#4 Buckshot Effective?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by JCooperfan1911, Sep 2, 2021.

  1. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    For home defense, I have heard conflicting reports on the efficacy of #4 buckshot loads. I am asking because I live in an apartment at the moment and the risk of overpenetration is a very real concern.

    E84-B6-D23-E252-401-B-AADF-F3-B28218-ACE4.jpg

    I am reading some claim it isn’t up to the job and is more of a varmint load, yet I came across this on another board:

    So there’s that supposedly.

    What do you all think about the topic? Is #4 an effective load for home defense? Why or why not?
     
  2. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Be advised that all you are going to get on this subject are opinions. Some will no doubt be from self styled experts, but they have zero actual experience in "home defense". Law enforcement and/or military experience is not the same thing. There is insufficient statistical data on the use of such rounds against humans for comparison.
    My opinion is that at apartment distances #4 buck would be lethal.
     
  3. SOAB

    SOAB Member

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    I chose #4 buck for my "around the house" scattergun because with a little searching, gel testing showed it to have plenty adequate penetration 11"-15" at shorter distances. The farthest shot I would have to make is 7 yards, and what I'm really worried about pattern size and barrier penetration at that point. The decreased barrier penetration is a plus, because there's far fewer walls between my neighbors and I, in most of my house. The pattern is still well within what I would consider tight enough to avoid fliers.

    I feel like #4 Buck gets a bad rap due to its misuse at longer distances. That .24 caliber buckshot really loses steam quick I'm sure.
    Though just as I wouldn't use a slug for inside the home, I wouldn't use #4 buck for slug distances.

    I chose this load over my reduced recoil 00 buck(which I still have loaded in my bedroom gun) because I would like to try my best to mitigate possible injuries or damage caused to parties not involved in the unlikely event of me defending myself where I live.

    As was mentioned this is entirely based on my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
  4. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    #4 is fine for an in-house shotgun. My opinion, also.
     
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  5. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    With most having never used it in anger, one generally goes by the opinions of those considered experts.

    From what I've read, it's a good tool for the job. Sufficient stopping power without excessive penetration of building material.
     
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  6. Oldschool shooter

    Oldschool shooter Member

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    I keep #4 in my HD shotgun out of concern for overpenetration and going thru walls in the house. For ehat its worth, at in home distances, I wouldn'twant to be hit with #9 shot let alone #4Buck.
     
  7. joneb

    joneb Member

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    For 12ga HD I prefer a minimum #1 buck mainly because I don't know how a intruder might be dressed. In your situation with neighbors close #4 buck seems like a good choice, I would consider POA with #4 buck with a potentially heavily clothed intruder.
    ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fimg851.imageshack.us%2Fimg851%2F8688%2F75320159.jpg
     
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  8. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    Being a contrary person to "trends", my favorite buckshot now is 000 for HD for our non-urban mountain home. When we lived in town, I used lead BB, #2 or #4 bird shot. Knowing how modern apartments are constructed, I would probably just run a #4 turkey load and call it good.
     
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  9. joneb

    joneb Member

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  10. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    I actually have some experience using #4 buck.
    I can tell you that at 7yds, it will NOT penetrate the side window nor the door panels of a 1968 Buick LaSabre. Fired from a cylinder bore 18.5”bbl. Winchester SuperX 27pellet.

    It WILL from a Full choke, w/41pellet load take down a deer with a well placed head shot beyond 60yds. Saw it done several times.

    I hunted with a deer club back in the late 70’s-early’80’s in Alabama. We ran deer with dogs. For close in shots it works extremely well. However, I prefer #1’s in 3” loads (20pellets).
    I no longer hunt deer with a shotgun/buckshot, but occasionally hunt small game during deer season and pigs are always on the ticket. For such, I load my own 20ga #1 and #4 buck.

    At 30yds, the #4 aimed at a deer or pigs head means something to dress and drag. I still prefer #1 but #4 won’t shred a squirrel at 15yds. It just looks like it was shot 2-3times with a .22lr. (Sometimes you forget to swap rounds).

    For defense in an apartment I would suggest any birdshot load. The first homicide/murder I ever responded to as a rookie cop with a city PD involved a domestic conflict. 1-1/8oz of #9’s from a Remington 1100 SA-Skeet made a terrible mess!
    An “alleged” hunting accident I investigated involved a gunshot to the thigh/groin from 7-10 feet with 9pellet 00-buck. (Turned out to be a drug deal gone bad). EMS responded to cell phone call. Subject lived to be tried for drug possession. Nothing is 100%.
     
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  11. Beck

    Beck Member

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    #4 Buck was all the rage back in the 1990s already for SWAT. I was an LEO back then... LEO and EMT for a college police dept. The conversation came up quite a bit among friends from other departments. The consensus was generally for #4 buck in close quarters where walls are thin, such as apartment buildings.

    As long as I've lived in town with close neighbors I've kept my Rem 870 loaded with #4. If I ever get a place in the country (a guy can dream) I'd likely use 00 Buck. #4 Buck has a good track record spanning decades now for incapacitating perps. It's not the only choice, but IMHO it's a good one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
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  12. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Peter Hathaway Chapstick considered it good enough for following up lion and leopard in the brush. Good enough for me.
     
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  13. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    Birdshot at the close range in an apartment will shoot like a slug I once shot the end of a log with a load of 6's from around 10 feet. The hole was a little bigger than a quarter. Shot a rabbit in two at 20 feet. Inside 20 feet #4 Buck is overkill.
     
  14. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Excellent, thanks guys. I’ll be picking up a few boxes. My other defensive long gun, an AK, is I fear much too dangerous to use even with expanding soft points.
     
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  15. tactikel

    tactikel Member

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    IMHO for the SHORT range SD/HD you specified a pellet of 4 buck acts as a .22 LR. Being hit with a load of 4 buck is is like being hit with a .22 LR- 27 times. 3 shots rapid fire can put 81 pellets in in an intruder.
    Anything over 20 yards mandates larger shot ( 0, 00, 000).
     
  16. JohnB-40

    JohnB-40 Member

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    I'm happy to read this as there is an 870 loaded with #4 in the corner by the bed and #4 is all I have.
     
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  17. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I recently came into a large inventory of ammunition of various types due to a death in a family. There is a number of #4 buck rounds from Rio. I tets fired a few from a standard moss 500 with 18" barrel- the patterns were quite good on a silhouette. As far as what flyers would do in sheetrock, I have no idea.
     
  18. mokin

    mokin Member

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    ...ouch....

    You'd think said intruder would get the hint after the second shot. You know, in case he thought the first one was an accident.
     
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  19. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I see #4, #4 Buck and 4 Buck thrown around here willy nilly.

    # 4 is birdshot.

    No. 4 Buck and 4 Buck are two names for the same thing.

    As you can see below, #4 birdshot is .13", 4 Buck is .24"

    They are not the same shot.

    Plan accordingly.

    shot size.jpg

    With my limited experience with both, either would work in an apartment. I would (and did, when I lived in them) choose a pistol with Glasers and one Hydra-Shock as the last round.
     
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  20. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    It'll work.

    Nothing is optimal about apartment life. Unless your saving a ton of money somehow.
     
  21. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    The box says Deer and Predator. (Buck Shot, 27 pellets)
    At close range it is not gonna expand much

    People are thin skin like a deer and if the break into your dwelling they are a predator.

    Seems like #4 would put a great deal of hurt on someone.

    But I am not a hunter nor a shotgun shooter, just another opinion!

    Go shoot something with it and see what damage it does!
     
  22. Beck

    Beck Member

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    Good reminder for those who might get them confused.

    Thant being said, #, NO., or just the number are correct as long as it's labeled Buck or Buckshot
    All of the above have been used in official nomenclature and casual conversation since I can remember. The OP established the context, so I think it's safe to say everyone knows we're talking about Buck.... hopefully...

    4.jpg
     
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  23. crstrode

    crstrode Member

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    Over penetration just is not a concern unless you are planning to miss.
     
  24. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    Works good as skip shot under a car at a BG shooting at you. Between the shot and the gravel it kicked up, it spoiled that feller’s whole day.
     
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  25. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    My residences’ local agency issues #4 buckshot for their patrol deputies (I work in another county). They have 1,000+ sworn deputies so they’re not the largest agency around, but they’re not tiny either. If #4 buckshot works for an agency like theirs with rural and urban patrol areas all the variables those deputies face, it’ll work just fine for your defensive needs where you live.

    Load it, you can count on it. (Let’s all hope you’ll never need to use it :)).

    Stay safe.
     
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