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Defensive Ammunition 101

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

  1. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    In close quarters, the shot will not spread very much, so the wound area will be very small. Also the mass of each pellet is small so it won't penetrate as much as you think it will. All in all, bird shot is a poor choice for defense.
     
  2. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    This. Bird shot is for birds. Go ahead and take some #8 shot out to the range, along with a couple pig carcasses either unskinned and not gutted (fresh kills would be ideal) and shoot one carcass with bird shot, then shoot the other one with buck or slug - Pigs are about as close to people as you can get as far as anatomy goes. Hang the carcasses up like they're standing on their hind legs so you get an upright "mannish" target, and fire one round each center mass at about 5 feet closer than you expect to have to use the shotgun - I promise you'll change your mind about using birdshot defensively against anything but a bird.
     
  3. Havok7416
    • Contributing Member

    Havok7416 Member

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    I once stopped an intended home invasion by jacking a round into my Mossberg after listening to the guys talk outside my door. They were actually making sure I was there before picking the lock.:eek: The exact words that came out of their mouthes after hearing my shotgun behind the door was a simultaneous "OH SH%!":what: They may still be running to this day!:D
     
  4. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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  5. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    Racking that shotgun also gives the bad guys warning that you are A) armed, and B) tells them what direction to dump a full magazine in.

    As for the video...if I see sticks breaking into my house I will consider birdshot. And I don't really consider pine to be a "hard wood"...and the "face tenderizer" comment...what a poser...
     
  6. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    People aren't sticks of wood, for starters.

    Nobody said birdshot wouldn't do damage to an intruder, and nobody said it wouldn't make a person decide they don't want any part of remaining in your house, and nobody said it can't kill, especially at close ranges

    HOWEVER -

    An inventive lawyer of that intruder that you shoot and don't kill with birdshot inside your home may very well decide to attempt to cause you a great deal of financial trouble for something like purposefully injuring, maiming or doing great bodily harm LESS THAN DEATH on his client - Intentionally damaging someone to the degree that they will have permanent injury or disability, or a long, slow, painful death is cruel regardless of whether he's breaking into your home, or that's what the lawyers will try to make the jury believe. Many of them probably will believe that - Most people have a hard time where violence, death and other "bad juju" is involved, and while most everyone here would probably vote "not guilty" in a home invasion scenario, you don't get to pick the jury - the lawyers on BOTH sides do.

    You wouldn't use birdshot on a hog, or a deer would you? No - you'd go to jail for awhile for violating game laws, lose your right to hunt or own guns, and likely lose your job, home, and everything else you hold dear - Let's face it, when you're fighting for your LIFE against an intruder intent on taking all those things away from you and more, do you REALLY want to use birdshot that will only penetrate an inch or three into the bad guy?

    Sure the wound will be big and nasty, you might even take half his face off and destroy his eyesight, ability to taste and smell, even his hearing - but head shots on a rapidly moving target are difficult, so you're probably going to try for center mass - not one of those itty bitty tiny pellets has enough mass to pass through the breast bone, much less the entire body - it could definitely be argued that by using birdshot on an intruder, you weren't fighting for your life, you were intending to make the intruder pay for breaking into your home for the rest of his life. (I know I know - captain obvious)

    My point here isn't that birdshot at close range from a 12ga shotgun can't be fatal or that it won't do the job sometimes - my point is that if you're going to do something when your LIFE is on the line, use what has been proven effective. Use what has the highest chance to stop the attack. If you're using a 12ga, use something designed for a 125lb or larger beast - because that's what you're facing - not a 3-12lb bird.
     
  7. CharlieDeltaJuliet

    CharlieDeltaJuliet Member

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    I am sorry but I agree that someone who will break into my house trying to rob, (deleted word that referenced non-consensual sexual acts), or kill my family, they will face a 12 guage with 00 buck and a P220 with Hornady Critical Defense. While I know the name on the Hornady rounds are not ideal, the handgun is my carry pistol. I will not risk my family on the premise of saving someone that does not care for my family's rights or lives. If it were so I would take my "licks" for defending my family. I have seen men fall from the bullets that protect our freedom, the ones that protect my family are as justified as those. I have nightmares from the first person that I ever watched die, but know that between the choice of my country or my family, there are no second chances to to make the right decision on either's protection.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2012
  8. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    Fixed that for you
     
  9. CharlieDeltaJuliet

    CharlieDeltaJuliet Member

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    Thank you Rail Driver
     
  10. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    Yup, you grab a shotgun to shoot someone, not to scare someone.
     
  11. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    rail driver, bird shot has its advantages. just expressing what i would use IF i used a shotgun for home defense. use a 3.5 inch magnum shell if you like.
     
  12. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    What advantage does birdshot have? I don't consider low penetration to be a plus btw.

    I understand the concern about projectiles penetrating into other rooms, your job as the home's defender includes keeping yourself between the threat and the innocents. Does this mean you can't always clear the house? It can if that means allowing a path between you and the folks you are suppose to be protecting to be open.

    Your first duty is not to protect your big screen TV, your first duty is to get everyone you mean to protect into a single room you can control. Once that is done your second duty is to make damn sure no one can get to that room. If they people you want to protect are behind you then overpenetration isn't nearly the issue.

    If you live in an apartment I would think about moving however I know that isn't always possible so plan so the attack will have to come from an outside wall if at all possible. this is also a good argument for dumping the shotgun and going with a gun that uses a frangible projectile.
     
  13. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    You're making a lot of assumptions. I never said underpenitration was an advantage. I don't live in an apartment. I don't care about damaging my big screen. Where are you getting any of this?
    Birdshot does more than enough damage and has less recoil. I've seen what it does to humans at close range. There aren't enough narcodics in the world to allow a person to keep coming at you if they were shot in the chest, abdomen or face.
    Finally, if you would rather shoot buck shot, I won't stop you.
     
  14. Wargarden

    Wargarden Member

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    From http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3_2.htm

     
  15. pps

    pps Member

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    Since we are going on some anecdotal evidence, here is my birdshot experience that has swayed me over to the buckshot/slugs only for self defense. 2 years ago on a turkey hunt. A 20# tom started to fly off as I dropped the hammer on a 3 1/2" Magnum #4 federal turkey load....at 20 FEET. The shot hit him in the chest and he flew up into the tree above me...a second shot to the neck settled accounts.

    If a 3 1/2" magnum to the chest of a 20# bird didn't stop him...what makes me think I can rely on birdshot to stop a human with any degree of regularity? Shoot what you want...for me, it's buck only for SD
     
  16. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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  17. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    that winchester round is definatly a solid premise. i especially like the lower velocity. indoors its still more than enough.
     
  18. GunnerShotz

    GunnerShotz Member

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    ....and the topic goes round and round (really no pun intended). I DO live in an apartment right now, so I Have to consider the neighbors (if I Do miss). I like the premise of that Winchester though too. Never tried it.

    What's the recoil like out of an 18.5 inch barrel?
     
  19. NYShooter

    NYShooter Member

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    Any load that will reliably stop an assailant in his tracks will penetrate multiple layers of sheet-rock (not including birdshot, which may or may not penetrate multiple walls, but will definitely NOT penetrate humans sufficiently to reach the vital organs). Under this premise, might as we use 1B or 00, which are the most effective loads. It is also interesting that bullets from pistols or rifles, which some use for HD, will penetrate further than any shot-shell load.
     
  20. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    Ny shooter, i disagree that a pistol bullet to the lung or abdomen would be as effective as bird shot when we're talking 'indoor distanses'.
     
  21. NYShooter

    NYShooter Member

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    First off, I never made that comparison in my post, so perhaps you should go back a re-read what I did say. However, since you are determined to use birdshot for HD, I say go right ahead and I wish you luck. IMO, birdshot has only two uses - practice at the range, and on birds. As I have said, for HD I use only 00, 1B and slugs.
     
  22. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    No need to get upset. I did read your post. It said bird shot isn't effective due to lack of penatration and pistol bullets penetrate better.
    For the record, a .380 fmj penetrates better than buck shot. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone that believes that makes .380 more effective than buck shot.
    Again, I don't mean any disrespect. I was disagreeing.
     
  23. NYShooter

    NYShooter Member

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    One more time, dude. I said that birdshot may, or may not, penetrate walls, but will not penetrate humans deeply enough to reach the vital organs, as is thus ineffective. I said that pistol and rifle bullets will penetrate further than any shot shell load. So why are you telling me, "For the record, a .380 fmj penetrates better than buck shot"? I thought I already said that. I made that comparison simply to suggest that over-penetration of walls is less of a concern with shotgun loads than with pistol or rifle rounds. However, I never said that "a .380 round is more effective than buckshot". Quite the opposite, the wound trauma generated by being hit with 9 .33 caliber pellets of 00 buckshot is much more extensive and devastating than being hit with a single .380.
     
  24. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Lots of good information here.

    I think the problem lies in the fact that humans are complex organisms that tend to be fairly easy to kill, but difficult to stop. A determined aggressor can soak up a lot of damage and still remain a threat. Will they die? Probably eventually, at least without proper medical attention. But this doesn't matter to you if you're lying next to him bleeding out on the same floor, with your kid crying and you're old women screaming in the background.

    There's no perfect solution, cause this isn't a perfect world. Bottom line for me is that if someone advances towards a .73 caliber muzzle, they aren't there to make friends. And regardless of what combination of drugs, adrenaline, anger, and stupidity compels them to advance when they know what's coming to them, I am going to do whatever is in my power to stop them. With the tools at our disposal, this means I have to do enough damage to the right organs and structures to make them unable to continue their aggression. If someone sees all 6'6" of my pale white figure standing in my PJs in the hall they just entered behind a my 590 and doesn't immediately evacuate their bowels, do an about face ("What? This isn't my house!"), and trip over themselves getting the hell out, I have every reason to believe they intend to do me harm regardless of whatever physical pain I can inflict on them. That is why I am justified using lethal force--because the means necessary to stop an aggressor determined enough to harm me as to advance when they know I am armed is likely going to be lethal.

    This is one reason why I don't buy the over penetration hoopla. I've seen gelatin photos and have shot enough varmints with birdshot to know it has absolutely no place in a defensive arsenal against anything larger than a rabid rabbit. In fact, I have seen well centered patterns of birdshot through my 26 inch barreled Rem 870 fail to stop a ground squirrel at ranges I have inside my house enough times that I probably wouldn't even use it for rapid rabbits. Is it going to make a mess out of the first several inches of tissue it encounters, absolutely. But if pain compliance was enough to get the job done, you're not justified legally or morally in using a shotgun. Then consider that 1/3 of Americans are obese and nearly half of us are overweight. The chances are high that the person in your living room or stomping up your stairs is going to be big. And clothed. And if they have a weapon, it is probably going to be held in front of them, conveniently between you and their vital organs. Expecting birdshot to penetrate a wrist/forearm, clothing, and several inches of fat and pectoral muscle before it even makes it inside the chest cavity where the organs that need to be perforated to stop the aggressor lie is a bit much. It's not uncommon for the majority of #6 or #7 1/2 shot in my experience to not penetrate a snowshoe at 30 feet. If you can't find a 30 foot shot in your house, you live in a refrigerator box. Just saying, this is a simple discussion to me. Defensive shotgun ammunition for me consists of eight rounds of Hornady Critical Defense eight pellet 00 buck in the shotgun, with another 3 or 4 and a couple of Foster slugs in the side saddle for good measure.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  25. F1ST0

    F1ST0 Member

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    I wish I had a wife that would cover me with a revolver.
     

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