So far the only shotgunning I've really done has been some skeet, and a duck hunt once. At some point I knew what size shot I needed to use for the type of shooting I was doing.
I've just got my first shotgun devoted to home defense, and have been reading a bunch of the previous threads. I see where people mention how they load their shotguns, (and how it would vary by their specific situation)but haven't really grasped the "big picture".
What loads should I consider, and what are they best used in?
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May 17, 2005, 12:29 PM
Load choice is as complicated as Sicilian politics.
The simple approach:
Load it up with 00 and forget it.
The complex approach:
Try various 00 and 1 buck loads until one is found that will keep ALL the pellets inside 15" at the longest range possible in your domicile plus one yard.Try also some birdshot loads if overpenetration in interior walls in high density areas is an issue.
May 17, 2005, 01:38 PM
First off, slugs will put a well defined hole in many things. Like say...multiple interior and exterior walls of your home, refrigerators, toilets. In fact, there are not many single items that would stop some of the faster slugs. Also, IMHO, the shooting of some slugs feels only a little better than dislocating my shoulder. Bad choice if recoil sensitive, bad choice if trying to avoid over penetration.
I agree with Dave. 00 buck is by far the most effective load. If recoil is an issue there are plenty of reduced/managed recoil 00 buck rounds out there. From my experience with a 870 HD I can tell you that Remington Managed Recoil 00 kicks only slightly more than a light trap load and pattern very well at 7-10 yards out. My 18" barrel keeps them inside 8" at these distances.
If over penetration is an issue, 4 shot is a good alternative, IMHO. The consideration is: if where you live is cold at least some of the year and an "unwelcome house guest" is wearing a heavy coat + a sweatshirt + a T-shirt, you are going to get reduced penetration. Depending on distance, POI, etc. birdshot may or may not be effective. Even a groin shot may have jeans and skivies to go through. Just a consideration for the smaller shot.
P.S. Also, I wouldn't bother loading lighter shells first then 00 buck further up the tube in an effort to "start small". Defending self/loved ones/homestead is not an activity where we should lack commitment. A short rant if I may: I personally believe that we must train to do the job right, use the tool that will get the job done, and then hope/pray that there won't ever be a job to do. Take care and good luck.
That's my $0.02.
May 20, 2005, 01:45 AM
+1 for Dave and Cleaner:
Find the buckshot (or large shot, BB maybe) that patterns best at the longest distance you are likely to shoot at in your home. Then train with that load, and use only that load. My personal favorite is #1 buck, however the stopping power of 00 is awsome at close range. One note here, if you shoot someone with just about any shotgun load at close range, be prepared for blood and gore, lots of it. Also be prepared for some really bad smells, not trying to discourage anyone, just trying to say, be prepared.
Also please note: YOU CAN MISS WITH A SHOTGUN!. At HD ranges, you will have a really tight pattern. All the more reason to practice with the load you will use at the range you are likely to shoot at. You will be amazed at the small pattern at really close ranges(hence the blood and gore). Rather than pontificate about how much spread for each yard of range(there are fairly reliable charts); I like to say , train with your gun and load, and do so at least every 2-3 months so you remember what happens when you pull the trigger as far as shot spread goes. That is a minimum you should do when intending to shoot for real. It also keeps you aware of your guns condition and operating characteristics, and aids your memory reflexes.
May 20, 2005, 02:40 AM
My 870 is loaded with a #4 in the chamber then 3 rounds of 00 then a slug at the end of the mag.
May 22, 2005, 04:42 AM
is #4's or 5's due to drywall penetration, but I live in a duplex and don't want to pepper my neighbor. If you've got a little more space and can rule out shooting towards occupied rooms in your home, 00 is better.
May 22, 2005, 07:20 PM
Is either good, or should a Shotgunner opt for one or the other?
May 22, 2005, 07:30 PM
In general, you're better off staying with standard loads of 2 3/4" shells.
The 3" shells just have too much recoil and blast for quick shooting.
Remember, "Magnum" means something quite different in shotguns.
In pistols and rifles, Magnum means more power and velocity.
In shotguns, Magnum means nothing but more SHOT.
The shells are no more powerful, nor have higher velocity.
The idea is, the more shot you put out, the better the chances of hitting something far away.
At home defense distances, the target will notice no difference between a standard 2 3/4" and 3" shell.
You, however, will be slowed down by the recoil and may not be able to deliver quick follow up shots.
Also, your gun will hold fewer shells.
Guy B. Meredith
May 22, 2005, 10:50 PM
Is there a chart or information on the size and number of projectiles in the different loads? I am shotgun ignorant having shot mostly slugs from a bolt action Mossberg in the past (OUCH!!), developing a persistent flinch in the process.
May 23, 2005, 06:03 AM
There is a chart in my copy of Cartridges of the World of pellets /ounce.IIRC the 2 3/4 oz 12 ga has 9 00 pellets and the 3" mag has 12..The best choice for HD is the reduced recoil 00 buck. These really do work, substantial reduction of recoil while only a small reduction in performance.
May 23, 2005, 08:26 AM
I use the Seller&Belliot 12-pellet 2-3/4" 00 Buck load for HD. It's inexpensive enough (just picked up another case of 200rds at a local gunshow for $50) that I use it for practice as well. On the advice of a cop friend I recently tried the Knoxx folding CopStock and it's surprisingly good at reducing perceived recoil. Yesterday I went through over 50rds of 2-3/4" Magnum 00 with only a slight amount of tenderness to show for it. Here's a shot of my 870 Police Magnum dept trade-ins.