Since I have been keeping an eye on shotgun ammunition availability, and specifically buckshot, Estate 00 buck loads tend to pop up rather frequently compared to some others. Estate is a “budget” (I suppose it is all relative these days) Federal brand. Lately I have seen it running for about $1.00/shell up to $1.50/shell. There will usually be some outliers that are way above that range, but I usually discount those. It is right in the same ballpark with Rio, S&B, and Nobel buckshot loads price wise.
It uses a low brass base, Federal’s two piece wad design, and a buffered plain lead shot. The two piece wad is the same one used in Federal’s Power-Shok line, and other non-Flite Control buckshot loads. Advertised velocity is 1,325fps. There is nothing really special about it. The only thing that really separates it from other basic loads in the same price category is that it is a buffered load.
At 1,325fps muzzle velocity the Estate 00 buck load is not low-recoil, but neither is it a heavy recoiling load. This is basically a standard velocity load, and the recoil impulse matches. Manageable.
The patterning characteristics are slightly better than non-buffered loads out of the guns I tested it in. It is about a 15 yard load out of a cylinder bore gun. Maybe a yard or two further. Of course, your mileage may vary. Shotgun barrels like to be independent thinkers and do their own thing.
I tried applying choke to the load, but it didn’t really help the pattern any. Not sure why that is, as buffered loads in the past have responded favorably to at least a little choke. Not so this go around. Just goes to show that there are not any many hard and fast rules when patterning buckshot.
Considering how difficult it can be to source the better Flite Control or Versa-Tite loads, I would take this over Rio, S&B, or similar lower end buckshot loads. It throws a decent pattern for a standard buckshot load.