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Defensive Ammunition 101

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

  1. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Well-Known Member

    I will turn my nose at it.

    Detering and stopping are two completely different things. I have seen several people shot with birdshot continue to function and be a threat.

    I also noticed in your post that you do not use birdshot.

    Just my .02,
  2. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    No, I don't use birdshot. I am of the mindset that if I'm using a long gun, I'm going to use it to its full capability. My point about birdshot was simply that it's not the puff of hot air that many claim. I'm not advocating it, nor am I implying that it'll reliably incapacitate anyone, but you'll generally make someone quit doing what they're doing with it. An "anything is better than nothing" kind of thing.

    Also, since this is relevant...
  3. Fryerpower

    Fryerpower Well-Known Member

    Great thread and I love the poster above!

    I'm slowly working my up to larger and larger shot sizes for my 20 ga. shotgun as I find them in stores.

    I started at 2-3/4 inch shells with #7-1/2 dove shot, because that was all they had.
    Then I moved to 2-3/4 inch shells with #5 Pheasent shot, because they had some in stock.
    Today I picked up some 3 inch shells with #5 Turkey shot (copper plated lead), because turkey season is coming up and they had some in stock.
    Someday I would like to get some 03 buckshot...

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  4. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    I picked up some 3" 4 Buck for the 12 gauge today.

    I really wanted 2-3/4", but they only had 3", which means my 870 will only hold 4+1 rounds. But my HD shotgun has one role, which is "sit and wait for police", so I'm not terribly broken up about capacity.

    I'm gonna do some patterning tests tomorrow morning or Monday, if I can.

    And Fryerpower, you're going in the right direction! :D
  5. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Well-Known Member

    There is a difference between killing somebody and using deadly force. I don't think anyone particularly has the legal right to kill anyone in civilian life. "Homicide" is what you did, period. After the fact, "somebody else" may decide it was "justified".

    On the other hand, if you have the moral and legal right to use deadly force against somebody and he happens to die as a result or your legal use of deadly force, that comes under the Law of Tough Nuggies. If anyone does not understand this they should take a CCW class or study up on your State's laws. While you are studying your State laws, pay particular attention to the definition of revenge killing, mayhem, and give some serious thoughts about any bravado comments you may feel like making to witnesses and investigators.

    Also keep in mind that that use of less lethal ammo or shooting to wound is still deadly force in the eyes of the law because the MAY kill and they put the recipient in fear of his life.

    According to FBI penetration tests, some weak loads of 4 buck do not have the required penetration.

    Theoretically, the ammo you chose should make no legal difference, but we don't live in a theoretical world. If you live in a pro-crime legal jurisdiction, have a bad lawyer, are the nervous type, etc. you might want to worry a little about this. For most folks in most places with a ''clean shoot, cap'n Furrilo" shootout, just get any common name brand buck or personal defense buck and don't worry about the details of the ammo.

    000 and slugs will work just fine, but they have a tendency to over penetrate. Unless you live in bear country, they are probably not the best idea.

    If your concept of home defense is to encourage a bad guy to go away but only have a 50% chance of stopping him if he decides to charge, use birdshot. In all other cases, use buckshot!

    20 gauge buck is easily available online.
  6. Fryerpower

    Fryerpower Well-Known Member

    Link? Every place I have been lists it, but is out of stock.

  7. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    Good string. I especially like the first couple pages which was essentially discussing what amounts to the use of deadly force and the interpretation of what stopping an attack entails.

    Those of use who have served in the military learned that deadly force is that amount of force which I know, or should know, will cause serious bodily harm or death, to be used as a last resort when all lesser means have failed or cannot reasonably be employed. And we learned all the times when deadly force is authorized...but the only time it's really applicable to us as civilians is when you fear for your life or the life of another. (Yes, I'm perfectly aware that many states allow the protection of property here...that's a legal distinction. In my opinion, just because something is legal doesn't mean it's always the moral or ethical thing to do. I leave that as your call, based on your own laws and morals.)

    The key here is "fear for your life or the life of another".

    To that end, we don't draw a weapon on another human being unless we truely believe it's a "him or me" situation...that either yourself or another human being is going to suffer serious bodily harm or death if you do not.

    Yes, the mere fact that you have drawn a weapon MAY deter the aggressor.

    Yes, the mere fact that you may shoot and miss MAY deter the aggressor.

    Yes, the mere fact that you may wound MIGHT deter the aggressor.

    But these things are incidental to the decision to apply deadly force and they cannot be depended upon. When circumstances conspire to the point where the weapon is drawn, you're saying that applying deadly force is REQUIRED. And THAT is the mind set which is required until the threat no longer exists.

    When attacked in such a life-threatening scenario, you don't have time, nor any business, to do anything but apply the maximum amount of force you are able, in the most effective way possible.

    If, during this process, the attack is stopped without involving a death...great. Then the need for deadly force at that time no longer exists and it should no longer be applied. (Though you should be on your guard.)

    I love the OP because it focuses on the reality of what it means to effectively and reliably apply deadly force with a shotgun. You don't go half-measures, because anything less than deadly is not something that you can rely upon. You don't rely on folk tales about home loaded rounds with dimes or salt. You don't use unproven ammunition obviously hyped for marketing purposes.

    And you DON'T go into an application of deadly force expecting less than deadly means to work, nor do you do it believing that the law will look upon you fondly if you do.

    I prefer 00 buck in my 12 ga. I will use whatever I have handy, regardless. And I will not stop applying deadly force (by any means) until the threat is ended or I am no longer able to defend myself.
  8. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    Tried that 3" 4 Buck today.

    Far too much recoil for a home defense load, and the pattern wasn't anything impressive.

    Back to good old 00 for me.
  9. hwmoore

    hwmoore Active Member

    3 inches is too much

    3 inch would be too much for me also, I limit myself to 2 3/4 #4 buck , 00 buck and slugs. As far as I'm concerned I see no need for a 3 inch shell but then I'm not shooting ducks or turkeys :)
  10. Fryerpower

    Fryerpower Well-Known Member

    I'll keep that in mind if I am ever given the opportunity to buy some buckshot. :banghead:

    Since the largest shot I can find is #5 turkey I will stick with a 3 inch shell to give those little suckers as much umph as I can.

    Someday things will get better and I will be able to get some buckshot.

  11. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    Well I got 3" because that's all there was. I usually use 2-3/4" anyway. Might get some 2-3/4" #4 and #1 Buck, but... ehh... I'm happy with 00 as it sits.
  12. Fryerpower

    Fryerpower Well-Known Member

    Stopped by the Coop today for hay and found out they sell ammo!

    I'm up to 3", #4 turkey shot!

    Little by little I'm getting closer to buckshot!

  13. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    I think Natchezss has some 3" 000 20 gauge, if you're interested.

    At least when I looked a couple days ago.
  14. Fryerpower

    Fryerpower Well-Known Member

    Great price on a box of 2 3/4", 20 Ga, #3 buck. $4.49 for 5 rounds. Shipping TOTALLY sucks! $18.33 for one box by UPS ground!

  15. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    UPS seems pricier than usual. Midway wanted $19 to ship a holster, a Glock connector, and a small powder scale... Boyd's wanted $18 to ship two screws for my Savage.
  16. Fryerpower

    Fryerpower Well-Known Member

    Success! LGS had 2-3/4 inch, 20 GA, #3 buckshot for $4.99 per 5 round box.

  17. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound Well-Known Member

    Alrighty Then!

    Lots of good info here, but I was wondering if there is a good "practice"
    round that won't break the bank... Saw a case (250) of #7 birdshot for
    $70 (Estate Brand) and wondered if it would be a waste of time? Different
    recoil ot just totally different patterning? LMK!
  18. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    You definitely want to practice with what you're going to use, when it comes to shotguns. You'll find that everything patterns differently, so try to train with what you are going to use. I used to use Federal XM12700 before it went up in price. Used to be $99 for 175 rounds plus a new ammo can. Now I think it's about $150. IF you can find it in-stock. Of course if you're into the FliteControl stuff, that's a little harder to buy in bulk or for a good price.

    And fyi, you can get 100 round boxes of birdshot for $20 at walmart. 3 of them would be $60 and you'd get 300 rounds.
  19. jdh

    jdh Well-Known Member

    To the Slug guys, If I am going to launch a single projectile I prefer to to it from a platform designed for that purpose. Some thing with sights and rifling.

    At across the room distances shot size is less important than shot placement. The room broom myth has led many to believe all they have to do it stick the muzzle in a crack in a door an anything in the room will be hit. Not so. At 10 to 20 feet the shot will still be tightly bunched you need to aim. Point an pray is not going to cut it.
  20. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound Well-Known Member

    Thx Man!

    I will practice with the intended use ammo!

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