium-sized game like coyotes, foxes, or feral hogs.

Its smaller pellets offer improved accuracy and less over-penetration risk, making it great for versatile hunting—ideal when precision matters, even in longer-range scenarios.

00 Buck Vs. 4 Buck – Key Differences

00 buck vs 4 buck

There are a few critical differences between 00-buck and 4-buck ammunition.

The first difference is in the size of the pellets.00 buck pellets are typically .33″ in diameter, while four buck pellets are .24″ in diameter. It means that 00 bucks will have more pellets in a given shell than four bucks.

The second difference is the amount of powder used in each shell type.00 buck shells typically use more powder than four buck shells, which means they will have more muzzle energy.

This difference is most noticeable when comparing surfaces of the same weight.

For example, a one oz.00 buck shell will have more muzzle energy than a one oz—four buck shell.

The third difference is how the pellets are spread when they exit the barrel.00 buck pellets tend to spread out more than four buck pellets. It is due to the difference in pellet size and the amount of powder used.

The fourth difference is in the price.00 buck shells are typically more expensive than four buck shells. They are usually used for hunting and self-defense, while four buck shells are generally used for target practice.

Muzzle Velocity

If you are using a 60 grain variant of the 00 Buckshot, you will see a maximum FPS of 1325. That’s quite high for a shotgun. Due to the pellet size and number, it’s often considered as the pinnacle of short range hunting.

As for the 4 buck, you can expect around 1200 FPS of velocity. That is a subject to change depending on the type of ammunition and the brand of ammo you have in your hand.


Due to it’s energy and peak FPS, the 4” buckshot is often considered for coyotes and deer from close range. It is also a great option for self-defense.

As for the 00 Buckshot, it’s known for it’s accuracy and the monstrous energy it is known for. You can expect around 1,690 ft-lbs of energy depending on the variant of the ammo you have in your hand. That’s no joke! A buckshot having that amount of energy can easily land you large animals and defend your house from all sorts of threats.

Using With Sight

Due to the higher FPS and energy of 00 Buckshot, it’s often paired up with sights. While you might fancy yourself a 3x or 4x magnified scope, that’s not necessarily the right decision.

If you are using either of these cartridges at short range, a night-sight, or a red dot sight for a shotgun will be more than enough.

In fact, if you don’t want to venture in accurate clay shooting or other competitions, then you don’t even need to invest in a sight. The iron sight of your weapon or a cheap night sight will be more than appropriate.

But I highly recommend using a red dot as it helps you keep track of your pellets and also ensures you are landing your shots from a range.


When fired, both 00 Buck and 4 Buck shotgun loads produce recoil. Recoil management is essential for maintaining accuracy and quick follow-up shots. Proper grip and stance can help mitigate the effects of recoil.

Shot Spread

00 Buck and 4 Buck loads can have broader patterns at close ranges. Adequate practice is essential to understand the chosen buckshot size patterns with your shotgun and barrel length.

Suitable Usage

Both of them are suitable and widely used for both self-defense and hunting-related tasks. Due to the lower spread of pellets, the 4 Buck is often considered a better choice for close-range and self-defense tasks.

On the other hand, the larger pellet size of 00 Buck makes sure you are hitting your target no matter what. Depending on the specific task you might have in your mind, their usage will vary highly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I mix 00 Buck and 4 Buck in the same shotgun shell?

Mixing different buckshot sizes in the same shell is not recommended, as this can lead to unpredictable patterns and performance. Stick to using one consistent buckshot size per shell.

What Is The Effective Range Of 00 Buck And 4 Buck Shotgun Shells?

  • 00 Buck: The effective range of 00 bucks is typically between 25 and 50 yards.
  • 4 Buck: The effective range of 4 bucks is typically between 25 and 40 yards.

How Many Pellets Are In A 00 Buck And 4 Buck Shotgun Shell?

00 Buck: A 00-buck shotgun shell typically contains nine pellets.
4 Buck: A 4-buck shotgun shell typically contains 27 pellets.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, “00 Buck” offers larger pellets for enhanced stopping power, making it suitable for more considerable game hunting and potent self-defense.

On the other hand, “4 Buck,” with its smaller pellets, is practical for small game hunting and self-defense scenarios where minimizing over-penetration is crucial. Your choice depends on your intended use, target size, and preference for pellet size and energy transfer.

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