ATI TACSX2 Shotgun Review
Part 6 - Range Test
January 25, 2015

 

In this part of my review, I range test the ATI TACSX2 Semi-Auto Shotgun.  Range testing actually took place over several different sessions.  The first two sessions were spent shooting clay pigeons and I estimate about 200 rounds of 2.75" 1 1/8 ounce 7.5 and 8 shot was used.  The TACSX2 performed perfectly with no issues and I was actually surprised at how well the the short 18.5" barrel performed when shooting the clays.

 

After being comfortable that the shotgun was reliable with low power shells, I decided to give it a try with some higher power defense ammunition.  To do this, I selected some Hornady Critical Defense 00 Buckshot and Hornady Varmint Express #4 Buckshot.  Since the shotgun was capable of 3" shell, I also selected some Winchester 3" Double X Magnum 00 Buckshot to see if there may be any issue with cycling these shells.   I also decided to get some basic pattern data on shooting the 2.75" 1 1/8 ounce 8 Shot.

Figure 1

These next two photos show the 00 Buck at 7 yards and 14 yards.  At 7 yards, the spread on the pellets was about 3.5" and the spread at 14 yards was about 10".  A key point to always remember when shooting a shotgun is that you must aim a shotgun.  7 yards could potentially be the inside of a big room or length of a hall in your house and a 3.5" group doesn't give much margin for error.  The large hole in the 7 yard target is where the wad passed through the paper.

Hornady Critical Defense 2.75" 00 Buckshot

Figure 2 - 7 Yards                                                   Figure 3 - 14 Yards
~3.5" Spread                                                             ~10" Spread
 

At 20 yards, the buckshot seemed to be printing slightly low and left of my point of aim (red circle).  Just to make sure I didn't pull the first shot, I shot again at this target which gives 16 holes in the paper.  The second shot printed over the first and gave a group size of about 10.5".  This 20 yard group is only slightly larger than the 14 yards group shown above.  Based on my experience with shooting the Hornady Critical Defense 00 Buckshot, this spread at 20 yards is similar to what I have seen for other similar styled shotguns.  Another key point is that the shot pattern through a shotgun will produce random patterns and sometimes the shot patterns will be larger or smaller than normal.

Figure 4 - Hornady Critical Defense 00 Buckshot at 20 Yards (Two Shots)

The Hornady Varmint Express #4 Buckshot created a tight 3.5" group at 7 yards expands to 9+" at 14 yards.  Only 20 out of the 24 pellets were on the paper, so I'm not sure the final size of all 24 pellets.

Hornady Varmint Express 2.75" #4 Buckshot

Figure 5 - 7 Yards                                                    Figure 6 - 14 Yards
                      ~3.5" Spread                                   20 of the 24 pellets were within an ~9" spread
 

These next two photos show the Winchester 8 shot at 7 and 20 yards.  At 7 yards, the density of shot is significant and anyone shot within your house with 8 shot would be in real trouble.  I didn't make any attempt to pattern this shotgun because I don't feel the short 18.5" barrel is really suited for hunting situations, but I do show a pattern at 20 yards.  This pattern is relatively tight which is probably due to the barrel having something between a light full and full choke and explains why it was doing so well when shooting clay pigeons.

Winchester 2.75" 8 Shot
Figure 7 - 7 Yards                                              Figure 8 - 20 Yards             
 

My last key point to consider with defense ammunition in this shotgun or any other is that any type of shot will be very effective at the distances you will most likely find yourself at when defending your home.  The table below shows the number of officers shot at various distances and you can clearly see that a large majority occur within 5 feet.  I know an officer in the line of duty and a person defending their home is not an apples to apples comparison, but I think you can see how things can get close and personal quick.

Figure 9 - FBI Data on Distance Between Victim Officer and Offender

Last of my range tests, I cycled through five rounds of the Winchester 3" Double X Magnum 00 Buckshot and the shotgun cycled these rounds without issue.  Throughout my entire range tests, the ATI TACSX2 never had a single issue feeding or ejecting any type of ammunition I used.

The one thing that took a little getting used to was the shell release when loading/unloading and that the action would not lock open until the shotgun was empty.  This wasn't any type of issue, it was just different than my other shotguns.  Once you get used to these features, loading/unloading quickly becomes second nature when using the shotgun.

The only thing I found that might need a little attention or lubrication was that the follower would sometimes be difficult to push (like it was stuck) when loading the first shell in the magazine tube.

 

Thoughts

I'm impressed at how well the ATI TACSX2 Semi-Auto Shotgun performed.  At the price I paid ($220), this shotgun is a great value.  At the completion of my range tests I put approximately 250 rounds through the shotgun and it was 100% reliable.  I'm sure it will see more action over this next year before it become a closet home defense shotgun, but until then, it has several more clay pigeon sessions in the queue.  If I have any issues, I will let you know.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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