Somewhere around 2012, Federal introduced a #1 buckshot option in their Tactical product line. It used Federal’s game changing Flite Control wad to deliver acceptably tight patterns out to 20-25 yards with what is often considered the “optimal” pellet size for defensive use of the shotgun.
Federal sought to push the 1-buck load into the current age by designing a load that performed better than most other buckshot loads. Supposedly the market wanted it. So Federal made it. The Flite Control 1-buck load was born.
Despite supposed market demand, the load didn’t last. Federal eventually pulled the plug on it in 2018. Rumor at the time was that Federal wasn’t all that happy with pattern performance. The load had fliers at extended ranges, so they discontinued it to try and fix it. It hasn’t come back. So maybe the market demand wasn’t that high after all.
Even when LE132 1B was being manufactured, it was a little hard to get. It came in and out of stock really quickly, since it was never really intended for the private market. Federal has this weird thing about only selling certain things to Law Enforcement. Now the load is basically impossible to get. The people who were smart enough to stack a few cases in the closet aren’t letting them go, and for good reason. A fan of the blog blessed me with an opportunity to get my hands on some, so I jumped at it and secured 25 rounds. Thanks to Citizens Safety Academy for the hookup.
I decided to pattern test the load through two different shotguns. A cylinder bore Remington 870 Police Magnum with an 18.5” barrel and bead sight, and an 18.5” Mossberg 590a1 with a factory cylinder bore screw in choke and ghost rings.
I patterned in 5 yard increments from 10 yards to 25 yards, firing 3 rounds at each distance to try and have a more representative idea of actual performance while getting the most that I could out of 25 rounds.
As I understand it, this is about the performance to be expected from this load. Be sure to take note that even though both guns used are similar, both cylinder bore, both 18.5” barrels, one gun shot better patterns than the other. this is the nature of shotguns. Even though the Flite Control wad is doing most of the work in terms of pattern performance, there is still a clear difference between the two. Always confirm patterns in your gun, with the same lot of ammo you intend to use in the gun.
Under most circumstances I think this level of pattern performance would be considered exceptional. Compared to most other loads, it would out perform them all. The problem is Federal has set the bar really high in terms of pattern size at distance. Their 8 pellet 00 load (LE133 00) is capable of 6”-ish patterns over multiple rounds at 25 yards. Their low recoil 9 pellet 00 load (LE132 00/PD132 00) is capable of 8”-ish patterns at that distance. Even though the LE132 1B patterns better than ever other load out there not made by Federal, it is sub par for a Flite Control load. I suspect the expectations were really high for pattern performance from the 1-buck load and it just didn’t quite meet the expectation.
It would be nice if Federal would bring this load back and put it out in the general market place as part of their Personal Defense line instead of giving us stuff like the Force X2 buckshot. The market expectation for the 1-buck load just needs to be appropriate to the load. This isn’t 8 pellet Flite Control, but it is still better than 99% of what is out there and with a pellet size optimized for the defensive use of the shotgun. I think creative marketing could get this stuff to sell like hot cakes, if Federal really wanted to.