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Additionally, testing new and unproven types of ammunition may be hazardous and even dangerous and should only be conducted by a Firearms Professional utilizing firearms that are adapted and capable of handling any and all possible malfunctions that may result from poorly constructed ammunition.

MeandMineI have seen this particular round very poorly demonstrated on a YouTube channel for the “Flying Mouse” but I must also interject that the rounds they had were substantially different in a number of ways … not the least of which was accuracy. Still, these rounds will be challenging to make, and more challenging still to build in such a fashion so as to retain the accuracy, but once mastered, this art will guarantee the ability of the user to bring home the bacon, even when hunting in the thickest of thickets in the swamps or other brush.

A garrote, by any other name, may also be known as a hand saw. It is generally a piece of braided wire, with a handle attached to each end, and used as a saw or as a means of execution. Very little of that is actually going to be of much concern however, as the focus of this article will be creating a shotgun round that will clear the brush and at the same time, stop a charging boar or an unwary buck with equal ease. (It is important however, to note and follow any and all rules and restrictions during Shotgun Season. Many locations prevent the hunter from hunting with anything other than deer slugs)

Ideally, the maker for this round should have a shot-weight mold for making thirty-three caliber split shot sinkers … the ability to make a custom mold would be beneficial, but is not necessary. The .33 caliber is the standard calibration for double-aught or 00 buckshot. Ideally, access to a music store would also be handy … especially if they do a lot of work with pianos and guitars.

Standard split shot weights will work independently of the mold, but accuracy and efficiency will be greatly lacking in the finished product. Again, if possible, a standard .33 caliber, round “ball” mold should be used, though even this will have to be slightly customized for maximum efficiency and accuracy.

This round is best suited for the twelve gauge shotgun, though rounds can be made for the ten gauge as well. It is not recommended for twenty gauge or the .410 as the size of the rounds is restrictive and the subsequent loss in ballistic stability renders them largely ineffective. However, the twelve gauge in either the two and three quarter inch or three inch (or three inch magnum) is ideally suited for this purpose.

It is also preferable to fire these rounds out of a barrel that is not fully choked. While the choked barrel can generally handle the rounds without too much trouble, the barrels can tend to get scratched and worn a bit quicker than they otherwise would, largely due to the use of the guitar string or piano wire involved.

The standard rounds I made included a piece of metallic guitar string or piano wire, ten inches in length for the two and three-quarter inch rounds, fourteen inches for the three inch round and between fourteen and eighteen inches for the three inch magnum round. I used between seven and eleven pieces of double-aught (00 or .33 caliber ball) rounds.

In my case, I machined out a mold with an additional hole in the side so that I could pour the mold with the wire physically inside the shot being molded directly onto the wire. Split shot sinkers were used in early tests, but with mixed results. The shot should be evenly spaced, with one shot at the very end of each wire and the oddball piece of shot in the exact middle.

In placing the shot inside the shotgun shell, I would be very careful to wind it as near as possible in a coil around the edge of the shell. With the shotguns I had available at the time, this seemed to retain the most accuracy no matter which of the shotguns I used. Anyone who knows me, knows also that the shotgun is not my preferred weapon of choice, but any time a weapon is needed, accuracy is the most important aspect at the end of the day.

If you cannot hit your target, it does not matter how good your rounds are. The ability to put an extra deer in the freezer by hunting during every available season … including shotgun season, was all of the incentive I needed to keep up at least some practice with my shotguns, even if they were never my preferred weapon of choice.

Some testing will be necessary, both in the placement of the shot on the guitar string and the piano wire … and even that will vary depending on the size of the guitar string being used. In terms of results, I never noted any marked difference between using the thicker guitar strings versus using the lighter strings.

All of the piano strings were decidedly thicker however, and some of these choices for the actual garrote may make a difference, especially given the many variations among the different shotguns, in addition to slight variations in the actual manufacturing process for the shotgun garrote rounds. I do not recall ever testing these rounds out past about fifteen to twenty meters, though they were surprisingly accurate and efficient at such ranges.

The primary benefit of such a round is not its penetrating power, so much as it is the ability to cut through the brush when the deer are holed up, or the hog is rushing through patches and thickets, intent on spoiling your day in the most painful of ways. It further serves to ensure a more solid hit, at least if the rounds are molded directly on to the piano wire or guitar strings. When one round hits, the others will tend to wrap as well.

However, if split shot weights or other rounds that are not molded directly on to the wire are used, it may end up that the shot will separate from the wire … again, testing is all important … and by testing, that means spending time on the firing range, testing rounds for accuracy, and taking the time to pick up the pieces to determine the effect on the rounds themselves.

If the rounds do hold together in ballistic gel or when piercing a watermelon or other similarly “reactive” targets, a proper balance has been struck and the rounds should be good for testing live in the field, though it may be a good idea to test it on a buck before testing it on a peeved hog rushing through the thickest and most dense portions of the wilderness available.

Bear in mind however, that it is always a good idea to carry a backup weapon, and also to have additional rounds in the shotgun, of different varieties just in case. Even one minor slip in the creation of these rounds, can render them largely ineffective. However, once the art of making the shotgun garrote rounds has been perfected, brush should largely be nothing more than a distant, past concern.


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