‘In The Air’ With The CCI 9mm BIG 4 Shotshells

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It’s that time of year. From doves, then Teal and on to ducks and geese, hunters across the country are taking to the fields and swamps for some on-the-wing shooting. A few weeks earlier, however, I had different goals in mind. Using a Glock 26 and some of the CCI ‘BIG 4’ shotshell cartridges, I set out to take at least one Eurasian Dove or a pigeon that attempt to dominate my mom and dad’s small farm – in flight.

Now before you get all touchy-feely with me, Eurasians doves and pigeons are invasive species. Which means they can be hunted as pests year round (check your state and local regulations). And it’s not just that they are outsiders; left unchecked they can interfere with the native song bird populations. English Sparrows and Starlings are on the invasive (kill list) too.

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The enemy.

From Wikipedia:

The Eurasian collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto), most often simply called the collared dove, also sometimes hyphenated as Eurasian collared-dove, is a species of dove native to warm temperate and subtropical Asia, and introduced in North America in the 1980s.

In 1974, less than 50 Eurasian Collared Doves escaped captivity in Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas. From the Bahamas, the species spread to Florida, and is now found in nearly every state in the US, as well as in Mexico. In Arkansas (United States), the species was recorded first in 1989 and since then has grown in numbers and is now present in 42 of 75 counties in the state. It spread from the southeast corner of the state in 1997 to the northwest corner in 5 years, covering a distance of about 500 km (310 mi) at a rate of 100 km (62 mi) per year.This is more than double the rate of 45 km (28 mi) per year observed in Europe.

Shotshells designed for rimfire or handgun firearms are known as snake-shot for a reason. Typically they are only viable for a distance of about 10 feet. But those cartridges are usually loaded with #8 or #9 shot. CCI designed the Big 4 series of shotshells to improve the distance and penetration issues inherent with the older versions.

Still, I’d be lying if I said the Big 4 loads were designed to take flying quarry.

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CCI Big 4 @TFB

CCI Big 4 @TFB

CCI Big 4 @TFB

I dissected two of the Big 4 shells to find 15 #4 shot rifle at 50 grains. The red cap, or container, pulled off easily using only my fingers. Below the shot is a plastic cup-shaped wad that was tightly sealed to the sides of the case.

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CCI Big 4 @TFB

I loaded a few of the Big 4 shells into a magazine, seated it and let the slide slingshot closed. The first round chambered without issue.

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CCI Big 4 @TFB

I decided to get some highly-sensitive testing equipment for a few rounds of pattern testing at different distances – pizza boxes. Unfortunately the pattern testing pictures didn’t turn out to be useable, but the results were pretty clear: anything more than 15 feet these little shotshells weren’t going to leave a mark. Also of note is that the shells would not cycle the action on my trusty G26. Single shot it is.

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CCI Big 4 @TFB

Just like all hunting trips, this experiment turned out to be a waiting game.  Several times I was buzzed by mourning doves (non-combatants) or the Eurasians would circle me keeping a 30 yard buffer zone. Either way, the birds knew I was up to something.

To top it off, tracking a small flying object in the sky with a handgun is unsettling. It was even hard to get quality pictures of the excercise.You immediately feel like you are breaking one of the cardinal safety rules. Eventually you get used to the fact that if and when you pull the trigger, those little #4 shot will be blowing in the wind after anything past 20 yards.

After about two hours, a single Eurasian flew by at about 20 feet and I decided to take a shot. He was flying fast, directly above us. I tried to lead him a few lengths off his nose. And…

Nothing. No joy. This wasn’t going to work.

A couple of observations:

  • For their size, the Big 4 shells are loud. Not hearing safe.
  • Without a choke, the shot pattern expands greatly when being only a few feet away from a target.
  • Using a handgun to shoot a flying object is hard and unnerving.
  • Used as intended, these CCI shells are fun and effective.

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I really wanted to come here and tell an awesome story about how I shot a feathered intruder in flight. It just wasn’t meant to be. So it’s time to dig for victory, since I won’t be shooting for it.


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CCI Ammunition – http://www.cci-ammunition.com/general/contact_us.aspx

(800) 379-1732



Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Sasquatch

    I don’t see how you can hit something unless it is right in front of you with with those rounds. The pattern is usually horrendous.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      I proved your point pretty well. You’re welcome. 🙂

      • Sasquatch

        Yes you did. I read that earlier this morning and for some reason didn’t catch the part of you talking about a pattern test. 😁

    • Chris

      Rifling catching the plastic cup spins the Heck out of the pattern. ( also breaks up the shot capsule )

  • jonjon7465

    How would they work out of a pistol carbine with a 10in barrel? I bet you would get more range.

    • Shankbone

      Does this PCC take Glock mags and come in 10mm?

      • jonjon7465

        I wish. Colt 9mm. I regret not getting a QC10 Glock lower everyday.

    • Sasquatch

      Yea and you would draw a circle with your pattern even more.

    • Jason Wallentine

      Since the limiting factor here isn’t muzzle velocity, but spread pattern, barrel length won’t likely help like it normally does. And worse, you have more rifling in a 10″ than a 4.5″ barrel, so more spin would spread them even further, especially if velocity and twist are both higher.
      Ratshot it is, and ratshot it shall remain…

      • Chris

        The only way pistol caliber shot shells can be effective is with a over shot wad (or star crimp ) ; and with a smoothbore barrel ,then they can be very efficient for pigeons and similar birds !

    • Chris

      See .22 Plinkster review with different length barrels ,you may be surprised ,
      Seems the action of the rifling in long barrels hurts pattern more than a really short one does ?

  • Joe

    Our family reunion in MS was interrupted by a rattler. My uncle retrieved his trusty .38 revolver from the house and loaded it with CCI shot shells. He stood about 10 feet from the snake and shot it 3 times point blank to no effect. My other uncle came along with a shovel and chopped it’s head off. Not impressed with these shot shells.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      I’m guessing he used the #9s. CCI designed the Big 4s to be harder hitting.

      • Joe

        Possibly. I have to remind myself to be open to new products. Maybe I’ll give them a try.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          Don’t get me wrong, either way these shells have a limited purpose. Still fun.

    • iksnilol

      I dont really think it was a threat if he had the time to go out and get + load the gun.

      • Joe

        Sure it was. It was a rattlesnake that parked itself in the center of a family reunion full of kids. What do you suggest he should have done?

        • iksnilol

          Last time I had issue with a snake we just got 2 sticks, pressed tgem around the neck, lifted up and threw away in safe direction.

          I don’t mind killing, but try to avoid it as much as possible. Karma and all.

          • Dougscamo

            Make sure that you have consumed enough beer before attempting….because he’s probably going to bite you regardless….
            In the wild, I have an agreement with snakes; I won’t look for you, you don’t look for me!
            Around the house? They gotta go…….

          • iksnilol

            Never had problems with that method and I’ve done it with really venomous snakes.

          • Dougscamo

            No doubting your word….it’s just that being from the South, beer and catching rattlesnakes go together….somebody’s gonna get hurt….

          • iksnilol

            Aaah, gotcha.

            personally I can’t even drink beer (I find the smell alone nauseating).

          • Dougscamo

            The Irish part of the family tree is wanting to say “Ah, more’s the pity”….but I won’t say that…..

          • iksnilol

            Eh, I try to avoid alcohol if it is under 40%.

          • Dougscamo

            “There’s life in the old dog yet”….roger that!

  • Wolfgar

    I shot a Blue grouse with my 45ACP Gold Cup using CCI 9 shot shell at approximately 5 to 7 yards as it took off in flight directly away from me. It knocked it down but required a second shot to dispatch it.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Awesome! Well done.

      • Wolfgar

        I carry the CCI shot shells with me for this very reason. Grouse tend to be rather stupid and are usually easy to shoot with the shot shells. I surprised myself when I hit that one.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    We used to call these “rat shot”, they only pissed the rattle snakes off.
    For them we used the .45.

  • My only experience with ratshot is that CCI #9 in 45LC bounces off cardboard at 10 yards from a 5″ barrel, with a pattern that’s roughly “larger than a window unit air conditioner box” wide.

    Does anyone make smoothbore barrels chambered (or forcing coned) for <.50 centerfire handgun/rifle cartridges, or does fear of getting ATF's underoos in a bunch scare everyone away?

  • gunsandrockets

    Needs a threaded barrel and shot choke attachment.

  • gunsandrockets

    Now if only CCI would make a #4 buckshot load in .44 magnum!

  • Bdpenn

    Try it again with the Judge or Govenor and 410 shot shells. That should be both interesting and fun.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      I really like this idea. And I do want a .410.

  • wetcorps

    “Eurasians and pigeons are invasive species.”
    I’m not sure 9mm shotshells would cut it against the Eurasians.

  • Billy

    Try them in a 8″ insert in a 12ga single shot shotgun. I have the big4 in 9mm & 45lc.

  • Edeco

    “Eurasians and pigeons are invasive species”. What is this 1905?

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Doves. Doves.

      Doves.

  • demophilus

    Buddy of mine’s dog got bit by a rattler on two separate occasions, with $600 to $700 in vet bills each time. Third time the dog cornered one, my guy shot it (the snake) with his 686, loaded with .38 +P hollow points. Took him 3-4 shots, and he didn’t enjoy it, not at all.

    I bought him some CCI shot shells and he took the next two or three clean, one shot, one kill.

    I hear a shovel or rake works pretty good too, but then again (to quote an old soldier) some weapons “require a particular psychology in the user.”

    My understanding is that even the #9 shot is good on snakes or rats from a few feet beyond the length of a rake handle, or a coiled snake’s striking length. Or so my buddy attests.