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Bird shot for self defense?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by RM, Jun 28, 2006.

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  1. RM

    RM Member

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    Are there legitimate reasons to use bird shot in a self-defense shotgun, as opposed to buckshot? Thank you.
     
  2. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Member

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    save the bird shot for the bird. you may think its better, less penetration of walls less recoil. but a heavy jacket can stop bird shot. not to mention your not likely to get a serious hit on a BG. also some claim there are legal ramifications of wounding a BG over ... well. body baging a bg.
     
  3. NineseveN

    NineseveN member

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    Yes, if you're defending your life from murderous birds.


    Honestly, in short, no.

    #4 Buckshot maybe, Birdshot, no, never, not a chance. Birdshot lacks enough energy and penetration to wound or kill effectively enough on human targets...you'll just be giving them a nasty case of something similar to 'road burn'.
     
  4. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    I think that's a bit of an understatement. Close-range birdshot wounds are a lot worse than you characterize them.

    That doesn't mean birdshot should be used for self defense, though. If you want to use "less lethal" ammo for the first round, there are far more effective loads that will not do so much damage to someone's body, but will do more to knock someone back a few yards and discourage an attack.
     
  5. Cromlech

    Cromlech Member

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    As the above poster has stated, the wound from birdshot would probably not be sufficient to stop an attack. It might, however, make a mess of the skin and some flesh of the attacker. Which would make you look bad when the law comes into play.
     
  6. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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  7. NineseveN

    NineseveN member

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    I've seen close-range birdshot wounds, have you ever seen road burn? Notice, I did not say "brush burn" or "rug burn"...if you want to contend that birshot will do far worse damage to human skin and muscle than laying a motorcycle down on asphalt at 55-65MPH or being flung out of the back of a pick-up truck and into gravel at 35-45MPH, then we can agree to disagree.

    Most birdshot won't even penetrate the rubber backing on the targets at my range. Deep flesh wounds is about all it is likely to cause at best, especially if clothing is involved (not too many home invaders raid naked).
     
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    That's different. I won't disagree with you there.:)

    I'm more of a human-powered athlete, so the road burn I've sustained sliding down trails, "eating it" on a mountain bike or skateboard, sliding on asphalt while training on rollerblades, etc., hasn't been so bad. It stings and bleeds, but that's about it. That's what I thought you meant.

    But when you add internal combustion engines to the mix, it gets ugly. Really ugly. Worse than birdshot, I'm sure.

    Cringe!
     
  9. Ohen Cepel

    Ohen Cepel Member

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    I think #4's would work if you had major worried about over penetration in a building. In which case, the short range you'll be firing at, they will perform fine.

    If you have to go outside with that weapon. Change loads!
     
  10. NineseveN

    NineseveN member

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    Hehe, yeah, those kinds of wounds I usually called "brush burns" because I had to contrast them with the motorcycle injuries I saw...I see where you were coming from and I should have chosen a better phrase to use.

    In any event, we agree, no bird shot for defense. :D
     
  11. Fosbery

    Fosbery Member

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    Apart from slugs, what loads would you reccomend for home defence? Must have more than 6 projectiles. My partner uses a shotgun for home defence but, unlike me, can't buy slugs because she's not a practical shotgunn-er.
     
  12. NineseveN

    NineseveN member

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    00Buck gets pretty good results and it satisfies your criteria in regards to the number of pellets...is this available over there?
     
  13. Roadwild17

    Roadwild17 Member

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    Just a ? How far/long does the wad keep the shot together? If were talking basically barrel tag distance and the wad keeps the shot together, then wouldn’t it be kinda like a slug?

    Anyway, I keep mine loaded with 000 buck, I just had to be difficult :evil:
     
  14. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    Wind resistance opens the wad as soon as it exits the muzzle and the shot is on it's own from there.
     
  15. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    RM,

    Some people think there are legitimate reasons to use birdshot for HD, and I am in no position to argue with them. I have zipped body bags on a couple of folks who were killed by birdshot at close range in the years I worked as an EMT, so I know that birdshot can in fact be lethal.

    I also know one person who survived a point blank shooting with buckshot as well. This young man was a classmate while I was in school, by the time he got out of the hospital and up and around again, he was a year behnd me. He was extraordinarily lucky to be alive after his hunting accident despite permanent damage to his right leg- he lost about 3" out of his femur.

    The simple truth is that nothing involving defensive firearms is 100% certain, what you want to do is try to skew the odds in your favor in every way possible. Keep in mind that you are not interested in killing, whether your assailant dies or not is not your main concern. Your intent is to stop your adversary from doing whatever it was that was sufficiently serious to cause you to have to shoot him. You need to bring about that stop as rapidly as is humanly possible, before your assailant has a chance to cause physical harm to you or to your loved ones Since rounds from a shotgun as a rule do more damage than any other projectile that can be launched from a firearm that one person can easily handle alone, shotguns tend to be popular as defensive firearms. But muzzle blast or proximity of passage of the projectiles in question won't necessarily stop an attack. You have to get hits on your assailant to do that.

    With any firearm projectile intended for self defense, you have two primary considerations- PLACEMENT and PENETRATION. You have to deliver projectiles to a place on the human target where important structures are located, and said projectiles have to be able to penetrate sufficiently to disrupt those structures. That's pretty much it in a nutshell- placement and penetration. Placement is easier with a long gun than a handgun, so I prefer shotguns. Penetration depends on your choice of ammunition in large part.

    I personally don't use birdshot in defensive shotguns, because it cannot be relied upon to penetrate deeply in human adversaries. In fact I even stopped using reduced recoil buckshot recently, after hearing some troubling reports of lack of penetration in shootings with reduced recoil buckshot loads. I now use full velocity loads of 00 buckshot (Hornady TAP red hull, to be specific) in the magazines of our 'house guns', with Kent/Brenneke KO slugs riding in the SideSaddles.

    I am in no way telling you or anyone else that you should do what I do, naturally- you have to make up your own mind what to use for defense based on your own particular situation and circumstances. I base my decisions regarding these questions on the best information I can get, and on experience with the firearms and loads in question. Of course I have no magic wands or magic bullets, there are no guarantees I or my wife can produce instant stops on determined, drugged and/or demented assailants with the rounds I have chosen. But I believe they skew the odds in our favor as much as possible. And that's the best I can do from that standpoint. The rest comes with delivering those rounds as accurately and quickly as possible, which takes training and practice. Those two things are IMO of greater importance than mental gyrations regarding selection of defensive firearms or ammunition.

    Stay safe,

    lpl/nc
     
  16. RM

    RM Member

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    Thanks, Gentlemen, for the thoughtful replies. The answer seems to be a resounding NO!
     
  17. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Member

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    My defining moment for deciding against birdshot (even as a first round) came while at the range. I was patterning slugs and buckshot at 15 yards and when finished, decided to see what the pattern would look like from an ounce of #8.

    It was a hot day. I was wearing shorts. The target backer was a piece of 1/2" plywood, recently replaced. When I fired that single target load, my shins were stung by an impressive amount of backsplash. Now, I recognize that at very close distances birdshot can be lethal, but I'd rather stick with buckshot and slugs.
     
  18. telomerase

    telomerase Member

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    If your wife ever gets a quaker parrot, you will want to make up magnum loads of #8 shot and use a cylinder bore.
     
  19. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...Med&term=birdshot+trauma&tool=QuerySuggestion

    Effective for self defense? Depends on the range, choke, etc.

    Birdshot to the chest apparently has the ability to trigger heart attacks...
    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Arrhythmias/tb/2689

    Portal Vein Embolization
    http://www.amjforensicmedicine.com/pt/re/ajfmp/abstract.00000433-199606000-00013.htm;jsessionid=GjShGTRdy1HrSzPDxTL9v8vwbNvKTFGqf56PGKvcrBs6njdRM1tx!-1734750035!-949856144!8091!-1

    ---------

    It also depends on one's goals and/or needs. People like to believe that with shotguns, you don't need to aim. That isn't true. However, I have found that out of my 18" Rem 870, no choke, birdshot spreads at a rate of 2-3 times faster than that of buckshot. For example in my home, the longest shot possible inside the house and is 15 yards. Buckshot (Fed Tact 00 Buck reduced recoil) spreads at roughly 1" per 5' or 9" at 15 yards. My hallway is 40" wide. Birdshot from my gun spreads to 30+" at 15 yards. Which round am I most likely to hit an intruder with at 15 yards who corners my hallway? Unless invaded by midgets, a level shot at 3 feet elevation will virtually cover the total end of the hallway whereas I could very well miss with the buckshot.

    With that said, my gun of choice is the AR15 and my wife handles the 870 and she likes buckshot and so she gets buckshot to shoot. She feels it suits her needs best.
     
  20. azflyman

    azflyman Member

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    NineseveN - That is just not true.

    In over 15 years in the ER I have seen a whole bunch of dead guys by just about every caliber, type, and size projectile. At home ranges (usually about 10 feet) it does not matter much between OO buck and 7 1/2 bird shot, 44 mag's and .22 rim-fire. Dead is dead. Shot placement has much more effect than caliber or shot size. Had one guy shot in the head with a 9mm. The bullet entered the front left, slid down the side of his skull, exited the back. Guy was still talking but did have a hell of a headache. Another shot square in the forehead with a .22 LR and was stone cold dead (impressive bullet fragmentation x-rays BTW). At 10' a center mass shot with 7 1/2 you are not getting up. If it does not kill you the impact with the force of 2, .45 ACP rounds hitting at the same time (approx. 500 grains) will be enough to pop your sternum like a twig. The fight is over even if the guy survives which I doubt. Would I CHOOSE 7 1/2 for home defense, no; if it is what I had would I feel under-gunned, again no. 10', 1200fps, 500grains = manstopper any day of the week. Have you ever seen anyone demonstrate a bullet proof vest with a shotgun blast? Nuff said:evil:

    az
     
  21. Fosbery

    Fosbery Member

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    "00Buck gets pretty good results and it satisfies your criteria in regards to the number of pellets...is this available over there?"

    Yes it is. Slugs and loads with less than 6 projectiles are also available, but you need what's called a 'variation' on your certificate to get them and for that, you need a good reason e.g. practical shotgun, hunting wild boar etc.
     
  22. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    I used to keep my HD 870 loaded with a couple bird shot loads up first, then 00. I know that hitting a target with the shot still in the wad mimics a giant Glaser Safety Slug and inflicts much trauma.

    So does 00. And it does that at greater ranges. I went with 00 because it's usable over a much greater range.
     
  23. gudel

    gudel Member

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    i think you guys are thinking long ranges. how about within just 2-3 yards? :D
     
  24. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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  25. azflyman

    azflyman Member

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    That article always blows me away. Another argument for shot placement.

    az
     
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