birdshot question


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Mag_357TX
April 25, 2013, 04:19 AM
I have a question about bird shot, since it is one of the most readily available and least expensive loads out there today. I have heard from quite a few people that birdshot (although not as devastating as buckshot), can pack quite a punch and can be excellent for home defense.

If this is true, I'd like someone to let me know what birdshot loads are the best for HD. Remember I know nothing about birdshot whatsoever, but I do have a shotgun so that's at least some progress lol...

I have a little stash of 00 buckshot set aside for "rainy days", and that is what is currently in my Mossberg 500. But the 00 buckshot in the stores right now is nearly $1.00 per round, maybe more.

The birdshot, however, is much less expensive. I just don't know what one to get. Trying to build a house out of full ammo boxes (just kidding).

Help is appreciated.

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kyhunter
April 25, 2013, 04:29 AM
Force equals Mass multiplied by Acceleration.
Bird shot doesnt have enough mass to penetrate deeply and reliably inot a threat to stop it. It has been done and will be done again but I dont trust it. You dont have to use 00 buck. There are a lot of 1 buck and 4 buck shot loads out there and would serve you well.
The smaller the number the bigger the shot just keep that in mind and realize a number 4 buck shell and a number 4 field load "bird shot" are not the same size in diameter.

theblakester
April 25, 2013, 04:32 AM
The smaller the number birdshot, the larger sized(and fewer number) pellets. The larger the sized pellets, the more penetration. The more penetration, the more your chances increase in stopping an immediate threat immediately. Stick with buck shot. Bird shot is for little birds. It won't guarantee you enough penetration to reach the vitals. What if the bad guy is 250 lbs of big boned man and he's wearing extra clothing? Bird shot might not penetrate through his ribs and into his chest cavity.

FYI #4 bird shot is smaller than #4 buck shot. #4 buck shot is smaller than #1 buck shot. #1 buck shot is smaller that 00 buck shot. 00 buck shot is smaller than 000 buck shot.

Bobson
April 25, 2013, 04:59 AM
FYI #4 bird shot is smaller than #4 buck shot. #4 buck shot is smaller than #1 buck shot. #1 buck shot is smaller that 00 buck shot. 00 buck shot is smaller than 000 buck shot.I know a decent amount about shot sizes and that confused me lol :uhoh:. The OP is gonna need a cheat-sheet to remember that.

Here you go, OP. The picture was taken from http://www.info4guns.com/shotgun_gauge_ammunition.html

Don't be confused by the middle row. Note that "BB" in the top row is the same size as "BB" in the middle row, and that's true of all the duplicate sizes.

The smaller the shot size, the more pellets in the shell.
In 12 gauge, 2.75" 00-Buck shells hold 12 pellets. A 3" 00-Buck shell holds 15 pellets.

Buckshot is arguably the most effective HD tool you can use, but you need to understand that buckshot will blast through sheetrock walls and redesign furniture in the next room. Be sure of your target and anyone beyond it, please.

I wouldn't feel comfortable going any smaller than BB. It's a personal choice though. I stock 3" 00-Buck for my shotgun.

Virginian
April 25, 2013, 06:23 AM
I have no problem with whatever anyone want's to use for "home defense", but I will never understand why you guys think you need buckshot or slugs to practice with and blast jugs and such. I shoot $3.50+ each loads at waterfowl, but I sure don't practice with them.

M-Cameron
April 25, 2013, 07:16 AM
If birdshot was all I had available to me, I have no doubt it would be pretty effective at stopping a violent attacker.....however if I had the choice, I would keep it loaded with 00 buck...

Now if all you have available is birdshot, the common thing these crazy kids are doing nowadays is cut the crimp off the shell and pour out the shot, the mix the shot with melted wax and repour it back into the shell, creating a poor-mans glazer slug...... Now I have no idea as to the safety or effectiveness if said round, so proceed at your own caution.

huntsman
April 25, 2013, 07:54 AM
birdshot wouldn't be my first or second choices for SD in normal times but I keep well stocked in 1-1/4oz #6 just for when times aren't normal and slugs/buck become rare or nonexistent, I'll take a 12 gauge with birdshot over a .22lr rifle for everything anytime.

Al Thompson
April 25, 2013, 08:01 AM
OP, another way to look at it is that the smaller the shot, the closer you have to be to the bad guy. Number 8 birdshot is deadly at 3 feet, 30 feet, not very much.

FWIW, our state prison guards use #5 birdshot, but they accept the range limitations as most of their interior shots are close (cell) and the threat will have only a contact weapon.

Mobuck
April 25, 2013, 09:33 AM
How often do you think you'll need to use the shotgun for HD? Keeping it loaded with buckshot doesn't use up ammo unless you fire it. Using birdshot for practice is acceptable. Before I suffered shoulder injuries, I would do high speed short range practice on pop cans or clay birds. At 10 yards, with this type of practice, shot type has no bearing and the lower recoil allows more practice.

I hesitate to get the birdshot defense thing started again. I've used #6 and #4 in a couple of instances on large animals and it worked. The #4 pushed pellets completely through a smallish deer @ 10 yards. The #6 shattered a bovine skull @ 10'. Birdshot is devastating to soft tissue at short range. Even if the shot charge fails to penetrate the clothing and heavy muscles of an agressor's torso, the sledgehammer impact is still there. Such a blow is bound to slow/stop the advance allowing followup shots to more vulnerable areas.
Just remember, defensive shooting means stopping the threat which may not be killing.

Fred Fuller
April 25, 2013, 09:44 AM
No matter what kind of ammo you use for defensive purposes, the three most important factors are reliability, reliability and reliability. In other words, the ammo HAS to run reliably in your gun. Some guns do not get along well with some loads, especially pumpguns and some semiautos - it seems the least expensive Winchester birdshot loads are the most common offender in that regard.

Shoot enough of whatever you plan to use for defense to know it will work reliably in the gun - I have found that a "Rolling Thunder" drill equivalent (15 rounds as fast as you can load shoot and hit) will tell you if a given load will be reliable in your shotgun or not.

Takem406
April 25, 2013, 09:45 AM
I'd have no issue using a high performance upland load with a tighter choke in 4 shot. Inside decent home defense distances, it should work good.

Like your Prairie Storm with the flight stopper wad patterns very tightly. It's almost like a slug for the first few yards.

Tom Gresham says it works, so it must!

In God and Glock we Trust

303tom
April 25, 2013, 10:35 AM
I don`t have a problem using #2`s or BB`s in my HD shotgun................

moonpie
April 25, 2013, 11:02 AM
I would prefer to use buckshot but i feel a certain amount of responsibility to my trailer trash neighbors. as long as i live in a mobile home park i will accept the limitations of birdshot.

ball3006
April 25, 2013, 12:04 PM
I will be nice and not give my opinion on what alot of you are saying about bird shot. At HD ranges, about 15 feet, bird shot makes a big hole in whatever you are shooting. It will kill you just as dead as buckshot. My HD shotgun is loaded bird shot, buckshot, slug. That is to allow for followup shots at possibily longer range. Don't believe me? Go to the range and see for yourself.....chris3

Mag_357TX
April 25, 2013, 12:34 PM
@ ball3006 that's what I was thinking. Then again I've only shot birdshot at a duck and a paper target. Blew a hole the size of a basketball in that paper target at 25 yards. So I couldn't help but wonder what it would do to a thug at 10 yards or less.

Obviously this would be a last resort, I'd go for 00 or #4 buck first.

Like someone mentioned above, I live in a tight space with neighbors very close (urban 1 bedroom apartment) so honestly my shotgun is locked up and it wouldn't be my go to gun for HD. The only thing seperating me and my neighbors is a few layers of dry wall so I worry about over penetration. I have the 357 magnum for HD. I will NOT miss with that gun so over penetration is not a concern. Although I do pity the fool who God Forbid I ever have to shoot with that. But when I do finally get an actual house (which will be this year hopefully), I'll likely have the shotgun as the go to home defense weapon. From what I've read here I think I'll just stick with buckshot for HD cause reliability is always my #1 priority and although I know a birdshot can cause serious damage there are just too many factors to consider.

GCBurner
April 25, 2013, 01:17 PM
At across-the-livingroom ranges, an ounce of lead hits like an ounce of lead, whether it's a glob of pellets or a solid shotgun slug. Much further than that, the glob starts to spread out, and the energy dissipates, spreading the impact zone and reducing penetration. At 20 feet or less, it doesn't much matter what load you're using for home defense; at more than 20 yards, buckshot and slugs would be the way to go, but justifying shooting at someone at that range becomes problematic, unless they are also armed and shooting at you, or someone else.

Inebriated
April 25, 2013, 01:18 PM
At across-the-livingroom ranges, an ounce of lead hits like an ounce of lead, whether it's a glob of pellets or a solid shotgun slug. Much further than that, the glob starts to spread out, and the energy dissipates, spreading the impact zone and reducing penetration. At 20 feet or less, it doesn't much matter what load you're using for home defense; at more than 20 yards, buckshot and slugs would be the way to go, but justifying shooting at someone at that range becomes problematic, unless they are also armed and shooting at you, or someone else.
Yeah, it hits like anything else, but you'd be hard-pressed to get any meaningful penetration out of birdshot. And I don't know about your state, but in mine, if they're in my house, they're in my house... doesn't matter if they're 20 feet or 50 feet away...
Suck up the price and buy the buckshot. Where else do you find defensive ammo for less than $1/round? Buy enough to keep the gun loaded, and do some patterning tests at varying distances.

Birdshot, while it "can" cause major damage, it more often than not just causes a psychological response by the person being shot. They don't become incapacitated, they just realize what happened and run away. And that's fine, when your intruder is some punk kid just looking for dollar bills, but when someone with more enthusiasm is down-range, you're going to wish you had something better. Practice with all the birdshot you want, but keep buckshot in the gun.

And I'm over all the discussions about over-penetration... Training and having a home defense plan go a much longer way in keeping your neighbors safe, than choosing to use birdshot.

highorder
April 25, 2013, 01:29 PM
It's almost like a slug for the first few yards.

Until it hits ANYTHING. Anything at all. Shredding paper at a few paces gives people way overinflated confidence in birdshot. A big part of the hole is the wad. Tack your target to 3/4" plywood and fire that load of birdshot again. Look at the back of the plywood. See ANY exit holes?

Shot does NOT penetrate. It's not like a slug. Its tiny pellets, close together.
Each only has its own tiny mass to use for penetration.

For some, not explanation is required; for others, not explanation will suffice.

I load 00 buck and #4 buck for HD.

Hunterdad
April 25, 2013, 03:05 PM
I wouldn't hesitate using a #4 turkey load in a pinch for HD. Other than that, it's 00 buck for me.

Texan Scott
April 25, 2013, 03:06 PM
I don't hunt birds. I have birdshot (#6 at the moment, not that it matters) strictly for paper. 7 1/2 or 8 would be fine if that's what's on the shelf and cheap.

I keep #4 SHOT for stray dogs and vermin. It'll put down small (20-30 lb) critters well enough.

For life & death applications, I have (currently) exactly 5 shells of 000 Buck. If I need any of them, it'll be a bad night; needing ALL of them is almost unimaginable. For $7.50 plus tax, even I can afford the peace of mind that 000 affords. My life and the lives of my wife and kids are worth it.

oneounceload
April 25, 2013, 03:22 PM
At across-the-livingroom ranges, an ounce of lead hits like an ounce of lead, whether it's a glob of pellets or a solid shotgun slug.

Totally false - the pellets each hit with their energy which is NOT the same as the slug.
Would you rather I throw an amount of sand at your head equal to a brick, or the brick itself? - Which will hit you with more energy?
Personally, I see no need for slugs for humans, buckshot is more than adequate. Large birdshot will do adequately at the appropriate distances.
You hit someone in the face with a target load of 7-1/2's and odds are his eyes will take some serious damage from the 400+ pellets

ball3006
April 25, 2013, 07:49 PM
Remember, we are talking HD ranges, 12-20 ft, not yards. Birdshot will do nicely and won't kill your neighbor in the next room. If bird shot is not lethal, why does Michigan outlaw bird shot shells that are "cut"? They act just like a slug and poachers take deer with them during bird season.....Plus, the doc in the emergency room will spend his time removing hundreds of pellets instead of a few......Still say that won't stop a bad guy or hurt? chris3

Forgot to add, your duty in HD is to stop the perp, not kill him. Lawyers like it when it is obvious you intended to kill the perp with buckshot....In addition, I am a former police chief and know about such things....chris3

Texan Scott
April 25, 2013, 08:05 PM
Lawyers also love it when somebody uses an inherently lethal weapon with less than lethal intent ( creating the rebuttable presumption that they used lethal force when even THEY didn't consider it necessary, and therefore justified).

Then again, trial lawyers love ANYTHING they can twist to their advantage .. it is, after all, what we pay them to do when we hire them ourselves.

I myself won't do or not do on the basis of a trial lawyer's paid malevolence. If I feel (in my sole opinion at the moment) that stopping a man from doing what he's doing requires using a gun, I'll shoot. If I don't, I wont. If I have to, I don't trust birdshot to stop a meth head.

Inebriated
April 25, 2013, 08:47 PM
Remember, we are talking HD ranges, 12-20 ft, not yards. Birdshot will do nicely and won't kill your neighbor in the next room. If bird shot is not lethal, why does Michigan outlaw bird shot shells that are "cut"? They act just like a slug and poachers take deer with them during bird season.....Plus, the doc in the emergency room will spend his time removing hundreds of pellets instead of a few......Still say that won't stop a bad guy or hurt? chris3

Forgot to add, your duty in HD is to stop the perp, not kill him. Lawyers like it when it is obvious you intended to kill the perp with buckshot....In addition, I am a former police chief and know about such things....chris3
Who said it wouldn't hurt?

Jenrick
April 25, 2013, 09:13 PM
I hate to link another forum: http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=109958

Birdshot just doesn't have the penetration to be a reliable fight stopper, even at close distance.

they act just like a slug and poachers take deer with them during bird season.....Plus, the doc in the emergency room will spend his time removing hundreds of pellets instead of a few......Still say that won't stop a bad guy or hurt? chris3

Hurt sure, stop no. When was the last time you saw a 200lb deer on meth?

Forgot to add, your duty in HD is to stop the perp, not kill him. Lawyers like it when it is obvious you intended to kill the perp with buckshot....In addition, I am a former police chief and know about such things....chris3

Your goal is to stop the threat, whether they die is immaterial. As you have no duty one why or another to stop the threat, just a choice. As noted lethal force is lethal force, your ammunition choice is immaterial in the usage of a firearm in 90% of the states in the Union. I don't know how long ago your LE service was, but things have changed a little bit.

-Jenrick

Deltaboy
April 25, 2013, 09:30 PM
#4 and up works but I trust 00 buck and HP slugs.

111t
April 26, 2013, 07:02 AM
I saw a video (documentary) where a young man found himself on the victim end of a gang initiation. The perp shot him at very close range with a shotgun. (They didn't say what gauge). Anyway, he was at varying distance from the victim starting about 10 feet and then closer. The first shot hit the victims arm. The victim then turned toward the perp who blasted him in the chest. Then the perp closed distance and tried for a head shot, but the victim managed to bat the gun a little and the shot only grazed his head. Then the perp stole the victims car. The victim stood up and walked to find help.

The victim here is just some teenager. Not someone hopped up on drugs or in a fit of rage.

They didn't talk much about the round used, but they did show a chest X-ray and it was obviously birdshot.

Thank goodness the perp didn't know anything about shotgun ammo.

The only time you will be justified pulling the trigger on another human is if they are coming at you with intent. Will blasting them with birdshot hurt them? Yes. Will it stop them? Maybe.

That 'maybe' is the problem I have with birdshot.

I'll see if I can find the video...

Yep here it is.

http://youtu.be/6klClwZVHfE

CajunBass
April 26, 2013, 07:09 AM
OP, another way to look at it is that the smaller the shot, the closer you have to be to the bad guy. Number 8 birdshot is deadly at 3 feet, 30 feet, not very much.

I've used No 8 birdshot to finish off buckshot downed deer several times and it cut a nice neat cookie cutter hole through a deer's head you could read the newspaper through. Of course the range was measured in single digit feet.

Buckshot costs too much? Good grief. How much do you buy? I bought a full box of 25, 3" 000 about 35 years ago. I've still got a half dozen or so of them...and the box they came in. That stuff beats me up too bad to shoot tin cans with. I use birdshot for that. I save buck for serious use.

Sav .250
April 26, 2013, 08:26 AM
Not that much difference in price. Funny how folks are trying to save a little "change" when their life could be on the line.

Why not get the "rubber" bullets they sell?

lemaymiami
April 26, 2013, 12:06 PM
Item one..... I carried and relied on my shotgun for many years on the street. I wouldn't consider using anything other than 00buck or rifled slug. We were never issued anything other than ordinary inexpensive 2 3/4" rounds for our duty weapons (but did use birdshot for training purposes when standard buck wasn't necessary for that particular training routine....). An ordinary 00buck round is a terribly efficient fight ender from close range out to about 20 meters, period. The police shotguns in my era were almost always chambered for 2 3/4 only (remington or mossberg), 1973-1995.

Item two, if you ever have the opportunity to see the wounds created by the round above in the distances described.... you'll never have a doubt about it's capacity as a fight ender.

Item three, every 00buck round in the 2 3/4 inch version only contained nine pellets at
.33 caliber.

Kush
April 26, 2013, 12:37 PM
Someone at shotgunworld actually did ballistics gel testing on a few types of birdshot, it turns out that lead BB shot will actually penetrate to 12 inches and looks like it would be good for home defense, anything under BB doesn't quite reach the 12 inch minimum though. Here is the thread with pictures:

http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=109958&sid=2cf052172f5e5c85c296c201a6fc6ca0

M-Cameron
April 26, 2013, 03:59 PM
im not advocating the use or not use of birdshot as a defensive round....

but the fact that people have been shot with birdshot and survived doesnt prove it is an ineffective round.

hell, there are reports of people surviving 10+ rounds of .45........yet no one argues a .45 is ineffective.

there are reports of people surviving shots with .30-06.......no one argues a .30-06 in ineffective.

hell, there are even reports of people surviving .50BMG........

CajunBass
April 26, 2013, 04:57 PM
Item three, every 00buck round in the 2 3/4 inch version only contained nine pellets at .33 caliber.

That's the "standard" 2 3/4" 12 00 load. The 2 3/4" "short magnum" load is 12 pellets of 00. The 3" is 15.

SeekHer
April 29, 2013, 12:40 AM
First off good sirs one has to define what birdshot actually is?

I say this as the transitional shot sizes of TT and F are considered bird shot...Looking at the chart below, their sizes are just a tad smaller then #4 buck which the FBI favours.

I can assure you from first hand witnessing of the event that a magnum goose load of #2 lead birdshot will kill a 200 lb. man (wearing cold weather gear as well) at about 12 yds.

I use a duplex load of #TT and #2 bird to dispose of feral dogs and have easily taken down Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds with it up to about 30 yds.

I think we have to rephrase the quote "birdshot is only for the birds" to read "Only really small birdshot is for the birds".

Size......(in)...Nbr in 1 Oz
Buck
#0000…....0.38……....4
#000….....0.36.…......6.25
#00….......0.33….......8.13
#0…........0.32..…......9
#1…........0.30…......10.6
#2 ….......0.27…......12.5
#3 ….......0.25…......18
#4…........0.24…......20.3
Bird--Transitional
#F…........0.22…......28.1
#TT…......0.21…......29.5
#T…........0.20…......31.3
#BBB….....0.19…......43.8
Bird
#BB….......0.18….....46.5
#B….........0.17….....50
#1….........0.16….....70.8
#2….........0.15….....93.8
These below only at very, very close range
#3….........0.14…..…113
#4….........0.12…....150

Steve C
April 29, 2013, 10:09 AM
At the distance you would likely use a shotgun to defend yourself in the house, birdshot is quite deadly. At 5 to 7 yds there is little spread in the shot esp. if you are using a typical hunting shotgun with a modified or full choke. You will have to aim, the idea of pointing from the hip or in the general direction can get you killed unless you have had enough practice at shooting form the hip. I know a few guys that can bust clays effectively that way but it took them lots of practice to get that good.

The larger the shot, the deeper the penetration and the greater the effective range. Remember, the bigger the number, the smaller the shot size. I prefer a lead BB load but a number 4 shot or larger in 1-1/4 oz Pheasant or Turkey load would do the trick better than a 1-1/8 oz trap load of no 7-1/2 or 8 shot.

Regardless of what shell you use if you shoot them in the head or upper chest they're likely not long for this world.

RCL
April 29, 2013, 10:50 PM
I will say what I do know.....that when it came time to slaughter a beef on my Granddad's farm when I was growing up, my father would do the deed with the same 16 gauge field load he used for pheasants. From within 5 feet (shot in the forehead) it would drop an 800 pound heifer in it's tracks.

LeonCarr
April 29, 2013, 11:07 PM
None...use #4 Buckshot or larger, with Low Recoil 00 Buckshot ideal.

Do not be cheap and do not play games with your life or your loved ones lives.

BIRDSHOT DOES NOT PENETRATE DEEP ENOUGH TO RELIABLY STOP A HUMAN ATTACKER.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

rbernie
April 29, 2013, 11:17 PM
At the distance you would likely use a shotgun to defend yourself in the house, birdshot is quite deadly.Actually, it's not. It lacks the ability to penetrate ribs or skull at anything beyond contact distance, and statistically it's not nearly as effective as buckshot.

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