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Defensive Ammunition 101

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Dave McCracken, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

  2. spotch

    spotch Well-Known Member

    Really? Seems like a lot of people stress the importance/essentiality of 00 buck...? The more I read the more I worry that a 20g puts you at a real disadvantage because #3 (or #2 if you go 3") is your only viable option.
  3. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Well-Known Member

    The comments about slugs got me thinking a bit - What about foster slugs for defense? Most of the YouTube videos I've seen testing foster slugs show them flattening, fragmenting, penetrating 12-18 inches consistently. Now, I certainly have no experience testing these, nor any other defensive load for that matter, but wouldn't that be a good recipe for a defense load? A large, fast, single projectile, that dumps tons of energy into the target, then expands to over 1" in diameter, fragments, and penetrates a foot deep? Sounds nearly ideal to me... Thoughts, concerns?
  4. armsmaster270

    armsmaster270 Well-Known Member

    I rely on 00 Buck in my 12ga. It's hard for the law to crucify you if your using the same ammo as them.
  5. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    #3 buck is still bigger than #4, and a lot of people like #4 buck in a 12 ga. At typical defensive range, with some experimenting with choke tubes to find a pattern that is suitable, #3 buck in a 20 ga. will do just fine. It's a good match of pellet size and pellet count in the 2.75" shell - 20 pellets of #3 buck at 1200 FPS is nothing to sneeze at.

    I prefer 00 in a 12 ga. because I can handle it effectively. Give me another 10 or 15 years on these old bones and I may well decide that little 20 ga. 870 Express Youth Model in the safe is just the thing for a house gun. But I doubt I'll feel undergunned or deprived in any way. For younger, smaller or physically impaired shooters, a 20 ga. might be just the ticket - for clay games, hunting or repelling boarders.


    I keep slugs in the Sidesaddles of the house guns here, but they are hard swaged Brenneke KOs, not soft lead Foster type slugs. If I ever need to use a slug, it may well be because I need even more reliable penetration than a Foster will give me.
  6. spotch

    spotch Well-Known Member

    Good points Fred.
  7. willroute

    willroute Well-Known Member

    If you live in close vicinity (e.g. apartment), go with #4 bird shot. Yes, bird shot...if you are shooting within 5-7 yards, this will do the job without killing your neighbors. But if you have a home without close neighbors-buckshot.

    If you do not believe bird shot will do the trick, take a water jug out to 5 yards and shoot it with #4 or 5 bird shot..amazing what a non-dispersed shot shell will do in close quarters.
  8. TroyR

    TroyR Well-Known Member

    Slugs only for me.

    For you buckshot guys, in a general gunfight in your house I doubt you are far enough away for your buckshot to open up and it will act like a slug anyway.
  9. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Well-Known Member

    willroute, I strongly suggest you check out this video comparing different shotshell's performances, and how they compare to each other for the purpose of defense loads.


    I'm still curious about foster slugs for close range defense. Largely in part because I've yet to pattern my gun with 00-buck loads, and also because of their high cost and limited local availability. I'll have to pattern some here soon. But I was excited to finally see brassfetcher post a foster slug ballistic gel test. Although it only showed penetration of roughly 9-10", it did impact the target with over 2000 ft/lbs of energy, expand to over an inch in diameter. I would have to believe that would create a massive and incapacitating wound. Of course shot placement would matter, but I can't imagine anything that needs shooting walking away from that. Other tests show the slugs fragmenting - I can only imagine this would cause a devastating wound as well.

    Winchester 12ga, 2-3/4" 1oz foster slug ballistic test.
  10. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    Buckshot doesn't act like a slug at close range. A closely packed column of 8-9 pellets still acts under the same laws if physics that govern a spread out bunch of pellets. Pellets, close together or otherwise, will lose momentum faster than a slug because they have less individual mass.
  11. JamieC

    JamieC Well-Known Member

    Which means 00 has a much better chance of NOT passing through the intended target and hitting something not intended.
  12. jp

    jp Member

    #4 buck:neener:
  13. lg&m

    lg&m Well-Known Member

  14. hwmoore

    hwmoore Active Member

    buck and ball

    the slug and buck is an an old concept of duplex load IE the buck and ball has been around since the revolutionary war. the Ideal was one load multiple ranges and in volley fire was very effective. However I would wonder how it patterns for enclosed spaces I am satisfied with #4 buck 24 projectiles 6mm in diameter in a 20 inch circle will make a man bleed like a sieve
  15. jp

    jp Member

    here is a good video showing the affects of different shot loads from #8 birdshot to 000 buck in ballistic gelatin .... it qualifies my choice of #4 buck.

    hey have fun with it

  16. jp

    jp Member

  17. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Well-Known Member

    870 with a 2 rd extended mag. First round is a 2 3/4 slug in case I need to be extremely selective or penetrate medium cover. Followed by a full complement of 2 3/4 00.
  18. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Well-Known Member

    I refuse to use birdshot, any birdshot, for any defensive purpose.

    A minimal amount of research or testing has shown and will show that birdshot does not penetrate deep enough to reliably stop a human threat.

    It does not matter if you live in the Sultan of Brunei's Castle, an apartment, or a cardboard box...use at minimum #4 Buckshot.

    Your life or the lives of your loved ones might depend on your ammunition selection.

    Just my .02,
  19. beeb173

    beeb173 Well-Known Member

    Sorry that was poor wording. I'll try again.

    you could have a man the size of N'Damukong Suh in your house trying to rob you and if you shot at 15 feet w/ bird shot the fight would be over. if you have different living conditions you would want different ammo.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  20. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    It works well enough to deter the majority of home invaders. I wouldn't turn my nose at it.

    I use 00 buck, I want to get my hands on some 1 Buck. I wish I could find some locally. I'd switch now. 4 Buck is great, but 1 Buck seems to be the butter zone in range, pattern, penetration, and pellet count.

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