Ballistics by the inch

My new (bull)puppy.

Last August, I got to shoot a new IWI Tavor TS12 shotgun. You can find the full review here, but here was my conclusion:

Final thoughts: it’s a hell of a package. I’m not sure I’d use it for “sport shooting”, but for fun at the range or as a home defense gun, yeah, it’d be fantastic, though a little pricey.

Well, after thinking about it for a few months, I decided to go ahead and get one. Here it is:

I put a Crimson Trace CT-1000 optic on it:

And took it out to the range this morning to break it in.

IWI recommends minimum shot weight and velocity for the gun, for it to operate properly. I started out with some standard target loads of 2.75″ #8 shot, 1.125oz, 1200fps. I set the gas regulator to the “L” (light) setting for these light loads. The first couple of test loads operated correctly. So I loaded all three tubes to capacity, just to run through them as quickly as I could. Everything was flawless.

Time to try some heavier loads. I went to full-power 00Buckshot. These were 2.75″ 9 pellet 1325fps loads. I kept the gas regulator on the “L” setting, since some reviewers suggested this was a good idea for the initial break-in. But the gun cycled too quickly, and caught the spent cases in the mechanism. I reset the gas regulator to “H” (heavy) and tried again. All the subsequent 00Buck and slug rounds fired & cycled perfectly.

To this point I was just getting a feel for how the gun felt, operated, etc. Because while I had tried my friend’s gun previously, it was just with half a dozen rounds in a “what’s this weird thing like to shoot” go. Now I wanted to see what it would take to become proficient with my own gun.

My initial thoughts were, in no particular order:

  • The trigger was mushy. To be expected with a bullpup.
  • Recoil was mild, if the gas regulator was set correctly.
  • Getting down behind the optic took some practice, and I was happy for the riser on the CT-1000.
  • Getting used to the paddle-catch to change tubes took a bit of practice.
  • But damn, that’s a quick way to burn through ammo.

I set up some cardboard (about 18×18″) and a sheet of 11×17″ paper at 25 yards to see how well the optic would indicate where the pellets hit from 00Buck. I had the “Improved Cylinder” choke in the gun, and was getting patterns of about 14″.

Next I put up a larger piece of cardboard (24×48″) at 50 yards to see how well the optic would do with basic Brenneke slugs. These are some old Remington 2.75″ 1oz 1560fps rounds I had. I hadn’t done anything yet with the optic other than just mount it and turn it on, so this was just a test.

Here were the first three shots, shot freehand while standing:

That’s a 4″ group. Out of a brand new gun, with a brand new optic, the first time I’d shot slugs out of it. Since 50 yards is about twice the distance I would ever imagine using this gun for, I’ll take it.

Next up: 00Buckshot at the same 50 yards. Here’s that result:

I didn’t run back and forth, just fired 5 rounds with the optic at the same position I had used for the slugs. At 9 pellets each, about half were on the cardboard, and notably most were on the lower half of the board. But once again, this is about twice the range I would ever really envisage this gun would be used at, even for hunting, and about 4x the range I might use it for home defense. Again, acceptable.

Lastly, I reset the gas regulator to “L”, and loaded it full with the target loads. I figured it was time to see what fun I could have at speed on the falling plates on my range. Here’s a run at 15 yards:

That little foot shuffle I do at the start? I was standing on the wire rope that sets the plates, so they weren’t falling. I had to get off it in order to knock them down.

I’m sure I’ll get much faster with it, with practice. But as you can see, even being completely new to the gun, it’s easy to achieve a surprising amount of speed with it. You can definitely go through a lot of ammo with one of these guns, there’s no doubt about it.

Overall, I’m very happy with the Tavor TS12. Altogether I ran about 75 shells through it in an hour, half the light target loads, the other half full-power, high-brass slugs and 00Buck. It’s been decades since I shot a 12 gauge that much in that short a period of time, and my shoulder isn’t the slightest bit sore.

Yeah, the TS12 is a keeper. And I really like the Crimson Trace optic.

Jim Downey

March 3, 2021 Posted by | Discussion., Shotgun ballistics | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

IWI Tavor TS12 review

This past weekend I got to try the new(ish) Tavor TS12 semi-auto shotgun, made by IWI.

This gun got a LOT of attention when it was announced at SHOT 2018, and generated a fair amount of interest later when the commercial version was finally released not quite a year ago. And for very good reason: it’s a hell of a package.

OK, the basics: this is a gas regulated semi-auto 12ga shotgun, which will handle either standard 2.75″ or 3.00″ Magnum shotgun loads. It has an innovative three-tube magazine design which will hold up to 16 rounds (15+1) of 2.75″ shells or 13 rounds of magnum shells. It is a bullpup design, with an 18.5″ barrel and 28″ overall length. It weighs 8 pounds unloaded. It uses standard Benelli/Beretta choke tubes. It has M-LOK compatible rails, a continuous Picatinny rail on top, and multiple sling mount points.

So, one of my friends got a new TS12, and wanted to try it. He figured we’d test it with his standard home defense ammo, Dupo 28 explanding steel slugs. The Tavor had not been fired previously, and we decided to try it without an optic, just using the Picatinny rail on top as a guide.

We looked the gun over and figured out the operating controls. It’s very intuitive, and we quickly got the hang of loading and using the gun. Since it was brand new, we expected a little bit of break-in time, and indeed the first few rounds didn’t cycle completely. But after about a half dozen or so, it ran flawlessly.  The automatic-reload feature when you move from one tube to the next is really slick, once it was working correctly.

What were my impressions of it?

Well, when you first look at it, the gun *looks* big. I think that is due to the boxy shape of it. The proportions are a little weird, and you figure that it’s a shotgun, so it has to be big. But because it’s a bullpup design, it actually isn’t that big. And when you pick it up to use it, then it feels much smaller, more compact, and very well balanced. In fact, it feels like a tight little package of lethality. This video from TFB really shows how it operates in heavy use.

And it feels really solid. For me, the ergonomics were excellent, and even shooting these substantial 1oz slugs there was minimal perceived recoil. That’s thanks to the gas operating system. Comparing the TS12 to the KelTec KSG, well, there’s really no comparison in terms of recoil. The KSG, while a cool little package (it’s slightly shorter and weighs less than the Tavor) is fairly brutal to shoot. Of course, the KSG is about half the price.

The fit & finish of the TS12 are very good. Like I said, the gun feels solid and well made when you hold it. And when you are just looking it over, the quality is likewise evident. Of course, IWI is a well known firearms manufacturer with a solid reputation.

One note: when the TS12 was announced, it was said to be completely ambidextrous. The final version released isn’t, though you do have your choice of getting a left- or right-hand version, according to the IWI website.

As mentioned, we decided to try the TS12 without an optic. Which was a little difficult, wearing muff-style hearing protection, but quite doable. And at about 20 yards from the target, it was easy to put multiple rounds right where you wanted them:

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Final thoughts: it’s a hell of a package. I’m not sure I’d use it for “sport shooting”, but for fun at the range or as a home defense gun, yeah, it’d be fantastic, though a little pricey.

Jim Downey

August 25, 2020 Posted by | Discussion., Shotgun ballistics | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Effective shotgun ranges.

One of the questions we get regularly is asking whether we’re going to do some velocity/chop tests on shotguns. For a variety of reasons (both logistical & legal) we’ve decided that such tests are beyond the scope of what we want to tackle.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s not something of interest to us, collectively and individually. I’ve previously posted about tests which John Ervin at Brassfetcher has conducted showing the effectiveness of buckshot at 50 yards. And from personal experience, I knew that slugs from a 12 gauge are effective for hunting (or self defense) out to 100 yards, depending on the skill of the shooter.

But how about slugs at 200 yards? And how about DIY ‘cut shells’, which mimic slugs? And, say, if you did happen to hit a target at 100 yards with buckshot, would it be lethal?

Via The Firearm Blog, this video explores all these questions, and provides some VERY interesting answers:

It’s well worth the time to watch the whole thing. But the bottom line is that 00 Buckshot pellets would still be lethal at 100 yards, if you could connect with your target. And slugs? Easily to 200 yards, with a fair amount of control on hitting your target. At 300 yards, they’re still effective, but the trajectory is such that it’s much more difficult to reliably hit the target. And at 400 yards … well, watch to video to see for yourself.

Kudos to Iraqveteran8888 for conducting some really solid and informative tests, and sharing that information with the public.

 

Jim Downey

July 16, 2016 Posted by | Anecdotes, Data, Discussion., Links, Shotgun ballistics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buckshot effectiveness at 50 yard range.

John Ervin at Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing is a friend, and I have a lot of respect for his research. We talked about this project a while back, figuring out how to get reliable data, and it’s cool to see the results.

The whole vid is worth watching, but if you’re looking for just the results, skip to about 7:00. For his conclusions based on the results (with some excellent advice), skip to about 9:30.

Bottom line: use at least 00 buckshot, if you want it to be effective out to 50 yards.  Know your gun, and test it to see what loads perform best at that distance.

 

Jim Downey

September 15, 2013 Posted by | Data, Discussion., Links, Shotgun ballistics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments