Home Defense Ammunition

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by RonB, Jan 13, 2006.

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  1. RonB

    RonB Member

    Dec 20, 2005
    This is my first post. Howdy!:cool:

    I just recently (2 days ago) picked up a Mossberg 590. This is my first shotgun. You guessed it, home defense. Anyway...looking for info on what makes a good home defense ammo. IMO, buck shot is way overkill for a hd weapon. I guess what I am looking for is a ammo that in case someone is threatning my home and family, and the shick-shick of the shotgun does not deter them, and I have to fire a round, I dont want something going through the whole house and possibly hurting the ones I am trying to protect.

    I know its a double edge sword, and if I buy this weapon and never discharge it in my life due to a HD incident, then life is good, but in the case I do....you get the idea...

    Thanks! Great organization BTW!!!!:D
  2. jayhway

    jayhway Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Davis, CA
    Buckshot is not overkill, but in fact the preferred ammo for HD. If you're going to use a gun for self defense, you must bear the responbility that comes along with it. This inlcudes taking a life if necessary.

    I personally have Federal Tactical 00 buck in my shotgun.
  3. Chip Dixon

    Chip Dixon Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    Buckshot is your friend

    If you're worried about buckshot from your gun killing your kids, you need to put their bedroom in a place where you must likely won't be shooting at, and spend some cash on enough ammo to make you confident with your gun.

    Buckshot is the IDEAL home defense round. One shot can send the equivalent of one or two revolvers full of ammo into your target. Instant stops are not uncommon, unlike other home defense methods. The shot is not going to penetrate as far as a handgun round would, either.. less mass and velocity. Check out local blasted roadsigns (or make your own..) for comparisons. Buckshot blasts may have some light penetrations, surrounded by a large indented area.. handgun blasts .38 and up are clear through.

    If you miss your target nothing you shoot is going to be safe coming out of your shotgun towards your kid. However, if your ammo is insufficient for your target, (crazed home invading BG) it is going to be of little use defending your home and little ones.

    Practice, practice, practice. I use federal 3" magnum 00 buckshot with 15 pellets of 00 buck in my Mossy 835 for home defense. May God help anyone who decides to invade my homestead without a lick of sense and good running shoes. I've sent $100 of it through my gun, know it patterns well with a modified choke, and know I can handle it well--so missing my target is not one of my worries. Just gotta be learn to be "slow in a hurry".. don't fire until you acquire your target, but don't hesitate or jerk your gun in any way once you do.

    Using birdshot for home defense is folly--unless you're in an alternate universe ruled by Edgar Allen Poe, which is about to have an episode of "The Birds."

    Some recommend slugs for home defense so you can penetrate barriers, but as you're worried about penetration, I'd say just load it up with buckshot, and keep some slugs nearby just in case.
  4. tango3065

    tango3065 Member

    Jan 19, 2003
    I use the remington 00 buck from walmart in the 15 round bulk packs.
  5. pauli

    pauli Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    herndon, va, usa
    there has been a lot of talk lately about the virtues of #1 buck for home defense. the theory is that a round of #1 buck has the greatest number of pellets that each have the minimum amount of penetration considered necessary to reliably stop an attacker.

    minimum penetration, of course, being exactly what you're looking for.
  6. lbmii

    lbmii Member

    May 17, 2004
    Overland Park, Kansas
    You might look into using 2 3/4 inch Remington Express Long Range. The pattern tends to be pretty tight at close range.

    It has 1 1/4 oz of lead shot and is loaded rather stout but not overwelming at 3 3/4 drams equiv. The 1 1/4 oz of shot and 3 3/4 Dram Equiv is very similar in shot weight and velocity of 9 pellet OO buck rounds. Bird shot is quite deadly when at close range and the shot is still mostly in one big mass of shot. For across the room type of distances I see no problem with using the larger sizes of birdshot.

    You might consider this load in #4, or #2, or BB bird shot. I would generally say not to go under #4 birdshot. There is a problem in that #2and BB lead shot is hard to find in most stores. You can find them online.

    Mossberg 590 A1 DA with a 20" barrel modified choke:
  7. jsr5

    jsr5 Member

    Jan 13, 2006
    For in the house ranges of about 15 to possibly 20 yards I personally would use a heavy load of number 4's or even 6's The pattern won't be very open at those ranges and a full oz or better delivered center mass will incapacitate a agressor with much reduced chances of overpentration. If using a shotgun with a constricted choke I would decrease the shot size possibly all the way to #8's. I would have a couple buch and slugs available should the need arise but in the home in town I'd load the smallest shot size my choke would allow. to dump the full pattern in about 6" to 10" at the distance I would find in my home.
  8. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

    Nov 8, 2004
    Spring Hill, Florida
    I use S&B 12 pellet 00 because it is cheap. It has less velocity than most other cartridges (like 900-1000 fps) but I can shoot lots of it very quickly, so that shouldtn be an issue.
  9. slopemeno

    slopemeno Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    The hot setup is the low-velocity Tacticl Buckshot. The larger shot size of 00 buck helps with penetration to the vitals, and the lower flash/noise is easier on your senses.
    Have you thought about your home defense situation? Try thinking out of the box. If you shoot at certain angles, whats behind your target? Left right/up down? And in reality, locks and simple adjustments to your tactics keep the bad guy OUTSIDE which buys you time to get your people behind you and him in front of you.
  10. RonB

    RonB Member

    Dec 20, 2005
    Lots of great info here....I guess....(read my sig) I am thinking of very large buck or slug.

    I own a standard single story ranch home. All the bedrooms are on one end grouped together. Door from the garage is steel, front door is steel. My worries would be the large bay window next to the front door and my back door which is just two french doors all glass. So the house can be gotten into easily. When I come down my hallway, the back door, front door and garage door all funnel into the hallway from my living room. So, god forbid, if someone gets a little frisky one night, I would have a slight advantage.

    I have not shot the weapon yet but have manuvered around the house with it and feel at least a little more comfortable wielding it. 2:00 am and somone on the other end of that weapon is another thing.

    Any other ideas/tactics would be appreciated.
  11. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    I think the idea of "securing" most homes is a joke. That is, you've got steel doors with triple deadbolts and 2 feet way is a window that can be taken out in 3 seconds with a brick or rock. A thief could reach in, turn the lock, and be inside in seconds

    There was a guy at the Indy 1500 show selling lock pick sets. He was getting into about any type lock (including round "pick-proof" ones like on auto steering wheel locks) in seconds

    Lots of guys here like dogs. If somebody wants in, most any dog can be neutralized quite easily in seconds. Exception might be the little yappy lap dogs.

    Quite honestly, I think the best thing is decent locks and an alarm. We have ADT. Maybe not the best, but it's $1 a day and I think the signs do as much good as anything. YMMV

    As for loads, I had a friend that worked on a ranch in Colorado. They "experimented" with beef cattle that were sick and had to be put down. They were trying to find the best load for bear defense. Ended up using #2's in 3" 12 gauge as the most devistating at 30 feet or less.

    I use my Remington SP-10 with 3 1/2" #4 buck. 54 pellets
  12. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    Mar 26, 2004
    AL, NC
    Welcome aboard, Ron- hope you enjoy your stay here.

    You picked yourself a good shotgun, with proper care it will outlast you and you can pass it along to one of your kids. But even a great shotgun is not a talisman against evil, nor is it a magic wand. It is only a tool, and has to be _used_ by a willing and capable operator to be effective in a protective role. And you can't count too much on the mere sound of its action shucking to rout bad guys. These days too many of them are living with so much chemical enhancement, or the voices in their heads are shouting so loud, that extraneous sounds- even potentially lethal ones- just don't get through.

    Chances are good you will not ever have to employ your Mossberg for its intended purpose. But should you ever have to do so, you need to have transformed yourself into a person who has at least the basic capabilities necessary to fight with a shotgun before the real need for those skills arises. I believe there is no better defensive tool available than a good shotgun and that is why there are several of them here at Chez Lapin. But it takes knowing how to shoot a shotgun at an instinctive level, plus knowing some basic tactics, plus having workable plans for home defense in order to employ your shotgun adequately in the home. Having a shotgun is only part of the solution, having the ability to use it well and a plan that enables you to use it so it is only a danger to BGs (the bad guys) is also very important.

    I am not one of those who advocates going out of your bedroom trying to juggle a righteous attitude, a flashlight, a phone and a shotgun while looking for whatever caused that bump in the night. I strongly suggest working out a plan where you can hunker down with your family all together in a defensible place, behind good cover, with the shotgun between you and a backlit doorway- and anything that tries to come through that doorway. I don't know the architecture of your house or what considerations you have to contend with. But you should be able to work something out so you can gather everyone up and get them and you behind cover in a room where you can control the only entrance wih your back protected in case someone gains entry to your home.

    Do you have an alarm system? A family dog? How many entrances from the outside and how easy to get through for someone who wants in? Do you have peepholes or cameras so you can see what's on the other side of the door? Doors good and solidly locked all the time except when in use? Do you live in 'condition yellow' and pay attention to what's going on around you, or are you often surprised by people coming up on you in public places?

    Does your family practice fire drills? If you can incorporate the same plan to cover two purposes as far as the inside-the-house part is concerned, that will help simplify things a lot. That way in an emergency you, your spouse and the kids all know what to do no matter what, so far as activities inside the house are concerned.

    As to choosing ammunition, I suggest that once you have a plan in place and can be reasonably sure you have everyone accounted for that you can find a way to feel more at ease if it is necessary to fire a load of buckshot inside the confines of your home. When you establish your plan you will also be establishing 'lanes of fire' with definite boundaries. You can arrange things so there is substantial furniture (bookshelves, etc) between the ends of those lanes and the rest of the house. Note that it doesn't matter which side of a wall at the end of your lane this ballistic barrier occupies.

    Buckshot fired roughly parallel to almost any wall is very likely to 'skip' off the surface and continue roughly on its course parallel to the wall (they teach people who clear rooms as part of a team not to hug the walls for this reason). The walls will funnel projectiles toward the end of your lanes, the door will funnel the BGs toward your position if they are moving through the house. Your fields of fire will be deliberately limited, and if you have your family gathered with you so you know where they are, where you shoot is only something the BGs will need to worry about anyway.

    Teamwork is a help in this sort of situation, one adult can cover the door with the shotgun from behind cover while the other is on the phone with the authorities and keeping the children under cover. I suggest having a cell phone as part of the plan, sometimes BGs cut phone lines on the way in.

    I know this is more than you asked, but it is still all part of the answer. Look for some training opportunities around you- NRA instructors offer home and personal protection firearms training in many areas, just go to the NRA website at http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/basictraining.asp .

    Stay safe,


    edited to add: see the thread at http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=173868
  13. Nicky Santoro

    Nicky Santoro Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    New Jermany
    I have essentially the same type of house, but with solid wood doors.
    Did this to provide some semblance of security when we are home and when the house is unoccupied......
    -Big stickers on doors advising of alarm system
    -Exterior lighting with motion detectors
    -No shrubbery obscuring windows
    -Good quality locks with deadbolts
    -Bar across basement windows
    -Alarm system with multiple zones so that we can activate indoor motion detectors when the house is unoccupied only. Glass break detector on patio door. Alarm is wired to local company.
    -Inside and outside alarm horns with a strobe on the front of the house so PD can identify problem house visually.
    -Photoelectric night lights inside near doors activated by motion detectors. (This is more for convenience coming in at night but serves a security function too.)
    -Immediately accessible firearms (two handguns and a shotgun with 00) No kids in the house anymore, so none of those issues.

    My approach has been to adopt layers of protection. My neighborhood is very safe and the likelihood of an attempt is a bit remote. That being said, I've still made my home the least accessible target it can be.
    If, after all that, someone chooses to ignore the alarm, ignore all the lighting and noise, then bash in the door to get in, they are pretty much going to get shot... a lot.

  14. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Lee's Post + 1

    Me- I use slugs.
    I'll be the guy hunkered down , with Police I dialed directly and gave a code/password to so they know who I am.
    If my secure hunkered down area is threatened, and I am in fear...
    Shooting lanes using furniture to Protect ME.
    Then again I may need to go thru a TV or somesuch...

    Only time I have gone to investigate, is out in the country, and it was real obvious some critter [usually rabid dog, as seen thru a window] needed his shots.

  15. RonB

    RonB Member

    Dec 20, 2005

    Great ideas in there. As my family is growing, protection of them has become top priority. Not that I ever intentionally disregarded protecting them, but like most people, as I mature, priorities change and finances give me opportunitiy to invest in a few more defensive measures.

    Great info everyone! Thanks!
  16. HankB

    HankB Member

    Mar 29, 2003
    Central Texas
    I would use buckshot, not birdshot, in an HD shotgun.

    A human intruder may be wearing something like a heavy motorcycle jacket, and have a nose full of PCP or something - both make him resistant to shock. I'm not convinced that birdshot would take him down reliably unless he's close enough to grab the muzzle of my shotgun - and that's TOO close already. I want something that will hit with authority at ANY distance in my house, and that leaves buckshot. BIG buckshot, 00 or 000.

    Or slugs.

    African hunters have found "SSG" 12 ga. ammo (According to Cartridges of the World this is about like #3 buck) to be marginal on leopards, which aren't any bigger than a typical human. The bad guy who breaks in won't be as fast as a leopard, but if he's armed, he'll be equally deadly, and if drugged up, just as resistant to shock. I'd say there are some parallels in this comparison.

    Any "serious" load will penetrate sheetrock walls, so discretion is called for.
  17. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Dec 24, 2002
    Forestburg, Texas
    There is no such thing as overkill. Once you cross the threshold to kill, then dead is dead. There isn't more dead and less dead.

    So if you don't like buckshot, then you won't like 2oz of Zanoletti Double Impact .
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