Federal New Force X2 Copper Plated Buckshot
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From Federal:

Upon impact, nine buckshot pellets break into up to eighteen, dumping more energy and doubling wound channels to deliver the best terminal performance possible in any buckshot load.

There have been vast improvements in rifle and pistol bullets over the last century, but buckshot has remained largely unchanged for more than 100 years.

During that time, generations of Americans have protected themselves, their loved ones, and their homes with buckshot-loaded shotguns, relying on buckshot’s ample knockdown power and oversized pattern to quickly and effectively neutralize any threat.

Federal, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of buckshot ammunition, recognized the opportunity to improve pellet design for buckshot. They set out to develop a buckshot load that hits like a train, forcing the target to absorb the full force of the pellets’ power. And because the payload is designed with the goal of remaining inside the target, it also minimizes the risk of over penetration. The result is their new 12-gauge, 2 3/4-inch Force X2 Buckshot ammunition.

Federal New Force X2 Copper Plated Buckshot

Force X2 is designed for close-range personal defense scenarios. The load boasts a 9-pellet, 1-ounce, 00 buckshot payload leaving the muzzle at 1,245 feet-per-second (fps). The pellets are copper-plated, and the payload is buffered. These features protect the pellets from deformation during the firing process, leading to more consistent patterns.

The shotshell is roll-crimped for a tight payload pack, and for no issues with leaky buffer. Other features include quality print on hull; a brass-plated steel high head; consistent, specially-formulated propellant; extremely reliable Federal primer with sealant; and more.

Force X2 utilizes Federal’s Triple Plus Wad Column (two-pieces: a W9 post with W6 shot cup) that is also found in several of their popular Top Gun and other buckshot loads. Since Force X2 splitting pellets need to create their own wound channels in order to segment, this wad system was chosen to help deliver the open pattern ideal for close-range performance.

Unlike traditional buckshot, Force X2’s 9 copper-plated, spherical-style pellets are designed with a central slit to initiate separation upon impact. X2 pellets use a high antimony, quality lead core that that customers come to expect from a Federal Premium product. The pellets central slit, or “mouth” leaves a defined hinge at the pellets edge, some say the pellets have a “Pac-Man” shape. Upon striking an object, each pellet is designed to separate and create up to 18 distinct wound channels that travel to an ideal depth for personal protection.

The result of splitting buckshot is massive target damage due to a larger transfer of kinetic energy caused by the projectile entering the target and its action of breaking apart inside. The action of dumping energy to break into smaller pieces also results in slowing down the pellets. In general, this effect also reduces over penetration, decreasing the risk to bystanders.

Because Force X2 segmenting 00 buckshot has a similar profile to standard 00 buckshot there’s minimal point of impact shift between these two loads. With an optimal muzzle velocity, Force X2 ammunition generates manageable recoil for faster follow-up shots while maintaining plenty of threat-stopping power.

Testing by Federal engineers conducted at the Federal Ammunition factory in Anoka, Minnesota showed patterns of 4 ½ inches at 7 yards and 14 inches at 20 yards using an improved cylinder choke. Patterns of 4 ¼ inches at 7 yards and 12 inches at 20 yards were achieved with a modified choke.

Tests using 10-percent ballistic gel were also conducted by Federal engineers. The range of penetration depth of the segmented pellets in ballistic gel is 5 ¼ to 14 ½ inches with an average of 9 ½ inches. The average depth when pellets start segmenting is 4.5 inches after impact.

Federal New Force X2 Copper Plated Buckshot gel test

Force X2 segmenting 00 buckshot produces up to twice as many wound channels as traditional 00 buckshot and effectively dumps large amounts of energy into the target for the best terminal performance available in Federal’s buckshot line-up. This outstanding terminal performance quickly and effectively eliminates threats, like no other, making it the premier ammo choice for personal defense shotguns.

Federal’s new 12-gauge, 2 3/4-inch Force X2 1-ounce 00 Buckshot ammunition is available in 10-count boxes and carries an MSRP of $18.95 per box. Federal ammunition can be found at dealers nationwide or purchased online direct from Federal. For more information on all products from Federal or to shop online, visit www.federalpremium.com.

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  1. Meh, would rather they restart the production line on the tungsten 00. Doesn’t meet consistent per pellet FBI minimums for penetration in gelatin?

    Nope. Hard pass.

  2. Or you could just use #4/#3 buckshot. Also, “an average of 9 ½ inches” of penetration isn’t something I’d be boasting about in a load intended for personal defense

    • “Split shot sinkers?”

      First thing I thought. Why not? Available lots of sizes. Puts the mold to use.

      A question for the good ‘Armed Intelligentsias’ of TTAG :

      What is the point of copper-plating lead shot or bullets? Does it slough off in the bore providing additional lubrication? Or is it just (as I suspect) a shiny-pretty designed to attract the buyer? It’s real common on higher-end 22lr bullets, but just handling them scrapes the plating off…

      • Geoff PR,

        I believe copper plating on bullets does two things:
        1) It prevents lead bullets from oxidizing.
        2) It eliminates lead fouling.
        3) It significantly reduces fouling.

        Number 1 is important because oxidized lead bullets get fuzzy and nasty and will not load properly.

        Number 2 is important because it virtually eliminates lead exposure when cleaning.

        Number 3 is important because it allow you to shoot a lot more rounds before having to clean to restore accuracy.

        I think manufacturers put copper on buckshot pellets because the copper shell is a bit harder than lead and reduces how much the pellets deform coming out of the barrel — which improves pattern tightness and consistency.

        • I’ve experienced the oxidation on some old Eley ammo I have, and it got ‘frosty’. That makes perfect sense…

        • “2) It eliminates lead fouling.
          3) It significantly reduces fouling.”

          Just handling them scrapes it off, there’s no way it survives down the bore…

        • Uncommon’s last point is the real motive. Less deformation of the shot equals less random fliers. Aerodynamic properties change due to dents, causing more inconsistent flight characteristics, hence fliers occur more often.

          Copper, zinc, and nickle plating are used by reason of their greater hardness as a preventative measure against. There’s a few exhaustive studies floating about with good data on the subject of dented vs. plated shot.

      • I would be happy with copper plated lead pellets for hunting, because if done right there will be little lead contamination of the animal that I intend to eat. Same reduced contamination if a human target survives. I do not see how these split pellets double the target damage since each pellet basically stops as soon as it splits, while traditional 00 pellets all penetrate to uniform depth. So I would like to have 00 solid buckshot, copper plated, same for hunting or defense.

        • 😀 Eye Eye.

          Of note; Tungsten doesn’t dent, holds more energy downrange, & zero lead content to be concerned about. Although there is the matter of price difference. Only thing is, they’re a bit harder on the choke than lesser materials, so accelerated replacement cycles are to be expected.

          If you look around carefully, you can find tungsten at greatly reduced prices compared to the link I posted above. Won’t name my supplier publicly, sorry, not wishing to cut my own throat.

  3. Not a fan of any segmenting ammo. In my view, split the weight, halve the penetration. Moreover, there really is no need to improve the terminal performance of 00 buck, is there? It has always been a “once and done” kind of a load at self defense distances.

    • I’m always for innovation and new ideas, but – like you – I’m also a bit skeptical of the claims. If an amount of mass is traveling into a target, its kinetic energy will be transferred into the target. Changing the physical surface area of that same traveling mass (e.g., splitting/fragmenting) won’t “dump more” energy…it would simply change the rate of transfer of the kinetic energy it already possesses and “dump it” more quickly. More energy doesn’t appear out of nowhere simply because the shape of the pellets changed.

      Sorry for the nitpicking, but if a company doesn’t get its performance claims right, then I cannot see a reason to fork over any money for the product. Even if it’s probably a “lost in translation” kinda thing between the company’s Engineering and Marketing departments.

      • Basically, I agree, but there is one situation where they’re correct. If a pellet overpenetrates a target, the pellet’s remaining energy goes somewhere other than the target. This stuff penetrates to 9″ instead of 20″. There must be some situations where this is beneficial, but I can’t think of it. It’s terrible by FBI standards (12″ minimum penetration), but might be ok for taking some animals from the side.

        • Comments are making a big deal of the 9” vs FBI’s 12”, completely ignoring that its 9 concurrent strikes with 18 simultaneous wound channels per trigger pull! For some homeowners, depending on where they live, this could make a lot of sense!

        • I doubt they reliably split in two in living tissue. Would any of you here carry/use a pistol caliber that only penetrated 9″? Anybody for .22, .25, or .32? Birdshot for social purposes?

    • I’m also a big fan of No. 4 buc. Don’t know of much that can walk away from a load of it delivered from a 3″ shotgun shell. Of course I use a 357 magnum, 308 and AR 15 (223) to hunt with, mostly (90%) with the 308. I use the 223 because a $0.40 round hurts less to shoot than a $1.50 round but I limit it to about 200 yds. or less, 357 is just for fun and it is very good out to 50 yards unless I want to shoot a hot reload and it will do the trick out to about 150 yards. Anyway you want to put it there isn’t anything more fun than shooting, God blessed us with the second amendmant and that stupid Irishman trying to pass off as a Mexican from Texas can just blow me.

  4. Still waiting for buckshot that turns into nano-bots that tunnel through the central nervous system and eats your brain.

  5. This article sure looks like a paid ad…that practice seems to be more and more common on TTAG, and I’m reading it less and less, for this and other reasons.
    As to the product, Federal has a peerless reputation, but someone needs to discuss the obvious thing and show people that 18 pellets that split up inside a body have a lot more instant stopping power than 18 pellets that enter it from the outside, and for a lot less money.
    And what about plain old buckshot vs, this radical product? Who the hell keeps going after being shot with that, thus necessitating this new ammo?
    I’m not saying this ammo isn’t better. I’m saying that no one made any attempt to attempt to prove it here.

    • “And what about plain old buckshot vs, this radical product? Who the hell keeps going after being shot with that, thus necessitating this new ammo?”

      Those on Meth and PCP, it seems to me. Or on enough opiates to tranquilize a horse.

      That’s a real possibility for someone dealing with someone breaking in at oh-dark thirty. (Or pretty much any other time, as well)…

    • It’s not a paid ad. They’re just passing along the press release for a new product. It’s not a review, and there’s no analysis. It’s like passing on what a company says about it’s new product at SHOT. If it was a paid ad, they’d have a “sponsored content” byline instead of “staff writer,” and usually disable comments so people don’t say bad things about it.

  6. Would rather have a copper plated or silver plated hard lead buck shot. Buffered would be good but not all that necessary.

    • Got some #1 buckshot with flight control before they stopped making it. Great stuff.
      No, if the pellet splits in 2 it does not create more energy. It creates 2 channels instead of 1 but as has been stated, what difference does it make. I recall a study when I was in medical school that showed the survival rate from a 12 g shotgun hit at 7 meters was 10%. Nuff said.

      • A sufficiently drugged-up tweaker could continue until the brain is starved of O2…

        • If the target advances much closer than 7 yards, most should be capable of using a second round to *increase* oxygen to the brain. If you get my drift.

  7. Night the reindeer died , Santa approved , Don’tA just love it . Intruder be wear . Egg noggie every where.

  8. Dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. I’ve been on the range with Federal CCI/Speer a couple of times testing their ammo (handgun, rifle and buckshot) 10% ordinance gelatin. It was all about weight retention and penetration. We were measured and weighed everything. Data sent back to the factory. The first deer I killed was with 00 buckshot. At around 10 yards. Modified choke. The pattern was smaller than the face of my fist. Not a pellet exited. I still have several of them. Why would I want less performance than that?

    • I agree. Buck shot for anything serious. Well, unless your aiming at birds anyway.

      Trouble is, there isn’t anything around these parts but bird and steel shot. And there is a whole lot of that. Even in 20ga. I’m starting to see more slugs now for more sizes and I’ve come close to buying some of that. I’ll buy 00 when I can find it.

      • Prndll,

        A local grocery store which also carries a lot of general merchandise — including a small yet respectable selection of common ammunition — has a crap-ton of 20 gauge slugs (Remington slugger 5/8 ounce rifled slugs with muzzle velocity of 1580 fps). I want to say that they have at least 40 of the 5-count boxes.

    • Gadsden Flag,

      I came to post pretty much the same comment.

      I want penetration and I have never heard of over-penetration being a problem with traditional #00 buckshot pellets.

      Spherical projectiles (e.g. buckshot pellets) have relatively poor sectional density compared to almost any bullet of the same diameter and therefore tend to penetrate significantly less than bullets of the same diameter. The last thing I want to do is half the sectional density of spherical projectiles which already have poor sectional density.

      I will take a hard pass on these loads.

  9. If you want 18 projectiles to hit your target with each pull of the trigger, why not just load #1 buckshot in your 12 gauge shotgun?

    I know, common loads only have 16 pellets of #1 buckshot. Nevertheless, each of those #1 pellets will have 1.7 times the mass of these Federal #00 buckshot pellets split in half (40 grains for #1 pellets versus 27 grains for #00 pellets split in half) and should therefore penetrate farther.

    • I wonder how often all nine pellets actually split in two. Half the time? It’s the shotgun equivalent of JHP rounds that don’t expand.

    • The only advantage this has is that they’ll fly further in 00 configuration than a smaller pellet. The short penetration means you want the target to be thin skinned and have the extreme of the vitals significantly shallower than 9″. It’s not my choice of ammo.

  10. Interesting idea, but that penetration is abysmal. Also, like everyone else here, I’m slightly baffled. Seems like the basic idea is to create a 00 buck load that does more damage. Fair enough, but is that really necessary? It’s been largely unchanged for a century because it simply works

    • Exactly. I have one use for buckshot. My house gun. I don’t live in a warehouse or bowling alley. Range is not an issue. Lead buck at house ranges will do the job and then some.

  11. This is a dumb idea that isn’t going to do anything more that makes it worth double the price of standard buckshot ammo.


  12. “Shot size doesn’t kill. Pattern density kills!”

    If one (or more) of those nine buckshot fail to make contact, your chances of a fatal pellet strike.
    “IF” I send 16 (count ’em! SIXTEEN) .32 caliber (#1 buckshot) pellets down range, my chances of a fatal pellet strike have nearly doubled compared to “00” (double ought) buckshot.

    There is no doubt that “splitting shot” may be nasty, IF it hits the target.

    I’ll take the increased density of the #1 buck over the 00 buck.

  13. Look at all the tactical ninjas complaining about the “average” penetration of 9 inches. 18 holes in someone, with some going 14 inches, is going to DECIMATE any bad guy!! LMAO. No bad guy is going to get up, laugh at your paltry 9 inches of average penetration, and then have a beer on the way home. That being said, #4 buck is way cheaper and likely has better ballistics, 10-14 inches of penetration with 27 projectiles per shot.

  14. The closest equivalent to this new copper flash-coated, split shot 00B, in total pellet payload and final projectile count, is the standard 20 gauge #3 Buckshot load. The 20 gauge load fires twenty 25 caliber pellets that weigh about the same as each half of the new Federal split shot 00 buckshot. In the Federal line, 20 gauge buckshot sells for nearly half the cost.

  15. This is advertised as a close range round. Which, given its lackluster penetration is probably for the best.

    So: at close range, how many bad guys have gotten shot by a 12 gauge 00 buckshot round, presumably with a tight pattern, and said “you know what? I think I’m gonna keep going, it’s a good thing these 9 pellets that just blew through my chest cavity didn’t split into 18 smaller ones.”

    Is increasing the effectiveness of short-range 12ga buckshot really something that needs innovation?

  16. Eh, I’ll stick with Federal 00, 000 and #1 buck. Really tight patterns on the #1. The holes look like slugs made them at short range.

  17. “There have been vast improvements in rifle and pistol bullets over the last century, but buckshot has remained largely unchanged for more than 100 years.”….
    Y’know why? Cause it works! Same as Hoppes #9

  18. Force X2 segmenting 00 buckshot produces up to twice as many wound channels as traditional 00 buckshot…

    They’re telling us here that some pellets don’t split, but they don’t tell us how many. I wonder why.

    I’ll stick with #4, thank you.


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