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What's the lethal/dangerous range of a shotgun?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by iapetus, May 12, 2008.

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  1. iapetus

    iapetus Member

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    A few days ago, the police in London shot and killed a man who had been shooting at them (and before that, into neighbours' houses).
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7391858.stm
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article3894659.ece

    As can be seen from the Times article and subsequent comments, quite a few people are complaining that the police overreacted, because the gunman was "only" using a shotgun.

    So before I dismiss them as [strike]a bunch of bliss-ninnies[/strike] uninformed about firearms, I suppose I should ask: If someone is firing a shotgun at you, how far away do you have to be to be safe?
     
  2. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    There was an incident several years ago, here in Arizona ( Mesa, AZ. to be exact. ) were two high school kids, boy and girl . were killed by a shotgun blast from 50 yards away. :mad:
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2008
  3. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    Largely depends on the type of ammo they're using, but slugs could be lethal to well past 100 yards. Buckshot, I wouldn't want to be within 100 yards of either. Birdshot and the like, you're probably safe past 60 yards or so.
     
  4. 3 gun

    3 gun Member

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    It really depends....a lot! With a rifled slug barrel on my 500 you wouldn't want to be closer than 200 yards. I may not be able to hit you every time but I'd be close enough to make you run for cover. With an 18 inch barrel and bird shot you'd be "safe" at 50 yards. Might sting like hell but shouldn't kill you. Same barrel with 00 buck and you're behind cover again. Normal slugs with the same barrel has you running out to 100 yards or more.

    Basically anywhere in front of the barrel is a bad place. Any fool waving/shooting a shotgun at police is a fair target.
     
  5. Diggers

    Diggers Member

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    Depends on what load is being shot to some degree.(buckshot or birdshot?) I've read that buckshot, 00 or 000, can be leathal up to 100 yards. Not that anyone could be sure of hitting something with buckshot at 100 yards.

    I have seen tests done that show 50 yards IS in range for buckshot and a shooter can hit what he is shooting at with at least a few pellets.

    Anyhow its not really relevent, the guy was shooting a shotgun into houses and then at the police!!!:what:

    They are a bunch of bliss ninnies who probably believe what they see in movies about guns, and the police should have shot the gun out of his hand of some such silly thing. :rolleyes:


    I just had to add this ...uh...interesting quote.
    We would never have a quote like this from an American reporter. I like it.
     
  6. rantingredneck

    rantingredneck Member

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    Having personally had buckshot whistle past me from 100+ yds I can say you don't want to be within that range with buckshot.

    As others have mentioned, slugs are particularly nasty in that they will retain enough energy to kill or seriously wound for 200+yds. May not be able to hit you accurately, but if they do it will suck big time.

    I've been peppered with birdshot from 60 yds and it didn't even break the skin.
     
  7. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    That's like asking, "How dangerous is it if someone is waving an unloaded gun at you?"

    The bottom line is that if someone is shooting ANY weapon in the direction of someone esle, it's aggravated assault with a weapon with intent to commit murder, period. Caliber, load, etc. all goes out the window.

    Yes, it's true that certain shotguns and ammuntion have limitations unique to "shot" load, but that is really irrelevant. Even if not deadly, for instance, pellets still blind people at great distances. If someone were shooting at me with a shotgun, even if I was 200 yards away, I would still consider it a deadly assault and retaliate appropriately (after taking cover).

    A response to shoot to kill the aggressor would not be inappropriate under these circumstances.
     
  8. Sergeant Sabre

    Sergeant Sabre Member

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    If you're shooting at me from a "safe" distance, aren't you still a deadly threat to others who might not be at a "safe" distance?
     
  9. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    If someone is shooting at me with intent to do me harm, I feel threatened and I'm going to react- regardless of wether its 10 yards or 100.
    How can you tell if the incoming is birdshot, buckshot, or slug?
    or even if you're certain that first payload is birdshot rattling past, is it buckshot or slug up next in the tube?
    sorry but just because it's a shotgunner, doesn't mean there is a safe distance.
     
  10. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Member

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    Hard to say. But an odd thing I've noticed in the shotgun shootings I've investigated:
    Everybody shot with buckshot lived.
    Everybody shot with birdshot died.
    Admittedly, my sample size is small (fewer than a dozen?) but its kind of unexpected...
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The thing you have to ask yourself.

    Self, can I identify that gun firing at me just by looking at it from the muzzle end?

    And further, even if I can ID it as a shotgun:
    Self, can I identify what kind of ammo the perp is firing at me from that shotgun across the way?

    Probably not in a lot of cases.

    rcmodel
     
  12. Diggers

    Diggers Member

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    Cookekdjr

    Thats really strange. What were the ranges?

    (Why is it in the real world bullets and ammo always do things they should not?)
     
  13. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    Maximum range of #9 birdshot is about 300 yards.#6 is about 100 yards further, #bbs can go 600 yards and larger buck shot is said to travel "more than 1/2mile". Slugs can do a mile. Buck shot penetrates skin to 300-400 yards.A slug can prolly hurt you good if the mortar lands on you at 600 yards or more.:)
     
  14. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    I can't make #9 birdshot go 300 yards in any of my shotguns.
     
  15. Sergeant Sabre

    Sergeant Sabre Member

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    If you shot it at a 45 deg. angle, it might get there.
     
  16. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    please cite where you are getting these figures from.....thanks
     
  17. Templar223

    Templar223 Member

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    Birdshot didn't break skin at 60 yards?

    Don't people shoot ducks and geese dead at 50-60 yards with birdshot?

    I don't want to be hit with any .32 caliber balls, even if they are only sailing at 500fps. And a one ounce chunk of lead? Sounds like a world of hurt at any speed.

    I think some here are underestimating the dangerous range of a shotgun.

    John
     
  18. sgist

    sgist Member

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    I've had plenty of ducks laugh at me from 40 yards away.
     
  19. esheato

    esheato Member

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    See the attachment for max ranges...scanned directly out of a book titled "Understanding Firearm Ballistics".

    As far as lethal range? That's much to hard to calculate considering shotgun payload, target composition and demeanor...but the largest point of contention is shot placement which you really have no control over when you're talking 00 buck. Slug is marginally better. A better way to answer this is to say, the further away you are, the better chance you have of survival.

    Ed
     

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  20. Wildfire

    Wildfire Member

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    Wow.

    Hey There:
    To bad about the guy getting wacked . but. That was probabely the only way they could get him to stop. Who knows. You will never really hear the truth anyway.
    I always figured 600 yards to be a max distance for a 12 ga, slug. 1/2 mile is really strecthing it. I don't know of any buck shot that will make it that far. And I'am pretty sure #9 aint gonna either.
    As posted earlier, Ducks at 40 yards can be darn hard to hurt let alone kill.
    At 60 yards ya better have a supper dupper magnum.
     
  21. Wildfire

    Wildfire Member

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    RC has good point.

    Hey again :
    RC has a very good point . Maybe the guy saved out the slugs for any resistance to his spree.
    The Cops were justified.
     
  22. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    8 shot will break human skin at 100 yards. Slugs remain lethal out past 200 yards.

    The cops were justified....
     
  23. rantingredneck

    rantingredneck Member

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    Nope. Was across a dove field and somebody's kid shot at a low bird. Peppered me and my father in law with it. My father in law had a bloody spot on his arm where a pellet barely broke his skin. I had some welts and a broken watch crystal.

    Of course this was 7.5 or 8 shot, not duck or goose loads.
     
  24. Wildfire

    Wildfire Member

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    The charts.

    Hey There;
    Thanks for the charts. Looks about right to me. #9 shot 170 yards.
    I got hit once with #5 or 6 shot in the back at about 50 yards. One (1) madit in the back of my leg. The rest hurt like heck , but did not go in. Had some good welts though.
     
  25. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    Depends on the size of the shot. The larger the shot or slug the higher BC it has and the slower it bleeds energy traveling through the air.

    Now reliably hitting something and still lethal can be very different variables. There is ranges where 000 buck can still be lethal but the pattern is so large it is just totaly random where the pellets hit, and so you wouldn't consider it an effective range.
    Slugs have thier range, and then sub bore projectiles in sabots can achieve rifle velocities and ballistic coeffecient retaining energy and velocity for long distances.


    Generaly speaking the smaller the shot the more surface area for drag to weight ratio the pellet has. The ballistic coeffecient being very poor for a sphere, the smaller the sphere the quicker it is reduced to safe velocities.
    So birdshot will become "safe" at ranges buckshot is still dangerous.

    However the body is very different in its ability to withstand damage in various areas. So what is non lethal in one spot is lethal in another.

    So there is no set distance for non lethal as a shotgun is one of the most versatile platforms with the widest range of projectiles.
    When most people speak of ranges they are talking about effective ranges, meaning you can hit a decent size target at that range. Lethal ranges can be totaly different. A firearm with an effective range of 200 yards can be lethal at 1,000 if someone simply aims at a higher trajectory and the projectile finds its mark.
    If someone fired sabots at a mortar trajectory they could be lethal thousands of yards away.
     
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