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Great shotgun HD article

saxdsaxd MemberPosts: 40 Member
Taken from:
www.ar15.com/content/page.html?id=176

Defensive Shotgun Ammo - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The purpose of this FAQ is to discuss the questions that frequently come up in regards to the defensive use of the shotgun. We will not discuss the best loads for hunting, clays, or other sporting uses, but instead will specifically talk about defensive loads, and even more specifically, loads for home defense.

What is the best defensive ammo?

When considering the defensive use of the shotgun, we want ammunition that will reach the FBI minimum of 12 inches of penetration. This minimum is explained in this section (http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm).

The only shotgun ammunition that will consistently reach the FBI minimum of 12 inches penetration is buckshot or slugs.

What is the difference between birdshot and buckshot?

The only difference is in the size and weight of the pellets.

Shot sizes are listed here:

Numbers 9, 8, 7 ½, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, B, and BB are the most common sizes of birdshot, with the larger numbers representing the smallest sized birdshot.

Buckshot comes in sizes #4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 00, and 000 buckshot. Number 4 buck is the smallest, and each size is larger as we go up the list.

0 buck is called "Ought buck", 00 is called "Double ought buck, and 000 is called "Triple ought buck".

Simply put, #4 buckshot and larger is called buckshot. Any pellet size smaller than #4 buckshot is called birdshot.

There is sometimes some confusion, as there are both #4, 3, 2, and 1 birdshot, and #4, 3, 2, and 1 buckshot. But they are not the same, as the buckshot are much larger.

Doesn't buckshot over-penetrate, and doesn't it penetrate too many walls?

Any ammunition that will reach the FBI minimum of 12 inches penetration in ballistic gelatin (and in bad guys), will also penetrate several interior walls in a home. See here: (http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot14.htm)

Until someone invents a phaser, like on Star Trek, any ammunition that will effectively Stop a bad guy, will also penetrate several walls.

Shouldn't we use birdshot, so that it doesn't penetrate several walls?

No, because no birdshot load will reach the required penetration to reach vital organs or the central nervous system. Birdshot makes shallow and gruesome wounds, but it has been shown to be a very poor Stopper.

"Might" birdshot work as a defensive load?

Sure, it "might" and sometimes has worked just fine. But why take the chance with "might work", when "will work" is available? Buckshot is readily available, so why not use the "best" available load?

Would larger birdshot penetrate better than smaller birdshot?

Yes, it will. Penetration is a factor of the mass of each individual pellet, and the larger the individual pellet, the greater the penetration, if the velocity is the same. So, #6 birdshot will penetrate more than #9 birdshot, and so on. But no birdshot will reach the 12 inches of penetration required to be effective.

Wouldn't a load of birdshot "act like" a slug at close range?

No, it will not. For instance, each pellet of #6 shot weighs approximately 1.8 grains. If there are 333 #6 pellets in a shotgun shell, the total weight of the birdshot is 600 grains.

Some folks have mistakenly said, "A load of #6 is like getting shot with a solid piece of lead weighing 600 grains".

But this is not the case. This is because that 600 grain load is composed of 333 individual #6 sized shot, each weighing 1.8 grains. And the penetration of the shot is dependant on the weight of "each pellet", not the total weight. And a 1.8 grain pellet will not penetrate very far into ballistic gelatin or a bad guy.

What about "exotic" shotgun loads?

Loads such as fletchette rounds, wired-buckshot, and other exotic rounds have been tested and they failed to reach the required penetration, or were not an improvement on lead buckshot. They also tend to be very expensive, and do not improve on lead buckshot.

What is the best buckshot for defense?

The best buckshot is #1 buck. This is based upon the number of shot in a shell and the total frontal area impacted by that load. See the http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm, and look all the way to the bottom, where this is explained in detail.

What if I can't find #1 buckshot, what is the next best load?

#1 buckshot is sometimes difficult to find, but 00 buckshot is almost as good and is readily available and produced by many manufacturers. Therefore, 00 buckshot is usually the recommended load for defense.

However, as noted by DocGKR, "Pretty much any buckshot from 1 to 000 works just fine––figure out what works best in your weapon, purchase enough for practice and field/duty use, get extensive shotgun training from a good instructor, then stop worrying about specific loads, as it just doesn't matter that much."

UPDATE 8/20/2011: Federal has just released a #1 buck load that has been specifically designed for self-defense scenarios. According to DocGKR, this new Federal LE132-1B #1 buckshot load offers IDEAL terminal performance for LE and self-defense use and is the best option for those who need to use shot shells for such purposes.

Why not use slugs for home defense?

Slugs are very effective rounds in a shotgun, but for home defense, they have the problem of being great over-penetrators. They will go completely through a bad guy and still have enough energy to do damage on the other side of him. They penetrate more than is needed to be effective Stoppers. Buckshot is a better load for home defense.

What is the effective range of buckshot?

Buckshot is effective from the muzzle to around 40 yards. It can be effective further, but most loads will have problems with the pattern opening up too much past that range, and many of the buckshot will miss the target. Since we are responsible for every projectile that goes down range, we do not want any of the buckshot to miss the target. Tighter patterns are desirable.

What is the effective range of slugs?

Slugs can increase the effective range of a shotgun to around 80 to 100 yards. If a scope is used, they can be effectively accurate at even longer ranges.

Sabot slugs (pronounced say-bow) are slugs designed to be used with rifled shotgun barrels and can extend the range even farther.

Do I want large or tight patterns with buckshot?

Tight patterns are desired because we want all of the buckshot to impact the target. And projectiles that miss the target will continue down range, and will cause us to violate Firearms Safety Rule #4 - Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.

Isn't a wide pattern an "advantage" of using a shotgun?

No, it is not. It is a definite advantage when hunting and wing-shooting birds with birdshot. But when used for home defense, we do not want any projectiles to miss the target, and this requires tight patterns. Buckshot does not "act like one slug". Therefore, even if the pattern is tight, the individual buckshot will each
create its own wound channel when it
impacts the target.

Replies

  • KENFU1911KENFU1911 Senior Member Posts: 1,052 Senior Member
    Ground breaking info there..........:yawn:
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,697 Senior Member
    KENFU1911 wrote: »
    Ground breaking info there..........:yawn:

    I know..... never heard that discussed here before. Peoples on other forums sure is noledgeabler than us....
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • saxdsaxd Member Posts: 40 Member
    jbp-ohio wrote: »
    I know..... never heard that discussed here before. Peoples on other forums sure is noledgeabler than us....

    I searched this forum before posting that. Yes I found a few threads. None were as clear and comprehensive. I was simply sharing what I felt was a well written article. This is not a matter of "who is smarter", but thank you for turning it into "who is the bigger smartass"
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,561 Senior Member
    At what range was this 12" of penetration tested with the buckshot? Out to what distance can one expect this depth of penetration to continue? The article says that buckshot is effective out to 40 yards. Does this mean that the pellets will still penetrate to 12" at 40 yards?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,697 Senior Member
    saxd wrote: »
    I searched this forum before posting that. Yes I found a few threads. None were as clear and comprehensive. I was simply sharing what I felt was a well written article. This is not a matter of "who is smarter", but thank you for turning it into "who is the bigger smartass"

    Not really meant against you as much as that site.

    Our search stinks, but you know why there is no FAQ here? If someone new asks a ? we will discus it. The site where you pulled that from? Go there and ask a ? and they will say, "We talked about that three years ago, go search for it." " Flippin newbs."

    Know what? Their search stinks too. I've searched there and found ten threads about the subject and every reply was, "Go search Newb." Without one single person providing a link to the thread where it was discussed
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • saxdsaxd Member Posts: 40 Member
    jbp-ohio wrote: »
    Not really meant against you as much as that site.

    Our search stinks, but you know why there is no FAQ here? If someone new asks a ? we will discus it. The site where you pulled that from? Go there and ask a ? and they will say, "We talked about that three years ago, go search for it." " Flippin newbs."

    Know what? Their search stinks too. I've searched there and found ten threads about the subject and every reply was, "Go search Newb." Without one single person providing a link to the thread where it was discussed

    Thanks for the heads up then. I have never been on that forum and from the sounds of it, I wont be there posting anything or asking questions.
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    saxd wrote: »
    Thanks for the heads up then. I have never been on that forum and from the sounds of it, I wont be there posting anything or asking questions.

    Let me be, sadly, the first one to welcome you to the forum.
    Secondly, I've see these kinds of comments before to new folks. Guys, just because someone is new here does not mean they're new to guns. But more importantly if they ARE new then I, for one, would like to see a more welcoming attitude.
    Recently we had a thread about a first handgun for a woman. A woman brought up a Taurus. After a few posts she was told she was doing it wrong. Posting wrong, wrong for thinking of an auto for a first gun.
    A mod came along and made a separate thread to try to help her. And after like 2 replies, none from her, the new thread died. And she never posted again.
    But hey, every one in America is pro gun and our rights are never under assault so running folks off from this forum is no big deal. There's absolutely no need to warmly welcome new folks into the fold. No need to encourage newbies to,say, join the NRA.
    Right?

    I'm 51 yrs old and have developed a thick skin over the years. But the younger generation, many of whom will never buy a paper copy of G&A, not so much. The internet is their default.
    So, I'm just saying that when new folks post here and are made to feel unwelcome it's just not a good thing.

    I was raised by a single mom who thought guns somehow jumped out of the closet and killed people. But I somehow caught the bug early anyway. Imagine if I'd written a letter to G&A back in those days and was made to feel unwelcome. 'Cause I did read G&A and other gun/outdoor mags back then.

    Again, saxd, welcome and you handled yourself well.

    My $.02 adjusted for inflation in Obama dollars.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,697 Senior Member
    For a first post it felt like a teacher trying to teach me something.

    "Here read this, do the odd homework questions, and we'll have a a pop quiz in the morning."

    This is a discussion forum. Ask a question, offer an opinion, tell us your experiences.

    Don't cut and paste something another site uses to keep new people from asking questions.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    jbp-ohio wrote: »
    For a first post it felt like a teacher trying to teach me something.

    "Here read this, do the odd homework questions, and we'll have a a pop quiz in the morning."

    This is a discussion forum. Ask a question, offer an opinion, tell us your experiences.

    Don't cut and paste something another site uses to keep new people from asking questions.

    Fair enough. Of all the sites/forums I read, this one is by far the most spam heavy I've seen. So I get it that it's easy for you long timers to be snake bit, as it were. And I hope you didn't feel I was personally attacking you. In fact you're one of the posters here that if I see you've posted, I'll open that thread to see what you had to say.

    I'm just saying that I think it's better to err on the side of caution with new folks. If it's spam, the mods are quick action here. So nothing lost.
    But if it's not then we've maybe lost a convert.
    That's all I meant.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,697 Senior Member
    knitepoet wrote: »

    My bad then... On my phone I only saw that he joined today.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • mythaeusmythaeus Senior Member Posts: 831 Senior Member
    Welcome to the forum! It's a good summary and sometimes summaries aren't all bad to have even they are full of well-known information. One of the things I would like to see though is citations. A good "article" is as good as the sources it cites.

    AR15.com isn't all bad. I rarely go on there, but do find some usually information on there. You just need thick skin and deal with heavy handed mods. Best thing to use AR15.com for is the Equipment Exchange section for both buying and selling. Got a lot of good deals for AR parts and sold quite a few items there.

    :beer:
    Al
    "In a controversy, the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth and have begun striving for ourselves." - Siddhartha Gautama
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    I still maintain there is a narrow venue for birdshot, home defense @ short ranges 10 to 18 feet, it has worked well for me in the past and I will continue to use it.

    My idea of stopping has nothing to do with 12 inches of penetration, I apply the pepper liberally about the head & shoulders, re-apply as needed........
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • temmitemmi Member Posts: 230 Member
    Welcome to the forum...


    And

    What ablot BB shot?

    Snake
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Now we have two guys what is called snake ?
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
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