The first shell I'm firing is a buckshot load intended for home defense. Most HD encounters take place at very close range, and while a shotgun is devastating at close quarters, its pattern is overly tight. Federal engineers wanted a pattern that would open up quickly to make it easier to hit with at close range under stress. They eliminated the plastic shot cup found in most shells and instead just used a basewad over the powder. They also used softer lead 4 buckshot with a lower antimony content -- antimony being the element alloyed with lead pellets to make them harder. With no shot cup to protect them, the pellets deform against the bore and the pattern opens up very quickly. I shot this target at five yards and the pattern spread out to an eight-inch circle at that distance, which is remarkable. Most buckshot loads spread about three inches at that range.