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Self defense 12g ammo

shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior MemberPosts: 5,809 Senior Member
I'm not sure if we've been over this in awhile, so I'll ask again. What is a good choice for SD 12 gauge ammo? Right now I've got regular 7.5 birdshot, but I figured there might be something better out there.

Gun is a 18.5" pump gun, cylinder bore. I live in a cheap house with thin walls, which is the reason I don't have buckshot loaded right now. Any suggestions?
- I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
"Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski

Replies

  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 24,810 Senior Member
    Depends on how macho the responder is as to the answer you will get.

    A SD Training School has gone on record to say 7.5 shot is good; I believe it is and have seen what it does to small animals like a '**** or smaller.

    I have eaten a deer killed with #9 shot----I believe the shot was about 3-4 yds.

    Having posted that, I would have some buck or some slugs on hand just in case for a reload. Any buckshot size would do. But, if someday you might hunt with it, why not have it be 00.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,391 Senior Member
    I have seen, first hand & on multiple occasions, the effect of bird shot on a person at close range. It's quite devastating. As long as you're not planning on counting on it past 15 feet or so, it should serve you well. I used it and "championed" it for a number of years.

    Over the last few years my preference has changed, and now my HD shotgun has a few rounds of #4 buck in it followed by 00 and then dual .66" balls.
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,086 Senior Member
    I don't know as I would purposely run anything smaller than #6 were I to run birdshot for SD (Heavy lean towards #5 just because I have a lot of it ) When we get to buckshot I'm all about a load of #4 Buck
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • BPsniperBPsniper Banned Posts: 1,961 Senior Member
    I'm all about slugs for shotguns. They are......well....effective. I've also seen the usefullness of 00 buck. Very effective up close but fall off the chart quickly with distance. You live in a small, lightly constructed house. That's a hard call. If I'm going to use a longarm, I don't want to load it with something so limited as birdshot. I'd probably go with 00 buck if slugs aren't an option.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,385 Senior Member
    NN wrote: »
    Depends on how macho the responder is as to the answer you will get.

    Not so much about macho as it is confidence in your abilities.

    One thing that drives me up the (thin, flimsy, easily-penetrated) wall is all the hand-wringing that goes on regarding the subject of wall penetration. Well folks, all of this top-shelf modern defense ammo is designed to expend most, if not all, of its energy inside an adult human torso, so this really only becomes a topic for concern IF YOU MISS.

    I had a shotgun in my hands a good decade before I ever considered using one tactically. Standard target was a tiny little dove moving at 40MPH plus, or a quail/bobwhite without the aid of dogs that needed to be perceived and engaged in the scant handful of seconds that passed between liftoff and finding cover again. Between that, the .22 plinking, and the rifle competition, I can't really see that engaging a human-sized target across my living room with a long gun is an activity that will put my neighbors at extreme risk.

    First and foremost, you have to consider if your ammunition of choice is capable of doing the job at hand. Birdshot can make a horrendous mess at close range, but the variables that render it less effective creep into the scene much faster than with a larger projectile size. I'm of the mind that you shouldn't shortchange the weapon's primary application (putting down goblins) to partially ameliorate a secondary concern (shredding drywall). I'm not saying you should roll with magnum deer slugs at 1600fps, but let's be realistic here - -would you use a .32ACP pistol as your primary home defense handgun? Most of us wouldn't because of the round's lack of steam, but 00 buckshot is really nothing more than a hot-loaded .32 firing nine shots with one pull of the trigger out of a weapon that's a hell of a lot easier to aim than a Walther PPK. Why do we worry about 00 being too much when we are so adamantly convinced that a .32 isn't enough?
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Senior Member Posts: 8,337 Senior Member
    Interesting information, all; my 870 is loaded with Federal Personal Defense shells, with #2 shot. Seems to pattern well within fifteen yards, which is about the maximum range inside my house.
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 24,810 Senior Member
    Bigslug wrote: »
    Not so much about macho as it is confidence in your abilities.

    Yeah, that is the point of using a gun for SD, to be able to use it. One has to shoot a shotgun and learn how to point it to hit just what part of the tgt you want.

    What does that mean? Maybe shoot it a lot, learn how the patten is at what ever range you use it, then off set or not the shot to hit where you want.

    I thought this was an across the room issue, so that would be center of mass---- then a slug, buckshot load, or bird shot load will be very similar in the diameter at the strike on the tgt. This did not start out to be long range for shotgun shooting or shooting flying doves.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3_2.htm

    They don't recommend birdshot of any kind. The #4 and #1 went through 6 boards but say the 9mm/.45/M192 5.56 all penetrated 12 boards of Sheetrock. 00 Buck 9 boards. Slug, through them all.

    Of course they are shooting at Sheetrock under controlled conditions, not BGs in a house or apartment. So many variables involved here it ain't funny.

    Plus, you have a pump and will well, keep pumping for multiple shots/ hits until the threat is neutralized if necessary using all 5 or 6 shells in your shotgun.
    A semi would put some lead on target in a hurry too. A double gives you two shots. A single shot, well make your one shot count as if your life depended on it.

    If you don't wanna use 00 Buck, a good compromise would/might be 000 or #4 buck or BB or a 4X6 Duplex Turkey Magnum loads. People will all react differently, some in the article have just walked to the meat wagon after being shot with Birdshot, but there have been a lot of people killed with Birdshot too.

    There are exceptions to everything and stories abound out there about BGs taking multiple hits wit 9mm/.45s or whatever, but I think those are the exceptions to the rule.

    If you have Birdshot loaded in your shotgun, just use it, it HAS worked in the past and considering where you live with thin walls it may be your best option. You would probably feel awful and get sued if you killed another college kid studying at his dining room table next door using 00 Buck if a pellet missed the BG and Murphy's Law reared its ugly head, even if you stooped the threat.

    There has to be a point to quit worrying about what MIGHT happen and go with the load you feel most comfortable with and have confidence in. Hopefully, you me and the rest of us will never have to find out.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • TugarTugar Senior Member Posts: 2,262 Senior Member
    It amazes me of all the loads that would be decent for a shotgun, only two are ever mentioned. Either use sawdust sized #7 or bowling ball sized 00 or 000. Personally I load mine with #4 buckshot. Federal Power-shok 34 pellets of .24 inch. The recoil is milder than 00 with a reduced chance of the buckshot leaving the area. It also hits harder than anything birdshot could hope to deliver. I highly doubt someone will walk away for #4 buck and I hope never have to find out.
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
    Winston Churchill
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,086 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    They don't recommend birdshot of any kind. /QUOTE]

    I really don't care what THEY recommend...I have seen the results of a load of 6's to center mass at short range (10-20 feet) on multiple occasions...in the morgue....

    Birdshot is not my preferred load for a fighting shotgun (my choice is #4 buck & slugs), but to give folks the idea that it's anything less than lethal at short range is just a load of unmitigated crap...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Senior Member Posts: 5,462 Senior Member
    Man, I am happy my house is a real brick house and I don't have to worry about this.

    I like what the leafy one said. Slugs are fun.
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Jayhawker wrote: »
    Big Chief wrote: »
    They don't recommend birdshot of any kind. /QUOTE]

    I really don't care what THEY recommend...I have seen the results of a load of 6's to center mass at short range (10-20 feet) on multiple occasions...in the morgue....

    Birdshot is not my preferred load for a fighting shotgun (my choice is #4 buck & slugs), but to give folks the idea that it's anything less than lethal at short range is just a load of unmitigated crap...

    I do know firsthand that # 7 shot - 2 3/4 " chamber 12 gage Winchester 1300 shotgun w/ 14 inch barrel cylinder bore at 15 feet head & shoulders is quite messy.
    "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
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    DoctorWho wrote: »
    Jayhawker wrote: »

    I do know firsthand that # 7 shot - 2 3/4 " chamber 12 gage Winchester 1300 shotgun w/ 14 inch barrel cylinder bore at 15 feet head & shoulders is quite messy.


    Exactly, we won't be shootin into a "Box of Truth", but thoughtful considerations are a good thing when it comes to ammo usage for any gun.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • gunrunner428gunrunner428 Senior Member Posts: 1,018 Senior Member
    I wouldn't hesitate, at across-the-room distance, to use just about any 12-gauge or even 20-gauge load to protect me and mine. Slugs get the edge if there's a need for a bit of extra range, but to me that's the absolute beauty of the smoothbore - versatility.

    Used to think along the same lines as Bigslug on the comparison of 00 with .32, but with a more favorable opinion. Sure, each pellet is comparable to a .32 bullet, but you're hitting (ideally) your target with the equivalent of a full magazine (nine to twelve hits, depending on load) and in close proximity. Lately, my thoughts have clarified a bit:

    While I don't have the science to back this up, consider this. Even with a bit of spread in a buckshot pattern at a bit of distance, being hit with the equivalent of a full mag of .32 ACP all at once also has to have a cumulative effect that makes the shot more than just the sum of its individual pellets. Hitting all at once unloads significant force on the body - it's not given the chance to recover from the shock and trauma of one shot before getting the next one. It gets the full dose, kind of like a jackhammer vs. a sledge hammer - assuming both give you similar impact force, the jackhammer rips through the concrete with more authority because of its near-constant multiplying impact.

    I wouldn't hesitate to use any 12 or 20-gauge load, outside of bean bag or some of the "specialty" dragon's breath or such loads, to protect me and mine at household, across-the-room distances.

    And I picked up a written vote of confidence from Robert Ruark (if memory serves) in one of the "Death in the Long Grass" books, on the #4 Buckshot - this was an African guide's preferred load, in an old Winchester Model 12 shotgun, for going into the bush after a wounded leopard. I'd put a leopard nearly in the body weight class for a small adult, with a lot of extra teeth and claws thrown in, and although the hunter also wore a Marine leatherneck's neck guard along with IIRC a football helmet and a home-made armored jacket (which MUST have been a memorable sight!), he relied on the #4's to put the cat down in a hurry.
  • black mambablack mamba Member Posts: 158 Member
    Any 12 or 20 ga. load of birdshot should be deadly at home defense ranges, especially if fired at the shoulder/neck/head region. As I just posted in another thread, I have seen what 1 oz of #8 shot can do to a mature whitetail's skull (a smoking 4" hole @ 15 feet range).

    That said, I would still choose something in the BB to #4 shot sizes if I was worried about over-penetration, with maybe a slug or two down deep in the magazine for that worst case scenário.
  • simplesimonsimplesimon Member Posts: 48 Member
    Anybody know what Cheney blasted his friends face with? That seemed pretty effective.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    while participating in a quail hunt on a ranch in Kenedy County, Texas.
    Both Cheney and Whittington call the incident an accident.

    " Doctors had decided to leave up to 200 pieces of birdshot pellets lodged in his body rather than try to remove them. Each pellet is less than a tenth of an inch (2.5 mm) in diameter. Because of their small size, it is hard to pinpoint the precise location of each pellet with medical imaging." (MRI) magnetic resonance imaging

    # 7 shot = 2.59 mm

    Pretty effective as I have seen personally.

    One pellet lodged near his heart causing Atrial fibrillation.
    "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
    I "use" BB.


    But

    I have never put it to the test
  • KENFU1911KENFU1911 Senior Member Posts: 1,052 Senior Member
    My idea of a warning shot is when the 2nd bad guy watches his 1st buddy go down....
  • MarvinMarvin Member Posts: 126 Member
    The shotgun is a very devistating weapon. In most room distance shootings any type load should give you good results. The versitility of going from a slug to bird shot and everything in between is a plus. I've played around with some different loads and as far as spread goes at 15 yards or less there isn't much difference. I don't worry about over penetration with a shotgun (slugs excluded) as much as I do a handgun. My preference is 00 buck (Federal low recoil with flite control wadding). If I had to go to another load I would probably go down to a turkey load of some sort. The thing to keep in mind is your self defense plan. If your plan is to sit tight and defend one room then a shotgun is a good choice. If you have children/loved ones elsewhere in the house that you may need to get to, a long gun is a little harder to manage clearing rooms, holding a light, carrying a child etc. Whatever the plan, practice is the key. As others have said you only have to worry about over penetration if you miss the target.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    That is a good assessment, and indeed, practice is the key to know what your shotgun will do and what to expect with a particular load / shot.
    "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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