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Defensive Ammunition 101

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

  1. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Well-Known Member

    I carried and used a standard 12 riot gun for many years down here in paradise (and was working the day the "Miami shootout" occurred -fortunately not there but in the north end of Dade county..). I retired out in 1995 having only fired one round on the street where it counted. I relied on my shotgun whenever there was even the possibility of an armed confrontation and took some ribbing about it from my officers. The one time it was needed all nine 00buck pellets went into the chest cavity and ended the matter on impact... All I ever used was issued 23/4 00buck or slug rounds and that's what I used on that one occasion.

    As an old "country boy" with a short tour in Vietnam before going into law enforcement I always understood that the human animal is so wildly variable that there are a few walking around that you might actually have to out-run AFTER you've made a killing shot... Anyone who believes otherwise should pray they never find out the hard way...

    As noted above, know your weapon, practice to become competent, and pray you never need it.
  2. chuwee81

    chuwee81 Well-Known Member

    Hi folks, just watched penetration tests on youtube and agree that 00 buck would do the job. Thanks for sharing that leymaymiami, but i do have concern of over-penetration. In your case, how far was the distance and was there any pellets that went through? I am seriously doubting stocking up my tubes with 00 bucks now not from UNDER-performing but Over-performing.
  3. nathan

    nathan Well-Known Member

    Shoot to stop the threat. Shoot and shoot until it stops. Aim for the chest and head using slugs!
  4. armsmaster270

    armsmaster270 Well-Known Member

    As I used to tell my students, Shoot to stop the aggression. The best way to do that is center of mass/heart area, that way if you somehow miss you still may get a piece of him. If he dies that is irrelevant.

  5. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Well-Known Member

    Yep, good old BA/UU/R :)
  6. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    Dave probably spilled more shot at the reloading bench than I've fired in my life - that's what made his contributions here so valuable. I still miss him every day I stop by here...
  7. ElPasoWrangler

    ElPasoWrangler Well-Known Member

    In over fifty years of shooting and killing game I still remember that first rabbit and how I felt watching the twitching body as I realized what I had done. I hunted to eat or to protect property and life.

    No sane man wishes to have to kill another but sane men do accept that at times it may be the result of their actions. It is a grave responsibility.

    I remember being told that a man armed with a drawn knife and within 20 feet could cover the distance in less than 2 seconds. Can you draw and fire in less than 2 seconds? Most gun owners can't even decide to fire in 2 seconds. Train your muzzle on the threat and at the first hostile act move to save yourself. That is what this is all about, self preservation. Most people have no idea what incoming gunfire sounds like. I do and I don't like it.

    Most injuries to border patrol officers is from rocks. Rocks are considered deadly force and should be defended against as appropriate. Do you think the person coming into your house will be armed with just a rock?

    Like the quote from Patton in the movie, "It is not your place to die for your country, it is to let that other poor sob die for his." He knew what he spoke of as he had ended the life of a Mexican Villista charging him on horseback with a shot from his colt peacemaker.

    Feel bad about it later but be alive to have feelings.
  8. Forley

    Forley Member

    Same, loaded up with #4 buck, it'll do the job, especially at the distances involved inside the house, average distance would be 5-7 yards, with a maximum of 20. On the shell carrier on the buttstock I have 3 00 buck and 2 slugs, mostly for wildlife since I live in the country, though that shotgun wouldn't be my first choice for outdoors work. I'd be far more likely to have my .357 on me, or be grabbing the rifle. http://www.brassfetcher.com/12 gauge number four buckshot.pdf

    I'd love to get my hands on some 15 pellet #1 buck though. I have some but it's a 3" 24 pellet magnum load, recoil is stout.
  9. NYShooter

    NYShooter Well-Known Member

    Yes, me. #4 is "marginal" http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm
  10. spottedpony

    spottedpony Active Member

    No intention of hijacking this thread, though here's some food for thought on the matter in general. (Don't shoot the messenger here, these are simply thoughts from a discussion)

    Having years of law enforcement in my past, as well as a family member who before retirement, served as an assistant DA, we've discussed, hypotheticly, some of the scenerios posed here.

    His concensus is that, (based on) individual responses here, as well as some posted photos, He would more than likely pursue criminal charges against the home defender, even though, they did in fact believe they were defending life and property.

    The reason being, there was obviously premeditation about self defense, ammunition used with the intent of inflicting the most damage or death, as well as the design of a "specialty" weapon for this exact purpose.
    As he puts it, there is a distinct difference between protecting ones home with grandpa's old (shotgun of choice) should a break in occur, the planning and practice some people practice. Therefore its a fine line between being prepared and being seen as an aggressor, and as he puts it, he could easily convince a jury that the shooter had in fact been planning for such an occasion and was looking forward to the opportunity to stop by any means, such an attack.

    We also discussed what might be a reasonable (legally speaking) home defense shotgun and ammo, and agreed that the following would provide plenty of plausible deniability.
    a midrange priced pump or autoloader, with a shorter 26 inch bbl and screw in chokes, using an improved cylinder tube. For ammo factory or handloaded 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 ounce of lead BB or BBB shot at nominal hunting velocities. (Since these loads could in fact be readily available as turkey loads it could be argued they were not designed primarily for self defense.)
    The argument by a defense lawyer would of course be, that it was a shotgun designed for hunting as was the ammo thus at least while used as home protection that wasnt the prime goal.
    Now these thoughts are from a couple of pro gun folks, just imagine what the anti gunners could do with it in court?
  11. jdh

    jdh Well-Known Member

    Any prosecutor who would take a good home defense shoot an pervert it into the acts of a deranged premeditating killer based on the home owner's choice of the proper tool for the job should be disbarred, tared (the hotter the tar pot is before dipping him/her in it the better) and feathered, and rode out of town on a rail.
  12. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Well-Known Member

    His consensus ?

    Is he schizophrenic?
  13. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    A "consensus" of one amounts to an "opinion". A consensus implies a group decision making process.

    This DA obviously is out to get convictions regardless of the circumstances, it seems to me.

    It also seems to me that this DA has no concept of what the word "deadly" means with respect to "deadly force". If I need to use deadly force to defend myself or another person, then by definition I'm using force which I know will either kill or seriously injure another human being. And if I've reached that point, I have absolutely NO business intentionally planning and using anything LESS than deadly force. Like bird shot. Bird shot is deadly to birds, not humans; hence the name "bird shot".

    To have a well thought out defense plan is not pre-meditated murder. Or premeditated manslaughter. Not having any plan is leaving one's defense of life and limb to "chance".

    It is the job of the DA to press charges against those whom he perceives to be in violation of the law as he sees fit, in accordance with the circumstances and evidence of each particular case. In self defense cases, that is SUPPOSED to start with what the states laws say with respect to deadly force and when it's permissable. From there, the DA has to look at the case and determine whether or not there is a reasonable suspicion as to whether or not its use in that case was NOT justified.

    If the use of deadly force was NOT justified, or it's not clear that it was justified, then the DA must, in good conscience, press charges. That's what he's paid to do.

    If the evidence is clear-cut that it WAS justified, then the next question is whether or not any other laws were violated in the process.

    For example:

    A gang of five armed people chase a man and woman into their home, forceably breaking their way inside, destroying everything in their path and discharging firearms. Man reaches his gun and defends himself and his wife with deadly force, resulting in the death of all the attackers. The entire attack is caught on various security cameras from the moment the attacker's van screeches to a halt and dumps the armed attackers off all the way through to their armed home invasion and their sudden deaths at the hands of the armed homeowner.

    Open and shut case of self defense where deadly force is clearly permitted by state law and the DA chooses not to press charges.

    HOWEVER, the homeowner defended himself and his wife with deadly force using a firearm with an illegally owned silencer per the federal laws under NFA. The DA chooses to prosecute the homeowner for the illegally owned silencer.
  14. hartcreek

    hartcreek member

    The aim is to stop the attack perminantly which is why I load 000 buckshot and layer bbs in the voidsand use 20 some grains of Red Dot. What ever I hit aint gonna survive so shot placement is critical meaning avoiding anything that I do not want destroyed.

    I too load my own 5 000 and the voids filled with BBs for 2 3/4 hulls 7 000 and the voids filled with BBs for 3 inch hulls. I used the phone book and sheet of scrap plywood methods to test. They sure worked well.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2014
  15. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Well-Known Member

    The fellow a few posts ago who talked about "an ADA" and how he'd prosecute many of the "defend home and life" cases might just have come from my area - south Florida. During my time on the job I saw a number of cops prosecuted (mostly during the Janet Reno era - before she went to Washington to work for the Clinton administration...). Since I was my department's representative to the then monthly Dade county police/prosecutor meetings she ran way back then I had a front row seat to that kind of mindset. The good news for all concerned is that almost none of the cases I knew about were ever successfully prosecuted. That, of course, says nothing about the stress, aggravation, and costs of finding yourself on the wrong end of any prosecution....

    Of course as my Dad would say "Guess they told him (or them) what they thought of him". And that, of course, was the object of the exercise.

    Despite that you have the right to defend yourself. My counsel to anyone asking would be just make sure you have no other choice before firing that first shot in self defense. You really want to be in the strongest position possible for all the really bad weather that will come your way afterward...

    To come full circle I can still think of no better defensive ammo than ordinary 00buck, in a standard 2 3/4" shell. At ranges under 20 meters that load is a fight ender if you hit center mass...
  16. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator


    Certainly there are jury-perception implications involved with the choice of HD weapon, but there's no reason to believe that either: (1) selecting a suitable HD weapon; or (2) practicing in order to be prepared, could be used to "easily" convince a jury that the HD shooter engaged in premeditation, or that the shooter was somehow the aggressor. Certainly, more proof would be needed than the 2 factors listed.

    As mentioned above, there is some evidence to suggest that the choice of weapon influences jury perception. Juries are more accepting of "grandpa's shotgun" than they are of an AR-15. That said, my HD weapon is my HD weapon. I'm not interested in trying to trick the jury, and that's really what's being discussed here. If you're going to load GP's shotgun with turkey loads, and keep it as your home defense weapon, be prepared to explain to a jury why it was loaded at your bedside when: (1) it wasn't turkey season; and (2) there hadn't been any recent police reports of home-invading turkeys in your area.
  17. spottedpony

    spottedpony Active Member

    Its fairly obvious most reply's didnt "ACCURATELY" read my post as I referenced the assistant DA as retired, thus he has no political involvement OR agenda.
    So, before jumping on the bandwagon crying foul, or the guy must have (what ever excuses were offered) read and read accurately. My comments about what was said simply reflect what he felt the law would require.

    As for the grammer police comment, (no names mentioned) perhaps you should look at alot of spelling errors also, that should keep you quite busy.

    To the majority who commented in the thread, I interpret from the most posts, based on the "the intruder is dead" sort of comments, that very few here have actually taken a life.
    Speaking for myself, even though it relates to somewhere in southeast asia, i've taken a number myself. Who else can say that and if not, you have no idea of the actual effect it has on a person. To those of you who were there also, you know exactly what i'm saying.
    Those experiences for me were 40 years ago and things happened i'll never forget.

    Now realizing there may come a time when one may need to defend home and family, quit making light of it. I understand some feel the need to openly discuss the vagarities (theres one for the grammer cop) of various types of ammo, and get input from others. bottom line though, there is no absolute correct answer.

    AND, its not a joke nor is it something anyone can say with 100% certainy they will perform flawlessly no matter what kind of training you've given yourself.
    Its simply not the same as a real life danger scenerio where the adrenelin is pumping, your heart's pounding, and you're breathing at 3x your normal respiration rate.
    Quit watching your favorite cop shows where 47 bad guys get wasted and your hero walks away from it laughing. This aint TV its potentially reality.
    AS for Spats McGee's comment "(1) it wasn't turkey season; and (2) there hadn't been any recent police reports of home-invading turkeys in your area.) I can reply in kind with the question, why are you keeping a buckshot loaded shotgun next to your bed when (1) it wasn't buck season and (2) why havnt there been any police reports in your area regarding home invading bucks?

    No one says that grandpas shotgun of choice has to be next to my bed, nor loaded. (true also with a "home defense gun" though others have indicated otherwise) it could easily be in the closet unloaded and ammo readily available.
  18. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

    I take this to mean that you've served in our military. While I thank you for your service, said service doesn't automatically impart a solid understanding of our legal justice system.

    As for my HD, there really isn't anything to explain. I have no intention of telling the jury anything other than the truth. I keep a HD weapon to stop a potential intruder. Keeping some other round because it seems "reasonable" when it isn't connected to any other activity in which I engage runs the risk of having the jury think that you're trying to fool them. Juries don't like that.

    You certainly are welcome to store the shotgun and amm in whatever manner you choose. I don't see any reason to think that practicing, keeping it loaded at bedside, or choosing the most effective ammo for those purposes could lead a prosecutor to charge me with anything regarding premeditation.

    FWIW, I'm not just pulling this out of my backside. As of September of this year, I will have spent 12 years as a litigation attorney.
  19. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    Tell me, which state has self defense law that even mentions lack of premeditation as one of the elements of self-defense? Where did this person practice law?
  20. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Well-Known Member

    You KNOW...these gotta hurt!

    Dixie Tri-Ball (3”).

    Three hardened Buckshot of 315 grains each.

    That is a payload of just over two ounces of lead.


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