What is the best 12 gauge round for HD


October 6, 2013, 05:44 PM
I have Winchester 2 3/4" 00 buck, but just saw a tube video with a half dozen different choices. What are you guys using?

If you enjoyed reading about "What is the best 12 gauge round for HD" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
October 6, 2013, 05:47 PM
00 buck

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 4

October 6, 2013, 05:47 PM
The consensus was previously established as 2 3/4" 00 buck.
Let the re-hash begin.

October 6, 2013, 05:48 PM
I would go with #4 Buck, especially if excessive penetration was an issue. At accross-the-room distances, the shot column is practically a slug anyway. :eek:

October 6, 2013, 05:49 PM
here we go again

M2 Carbine
October 6, 2013, 06:00 PM
I favor 00 Buck.
A LOT of 00 Buck. :D

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/KelTecKSGfrontview2_zpsde83bf47.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/KelTecKSGfrontview2_zpsde83bf47.jpg.html)

October 6, 2013, 06:01 PM
Gold standard is ....whats mentioned above.

October 6, 2013, 06:05 PM
I like Remington Express (2 3/4" Magnum) #1 Buckshot.

October 6, 2013, 06:07 PM
00 buck, 2-3/4.

October 6, 2013, 06:18 PM
2 3/4 00 buck

P5 Guy
October 6, 2013, 06:25 PM
#4 buckshot 12 gauge 2 3/4.
That is like 20 0.220" balls at 1400 fps. OO buckshot is 9 0.355 balls.

Shawn Dodson
October 6, 2013, 06:59 PM
Federal #1 buckshot - http://www.gtdist.com/ProductDetail.aspx?PartNumber=FC-LE1321B

It damages more tissue than 00 buckshot and reliably achieves adequate penetration (better than #4 buckshot) to reach and damage vitals.

M2 Carbine
October 6, 2013, 07:07 PM
HD can mean different things for different people.

Across an average room any Buckshot will do a good job.

My personal HD is out to 35 yards or a little more. So I favor the bigger 00 Buckshot, up to 12 ball Sellier & Bellot 2 3/4 inch shells.

October 6, 2013, 07:10 PM
I'll add to the fun. High base buckshot loads are a solid load with a lot of recoil. It will get the job done and a little bit more. I'm not too keen on the giant blast these loads produce. For distances inside the house any load is going to be one solid clump of lead pellets, it takes a few yards for the pattern to spread. With that being said, any load with say number 4 pellets and up is going to be a serious blast of lead. Personally I'd shoot some number 4 2-3/4 loads and be satisfied.

October 6, 2013, 07:15 PM
Federal Flitecontrol 00 Buckshot is what I use.

The Winchester 00 Buckshot you are currently using will work just fine for Home Defense.

I do recommend pattern testing different loads in your shotgun at the max range a shot may be possible in your home, to make sure you have a load that will keep all of the pellets inside the upper torso at that range.

I do not recommend birdshot for self defense or home defense under ANY circumstances. It does not reliably penetrate deep enough to stop a human being.

Just my .02,

October 6, 2013, 07:47 PM
I use the Federal LE #1 Buck, at 15 yards it is still one ragged hole out of my 870.

October 6, 2013, 07:57 PM
Find some buckshot that's #4 size or larger which patterns well in your gun at the max distance you need it to shoot. Everything else is going to be splitting hairs.

October 6, 2013, 07:58 PM
LeonCarr: I do not recommend birdshot for self defense or home defense under ANY circumstances. It does not reliably penetrate deep enough to stop a human being.

With out being argumentative I'll ask this question for my own edification. Is this statement based on personal experience/experimentation or a documented study?

Ohen Cepel
October 6, 2013, 08:07 PM
I go with #4 since I'm looking at indoor use only and worry some about over penetration.

October 6, 2013, 08:37 PM
Yea, I must agree Fowl Shot 'tis far too feeble beyond the muzzle.

Any Hail Shot will do within the confines of my humble cottage.

Best reserve my 22 gauge buckshot pellets for deer and boar.

October 6, 2013, 08:41 PM
Another vote for Federal #1 buck.

But I think anything between #4 buck down to 00 would do just fine as long as its on paper at ten or so yards.

Fred Fuller
October 6, 2013, 09:59 PM
Federal LE127-00 (9-pellet loads at 1325fps, in FliteControl wads), with Brenneke KOs on the side.


Can't necessarily say it's "the best," but it's what suits me.

October 6, 2013, 10:27 PM
The Firearms Tactical Institute report recommends #1 Buck

For personal defense and law enforcement applications, the International Wound Ballistics Association advocates number 1 buckshot as being superior to all other buckshot sizes.

Number 1 buck is the smallest diameter shot that reliably and consistently penetrates more than 12 inches of standard ordnance gelatin when fired at typical shotgun engagement distances.

A standard 2 -inch 12 gauge shotshell contains 16 pellets of #1 buck. The total combined cross sectional area of the 16 pellets is 1.13 square inches. Compared to the total combined cross sectional area of the nine pellets in a standard #00 (double-aught) buck shotshell (0.77 square inches), the # 1 buck shotshell has the capacity to produce over 30 percent more potentially effective wound trauma. In all shotshell loads, number 1 buckshot produces more potentially effective wound trauma than either #00 or #000 buck. In addition, number 1 buck is less likely to over-penetrate and exit an attacker's body.



October 6, 2013, 11:46 PM
OK, the OP has asked two questions. The first one in the subject line, "what is the best 12 ga round for HD?" is practically impossible to answer universally (although we all think we can); the second one, "what are you guys using?" is much easier to answer and can be 100% factual.

I use 2 3/4 inch #2 buckshot.

October 7, 2013, 12:31 AM
Thanks for your responses

October 7, 2013, 01:48 AM
With out being argumentative I'll ask this question for my own edification. Is this statement based on personal experience/experimentation or a documented study?
Most studies show that birdshot has low penetration. It will do massive damage but may not penetrate deep enough to hit the vital targets that stop attackers.

IN my personal experience as a LEO I have seen several people shot with birdshot at fairly close ranges. These ranges are what you would normally find inside a house. For the most part it was not effective.

October 7, 2013, 07:25 AM
I have 4 different types of shells loaded in my bedside shotgun. Most of them are 9 pellet 00 buckshot. If thin walls are a concern then a HEAVY birdshot will be your best bet such as Heavy 8 (very common) or BB/BBB if you can find them. I have yet to see any T, TT, F or FF.

October 7, 2013, 11:00 AM
I have Winchester super X 2-3/4" 00 buck and 3" 00 buck. the 3" has 15 pellets

October 7, 2013, 11:20 AM

Both sources you mentioned, including an eyewitness account of birdshot failing to penetrate/stop someone wearing a leather jacket.

00 Buckshot is the most recommended 12 Gauge round for home defense because it works and it is readily available. #1 Buckshot may work better, but it is harder to find and except for the #1 Flitecontrol Buckshot it does not pattern as tightly in cylinder bore shotguns, IME.

Just my .02,

October 7, 2013, 01:59 PM
I don't have to worry about over-penetration where I live, so I use slugs. Nothing fancy, the same stuff they sell by the ton during deer season.

I don't expect to be shooting at 50 yards, or shooting through car doors, but I can, if it comes to that.

The only advantage of buck (besides reduce penetration) is that you'll get a bit of a spread at household ranges, which might help turn a near miss into a hit. The advantage of slugs is greatly enhanced range and penetration, and a no-questions-asked terminal effect.

October 7, 2013, 03:56 PM
I cast #4 #0 and #00 so these are what I mainly use and I always keep slugs handy. I have not yet bought a #1 mold, but it's on my to do list. I recently purchased about a hundred bucks worth of federals PD low recoil #00, but have not yet had a chance to test it in any of my guns.

I also ordered a bunch of cheap factory slugs and buckshot just because it was cheap and made the order of federal PD worthwhile. When I looked at the shells I was quickly reminded of why I load my own as the slugs looked like they were loaded by a two year old and the federal which wasn't exactly cheap looked like it never made it to QC! any of those rounds would have never made it to the shelves 20 year ago.

To my surprise when I went to put this stuff away I ran across a sizable storage of other factory ammo I had purchased in the past and didn't remember. Among them were a couple cases of 3-3/4 dram 1 1/4 oz loads that were priced at $29.00 per case and I found a bunch of factory slugs and buckshot some of which were premium loads. I think I'll go shoot up this old stuff and see how it compares to my home made stuff.

October 7, 2013, 04:14 PM
I researched this long ago and opted for #4 buckshot. It's "enough" and "somewhat" minimizes excessive penetration in a semi-rural environment. If I can't stop the bad guys with 8 rounds of #4 buck from a semi-auto 12ga plus 17 rounds of 9mm HP then I'm most likely already dead.

October 7, 2013, 05:30 PM
I would say Tn-Fe-Ni 2&3/4" #4BK load.

October 7, 2013, 07:40 PM
2 3/4 buckshot. Or 3" if you must.

I hate all the new shells with zombies on the box or mix of small slug / shot.

Any buckshot will do. I promise.

October 7, 2013, 08:04 PM
Curious if anyone her has ever had to actually launch 9 big horrendous balls of lead at an intruder or whatever. I assume it would be an awful mess... I mean the stuff is more than capable of chopping down small trees. Not with one shot.. But one cant help but wonder what that load would do to a common human sized arm... or head... eek. Overkill.

October 7, 2013, 08:17 PM
00 buckshot

October 7, 2013, 09:55 PM
Don't know what the best is but I'm currently using #1 buck for HD. I've been replacing that stock with 0 buck for no particular reason.

missouri dave
October 11, 2013, 07:57 PM
I currently use 12 pellet 00 buck but I'm strongly considering going to 34 pellet #4 buck. More holes are better than less holes.

October 11, 2013, 08:04 PM
I use Federal XM12700. Plain old 00 Buck. Patterns best. I'm getting into 1 Buck a lot lately, though, so I might start using that if I can ever find some to test.

Gun Master
October 11, 2013, 09:02 PM
Overall, 00 Buck . Any buck load, within average home confines will do, usually . Slugs in certain situations, and only if a center fire rifle is not available, in those situations. Buck first and foremost, and slugs as potential auxiliary .

bubba in ca
October 12, 2013, 03:29 PM
Cheapest name brand easy to find 00 buck. If it functions reliably in your gun, go for it. 1 Buck is a smidge better if you happen to find it. 4 buck is ok for closeup, as long as you get the more powerful loads that have the penetration. If you live in a cold climate or where leather jackets are common, I`d go for the bigger buck.

Personally, I don`t like to sweat the small stuff and just buy 00 buck (and 2 or 3 buck for my 20 gauge). Exact knit-picky choice of ammo doesn`t win many battles.

If your concept of HD involves longer shots, such as on a farm or business, then splurge for flight control. Again, 1 buck is a smidge better but not enough to spend a lot of time or money looking for it.

In any case, pattern your ammo in your gun. Patterning is not rocket science: shoot an old tv or appliance box at 10 feet, 20 feet, etc. and measure the spread. If you keep changing ammos, you need to keep patterning!

October 12, 2013, 04:09 PM
Has anyone ever considered turkey loads? This thread reminded me of the time I was talking to an old turkey hunter at the range. We got to discussing stuff like home defense loads and such; and he told me he played around with some of his turkey loads in an old 12 ga. pump with a modified choke that was normally in his closet, (not his turkey gun). Said he shot them at home defense range which he considered less than 20 yards and they did OK according to him. I know turkey loads are kind of hot, (you can tell just by the recoil) and don't recall the shot size of his loads but he said if he ever got an uninvited "guest" at 3 a.m. or whatever then that 12 ga. with those turkey loads would be his home security system. Personally I'd lean toward 00 buck but would bet that those turkey loads would be a viable alternative. Has anybody researched anything on turkey loads for home defense?

October 12, 2013, 04:17 PM
I already posted that I opted for #4 buck. I guess I should qualify that decision with where I live and how a perp might be dressed. It's mid October and 90 degrees outside here... and this is with a cool front. It just doesn't get cold enough that a perp is going to wear heavy clothing at pretty much any time. And if they're wearing some type of protective gear then I'll just have to shoot them in the face. My laser sights are accurate. Too, I don't carry my shotgun outside on my little two acres. It's primarily for in-home defense so distance would be 10-30 feet so not too much shot dispersion.

October 12, 2013, 06:47 PM
The advantage of slugs is greatly enhanced range and penetration, and a no-questions-asked terminal effect.

Any reason to think that a slug would have any more "no-questions-asked terminal effect" than a heavy buckshot?

I load regular, boring Remington Express 00 buck because it's cheap, I can shoot/practice/pattern with it, and honestly, I cannot imagine a situation in which a the cheapo express load would fail to stop an attacker but "tactical" or LE load would succeed.

This is not like the hollow-point v. FMJ arguments that they have over in the autoloader sub-forum. With those, there is a significant difference in performance.
At 10 yards or less, when we're talking about something as powerful as 12ga buck, I really think we're just splitting hairs.

October 12, 2013, 07:59 PM
Slugs have a purpose. And that purpose is to more or less turn your shotgun into an almost accurate centerfire rifle at 100-200 meters. For the purpose of HOME DEFENSE, that is a distance where slugs aren't really needed. Any tight pattering buck or heavy birdshot will do the trick. Unless you are shooting someone with shells loaded with rock salt, hitting someone with bird or buckshot at 15 meters will give pretty much anyone pause. 00 buck is obviously the most recommend load on this thread for multiple reasons such as availability and a tested load with military and LEO. Buy a box of 3 or 4 different 2 3/4" 00 buck shells and see what patterns best for your shotgun at the furthest distance you expect to shoot. For example the largest room in your house.

October 12, 2013, 08:15 PM
anything that says 12 gauge and buck shot

Carl N. Brown
October 12, 2013, 08:21 PM
Currently in the shotgun for HD: Winchester 2 3/4" nine 00.

Fast Frank
October 12, 2013, 10:32 PM
In my mind, the argument about shot size is like this:

"Would you rather get run over by an 18 wheeler full of BBs, Or an 18 wheeler full of bowling balls?"

Yeah, the BBs probably weigh more, and the bowling balls will probably roll farther after the crash...

The end result, however, is the same. Anybody that manages to get on the receiving end of that is going to be flattened and it's not going to be pretty.

Personally, I chose 00 for my defense load, but I think anything bigger than a turkey load will work at living room distances.

As mentioned before, I believe that getting the load on target is more important than the size of the shot.

I hope I never have to plug a bad guy in my living room with 00 buck, but if I do then shame on the mess.

October 13, 2013, 10:37 AM
I have my HD 12 gauge loaded with 2 3/4 00 buck. On the side saddle I have a few slugs and a pair of #2 buck. I like to have options, but generally will rely on the 00.

Pretty much anything with 'buck' in the title would be a decent anti personnel round. Not knowing home layout or any particulars about distances and potential for innocents being injured due to over penetration, I can't offer anything else.

October 13, 2013, 04:42 PM
In my mind...

'nuff said.

October 13, 2013, 08:02 PM
My 870 has a two rd extended mag and is stuffed with 2 3/4 00 ... except for the last round in the tube. (ergo first in the chamber) a 2 3/4 - 1 oz slug.

October 13, 2013, 09:13 PM
...if not, compelling evidence.


Gun Master
October 13, 2013, 11:41 PM
And the winner is..................... 00 Buck !:D

October 13, 2013, 11:50 PM
I like the same thing Fred Fuller likes. Really I feel very confident with a real short (as in 14" IC choke) 870 with 12" Hogue stock, with tritium rifle sights will Remington Manged Recoil 1 oz LE slugs.Pin point shot placement and decisive power to 50 yards. These slugs only have about the same penetration as a major caliber pistol round but make a 3/4" hole with no expansion and are very soft and usually open to an inch in the animals I've shot with them-ouchie mama!

October 14, 2013, 02:03 AM
00 Buck. Effective, reliable, affordable, common.

1 oz slugs are available if needed.

What a unique topic. Never has this been asked before on any gun board...

By the way, consider if someone takes a shot from 1, 4, or 00 buck... They may not die instantly; heck they may even have a tiny bit of fight left in them. But I imagine at that point, having been shot in the leg or shoulder or chest... their 'fight or flight' mode will (in all but the most hardened motivated drugged individuals) likely switch to flight or medical care mode. These nit-picky "which round is the absolute best" threads get sooo yesterday sometimes.

October 14, 2013, 02:34 AM
What a unique topic. Never has this been asked before on any gun board.

LOL, I like that. But actually my HD round is 45 ACP, the shotgun is loaded with 1 1oz Foster Slug in the chamber and 5 2 3/4 00 Buck shot rounds in the mag..


October 14, 2013, 07:00 AM
As most have said... ordinary 2 3/4 shells with nine 00 buck...

If you ever actually see the results on a human torso of the above load at close quarters (15 meters or less) those terrible wounds will stick in your mind. The only ammo I ever carried on the street for my shotgun was basic Winchester or Remington issued ammo as described above. The one time I ever used it -I fired one shot and put all nine pellets in the chest cavity. The only thing I can think of that would have been more effective was a single shotgun slug, center of mass... That single round at a range (measured) of 40 feet ended the incident instantly.

October 14, 2013, 07:40 PM
The reason I like "low recoil " slugs is the ability to do a hostage rescue partial head shot across the house or around the yard. In my training on the Yavapai hostage mover only a slug will do it at 25 feet or more and it seems a likely possible scenario to me.

Moderator Note: The training referred to above is conducted by the Yavapai Firearms Academy on their Mirage Target System developed by head trainer Louis Awerbuck. Mr. Awerbuck is one of the world's foremost authorities on the defensive use of shotguns. While a hostage rescue shot is highly unlikely it is one of the final exercises taught in all YFA classes. The staff and owners of THR wish to emphasize that a hostage rescue shot is a highly unlikely scenario, and that it should be attempted only by properly trained individuals.

October 14, 2013, 09:33 PM
The reason I like "low recoil " slugs is the ability to do a hostage rescue partial head shot across the house or around the yard. In my training on the Yavapai hostage mover only a slug will do it at 25 feet or more and it seems a likely possible scenario to me.

< Edited by moderator > Highly dangerous and highly unlikely... I cannot recall a single incident in the news of a civilian shooting a hostage taker in a hostage rescue situation. Heck, it's extremely rare for professionals...

Fred Fuller
October 15, 2013, 12:33 AM
The old didactic urge kicks in here again ... :D

When you start thinking about using a shotgun to shoot a bad guy off a hostage, keep in mind that you may be launching secondary projectiles as well. Buckshot loads may have a wad or shot cup that will impact outside the pattern, even at close range. Even if the impact of the wad, as light as it is, might not be fatal, it can still destroy an eye or do other damage to innocents.

Slugs may have a sabot, a base wad that detaches in flight (accidentally or on purpose), or in one notable case I recall from a shotgun class a few years back, a plastic ball in the base of the slug (those were also bouncing off steel targets and rebounding back uprange for 50 yards or more).

Once again - know what your chosen load will do in your shotgun before you depend on it for serious use!

Gun Master
June 2, 2014, 10:54 PM
I recently heard an elderly gunsmith say, "The Police (non-specific) use #4 shot".

Any comments ?

Armor Snail
June 3, 2014, 12:25 AM
I have #4 BUCK loaded up in mine.

I use to use (practice with) 2" 00 Buck(Remington) and 1oz slugs in 2"(Winchester).

When I switched to the 2" S&B #4 buck I was much faster shooting and it was much more controllable.
I'm hooked. Each round patterns inside a paper plate at 7 yrds. Minute of torso is good enough for me.

June 3, 2014, 01:06 AM
My first round is bird shot, mostly because i'll shoot a snake long before a bad guy. then it's buckshot and lastly a slug.

June 3, 2014, 02:11 AM
I recently heard an elderly gunsmith say, "The Police (non-specific) use #4 shot".

Any comments ?
I depends on the agency, but #4 shot rather than #4 Buck would be quite unusual. The comments from LEOs here on THR have indicated that most agencies issue 2&3/4" 9 pellet 00 buck.

June 3, 2014, 01:59 PM
Federal LE127RS

Gun Master
June 3, 2014, 02:39 PM
Apparently my friend meant " #4 Buck " shot, not " #4 (bird) " shot.

This could be compared to shooting a buck/man, as opposed to a pheasant/turkey/duck.

The "00 Buck Shot" has 8 pellets, while "#4 Buck Shot" has 21 pellets (approx. 2 1/2 times as many pellets), and about 1/4" diameter per ball (00 Buck has approx. 1/3" diameter). Take your pick, and perhaps something in between.

As a side note, U.S. Park Rangers have been issued 12 gauge shotguns with rifled slugs, where some large bear control problems have occurred. I'm sure this was black bear control. Not sure re: "Grizz" (I'd want to "be" sure if I were involved).

June 3, 2014, 10:07 PM
I use 3.5" Wingmaster with 20" rifle sight plus choke tubes. The stock fit is perfect for me so I can use 7/8 or 1oz 1300fps "combat slugs" instead of buckshot. Quite frankly with availability of tactical slugs from companies like Federal, Fiocchi, Rottweil or S&B (theirs is called target slug) the BK shot is outdated concept. I will concede that "blind man" shooting ill fitting scatter gun at longer ranges would be better off using buck shot .:uhoh:

June 3, 2014, 11:23 PM
Based only on reading, I would suggest low recoil 00 buckshot. Control, penetration, effective stopping power within home defence distance. :)

If home defence includes shooting outside (some seem to think it does in some instances), a few slugs might come in handy. The 2 3/4" Challenger brand patterned very well out of my shotgun. :eek:

I personally do not use a shotgun (or any gun) for home defence, so I did not choose a round for the job. :o

For zombie duty, 3" 000 seems like cool stuff. Would suggest an excellent, thick recoil pad for that stuff. I know for a fact it hurts on both ends of the shotgun. :evil:

If you enjoyed reading about "What is the best 12 gauge round for HD" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!