Disparity Between Buckshot and Pistol Bullet Standards? - THR

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Old June 12, 2016, 05:21 PM   #1
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Disparity Between Buckshot and Pistol Bullet Standards?

For awhile I've been at a loss as to why people seem to use 00 or even 000 buckshot for their defensive shotguns. I understand these rounds may be better suited for longer shots outdoors since their larger mass will retain energy longer.

However, for indoor defense why aren't No. 1 and No. 4 buckshot used more? Mrgunsngear tests some No. 4 buckshot that penetrates mostly between 12''-15''. Wouldn't this be ideal for a handgun bullet? Why do those using shotguns seem to want to use 00 when it would be considered an over-penetrator in the handgun world?
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Old June 12, 2016, 06:27 PM   #2
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Good question. My opinion is that they think 00 is more devastating somehow.
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Old June 12, 2016, 06:35 PM   #3
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I like #1 myself for HD, it can be hard to find though. As long as we are talking #4-00 buck, any is good to go. My Hornady low recoil TAP 00 is a better all-around load because it patterns about 7-9" at 25yds in my 870.
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Old June 12, 2016, 07:46 PM   #4
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Generally 00 Buckshot patterns tighter than #1 Buckshot or #4 Buckshot. In most cases #4 Buckshot barely penetrates the FBI mandated 12 inches.

And yes, one of the reasons 00 Buckshot is popular is because it has always worked. The standard buckshot for the United States Armed Forces has always been and is to this day 00 Buckshot. With that being said several authories state that the ideal combination of pellet size, pellet number, and penetration is #1 Buckshot.

In the experience of several people I know who have used 00 Buckshot for self defense, typically 4-5 00 Buckshot pellets stay in the body and 4-5 pellets exit the body. In one case the shooter heard the 4-5 pellets rolling down the hallway after exiting the bad guy. So even if deemed overpenetrative due to the less aerodynamically efficient roundball shape of the buckshot, it will do less collateral damage than something like a FMJ or even JHP handgun bullet if it exits the body.

Just my .02,
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Old June 12, 2016, 08:22 PM   #5
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I was at Ft. Carson Colorado in 1968 when a stockade guard shot an escaping prisoner off the wire at about 15 - 20 yards with a Winchester 1200 and military 00 buckshot.

All 9 pellets fully penetrated back to front.
And were recovered inside the guys t-shirt at the belt line during the autopsy.

That to me, that is about as perfect performance as you could ask for.

(The doctor who performed the autopsy was a pistol team wannabe / groupie.
He carried the buckshot around in his pocket and played pocket pool with them like Capt. Queeg's ball bearings for months.)

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Old June 12, 2016, 08:53 PM   #6
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4 buck is .24" in diameter and weighs 20.7 grs. , If i googled correctly. In a pistol, think 22 short. 24 pellets in a shotgun.
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Old June 12, 2016, 10:01 PM   #7
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For me its more about what I have on hand at the time. Right now I have a lot of #4B. I have confidence in it. As someone on THR once said, 20 pellets @ .24 caliber, will make a man bleed like a sieve. I have some OOB on hand as well and it seems to be a good all around buckshot load. Its worked for LE and military since combat shotguns came into use.
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Old June 12, 2016, 10:54 PM   #8
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I'd gladly use 12 ga #1 buckshot if I could find it easily. I live in an ammunition "no-ship" zone Los Angeles 900__ zipcode so I am at the mercy of local ammunition retailers. I use 00 buck; full-power (1325 fps and faster) loads in a Remington 1100 and both full power and reduced-recoil/LE (1300 fps and slower) in my pump shotguns.

I do! however have a nice stash of 20 ga #3 buck at hand, here, for my LT1100 Special.
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Old June 14, 2016, 06:22 PM   #9
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00 is the cheapest and most available load for me. That's the main reason I use it. Besides, at HD range I don't think a bad guy is going to be able to tell whether he got clipped with 00 or #1 buck. If I could find #1 buck at a good price I'd be more than happy to use it.

Lately #3 buck 20 gage has popped up on the shelves here. It's not stocked year round so I pick up a box here and there. I'm fine with it and I like the way it patterns in my gun.
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Old June 14, 2016, 08:24 PM   #10
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If you're #4 will penetrate 12"-18" through barriers your in business. That's were the higher weight of #00 and #000 come into play. #1 in a well designed load can do pretty well here as well. If you're only concerned with non barrier shots #4 might well serve you.

I will say additionally the reason LE use #00 is that most manufacturer have started to produce some amazingly tight patterning shells that are great for LE use. A 12 gauge may be an officers only long gun and having the ability to extend it's engagement distance out to 35 or even 50 yards with buckshot can big a lifesaver.

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Old June 15, 2016, 05:48 AM   #11
Steve C
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For awhile I've been at a loss as to why people seem to use 00 or even 000 buckshot for their defensive shotguns.
Most people underestimate the lethality of a firearm. They get their ideas from media, be it fictional TV or Movies, or the opinion wasteland of Twitter, Facebook, etc. For home defense at the short distances that most will shoot at, anything from the heavier bird shot #4 to BB and any buckshot from T to 000 will do the job.

The best thing about a shot gun is one can select the shell loading that they feel will work best for their situation and home. If the kids sleep in bedrooms at the other end of the house from the master bedroom one probably doesn't want to use a shot size that will penetrate the gyp board walls with lethal capability on the other side.

I've lived long enough to have read about people killed or seriously injured with all kinds of shot, from bird shot in hunting accidents to buckshot at 100 yds or more. Would I want to engage a bad guy with bird shot at 25+ yds, no. But I wouldn't feel unarmed with a shotgun loaded with even 7.5 or 8 shot at the 3 to 5 yd distance from the muzzle I would be shooting at inside my house. Even so I keep my defensive shotguns usually loaded with 4Buck.
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Old June 15, 2016, 08:04 AM   #12
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As a young cop (nearly 36 years ago now) I had occasion to kill a man with 00buck - the range was about 40 feet. A single shot ended the incident with all nine pellets in the chest cavity... and some of them penetrated nearly 18" from a quartering side shot.

All that any defender needs is basic 2 3/4" 12 guage with standard nine pellet 00buck for close encounters, period. It works for the exact same reason that an ordinary .45 auto full military jacket round does - deep penetration -through or nearly through the chest cavity of an adult male... No matter what all the theories say or the demonstrations "reveal" that deep core penetration (where all the important stuff in a human being is carefully protected by flesh and bone...) is what ends fights.

Hope I'm never in a situation ever again where I need a shotgun....
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Old June 15, 2016, 11:11 AM   #13
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My SD 12 bore is #4 alternating with 00 buck and plug removed.
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Old June 15, 2016, 07:13 PM   #14
Jim Watson
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Note that those stories of Shotgun Success usually include "all nine pellets."

A shotgun kills upland game with pattern, a few pellets out of hundreds of birdshot, but for big game or combat you must control the range and/or choke to put the whole load on target. Or plan on being real lucky.

The British had a jungle warfare load in Malaysia in the 1950s. It was a mixed load, the gaps between buckshot chinked in with birdshot. I think there were three sizes of shot to the load. At close range, the buckshot was a stopper. Farther out, an odd pellet, even a No 6, might leave a terr with an infected wound that would eventually take him out of action or kill him.
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Old June 15, 2016, 09:25 PM   #15
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Nice anecdote. Kinda goes with the ".223 was chosen because it wounds instead of kills; takes more men away from the front lines to carry him, fix him up etc........." And kind of irrelevant to the topic. I don't care if a wounded perp that walks/staggers away from my house after I've hit him with such a load dies of infection later on. Probably wouldn't happen anyhoo. I want to neutralize his attack in the most efficient manner possible with the tools at hand. I guess why buckshot is used can be expressed best thus: (I am paraprhasing a gun writer from the 80's whose name I do not recall) One round of double ought buck is roughly equal to a 9-12 round (2 3/4 or 3") burst from a Skorpion, except delivered simultaneously, and in a tighter group. Each round. And a pump shotgun holds five (this was before mag extensions were common), and can deliver them very fast.
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