The best home defense 12 ga shotgun load is...

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by t_dickinson, Oct 13, 2009.

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  1. my762buzz

    my762buzz Member

    Apr 6, 2007
    I guess I am not the only one that uses slugs for home defense.
    Federal Cartridge [forster style] slugs expand very quickly and lose
    sectional density quick enough. Either way they are not getting though
    my brick exterior walls.
  2. okespe04

    okespe04 Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Any ole 00 buck would probably end the threat. If I got a load of that stuff to the chest I would most likely die or at least reconsider and run or crawl away. Then maybe still die.
  3. Rshooter

    Rshooter Member

    Sep 29, 2007
    my762buzz, I also use slugs but if someone asks I will tell them what is recommended. I guess I either do not follow recommendations well or I like big holes. Actually it comes from riding in an old Deputies car where they used candy cane loads.
  4. Jack2427

    Jack2427 Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    There are really three issues being discussed here:
    1. What type of load to use in HD
    2. How to deal with penetration issues
    3. How to respond if the premises are actually breached by a BG

    The problem is that any effective load used under the described situation is going to have penetration issues. So.......

    Get some buckshot, I use #4, but anything from 4 on up will do nicely, then, develop a plan so that you can defend the 2nd floor with all famly members being safe. This may involve changing bedrooms or some other type of reloacting family members or maybe not. The important thing is to HAVE A PLAN. If you do not, then you are setting yourself up for either failure to achieve your objective or a disaster.

    My plan is to defend the 2nd floor, when I had kids at home they were located in the safest room from my (or my wifes) gunfire. After that I plan the bad news for the potential intruder. The first issue means that family are behind me or absolutely out of any possible line of my fire-I cannot depend on the intruder to be as safety aware as I am, so the objective is to stop him before he can put out rounds.

    Everyone is concerned with their fire and penetration, but how about the BG? And he cares a lot less than anyone else about where his rounds end up.

    BTW; my plans never include room/house clearing. Even though both my wife and my self have 66 years of military/LE experience between us, even two trained people should not do clearing ops. Even if you do know your house better than anyone else. The idea here is Home Defense, the operative word is defense. When you start clearing rooms you are now on the offensive. Without regard to possible legal ramifications, your mission is to defend yourself and your family. The on duty police can catch the BG(if they get there in time). It is also a really bad idea to be moving around with a big gun if the police are expected, not all of us are really smart, or calm in the face of excitement.

    My SOP calls for me or wife to call 911, tell them exactly where we are going to be located, and then wait. Wait till you know the police are there, and then make verbal contact before you show yourself, call 911 back to ask if they are on the scene if necessary. When you show yourself to the police, do so without a weapon-this can be so important as to be fatal.

    I know this type of planning seems paranoid to some, but it can be a lifesaver, and I don't care if the BG gets away, my objective is safeguarding me and my own. Another thing to remember, if you are taken out of the equation, your loved ones may then be helpless, that is why I defend me first.
    And why I do not go offensive.
  5. sheepdog

    sheepdog Member

    Oct 14, 2009
    Duncanville, Tx
    ...+1, Dark Knight...redundancy only applies to yard work...when talking guns and ammo, it's always an important discussion that bears repeating:)

    BADUNAME37 Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    I would start with a load that has more pellets that are smaller and if the intruder(s) are not stopped by that, follow-up with heavier and heavier until they are incapacitated, i.e., #2 bird shot, then 4 Buck, then 2 Buck then 00 Buck.

    Or, don't use as many varieties. You could just have 4 Buck followed by 00 Buck.

    Like others stated, just make sure you are shooting in a direction (or in directions) where you know there will be no collateral damage.

    I'm sure anyone shot with #2 Bird Shot within 30 feet is not going to keep approaching for more -- but then there are definately a lot of crazies out there!
  7. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    Number 3 steel shot. I ain't been bit by a duck since I switched to it. :D
  8. HJ857

    HJ857 Member

    Jun 14, 2007
  9. Old Guard Dog

    Old Guard Dog Member

    Jan 11, 2009
    SE PA
    Like Indie said, Centurian 2" mini-buck in #1 buckshot. I sell it to a lot of ladies for HD, and they enjoy shooting it. Really reduced recoil, even over a light target birdshot 2 3/4". Not as powerful as other loads, but few women are not going to practice if it hurts. Also, not as loud if shot indoors.
  10. Virgil47

    Virgil47 Member

    Aug 2, 2009
    Tacoma Washington
    I prefer #2 lead shot in a 23/4 inch shell. Anyone in an enclosed stairwell is in a world of hurt if they are on the receiving end. It is also unlikely that it will penetrate the walls (both sides) and harm someone on the outside of your home.
  11. herkyguy

    herkyguy Member

    Jul 31, 2009
    I'll go ahead and say it......birdshot for my gun. 25 rounds of buckshot in the closet, but i would rather not pepper my neighbors as they sleep with 00 buck.

    now, bring on the criticism!!!
  12. inSight-NEO

    inSight-NEO Member

    Nov 8, 2008
    To the author of this quote- The following is not a personal attack on you by any means. Rather, its just a broad statement regarding my current beliefs.

    I guess I just dont get it. So many seem to maintain that 00 Buckshot is the bane of CQ self-defense (when neighbors are involved) and seem to imagine that any and every miss using this load is going to result in the sure and swift death of those residing in other rooms, neighboring apartments, etc. Yet, many of these same individuals seem to have no issue (regarding penetration issues/considerations) with using various handguns for HD, ranging from say, 9mm on up to .45 ACP. Interesting....

    As I have mentioned several times before, have any of the 00 Buck naysayers considered "Low Recoil" variants? Sure, these still are penetrative, but compared to many popular handgun loads for HD, not as much.

    Also, for those who purport that starting off with a "lighter" load and then progressing up to the "heavier" stuff gives you the best of both worlds, I say...huh? I mean, given that most violent HD encounters are, most likely, going to be over before you even realize what just happened, why start small and then go big? Chances are you wont get the chance to "up the ante," so to speak.

    Now, Im not saying #4 Buckshot or anything outside of 00 Buckshot is useless. Im just saying that some of the beliefs concerning 00 Buck and/or the idea of incrementally "stepping up" ammo effectiveness (ie., using multiple load types) just might benefit from a bit more, umm, lateral thinking.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2009
  13. Positrack

    Positrack Member

    Jan 15, 2008
    Princeton, IL
    I keep mine loaded with 2 rounds of #4 buck backed up with 2 rounds of 00, and I also keep slugs handy. I just use standard 2 3/4" shells because they are relatively cheap and easy to find locally. I also practice quite a bit with all three. My situation's different though (single story ranch in the country, just me and my GF). I started using #4 buck for the first two rounds because I use the gun as a critter dispatcher pretty regularly, but I gotta say, the #4 patterns so well in my 870, I've considered using it exclusively. The 00 isn't bad, but the #4 is way more full and even, and it does some serious damage. I'm sure it doesn't penetrate quite as well, but I'm not at all sure it doesn't penetrate "well enough." From most everything I've read, #1 buck might be the perfect compromise, but I've yet to see so much as a box of it anywhere (other than online), and I want to be able to just go to the store and restock rather than have to plan ahead and get ammo via mail order. But that's just me. In any case, I'd feel plenty confident with the #4, but I would also be pretty confident it could penetrate an awful lot of sheetrock. For that dilemma, I think the only responsible thing you can really do is take this into account when planning the sleeping arrangements, and always remember where you can/can't shoot. I'm lucky in this respect since our bedroom is in the very end of the house, and there's nothing but fields in the other direction for about a mile.
  14. nathan

    nathan Member

    Feb 4, 2003
    Slugs slug is my choice . Shoots like a rifle cartridge straight to the intended target.
  15. bigalexe

    bigalexe Member

    Mar 14, 2009
    SE Michigan
    Personally I would load a slug followed by 2 shot loads, then another slug with 2 slugs behind that. I own a Mossberg so it holds 6 total.

    Theory: If the slug hits then conflict is over and I didn't tear up my wall. If the slug misses then I probably am going to need the spread of a shot load. This setup assumes 2 targets btw.
  16. Schutzen

    Schutzen Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    Far Western Kentucky
    My local LEO says the FBI recommends #4 Buck, but I have never seen an official document stating this. I trust my LEO's judgment, so I use the #4.

    Living in a rural area I load 3 #4BS and follow it with 2 slugs then 3 more #4BS. This gives me a quick response to a vehicular threat.

    As to the brand, lately I have been very impressed with Federal Shot shells. I will offer this caveat; I have only patterned the Federal Estate Sport Loads. I was shocked; they gave denser patterns than the higher priced "premium brand" shells. An added plus is in the 20+ cases fired here last year, there was not a single failure to fire from a Federal shell.
  17. pps

    pps Member

    May 27, 2008
  18. t_dickinson

    t_dickinson Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    Southern NH
    Great input from all but...

    Can anyone turn this into a poll? Lots of info could be easily voted on to come up with a "best round" Thanks to anyone with the know-how to do this!
  19. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

    May 6, 2008
    My answer is that there is no "best" for every situation. Are you in the country or a city apartment? What are the walls made of? Think of overpenetration with possible injury to innocent people. I like 2 3/4" low recoil #4 buck, but that's just me.
    Some might need to stay with birdshot, others can use slugs.
  20. wrs840

    wrs840 Member

    Oct 18, 2008
    Brushy Mts, NC, growing feed-crops.
    Remington 00 Buck reduced-recoil in my 20" bbl 12ga Moss 500, Federal 3 buck in my wife's 18" bbl 20ga Moss 500. These are the HD shotguns intended for indoor use. I don't have neighbors within reach of any shotgun-load though.

  21. pps

    pps Member

    May 27, 2008
    Sometimes "best" simply comes down to what is in stock when you place your order.
  22. Kindrox

    Kindrox Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    It’s a balance issue. A single 00 buckshot round is letting go 9+ pellets with every shot. A couple misses with 00 and you have fired 18-27 9MM equivalent rounds, and in a home environment like mine, there are people literally no more than 30-40 feet away on three sides. As I type this, there are about 10+ bystanders 30-40 feet from me, and dozens more within 150 feet. Houses are generally more concealment than cover.

    I am less worried about using my .45 when out and about because chances are, when out and about in non-residential areas, if 30+ bystanders are within 150 feet of me, I probably won’t be needing to defend myself with a firearm.

    The chance of my needing a firearm on any particular day apparently are low – I haven’t needed one for a number of years. But the consequences of not having one when you need it can be severe, so I choose to keep them around anyway.

    The chance of hitting a bystander may indeed be low, but how severe would the consequences be for you? Here I would tagged with 10+ years in jail. That is pretty severe to me.

    And in all the incidents requiring a firearm that happen every year (millions), just how many required the incapacitation power of 00 buckshot, where nothing less would have done? A few hundred? Less? I think it can be said that it is not likely you will need the incapacitation power of 00 buckshot, where nothing less would have done. If you do and don’t have it, I guess the consequences would be severe.

    So how do you balance two unlikely things, both with severe consequences?
  23. faizi

    faizi Member

    Nov 20, 2008
    How about Federal 12 gauge 1oz hollow point slug?
  24. JamisJockey

    JamisJockey member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Northern VA
    Probably one of the best posts I've ever seen here!
  25. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    Mar 26, 2004
    AL, NC
    Some statistical questions...

    What shotgun load do most US LE agencies and the armed forces issue for antipersonnel use?

    What shotgun load is used in most of the LE shotgun shootings in the US?

    How many rounds are fired in the average shotgun-involved LE encounter?

    Are there reasons this is the case?

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