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My favorite defensive shotgun load is the Federal Flitecontrol buckshot. It produces the tightest pattern possible with a shotgun. In a home defense scenario, a tight pattern ensures your buckshot goes right where you want it to go without a random pellet possibly hurting a loved one. Outside of home defense, the round also offers a longer effective range for your buckshot load. I love Federal Flitecontrol, but it’s only ever been available for 12 gauge shotguns…until now.

20 Gauge Meet FliteControl

One of the releases that’s gone under the radar this SHOT Show is Federal bringing the Flitecontrol load to the 20 gauge. This is big news for shotgun fans. The 20 gauge offers plenty of power and lower recoil, but there aren’t very good options for purpose-built defensive ammo. Flitecontrol cures that. This new load from Federal promises to give us a 2.75-inch load of #2 buckshot. It houses ten pellets total, and the pellets are copper-plated.

Flitecontrol has finally made it to the 20 gauge. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Overall, it sounds like a fairly nice buckshot load. It’s interesting to use a #2 pellet, and I would love to see its performance through ballistic gelatin. I’m sure it can penetrate deep enough to stop the threat. Ten pellets isn’t a bad dose of bad guy repellant, either. With the defensive shotgun making a good comeback in the “tactical” world, it’s good to see the 20 gauge being taken seriously by the ammo market.

10 pellets of Number 2 Buckshot will get it done (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I’m a big advocate for the Flitecontrol wad and can’t wait to get some of this ammo in hand. It will be perfect with guns like the Mossberg 590 in 20 gauge that was released rather quietly in 2023. If the 20-gauge variant performs like the 12-gauge option, the rounds should easily function in a semi-auto with excellent reliability. As a shotgun nut, I’ll be hitting up Federal soon, and hopefully, we’ll have a review to see just how well it works.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. I share your enthusiasm for the Flitecontrol round. When I’m not the shotgun fan that you are, but when I decided to add a defensive shotgun to my battery I loaded it with Federal Tactical Flitecontrol ammo. Breneke slugs in the Side Saddle shell carrier. That said, rifle, rifle, rifle. Except next Tuesday. I’m shooting quail.

    • Season ends here the 31 first.
      12 gauge Ithaca 37 Featherlight(an old one) modified choke.
      Quail ain’t to thick around here but I’m planning on wearing out my legs anyway.

      • That’s a great shotgun for hauling around on a hunt, especially if it’s hilly. Dad had one, but he shortened the stock by an inch with a circular saw to fit his shorter reach better. He shouldered it for clays and rabbits, but it didn’t help much in the grouse woods, because that seemed to be mostly shooting from the hip for him. I’ve toyed with the idea of replacing the stock with a full length one, since we all have longer arms, but the brother who has it now is happy with it as is, splintered cut stock and all because it’s classic Dad. Modified choke, orange bead at the muzzle, and bird hunting scenes etched into the sides of the receiver, from the 50s or 60s.

        Good luck with the quail, both of you.

        • That’s the one. and thanx. Don’t know about GF but I have a feeling I’m going to need all the luck I can get.

    • True story – plantation managers griping about quail not flushing as a covey, and being reluctant to fly.

      I said, “quail evolved flushing as a covey to escape sparrow hawks – it gives the healthiest birds the best chance if they all take off at once.”

      They looked at me like I was from Outer Space. They said, “that can’t be it, we shoot every hawk we see. They eat quail”.

      I told them to stock sparrow hawks, and let them work if they want a tight covey.. They said, “Yeah, right. Now tell us what to do about feral house cats, rats, and possums.”

      “Uh, y’all trap out your bobcats too, don’t you? And gas the snakes? Along with shooting all the big hawks?”

      “Yeah, they eat quail!”

      Another true story – forgot to chamber a round. Right as the gun went “click!”, the quail said “eek!” and folded up into a wad, crashing into the briars. Had there a shell been in the chamber, I would have looked for that sneak for half an hour.

      nothing personal

    • A guy bought a bird dog.
      Him and his buddy took it out hunting.
      He said “Well, if it don’t fly this time I’ll throw him up in the air.”

  2. Maine Cancels AR Cleaning Class After Some Claim It Would Be Insensitive After the Lewiston Shooting > https://shootingnewsweekly.com/story/1634/maine-cancels-ar-cleaning-class-after-some-claim-it-would-be-insensitive-after-the-lewiston-shooting

    ok then …

    lets cancel drivers ed in schools because “it-would-be-insensitive-after” a drunk driver kills someone.

    lets cancel medical school classes because “it-would-be-insensitive-after” one of the ~200,000 people are either killed or seriously injured each year by medical ‘malpractice’.

    lets cancel state-funded ‘abortions’ because “it-would-be-insensitive” to others “after” an abortion was performed

    • The weakness is very strong in some people of the gun community, and weak firearms instructors as well.

  3. “It houses ten pellets total… Ten pellets isn’t a bad dose of bad guy repellant, either.”
    Ten pellets? You’d better count again.
    In the photo of this 20 gauge #2 buckshot, I count 24 pellets!
    P.S.: on second glance, they didn’t put any powder or wadding into that clear shotgun shell, so maybe it is only ten after they add the powder and wadding. Apparently the photo was meant to deceive viewers into thinking the shotgun shell will contain more pellets than it really does.

      • Well, I’ll wager that they squeezed 30 balls into that tube on the right, for the visual effect. I love wild speculation, but if each layer is 3 and the layers nest nicely I’m thinking that 😉

      • “…jelly beans.”

        A contractor back home once dug up a granite boulder while doing some trenching. He hauled it back to his office on a lowboy and set it up in the front yard as a kind of ornament. One summer, he had a contest. Whoever guessed closest to the weight would win a $100 savings bond. Well, me the math whiz college kid pulled in the drive, did some measurements and calculations, and figured it at something like 18,000 lbs. and turned in my entry. On the way home, I stopped to jaw with Grandpa, and I told him what I’d done. After I left, that sneaky old bird went over there and guessed 200 lbs. over my calculation, and won that savings bond. He and I spent that summer cleaning and painting residential and farm propane tanks for the local propane distributor, and every time we passed that rock, he would chuckle for a second and take out his pipe for a commemorative smoke. He was a real funster, and we laughed about that for many years.

        Several years later when he lived in the old soldiers’ home, the evening he met my wife who was fresh from Parador, he showed off his new granddaughter to some of his buddies, and she was laughing at their stories and joining in with their teasing. As we got ready to leave, he patted her on the shoulder, and said, “You’ll do, young lady. You’ll do.”

        Cheers, Grandpa, you earned that $100.

    • That column of pellets is almost exactly the same diameter and height as the shell (shot + wad + powder + base) and therefore probably isn’t intended to represent its exact contents.

      Their 20G 3″ shell has 18, so 10 for 2 3/4″ makes sense.

  4. Love FliteControl it’s a super light shooting load. But finding it is like finding gold, diamonds, or a $100 bill just laying around.

    It used to be pretty east to get many years ago. Until everyone else found out about it.

    • You are correct, Chris. I once stumbled across a case of 8-pellet FliteControl at a very fair price, and I bought it almost as if it was the pearl of great price. This blind squirrel found a whole pile of nuts that day. Lucky Gunner has some, according to ammoseek.

  5. True story – plantation managers griping about quail not flushing as a covey, and being reluctant to fly.

    I said, “quail evolved flushing as a covey to escape sparrow hawks – it gives the healthiest birds the best chance if they all take off at once.”

    They looked at me like I was from Outer Space. They said, “that can’t be it, we shoot every hawk we see. They eat quail”.

    I told them to stock sparrow hawks, and let them work if they want a tight covey.. They said, “Yeah, right. Now tell us what to do about feral house cats, rats, and possums*.”

    “Uh, y’all trap out your bobcats too, don’t you? And gas the snakes? Along with shooting all the big hawks?”

    “Yeah, they eat quail!”

  6. True story – dumbass forgot to chamber a round. Right as the gun went “click!”, the quail said “eek!” and folded up into a wad, crashing into the briars. Had there a shell been in the chamber, I would have looked for that sneak for half an hour.

  7. “quail not to thick”

    True story – plantation managers griping about quail not flushing as a covey, and being reluctant to fly.

    I said, “quail evolved flushing as a covey to escape sparrow hawks – it gives the healthiest birds the best chance if they all take off at once.”

    They looked at me like I was from Outer Space. They said, “that can’t be it, we shoot every hawk we see. They eat quail”.

  8. l told them to stock sparrow hawks, and let them work if they want the coveys to act right. They said, “Yeah, right. Now tell us what to do about house cats, rats, and possums.”

    “Uh, y’all trap out your bobcats too, don’t you? And gas the snakes? Along with shooting all the hawks?”

    “Yeah, they quail.”

  9. Cue Dacian and snis/sner/snitz insight on 20 gauge defensive rounds in 3 …2 …1 …

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