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What's the lethal/dangerous range of a shotgun?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by iapetus, May 12, 2008.

  1. iapetus

    iapetus Well-Known Member

    A few days ago, the police in London shot and killed a man who had been shooting at them (and before that, into neighbours' houses).

    As can be seen from the Times article and subsequent comments, quite a few people are complaining that the police overreacted, because the gunman was "only" using a shotgun.

    So before I dismiss them as [strike]a bunch of bliss-ninnies[/strike] uninformed about firearms, I suppose I should ask: If someone is firing a shotgun at you, how far away do you have to be to be safe?
  2. Ron James

    Ron James Well-Known Member

    There was an incident several years ago, here in Arizona ( Mesa, AZ. to be exact. ) were two high school kids, boy and girl . were killed by a shotgun blast from 50 yards away. :mad:
    Last edited: May 12, 2008
  3. General Geoff

    General Geoff Well-Known Member

    Largely depends on the type of ammo they're using, but slugs could be lethal to well past 100 yards. Buckshot, I wouldn't want to be within 100 yards of either. Birdshot and the like, you're probably safe past 60 yards or so.
  4. 3 gun

    3 gun Well-Known Member

    It really depends....a lot! With a rifled slug barrel on my 500 you wouldn't want to be closer than 200 yards. I may not be able to hit you every time but I'd be close enough to make you run for cover. With an 18 inch barrel and bird shot you'd be "safe" at 50 yards. Might sting like hell but shouldn't kill you. Same barrel with 00 buck and you're behind cover again. Normal slugs with the same barrel has you running out to 100 yards or more.

    Basically anywhere in front of the barrel is a bad place. Any fool waving/shooting a shotgun at police is a fair target.
  5. Diggers

    Diggers Well-Known Member

    Depends on what load is being shot to some degree.(buckshot or birdshot?) I've read that buckshot, 00 or 000, can be leathal up to 100 yards. Not that anyone could be sure of hitting something with buckshot at 100 yards.

    I have seen tests done that show 50 yards IS in range for buckshot and a shooter can hit what he is shooting at with at least a few pellets.

    Anyhow its not really relevent, the guy was shooting a shotgun into houses and then at the police!!!:what:

    They are a bunch of bliss ninnies who probably believe what they see in movies about guns, and the police should have shot the gun out of his hand of some such silly thing. :rolleyes:

    I just had to add this ...uh...interesting quote.
    We would never have a quote like this from an American reporter. I like it.
  6. rantingredneck

    rantingredneck Well-Known Member

    Having personally had buckshot whistle past me from 100+ yds I can say you don't want to be within that range with buckshot.

    As others have mentioned, slugs are particularly nasty in that they will retain enough energy to kill or seriously wound for 200+yds. May not be able to hit you accurately, but if they do it will suck big time.

    I've been peppered with birdshot from 60 yds and it didn't even break the skin.
  7. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

    That's like asking, "How dangerous is it if someone is waving an unloaded gun at you?"

    The bottom line is that if someone is shooting ANY weapon in the direction of someone esle, it's aggravated assault with a weapon with intent to commit murder, period. Caliber, load, etc. all goes out the window.

    Yes, it's true that certain shotguns and ammuntion have limitations unique to "shot" load, but that is really irrelevant. Even if not deadly, for instance, pellets still blind people at great distances. If someone were shooting at me with a shotgun, even if I was 200 yards away, I would still consider it a deadly assault and retaliate appropriately (after taking cover).

    A response to shoot to kill the aggressor would not be inappropriate under these circumstances.
  8. Sergeant Sabre

    Sergeant Sabre Well-Known Member

    If you're shooting at me from a "safe" distance, aren't you still a deadly threat to others who might not be at a "safe" distance?
  9. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Well-Known Member

    If someone is shooting at me with intent to do me harm, I feel threatened and I'm going to react- regardless of wether its 10 yards or 100.
    How can you tell if the incoming is birdshot, buckshot, or slug?
    or even if you're certain that first payload is birdshot rattling past, is it buckshot or slug up next in the tube?
    sorry but just because it's a shotgunner, doesn't mean there is a safe distance.
  10. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Well-Known Member

    Hard to say. But an odd thing I've noticed in the shotgun shootings I've investigated:
    Everybody shot with buckshot lived.
    Everybody shot with birdshot died.
    Admittedly, my sample size is small (fewer than a dozen?) but its kind of unexpected...
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    The thing you have to ask yourself.

    Self, can I identify that gun firing at me just by looking at it from the muzzle end?

    And further, even if I can ID it as a shotgun:
    Self, can I identify what kind of ammo the perp is firing at me from that shotgun across the way?

    Probably not in a lot of cases.

  12. Diggers

    Diggers Well-Known Member


    Thats really strange. What were the ranges?

    (Why is it in the real world bullets and ammo always do things they should not?)
  13. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

    Maximum range of #9 birdshot is about 300 yards.#6 is about 100 yards further, #bbs can go 600 yards and larger buck shot is said to travel "more than 1/2mile". Slugs can do a mile. Buck shot penetrates skin to 300-400 yards.A slug can prolly hurt you good if the mortar lands on you at 600 yards or more.:)
  14. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Well-Known Member

    I can't make #9 birdshot go 300 yards in any of my shotguns.
  15. Sergeant Sabre

    Sergeant Sabre Well-Known Member

    If you shot it at a 45 deg. angle, it might get there.
  16. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    please cite where you are getting these figures from.....thanks
  17. Templar223

    Templar223 Well-Known Member

    Birdshot didn't break skin at 60 yards?

    Don't people shoot ducks and geese dead at 50-60 yards with birdshot?

    I don't want to be hit with any .32 caliber balls, even if they are only sailing at 500fps. And a one ounce chunk of lead? Sounds like a world of hurt at any speed.

    I think some here are underestimating the dangerous range of a shotgun.

  18. sgist

    sgist Well-Known Member

    I've had plenty of ducks laugh at me from 40 yards away.
  19. esheato

    esheato Well-Known Member

    See the attachment for max ranges...scanned directly out of a book titled "Understanding Firearm Ballistics".

    As far as lethal range? That's much to hard to calculate considering shotgun payload, target composition and demeanor...but the largest point of contention is shot placement which you really have no control over when you're talking 00 buck. Slug is marginally better. A better way to answer this is to say, the further away you are, the better chance you have of survival.


    Attached Files:

  20. Wildfire

    Wildfire Well-Known Member


    Hey There:
    To bad about the guy getting wacked . but. That was probabely the only way they could get him to stop. Who knows. You will never really hear the truth anyway.
    I always figured 600 yards to be a max distance for a 12 ga, slug. 1/2 mile is really strecthing it. I don't know of any buck shot that will make it that far. And I'am pretty sure #9 aint gonna either.
    As posted earlier, Ducks at 40 yards can be darn hard to hurt let alone kill.
    At 60 yards ya better have a supper dupper magnum.

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