Jeff Cooper on Shotguns...


December 27, 2002, 11:13 AM
Just for interests sake.

In the current commentaries;

Reports from the field continue to point out that the shotgun is not a preferred instrument on dangerous game. A properly designed slug, such as the Brennecke, in 12 gauge and confined to ranges of 25 yards or less, can do good things on lions and bears, but a good rifle will do the job better in every case. The service shotgun is best using heavy shot, outdoors, after dark, but it is also good using bird shot indoors as house defense. It is not, however, first choice for big game.

Hope he doesn't mind me slipping this in here.


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December 27, 2002, 01:41 PM
I would tend to consider the big cats (i.e. lions, tigers, and leopards, et al) dangerous game. Quite frankly when wounded I doubt there's I'd want less to chase. And yet, from all I've read, the overwhelming choice for those who are placed in this bad situation is a shotgun. The fact is that a professional hunter knows the shotgun in close (which is where the danger is in those situations) is superior to the rifle on all but the heaviest animals.

The difference between Jeff Coopers point of view in this matter is the difference between trophy hunting, and killing. While a rifle will certainly do the job, especially in a controlled hunting enviroment, nothing beats a shotgun for killing thin skinned, dangerous, game in close.

It is interesting to note also that while use of the shotgun in combat has been decried for almost one hundred years the same countries have no complaints about the use of rifles, handguns, or even machineguns.

December 27, 2002, 06:51 PM
Per Hemingway and Ruark, the preferred weapon of the professional White Hunter going after dangerous game wounded by his client in dense cover, the weapon of choice was the shotgun, loaded with SSG. (00 buck).

Years ago, in one of his early articles, Jeff Cooper mentioned having his HD shotgun loaded with dimes.
This has been around since the 12 gage of the Wild West, and was used as late as Vietnam, where this practice was known as "keep the change, Charlie".

According to Cooper, and Vietnam personnel, the load of silver dimes cut through brush better, and cut the recipient to pieces.

Dave McCracken
December 27, 2002, 08:22 PM
Bob Olinger, slain by his own shotgun during a jail break by Wm Bonney,AKA Billy the Kid, was supposed to be using the dimes. A shotgun shell, 00, etc, cost maybe a nickel. Those would have cost more than $1, "Ten thin dimes"...

IMO, a myth.

And the only shotgun ammo I saw during my brief exposure to the Nam Mess was 00, almost all of which was all brass cased. Can't say it didn't happen, but I didn't see it.

December 27, 2002, 09:17 PM
Yup brass cased 00 buck, wish I had a case or two. I think Breneke slugs will kill ANYTHING under 25 yards pretty quick in the right place.:)

December 27, 2002, 11:11 PM
Having hunted a lot in Africa (born and raised there - free hunting! :D ), I can confirm that for leopard, etc., PH's do prefer to use a 12ga. with buckshot. However, for lion, this is a very dangerous practice, as the heavy chest muscles on a lion will turn aside even .30-caliber rifle bullets at times! For lion, they're more likely to use a .375 or bigger-caliber rifle when going in after him. Buckshot will work on a facial shot, but there's no guarantee that you're going to get one...

I've seen Cape buffalo shot with slugs. The Foster slugs were really too soft, and didn't give enough penetration, even when they didn't hit bone. The Brenneke's are much harder, and are designed not to expand, so they bored right on through. (These were not "charge" situations, but shooting from the side at an unsuspecting animal at 20-40 yards range.)

I personally would prefer a .45-70 lever-action rifle loaded with Garrett Hammerheads to take on a wounded lion or bear. Very effective round indeed... For a buffalo, the Garrett's would probably work, but I'd prefer a .416 or bigger. That thing's too likely to make mincemeat of me!

Dave McCracken
December 28, 2002, 02:05 PM
IMO, prudence dictates a ceiling on slugs, even Rottweils, say around 500 lbs or less and of no more than moderately nasty dispossition. After that, I want a BFR.

Years past, I shot a 375 H&H some, and found it manageable. Better choice by far than a shotgun and slugs.

December 28, 2002, 07:57 PM
The biologists in Ak. that try to get real close to real big bears on a daily basis usually carry an 870 loaded with Brennekes because it worked real good in past when something well over 1000lbs and mean as can be closes in to maul and bite.:eek:

December 29, 2002, 03:30 AM
Dfariswheel, I beg your pardon, but dimes?

Literally, dimes? The change-I-Have-In-my-pocket dimes?

Sorry for the newbie question. This is something I've not heard before.


December 29, 2002, 03:14 PM
No not dimes, SILVER dimes.

A dime is about the same diameter of a cylinder bore shotgun barrel.
Some unknown in the Old West came up with this idea, and it's been around ever since.

As I said above, various Special Forces used it in Vietnam, because they were believed to cut through the jungle brush better than buckshot.

The technique is to open up the crimp on the shotgun shell, pour out the buckshot, put in a stack of dimes, and recrimp.

I have no idea how the new non-silver dimes would work, and I have no verified accounts on how effective the dime trick would be. I would imagine that at close range, the load of dimes would be devastating.

December 29, 2002, 04:34 PM
Silver dimes work better than the new ones.
Both really "do a number" on a pattern board tho' ;)

Did I mention I believe in pattern boards?

December 30, 2002, 09:13 AM
There isn´t any doubt that any rifle (real rifle not those sub .30cal toys) will work better on dangerous game when hunting. Thing is, for d-fence I believe that slugs will do the trick. If you´re attacked by a vicious animal you´re more likely to get a shot of and hit with the shotgun than with most rifles. But I´m too partial for this discussion. I love my shotguns like I love my woman. And when I find a good shotgun I stick to it, like I stick to my woman, although there are probably better alternatives with more kinetic energy/cup-size out there.


December 30, 2002, 09:19 AM
Dimes loaded in a SG??

What a load of rubbish!!


Andrew Wyatt
December 30, 2002, 02:00 PM
Why don't we pitch in some money and have Firearms do some tests on dime loaded 12 gauge rounds?

December 30, 2002, 02:55 PM
The silver dimes would work on werewolves too. :p

I don't see SF using dime loads in Viet Nam. Maybe a couple of guys, but not in general. No offense but I don't buy it.

December 30, 2002, 06:39 PM
Of course it was only a few people. Using things like dime load shotgun shells would probably be a courtmarshal offense. Probably against the Geneva Conventions.

I've read of two instances of people talking about this. One was a SEAL who personally did it, the other was a regular Army man who caught a member of his squad using them.

The Army vet ordered his squad man to quite, since there was a fear the Cong would kill out of hand anyone doing this. They hated shotguns as it was.

This kind of thing was never officially tolerated, but individuals did it anyway.

December 30, 2002, 07:23 PM
wheel: the only thing on your post I disagree on is the concept of anyone who was in nam fearing the VC "killing you out of hand". That was a given from day one, and they never gave two hoots about no stinkin Geneva convention. I think they feared Spooky and Puff and the fast movers and 8 inch self propelled and m-16s alot more that any shot gun. As a matter of fact I know that to be a fact, A-val.:cool:

December 31, 2002, 01:44 AM

There would be no conceivable point to putting dimes in a SG!


I all my time in the service I have never heard anything at all that even remotely came close to that.


December 31, 2002, 01:55 AM
Disclaimer: Not recommended for any reason:

re 'dimes'load: I'd read about this in old Westerns,seen in old Movies, Stories out in the country. So I asked about it, and just for curiousity sake tried it. Tested the 'rock salt load" too. Used and old single shot on a pattern board. Just for my testing and wanting to know --that's all.

Rifleman 173
July 4, 2007, 06:32 AM
I spent 19 months in Viet Nam. Believe it or not, there were SOME guys who DID use dimes in reloaded 12 ga. shotgun shells. One other thing that was also tried were metal washers. Most guys stayed away from the shotguns as the M-79/XM-203 grenade launchers had some pretty decent buckshot rounds to use out of them. About the only ones who used the shotguns on a regular basis were the guys walking on point a lot. If it wasn't the pointman then the slackman, the number 2 guy, would carry a shotgun. Most guys just stuck with their M-16 rifles, XM-21 rifles, M-60 machineguns and other standard issue firearms. Nobody in the higher command ever listened to those of us who were going head-to-head with Charlie and got us what we REALLY needed in order to be effective and survive. This is why the dimes/metal washers shells were tested by the guys in the field. Trying to make an improvement over there was like banging your head :banghead: on a brick wall. Later on, a shotgun shell using flechettes was brought on line but that was near the end of our involvement over there. There was even a prototype explosive 12 ga. slug type projectile that was tested over there for a very SHORT period of time. That bit of ammo was NOT approved upon by the G.I.s in the deep jungles. You could actually shoot one and it would sometimes explode BEFORE it got far enough away from the shooter. Guys would get nicked with pieces of their own projectiles in really thick, dense brush so they just junked most of those shells in very short order. More than one G.I. was left cussing :cuss: up a storm.

July 4, 2007, 02:13 PM
Box o' Truth did an experiment with dimes.
This is a really great place for fun with guns.

I was really impressed with their article on ballistic plexiglass.

Personally, I would not feel undergunned using 12ga Brenneke slugs on any critter that walks in the western hemisphere except bison.

July 4, 2007, 10:51 PM
Bison have been taken with .30-30's, your Brenneke slugs will work on it with a proper shot.
If you don't mind getting close, a 12 gauge will do in anything you want, in North America at least. I think many people look down on shotgun because they're pretty close to 40 yard weapons, even though slugs will extend your range a bit. To a lot of people "short range" = "low power."

July 5, 2007, 09:17 AM
The old timers used to shoot bison with Colt Dragoon pistols from horseback. For me it is not a power question, it is a question of angles.

IMHO, the Brenneke would be best for a brain or a broadside shot through the lungs. I would be worried that the slug would to make it thorugh the shoulder bones with enough enrgy left over to make it out the other side. I would want a different weapon that has the penetration to allow me to take quartering shots and to break through the shoulders.

July 5, 2007, 03:38 PM
The old timers used to shoot bison with Colt Dragoon pistols from horseback. For me it is not a power question, it is a question of angles.

American Bison have a relatively uncommon physical trait in that they have a single pleural cavity. Therefore a single-sided pneumothorax (punctured lung) would be likely to cause a rapidly fatal tension pneumothorax. It's probably one of the reasons why they were ideal prey for the plains indians. Their size assured a lot of food and other materials, but they could be killed "easily" by a well-placed shot.

July 5, 2007, 05:28 PM
Tension pneumothorax is air in the pleural cavity that collapses the lung, which is caused by that puncture.

You were close and close enough for your purposes, I guess.

Colonel Jeff Cooper was a very knowledgeable pistoleer but shotgunner he was not. Dime loads and birdshot are terrible performers on hostile humans.

July 5, 2007, 06:56 PM
The Blessed Colonel was THE combat pistol and rifle Guru. He was NOT a smoothbore expert by any means, although he WAS a sportsman. I did not find ANY shotguns in his vault April 2006, although I am sure he had some. Louis Awerbuck is his disciple, and was like a son. Louis is THE combat shotgun Guru, he had to go out on his own to be that however.
I believe the dime thing is folklore and done out of ballistic ignorance- a 'good old boy thing' which no doubt, like ball bearings or gold chain could be deadly close up, but not efficient.:)

July 5, 2007, 10:35 PM
The Blessed Colonel was THE combat pistol and rifle Guru. He was NOT a smoothbore expert by any means

Yeah I was very surprised that he endorsed birdshot for HD.

I believe the dime thing is folklore and done out of ballistic ignorance- a 'good old boy thing' which no doubt, like ball bearings or gold chain could be deadly close up, but not efficient.

Using it in the "old west" has to be a myth, as that many dimes was worth many times more back then, especially in those hardscrabble times.

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