Bird shot for self defense?


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RM
June 28, 2006, 05:01 PM
Are there legitimate reasons to use bird shot in a self-defense shotgun, as opposed to buckshot? Thank you.

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Hoppy590
June 28, 2006, 05:04 PM
save the bird shot for the bird. you may think its better, less penetration of walls less recoil. but a heavy jacket can stop bird shot. not to mention your not likely to get a serious hit on a BG. also some claim there are legal ramifications of wounding a BG over ... well. body baging a bg.

NineseveN
June 28, 2006, 05:06 PM
Are there legitimate reasons to use bird shot in a self-defense shotgun, as opposed to buckshot? Thank you.

Yes, if you're defending your life from murderous birds.


Honestly, in short, no.

#4 Buckshot maybe, Birdshot, no, never, not a chance. Birdshot lacks enough energy and penetration to wound or kill effectively enough on human targets...you'll just be giving them a nasty case of something similar to 'road burn'.

ArmedBear
June 28, 2006, 05:11 PM
#4 Buckshot maybe, Birdshot, no, never, not a chance. Birdshot lacks enough energy and penetration to wound or kill effectively enough on human targets...you'll just be giving them a nasty case of something similar to 'road burn'.

I think that's a bit of an understatement. Close-range birdshot wounds are a lot worse than you characterize them.

That doesn't mean birdshot should be used for self defense, though. If you want to use "less lethal" ammo for the first round, there are far more effective loads that will not do so much damage to someone's body, but will do more to knock someone back a few yards and discourage an attack.

Cromlech
June 28, 2006, 05:13 PM
As the above poster has stated, the wound from birdshot would probably not be sufficient to stop an attack. It might, however, make a mess of the skin and some flesh of the attacker. Which would make you look bad when the law comes into play.

RNB65
June 28, 2006, 05:16 PM
No.

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3.htm

NineseveN
June 28, 2006, 05:18 PM
I think that's a bit of an understatement. Close-range birdshot wounds are a lot worse than you characterize them.


I've seen close-range birdshot wounds, have you ever seen road burn? Notice, I did not say "brush burn" or "rug burn"...if you want to contend that birshot will do far worse damage to human skin and muscle than laying a motorcycle down on asphalt at 55-65MPH or being flung out of the back of a pick-up truck and into gravel at 35-45MPH, then we can agree to disagree.

Most birdshot won't even penetrate the rubber backing on the targets at my range. Deep flesh wounds is about all it is likely to cause at best, especially if clothing is involved (not too many home invaders raid naked).

ArmedBear
June 28, 2006, 05:22 PM
being flung out of the back of a pick-up truck and into gravel at 35-45MPH

That's different. I won't disagree with you there.:)

I'm more of a human-powered athlete, so the road burn I've sustained sliding down trails, "eating it" on a mountain bike or skateboard, sliding on asphalt while training on rollerblades, etc., hasn't been so bad. It stings and bleeds, but that's about it. That's what I thought you meant.

But when you add internal combustion engines to the mix, it gets ugly. Really ugly. Worse than birdshot, I'm sure.

Cringe!

Ohen Cepel
June 28, 2006, 05:24 PM
I think #4's would work if you had major worried about over penetration in a building. In which case, the short range you'll be firing at, they will perform fine.

If you have to go outside with that weapon. Change loads!

NineseveN
June 28, 2006, 05:47 PM
That's different. I won't disagree with you there.

I'm more of a human-powered athlete, so the road burn I've sustained sliding down trails, "eating it" on a mountain bike or skateboard, sliding on asphalt while training on rollerblades, etc., hasn't been so bad. It stings and bleeds, but that's about it. That's what I thought you meant.

But when you add internal combustion engines to the mix, it gets ugly. Really ugly. Worse than birdshot, I'm sure.

Cringe!

Hehe, yeah, those kinds of wounds I usually called "brush burns" because I had to contrast them with the motorcycle injuries I saw...I see where you were coming from and I should have chosen a better phrase to use.

In any event, we agree, no bird shot for defense. :D

Fosbery
June 28, 2006, 06:17 PM
Apart from slugs, what loads would you reccomend for home defence? Must have more than 6 projectiles. My partner uses a shotgun for home defence but, unlike me, can't buy slugs because she's not a practical shotgunn-er.

NineseveN
June 28, 2006, 06:23 PM
00Buck gets pretty good results and it satisfies your criteria in regards to the number of pellets...is this available over there?

Roadwild17
June 28, 2006, 06:31 PM
Just a ? How far/long does the wad keep the shot together? If were talking basically barrel tag distance and the wad keeps the shot together, then wouldn’t it be kinda like a slug?

Anyway, I keep mine loaded with 000 buck, I just had to be difficult :evil:

RNB65
June 28, 2006, 06:36 PM
Just a ? How far/long does the wad keep the shot together?

Wind resistance opens the wad as soon as it exits the muzzle and the shot is on it's own from there.

Fred Fuller
June 28, 2006, 07:40 PM
RM,

Some people think there are legitimate reasons to use birdshot for HD, and I am in no position to argue with them. I have zipped body bags on a couple of folks who were killed by birdshot at close range in the years I worked as an EMT, so I know that birdshot can in fact be lethal.

I also know one person who survived a point blank shooting with buckshot as well. This young man was a classmate while I was in school, by the time he got out of the hospital and up and around again, he was a year behnd me. He was extraordinarily lucky to be alive after his hunting accident despite permanent damage to his right leg- he lost about 3" out of his femur.

The simple truth is that nothing involving defensive firearms is 100% certain, what you want to do is try to skew the odds in your favor in every way possible. Keep in mind that you are not interested in killing, whether your assailant dies or not is not your main concern. Your intent is to stop your adversary from doing whatever it was that was sufficiently serious to cause you to have to shoot him. You need to bring about that stop as rapidly as is humanly possible, before your assailant has a chance to cause physical harm to you or to your loved ones Since rounds from a shotgun as a rule do more damage than any other projectile that can be launched from a firearm that one person can easily handle alone, shotguns tend to be popular as defensive firearms. But muzzle blast or proximity of passage of the projectiles in question won't necessarily stop an attack. You have to get hits on your assailant to do that.

With any firearm projectile intended for self defense, you have two primary considerations- PLACEMENT and PENETRATION. You have to deliver projectiles to a place on the human target where important structures are located, and said projectiles have to be able to penetrate sufficiently to disrupt those structures. That's pretty much it in a nutshell- placement and penetration. Placement is easier with a long gun than a handgun, so I prefer shotguns. Penetration depends on your choice of ammunition in large part.

I personally don't use birdshot in defensive shotguns, because it cannot be relied upon to penetrate deeply in human adversaries. In fact I even stopped using reduced recoil buckshot recently, after hearing some troubling reports of lack of penetration in shootings with reduced recoil buckshot loads. I now use full velocity loads of 00 buckshot (Hornady TAP red hull, to be specific) in the magazines of our 'house guns', with Kent/Brenneke KO slugs riding in the SideSaddles.

I am in no way telling you or anyone else that you should do what I do, naturally- you have to make up your own mind what to use for defense based on your own particular situation and circumstances. I base my decisions regarding these questions on the best information I can get, and on experience with the firearms and loads in question. Of course I have no magic wands or magic bullets, there are no guarantees I or my wife can produce instant stops on determined, drugged and/or demented assailants with the rounds I have chosen. But I believe they skew the odds in our favor as much as possible. And that's the best I can do from that standpoint. The rest comes with delivering those rounds as accurately and quickly as possible, which takes training and practice. Those two things are IMO of greater importance than mental gyrations regarding selection of defensive firearms or ammunition.

Stay safe,

lpl/nc

RM
June 28, 2006, 08:52 PM
Thanks, Gentlemen, for the thoughtful replies. The answer seems to be a resounding NO!

TrapperReady
June 28, 2006, 10:22 PM
My defining moment for deciding against birdshot (even as a first round) came while at the range. I was patterning slugs and buckshot at 15 yards and when finished, decided to see what the pattern would look like from an ounce of #8.

It was a hot day. I was wearing shorts. The target backer was a piece of 1/2" plywood, recently replaced. When I fired that single target load, my shins were stung by an impressive amount of backsplash. Now, I recognize that at very close distances birdshot can be lethal, but I'd rather stick with buckshot and slugs.

telomerase
June 28, 2006, 10:41 PM
If your wife ever gets a quaker parrot, you will want to make up magnum loads of #8 shot and use a cylinder bore.

Double Naught Spy
June 29, 2006, 12:32 AM
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Search&db=PubMed&term=birdshot+trauma&tool=QuerySuggestion

Effective for self defense? Depends on the range, choke, etc.

Birdshot to the chest apparently has the ability to trigger heart attacks...
http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Arrhythmias/tb/2689

Portal Vein Embolization
http://www.amjforensicmedicine.com/pt/re/ajfmp/abstract.00000433-199606000-00013.htm;jsessionid=GjShGTRdy1HrSzPDxTL9v8vwbNvKTFGqf56PGKvcrBs6njdRM1tx!-1734750035!-949856144!8091!-1

---------

It also depends on one's goals and/or needs. People like to believe that with shotguns, you don't need to aim. That isn't true. However, I have found that out of my 18" Rem 870, no choke, birdshot spreads at a rate of 2-3 times faster than that of buckshot. For example in my home, the longest shot possible inside the house and is 15 yards. Buckshot (Fed Tact 00 Buck reduced recoil) spreads at roughly 1" per 5' or 9" at 15 yards. My hallway is 40" wide. Birdshot from my gun spreads to 30+" at 15 yards. Which round am I most likely to hit an intruder with at 15 yards who corners my hallway? Unless invaded by midgets, a level shot at 3 feet elevation will virtually cover the total end of the hallway whereas I could very well miss with the buckshot.

With that said, my gun of choice is the AR15 and my wife handles the 870 and she likes buckshot and so she gets buckshot to shoot. She feels it suits her needs best.

azflyman
June 29, 2006, 01:14 AM
Birdshot lacks enough energy and penetration to wound or kill effectively enough on human targets...you'll just be giving them a nasty case of something similar to 'road burn'.

NineseveN - That is just not true.

In over 15 years in the ER I have seen a whole bunch of dead guys by just about every caliber, type, and size projectile. At home ranges (usually about 10 feet) it does not matter much between OO buck and 7 1/2 bird shot, 44 mag's and .22 rim-fire. Dead is dead. Shot placement has much more effect than caliber or shot size. Had one guy shot in the head with a 9mm. The bullet entered the front left, slid down the side of his skull, exited the back. Guy was still talking but did have a hell of a headache. Another shot square in the forehead with a .22 LR and was stone cold dead (impressive bullet fragmentation x-rays BTW). At 10' a center mass shot with 7 1/2 you are not getting up. If it does not kill you the impact with the force of 2, .45 ACP rounds hitting at the same time (approx. 500 grains) will be enough to pop your sternum like a twig. The fight is over even if the guy survives which I doubt. Would I CHOOSE 7 1/2 for home defense, no; if it is what I had would I feel under-gunned, again no. 10', 1200fps, 500grains = manstopper any day of the week. Have you ever seen anyone demonstrate a bullet proof vest with a shotgun blast? Nuff said:evil:

az

Fosbery
June 29, 2006, 06:12 AM
"00Buck gets pretty good results and it satisfies your criteria in regards to the number of pellets...is this available over there?"

Yes it is. Slugs and loads with less than 6 projectiles are also available, but you need what's called a 'variation' on your certificate to get them and for that, you need a good reason e.g. practical shotgun, hunting wild boar etc.

Dave McCracken
June 29, 2006, 08:52 AM
I used to keep my HD 870 loaded with a couple bird shot loads up first, then 00. I know that hitting a target with the shot still in the wad mimics a giant Glaser Safety Slug and inflicts much trauma.

So does 00. And it does that at greater ranges. I went with 00 because it's usable over a much greater range.

gudel
June 29, 2006, 09:54 AM
i think you guys are thinking long ranges. how about within just 2-3 yards? :D

Fred Fuller
June 29, 2006, 10:15 AM
gudel,

Take a look at http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/173_11_041200/herdson/herdson.html .

lpl/nc

azflyman
June 29, 2006, 10:51 AM
That article always blows me away. Another argument for shot placement.

az

NineseveN
June 29, 2006, 11:15 AM
NineseveN - That is just not true.

In over 15 years in the ER I have seen a whole bunch of dead guys by just about every caliber, type, and size projectile. At home ranges (usually about 10 feet) it does not matter much between OO buck and 7 1/2 bird shot, 44 mag's and .22 rim-fire. Dead is dead.

Where are you getting that home defense firearm uses usually occur at 10 feet? Source? Do you realize how close 10' really is?


Shot placement has much more effect than caliber or shot size. Had one guy shot in the head with a 9mm. The bullet entered the front left, slid down the side of his skull, exited the back. Guy was still talking but did have a hell of a headache. Another shot square in the forehead with a .22 LR and was stone cold dead (impressive bullet fragmentation x-rays BTW).

Anecdote does not = evidence. You’re talking about a shooting with a million variables on whether or not a shot can incapacitate, the idea is to put the odds into your favor because you cannot eliminate those variables.

At 10' a center mass shot with 7 1/2 you are not getting up. If it does not kill you the impact with the force of 2, .45 ACP rounds hitting at the same time (approx. 500 grains) will be enough to pop your sternum like a twig. The fight is over even if the guy survives which I doubt. Would I CHOOSE 7 1/2 for home defense, no; if it is what I had would I feel under-gunned, again no. 10', 1200fps, 500grains = manstopper any day of the week. Have you ever seen anyone demonstrate a bullet proof vest with a shotgun blast? Nuff said


7 1/2 shot is what Cheney wounded Harry Whittington with (though they claim at 30 yards, which does make a difference)...the shot even made it to his heart and did not kill or effectively stop the man...and this was not someone hyped up on adrenaline wishing to do harm. At near point blank ranges, any firearm can kill, but again, exceptions do not make the rule and relying on 10' firing distances is a bad idea. If you wait for the 10' shot, most reasonably fit men can have you disarmed before you can rack the slide of a shotgun unless you have skills and training to avoid or counter such things, most folks here don't, no matter what internet bravado tells you.

7 1/2 is better than many other bird loads, but it is far from what one could consider a reliably effective self defense selection.

I have personally only witnessed 3 wounds from birdshot in my short lifetime, and one of them happened to be 7 1/2 shot (hunting negligence), and though it was the worst of the three, it was not what I would call a "stopping shot". Out of the 250ish pellets, about half of them hit and only 32 managed to penetrate an M65 field jacket with liner and a sweatshirt at 14 yards...they were all nestled under the skin about maybe 1/4 inch at the worst and just under the surface at best.

Now, your home might not have any distances that span 42', maybe the longest corridor or widest room in your home is 10' (which would be very, very odd), my residence consists of large rooms and high ceilings, my main hallway is nearly 50' long, my living room is 32' wide. During a home invasion or other home defense scenario, I will be bunkered in my bedroom; once someone enters the living room from the kitchen I have a straight shot from the rear wall of my bedroom into the living room, the distance is just under 48'. Birdshot is simply not reliable under those distances (and I'm not using just my anecdotal evidence to support my feelings), nor would I endeavor to judge a rifle or shotgun round solely on what it can do to someone from what amounts to point blank range (10' is a very short distance for any rifle or shotgun). Anything birdshot can do at 10', buckshot can do better.

I really think some folks have wild fantasies about defending their homes from unarmed zombies instead of drug addicts or real badassed criminals looking to do them harm. What do you do when all you have is birdshot and 2 guys break down your door and have their own guns? How are you going to get into the range where birdshot is effective enough to stop them right then and there? Do you honestly think you can rely on what could just become a superficial wound with two real deal criminal types who have firearms and the intent to use them? Also, what do you do about an attacker using cover inside your home while firing their weapon at you? You're taking a big chance there, one I am not willing to take, nor would I suggest that you advise any novice shooter without training in using a pump to do so either. We have to face the reality that “stopping the threat” may end up amounting to ending someone’s life, even if that’s not our specific intent (and it should not be).

For folks like Dave McCracken, well, he knows how to run a pump I'd imagine, he's spent time and money and dedication on the pursuit. You see, the better you are, the less you need the tools to help compensate. Hitmen have used .22 handguns to dispatch their marks for ages (this is not myth), an Olympic shooter (forget the name) dispatched multiple assailants with his Olympic target .22, but when folks do not have those skills, they must rely on something more than "good enough" or simply "it can kill if you do your part". Shot placement is key, even with a shotgun, but without training, you're taking a big gamble that you can deliver that birdshot to an organ that will incapacitate, unless you're 10’ away and the raider has no firearms and is raiding your home naked.

If you don't put them down right there, you are undoubtedly going to receive return fire. It's your life, it's up to you to take that chance, but be careful when you advise others to do the same when you don't know their skill level.

I’ve grown up with real criminals and been witness to more home invasions and gang incidents than I care to admit here, if they really want to harm you, racking your pump won’t necessarily inspire fear and make them run, and if you shoot, a wound won’t always stop them, in fact, I’ve seen severely wounded folks manage to fight harder with what they thought could be their dying breath. The physical ability to wound or kill is not the only consideration, birdshot can wound, birdshot can kill, but self-defense is about putting as many odds in your favor as you can, and in that area, buckshot or even slugs trump birdshot every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

dfariswheel
June 29, 2006, 01:57 PM
After a long career around guns, there are two things I can pretty well state about defense shotguns:

1. NOTHING says "Stop that, leave us alone" like a load of buckshot.

2. NEVER, EVER, NEVER count on getting more than one shot in a real life incident.
People insist on planning to use one round FIRST, then if it doesn't do the job, they plan on using a different load.
In the "Real World" you'll be thankful if you manage to get off ONE shot.
That one shot had better be enough to do the job.


#1 and #2 both say "Use an effective shotgun load FIRST and always.
To quote famous Border Patrolman Bill Jordon: "Like being "just a little pregnant", there's no such thing as shooting someone "just a little". If you HAVE to shoot someone, shoot them GOOD".

The simple fact is, birdshot lacks the ability to RELIABLY penetrate deeply enough to involve critical organs.
The proponents of birdshot always go on and on about how it makes a "BIG, GAPPING, BLOODY HOLE".

True, it makes a big, bloody, gaping, SHALLOW hole.
While birdshot can and has killed, it doesn't do it reliably enough to trust your life to.

enfield
June 29, 2006, 09:10 PM
You can legitimately use bird shot for self defense only after the buckshot and slugs are used up. Also all rifle and pistol rounds, including .22 LR.

bpisler
June 29, 2006, 10:09 PM
www.tacticalworks.ca has done gel testing with
slugs/buckshot and birdshot.

Mike_in_OC
June 30, 2006, 02:02 AM
Choosing birdshot for a defense load is about as dumb as "racking" the slide of your shotgun to intimidate someone.

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