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Defensive Ammunition 101

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

  1. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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  2. spotch

    spotch Member

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    Really? Seems like a lot of people stress the importance/essentiality of 00 buck...? The more I read the more I worry that a 20g puts you at a real disadvantage because #3 (or #2 if you go 3") is your only viable option.
     
  3. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    The comments about slugs got me thinking a bit - What about foster slugs for defense? Most of the YouTube videos I've seen testing foster slugs show them flattening, fragmenting, penetrating 12-18 inches consistently. Now, I certainly have no experience testing these, nor any other defensive load for that matter, but wouldn't that be a good recipe for a defense load? A large, fast, single projectile, that dumps tons of energy into the target, then expands to over 1" in diameter, fragments, and penetrates a foot deep? Sounds nearly ideal to me... Thoughts, concerns?
     
  4. armsmaster270

    armsmaster270 Member

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    I rely on 00 Buck in my 12ga. It's hard for the law to crucify you if your using the same ammo as them.
     
  5. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    #3 buck is still bigger than #4, and a lot of people like #4 buck in a 12 ga. At typical defensive range, with some experimenting with choke tubes to find a pattern that is suitable, #3 buck in a 20 ga. will do just fine. It's a good match of pellet size and pellet count in the 2.75" shell - 20 pellets of #3 buck at 1200 FPS is nothing to sneeze at.

    I prefer 00 in a 12 ga. because I can handle it effectively. Give me another 10 or 15 years on these old bones and I may well decide that little 20 ga. 870 Express Youth Model in the safe is just the thing for a house gun. But I doubt I'll feel undergunned or deprived in any way. For younger, smaller or physically impaired shooters, a 20 ga. might be just the ticket - for clay games, hunting or repelling boarders.


    JAshley73,

    I keep slugs in the Sidesaddles of the house guns here, but they are hard swaged Brenneke KOs, not soft lead Foster type slugs. If I ever need to use a slug, it may well be because I need even more reliable penetration than a Foster will give me.
     
  6. spotch

    spotch Member

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    Good points Fred.
     
  7. willroute

    willroute Member

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    If you live in close vicinity (e.g. apartment), go with #4 bird shot. Yes, bird shot...if you are shooting within 5-7 yards, this will do the job without killing your neighbors. But if you have a home without close neighbors-buckshot.


    If you do not believe bird shot will do the trick, take a water jug out to 5 yards and shoot it with #4 or 5 bird shot..amazing what a non-dispersed shot shell will do in close quarters.
     
  8. TroyR

    TroyR Member

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    Slugs only for me.

    For you buckshot guys, in a general gunfight in your house I doubt you are far enough away for your buckshot to open up and it will act like a slug anyway.
     
  9. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    willroute, I strongly suggest you check out this video comparing different shotshell's performances, and how they compare to each other for the purpose of defense loads.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rhZf_x8Esms

    I'm still curious about foster slugs for close range defense. Largely in part because I've yet to pattern my gun with 00-buck loads, and also because of their high cost and limited local availability. I'll have to pattern some here soon. But I was excited to finally see brassfetcher post a foster slug ballistic gel test. Although it only showed penetration of roughly 9-10", it did impact the target with over 2000 ft/lbs of energy, expand to over an inch in diameter. I would have to believe that would create a massive and incapacitating wound. Of course shot placement would matter, but I can't imagine anything that needs shooting walking away from that. Other tests show the slugs fragmenting - I can only imagine this would cause a devastating wound as well.

    Winchester 12ga, 2-3/4" 1oz foster slug ballistic test.
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ftrCtOyLrmU
     
  10. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    Buckshot doesn't act like a slug at close range. A closely packed column of 8-9 pellets still acts under the same laws if physics that govern a spread out bunch of pellets. Pellets, close together or otherwise, will lose momentum faster than a slug because they have less individual mass.
     
  11. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    Which means 00 has a much better chance of NOT passing through the intended target and hitting something not intended.
     
  12. jp

    jp Member

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    #4 buck:neener:
     
  13. lg&m

    lg&m Member

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  14. hwmoore

    hwmoore Member

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    buck and ball

    the slug and buck is an an old concept of duplex load IE the buck and ball has been around since the revolutionary war. the Ideal was one load multiple ranges and in volley fire was very effective. However I would wonder how it patterns for enclosed spaces I am satisfied with #4 buck 24 projectiles 6mm in diameter in a 20 inch circle will make a man bleed like a sieve
     
  15. jp

    jp Member

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    here is a good video showing the affects of different shot loads from #8 birdshot to 000 buck in ballistic gelatin .... it qualifies my choice of #4 buck.

    hey have fun with it

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhZf_x8Esms
     
  16. jp

    jp Member

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  17. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Member

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    870 with a 2 rd extended mag. First round is a 2 3/4 slug in case I need to be extremely selective or penetrate medium cover. Followed by a full complement of 2 3/4 00.
     
  18. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    I refuse to use birdshot, any birdshot, for any defensive purpose.

    A minimal amount of research or testing has shown and will show that birdshot does not penetrate deep enough to reliably stop a human threat.

    It does not matter if you live in the Sultan of Brunei's Castle, an apartment, or a cardboard box...use at minimum #4 Buckshot.

    Your life or the lives of your loved ones might depend on your ammunition selection.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  19. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    Sorry that was poor wording. I'll try again.

    you could have a man the size of N'Damukong Suh in your house trying to rob you and if you shot at 15 feet w/ bird shot the fight would be over. if you have different living conditions you would want different ammo.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  20. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    It works well enough to deter the majority of home invaders. I wouldn't turn my nose at it.

    I use 00 buck, I want to get my hands on some 1 Buck. I wish I could find some locally. I'd switch now. 4 Buck is great, but 1 Buck seems to be the butter zone in range, pattern, penetration, and pellet count.
     
  21. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    I will turn my nose at it.

    Detering and stopping are two completely different things. I have seen several people shot with birdshot continue to function and be a threat.

    I also noticed in your post that you do not use birdshot.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  22. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    No, I don't use birdshot. I am of the mindset that if I'm using a long gun, I'm going to use it to its full capability. My point about birdshot was simply that it's not the puff of hot air that many claim. I'm not advocating it, nor am I implying that it'll reliably incapacitate anyone, but you'll generally make someone quit doing what they're doing with it. An "anything is better than nothing" kind of thing.

    Also, since this is relevant...
    [​IMG]
     
  23. Fryerpower

    Fryerpower Member

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    Great thread and I love the poster above!

    I'm slowly working my up to larger and larger shot sizes for my 20 ga. shotgun as I find them in stores.

    I started at 2-3/4 inch shells with #7-1/2 dove shot, because that was all they had.
    Then I moved to 2-3/4 inch shells with #5 Pheasent shot, because they had some in stock.
    Today I picked up some 3 inch shells with #5 Turkey shot (copper plated lead), because turkey season is coming up and they had some in stock.
    Someday I would like to get some 03 buckshot...

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  24. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    I picked up some 3" 4 Buck for the 12 gauge today.

    I really wanted 2-3/4", but they only had 3", which means my 870 will only hold 4+1 rounds. But my HD shotgun has one role, which is "sit and wait for police", so I'm not terribly broken up about capacity.

    I'm gonna do some patterning tests tomorrow morning or Monday, if I can.

    And Fryerpower, you're going in the right direction! :D
     
  25. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Member

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    There is a difference between killing somebody and using deadly force. I don't think anyone particularly has the legal right to kill anyone in civilian life. "Homicide" is what you did, period. After the fact, "somebody else" may decide it was "justified".

    On the other hand, if you have the moral and legal right to use deadly force against somebody and he happens to die as a result or your legal use of deadly force, that comes under the Law of Tough Nuggies. If anyone does not understand this they should take a CCW class or study up on your State's laws. While you are studying your State laws, pay particular attention to the definition of revenge killing, mayhem, and give some serious thoughts about any bravado comments you may feel like making to witnesses and investigators.

    Also keep in mind that that use of less lethal ammo or shooting to wound is still deadly force in the eyes of the law because the MAY kill and they put the recipient in fear of his life.

    According to FBI penetration tests, some weak loads of 4 buck do not have the required penetration.

    Theoretically, the ammo you chose should make no legal difference, but we don't live in a theoretical world. If you live in a pro-crime legal jurisdiction, have a bad lawyer, are the nervous type, etc. you might want to worry a little about this. For most folks in most places with a ''clean shoot, cap'n Furrilo" shootout, just get any common name brand buck or personal defense buck and don't worry about the details of the ammo.

    000 and slugs will work just fine, but they have a tendency to over penetrate. Unless you live in bear country, they are probably not the best idea.

    If your concept of home defense is to encourage a bad guy to go away but only have a 50% chance of stopping him if he decides to charge, use birdshot. In all other cases, use buckshot!

    20 gauge buck is easily available online.
     

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