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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So while at the range today I had some one tell me that you should never use buck shot in a home defense situation b/c if you do you'll blow a hole big enough to throw a cat through, and that not only will the intruder die, but so will your neighbor b/c the buck shot will go through them, the walls and your neighbors walls and kill your neighbor. Now...I'm aware that a blast from a 12ga with 00 buck is indeed devastating, but really? Said that is what is taught in a SD course at the range, and that you should only use #6 (birdshot) as a home defense shell from a shotgun. Thoughts?
 

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I'll stick with buckshot in my HD shotgun. No birdshot for me, thanks.
 

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Whoever talked to you did not know what they are talking about:

"Small sized birdshot such as this #4 heavy dove load is a poor choice for deployment with a tactical shotgun. Wounds inflicted from birdshot tend to be gruesome yet shallow as they lack the penetration required to reach vital cardiovascular or central nervous system structures."

Shotgun Penetration With Various Rounds - The Truth About Guns
 

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0000 Buck Just Right
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Whoever talked to you did not know what they are talking about:

"Small sized birdshot such as this #4 heavy dove load is a poor choice for deployment with a tactical shotgun. Wounds inflicted from birdshot tend to be gruesome yet shallow as they lack the penetration required to reach vital cardiovascular or central nervous system structures."

Shotgun Penetration With Various Rounds - The Truth About Guns
Let there be no doubt the instructor doesn't know what he/she is talking about. I was nearly astonished that it was being taught! Birdshot will work in a lot of situations, especially at short distances out to 10' or even 15', but if you're having to shoot across a room like some houses have, which can reach out to 25' or even 40' in some cases, you'd be much better off with 00.
 
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I have heard #1 and #4 buckshot for home defense, 00buckshot is some wicked stuff. All rounds fired at close range are not going to open and pattern, so I guess if I had to pick, I would go with #4 to be on the non neighbor endangering side of things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have heard #1 and #4 buckshot for home defense, 00buckshot is some wicked stuff. All rounds fired at close range are not going to open and pattern, so I guess if I had to pick, I would go with #4 to be on the non neighbor endangering side of things.
I just don't see any type of buck shot penetrating all the way through a human, doors, walls, even windows, into my neighbor's house, and hitting them. Now if I shot someone at close range with 00, and the neighbor happened to be standing right behind them, ok, sure...better watch out, but seriously...it would have to be one hell of a shotgun round to be able to put 00 buck through a human being, and then all the way through multiple barriers to hit, let alone kill, someone across the street in another dwelling. That is just ridiculous...it's taking the concept of "over penetration" entirely too far. Not saying it is completely impossible, but it is highly unlikely at best. :cool:
 

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The main thing most people fail to do is look at how different buckshot loads preform out of their guns. Some preform better than others. I had a Remington 870 that would keep a 4" pattern at 25 yards using Critical Defense 00 Buck but if you used other loads it opened up into a 10" group.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The main thing most people fail to do is look at how different buckshot loads preform out of their guns. Some preform better than others. I had a Remington 870 that would keep a 4" pattern at 25 yards using Critical Defense 00 Buck but if you used other loads it opened up into a 10" group.
Salient point. Critical Defense is a potent shot, but do you see it penetrating through all those barriers?
 

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Picture of a used target I shot last week with #2 bird shot from a 12 gauge 18 & 1/2" cylinder barrel. The target was approximately 10 yards down range. The larger holes in the target were from a different outing using a handgun.

Interestingly the single shotgun shell fired was from a reload of 1976 vintage I had for goose hunting.
 

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Buckshot might penetrate a wall where bird shot won't but after that one wall I think it's pretty much done. I seriously doubt your neighbor has anything to fear. Buckshot is your best choice for home defense. That said #6 or #4 or T or BB wouldn't be a bad choice if you are talking about dealing with an intruder in your house. Pretty much anything in your home will be close range and a shot from any shotgun load at that distance will be devastating. Even low power #8 quail loads will blow an ugly hole in someone at close range.
 
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GCBHM, no doubt this "instructor" got some facts wrong. In a mobile home park, I would even be pessimistic on using #6 birdshot. I have seen articles endorsing the use of #6, to prevent penetration through sheetrock interior walls in home defense scenarios. By the same token, use of such a load would almost need to be at "contact" distances, as that small shot loses energy and velocity quickly, making it ineffective at any moderate range.
Buckshot is more effective, and retains velocity and energy to longer distances, but as has been mentioned, when you have multiple projectiles released with each round fired, you are "accountable" for each one. This always was a factor, when breaking out the shotgun, as a cop. As mentioned, pattern what you use, to know what your "maximum" distance to engage a suspect with your scattergun, to insure "all" of your pellets will remain in the intended target.
That's one reason the "Patrol Rifle" became popular, using frangible ammunition. When you have 8-12 .33 caliber lead balls exiting your barrel for every shot of 00 Buck, anyone within probably 75 yards down range could be in danger. In a rural environment, it's not normally a problem, but in an urban environment, it is most always a concern.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Buckshot might penetrate a wall where bird shot won't but after that one wall I think it's pretty much done. I seriously doubt your neighbor has anything to fear. Buckshot is your best choice for home defense. That said #6 or #4 or T or BB wouldn't be a bad choice if you are talking about dealing with an intruder in your house. Pretty much anything in your home will be close range and a shot from any shotgun load at that distance will be devastating. Even low power #8 quail loads will blow an ugly hole in someone at close range.
I agree a hunnit pacent...what I have now is 00 buck. I have used 000, but I really prefer a 0 to 4 shot. But, 00 is more prevalent, so I run that most.
 

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I like #4 Buck (as opposed to #4 bird shot) in my 12ga. I think it is a great balance between size and mass of the shot and the number of shot available in the shell. And it has a pretty devastating pattern even at 25 yards from my M590A1.

Here is a handy shot comparison chart.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I like #4 Buck (as opposed to #4 bird shot) in my 12ga. I think it is a great balance between size and mass of the shot and the number of shot available in the shell. And it has a pretty devastating pattern even at 25 yards from my M590A1.

Here is a handy shot comparison chart.

That is probably the best GP load for home defense. Even in the open field, like you said, it's a devastating shot.
 

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GCBHM, no doubt this "instructor" got some facts wrong. In a mobile home park, I would even be pessimistic on using #6 birdshot. I have seen articles endorsing the use of #6, to prevent penetration through sheetrock interior walls in home defense scenarios. By the same token, use of such a load would almost need to be at "contact" distances, as that small shot loses energy and velocity quickly, making it ineffective at any moderate range.
Buckshot is more effective, and retains velocity and energy to longer distances, but as has been mentioned, when you have multiple projectiles released with each round fired, you are "accountable" for each one. This always was a factor, when breaking out the shotgun, as a cop. As mentioned, pattern what you use, to know what your "maximum" distance to engage a suspect with your scattergun, to insure "all" of your pellets will remain in the intended target.
That's one reason the "Patrol Rifle" became popular, using frangible ammunition. When you have 8-12 .33 caliber lead balls exiting your barrel for every shot of 00 Buck, anyone within probably 75 yards down range could be in danger. In a rural environment, it's not normally a problem, but in an urban environment, it is most always a concern.
^^This is a very important point when considering the use of a shotgun for HD. You don't really want "spread," and you still need to aim.

Please see this thread, which I apologize for referencing yet again:

http://sigtalk.com/ammo-reloading/44757-federal-tactical-law-enforcement-12g-00-flite-control.html
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
GCBHM, no doubt this "instructor" got some facts wrong. In a mobile home park, I would even be pessimistic on using #6 birdshot. I have seen articles endorsing the use of #6, to prevent penetration through sheetrock interior walls in home defense scenarios. By the same token, use of such a load would almost need to be at "contact" distances, as that small shot loses energy and velocity quickly, making it ineffective at any moderate range.
Buckshot is more effective, and retains velocity and energy to longer distances, but as has been mentioned, when you have multiple projectiles released with each round fired, you are "accountable" for each one. This always was a factor, when breaking out the shotgun, as a cop. As mentioned, pattern what you use, to know what your "maximum" distance to engage a suspect with your scattergun, to insure "all" of your pellets will remain in the intended target.
That's one reason the "Patrol Rifle" became popular, using frangible ammunition. When you have 8-12 .33 caliber lead balls exiting your barrel for every shot of 00 Buck, anyone within probably 75 yards down range could be in danger. In a rural environment, it's not normally a problem, but in an urban environment, it is most always a concern.
I couldn't agree more, and as always, sage advice from you. This is the primary reason I switched to the AR-15 as my primary secondary home defense gun. I use a soft nose projectile so that it will essentially disintegrate if it hits something other than the intended target. As always, you always do your best to avoid any unintended collateral damage, especially of the human type, but I think the .223 is probably the best GP personnel round available today as it relates to a general purpose defense or assault weapon.
 
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