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Defensive Ammunition 101

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

  1. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    For over 100 years the ammunition specified for 12 Gauge shotgun use by the United States Armed Forces is 00 Buckshot, not birdshot.

    In 99% of Law Enforcement Agencies in the USA and probably worldwide the issue 12 Gauge shotgun ammunition is 00 Buckshot, not birdshot.

    Why do most professional shotgun users use 00 Buckshot? because it works.

    Birdshot is for birds.

    If Joe Dirtbag, 6'4" 350 loaded up on crystal meth breaks into your house at 0200 with the intent on stealing all of your possessions and killing you and your family, why do people insist on using a load that works on Dove and Quail but will not reliably penetrate to the vital organs on a human being?

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  2. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Well put, leon....
     
  3. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    What happened to the thread with the guy from Gun Blast advocating birdshot in some circumstances? I'm pretty sure it was in the shotgun section.
     
  4. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    Beeb, I have shared this story several times, but here it is again:

    My grandfather was one of the only medical professionals in a small Kansas town in the '50s. As such, he served as a doctor as well as a coroner/medical examiner. I have learned many things from what he has seen, and here is an instance involving birdshot. A man tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest with a load of birdshot. The barrel was pressed up against the center of his chest and he pulled the trigger with his toe. Now, not only did the shot not kill him, it did not even stop him from walking to a neighbor's house in order to get help which was not a short walk (he decided he actually didn't want to die). He was not on drugs or any medication to give him extra strength, and the only significant damage done was the hole in his chest that did not reach any vital organs.

    Would he have bled out? Yes, eventually, but if that were an attacker he would have another 45 minutes to kill you and your family before that happened. If you still want to use birdshot for "defense", I really must question whether you are defending your family's right to live, or the BG's right to kill you and then live to tell about it...
     
  5. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    The shot I bought for 'people' is #2 heavy but still technically bird shot. I'm sure the vast majority of shotgun survivors are from the smallest loads from a distance. I'm not gonna change anyone's mind here. Just asking about the Gun Blast thread and if and why it was taken down.

    I had it in my head that bb was smaller. My mistake.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  6. gp911

    gp911 Member

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    Actually a "bb load" wouldn't be too bad. BB denotes a pretty decent shot size.
     
  7. geo57

    geo57 Member

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    My 2 pennies:

    A. I would not use birdshot for self defense if I had other choices.

    B. See A above

    C. Just as the fellow in a few posts ago reported that a charge of # 4's into a turkey had little effect on it, let me share this. A few years ago while pheasant hunting I kicked up a largish coyote and by the time I was on him he was about 15-20 yards from me. I was using a 12 ga. with high brass 2 3/4 " , 7 1/2 size shot, 3 3/4 dram of powder, 1 1/4 oz of lead. The shot rolled and totally disabled him. Barely alive I put him out of his misery with a blast of the same load to his head which blew it to Smitherines.

    D. I have no idea of the gauge or load used in a couple of the stories above where guys took blasts at or very close to contact distance in the center chest but it will be a frost warning day in Hell before I believe one could take a full power 12 ga. load of # 2's, #4's or even #6's center mass with the muzzle against him ,him not being extremely heavily clothed ( or armor plated ) and him walking away for a distance sans dramatic effect.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  8. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    One particular case has been documented from Australia. In February 1995, a man committed suicide on parkland in Canberra, Australia. He took a pump action shotgun and shot himself in the chest. The load passed through the chest without hitting a rib, and went out the other side. He then walked fifteen meters, reloaded, leaned the shotgun against his throat, and shot his throat and part of his jaw. He then reloaded, walked 136 meters to a hill slope, lay down on the slope, held the gun against his chest with his hands and operated the trigger with his toes. This shot entered the thoracic cavity and demolished the heart, killing him. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_gunshot_suicide

    The incident above was originally posted with full text and pictures at https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2000/173/11/shotgun-suicide-difference, the site now requires paid membership to see full text articles. The shells used in this incident were #2s...
     
  9. geo57

    geo57 Member

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    Thanks for posting that Fred. Unless the victim had someone following him ( arranged for in advance ? ) around and taking notes during the entire saga, I'm wonding how something like this can get documented with any degree of accuracy. And If he had someone observing this wouldn't that person have tried to stop proceedings after shot # 1 or after he blew part of his noggin away with shot # 2 and before the feller went 130 something meters for the grand finale ?

    The article says shot # 1 missed a rib and passed through but does not state if it was centrally located at all or far off to one side, etc. Shot # 3 describes the sort of damage I have witnessed myself on critters and inatimate objects and to me at least dispells the thinking that full power loads taken to the center chest at contact distance leaves only an ugly surface wound without sufficient damage to reach the boiler room.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  10. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    On the issue of what size shot, The Firearms Tactical Institute report recommends #1

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm
     
  11. One_Jackal

    One_Jackal member

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    Not all shots are perfect. Not all situations are predictable. I prefer buckshot. I am not picky about the size of the pellets. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Even without the optimum load for the situation your chances are pretty good with buckshot.
     
  12. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm wonding how something like this can get documented with any degree of accuracy

    Forensics, I suspect. Blood trails, volume of blood, etc.
     
  13. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    Stevens 350 / 200 Lumen light

    Guthrie-20120729-00013.jpg

    My load is 3" 000 buckshot. Hope I never have to use it. Make no mistake, I would not hesitate to do so if forced to defend myself against an intruder.
     
  14. Rob0321

    Rob0321 Member

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    I just managed to track down some Federal LE #1 Buck with the flight control wad, turns out GT Distributors will ship to active duty military. They are still in transit, and it will probably be two weeks to get to the range, but I'll attempt to put up a range report when I can.
     
  15. Knockdownpower

    Knockdownpower Member

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    My defense shotgun is loaded with Hornady TAP 00bk. Very happy with it.
     
  16. Thinker

    Thinker Member

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    I don't see the debate here, I mean I see it but I think you have to ignore a lot of logic to rely on anything less than buckshot. I use 00 because I can buy 250 rounds in bulk and practice with the same load I keep in my 500. Now, that said, I know there are other choices in buckshot. I'm not even gonna consider anything less than #4 BUCK. I have shot at different target media and bird shot sucks for penetration. OK if its all ya got then so be it. Hey if all I had was my Ruger MKIII I would use it too, but when I hear people say they intend to protect themselves with bird shot I fear for them. Now, I am off to dig up all the info I can on other buckshot sizes.
     
  17. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    for the fellow that wondered how the sequence of shots could be determined for that suicide that needed three pops before hitting the dinger....

    As a retired cop that's been involved in numerous gunshot cases (of all...only one was mine....) the state of the art regarding forensics and gunshot wounds, blood spatter evidence, etc. is very, very good. Where I worked is actually where they figured out that wood dowels inserted into impact points in walls with an interior shooting could give extremely accurate trajectory info (nothing like south Florida in the seventies and early eighties for a great variety of gunshot wounds....). I was actually on the scene of the first killing where the shooter's fingerprints were actually taken directly off of the body of the woman killed (and it buried him for a triple homicide).

    In short the state of the art on gunshot forensics is so good that anyone tempted to lie about the where, how, and manner of any shooting should think long and hard about straying from the truth.... at least that's my opinion (and with the shotgun and ammo used you can even tell just how far away the shooter was when the shot was fired....).
     
  18. hwmoore

    hwmoore Member

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    #4 buck

    I always used #4 it patterned well at the range I expected to be using it at, penetrated enough to reach critical areas, increased shot count over 00 (27 verses 9) 2 3/4 shells all though some say the smallest you should use is #1 buck
     
  19. LuvMyGuns

    LuvMyGuns Member

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    2 3/4 00 buck - it kills
     
  20. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    i, like many on this site, get pumped when this thread is active!
     
  21. stormspotter

    stormspotter Member

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    I just finished working on a Ted Williams Model 21 (High Standard) pump 12 ga. All I did was remove the poly-choke (it was incorrectly installed and shot to the right) and take the barrel back to 23". I then reinstalled the front bead and then measured the inside diameter of the barrel. It measures right at .700", which if I am not mistaken is about a modified choke.

    Using Federal Premium LE Tactical 00 buckshot it will shoot POA and keep all 9pellets in a group slightly larger than a silver dollar at 15 yards. This load uses the Flitecontrol wad and is listed as 1145 fps. I didn't get to shoot at longer distances, as several people were fine tuning their deer rifles last week.

    Yes, it will "only" hold 5 rounds, but I just love how smooth the old High Standard made guns are.
     
  22. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    why use flight control for self defense applications? why not just use a slug? granted i have never been trained by the military or Thunder Ranch. could someone explain the advantage? thanks.
     
  23. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    One word. Penetration.

    You do not want to be sending a slug at a perp if you are in a home. 00 buckshot penetrates plenty far as it is. Unless you are going to be shooting through materials to hit the BG, leave the slugs in the box.

    (And also you most likely will not be shooting more than 10 yards defensively, so you don't need the added range of the slug)
     
  24. sfchemist

    sfchemist Member

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    Learned a lot from this thread.

    Interesting thread that has me re-thinking about what to use in my 12 ga for home defense. My first round was (is) non-lethal followed by four OO buck. I'm now gonna put the non-lethal round in my gun cabinet and for now load 5 rounds of OO. The Winchester PDX1-12 looks interesting and I'll be looking into that very soon.

    Thanks to everyone for a lively discussion of opinions and ideas.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  25. spotch

    spotch Member

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    It stinks that 20 gauge has so few buckshot options from manufacturers
     

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