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Realizing that most of us hope never to have to use any gun in self defense, taking into consideration where your shots will go inside a dwelling should be a concern....especially in apartments or when others occupy a house. What is a good load to use to handle the attackers, most of which are within 10 feet vs the chance of going through the walls and injuring an unintended?
 

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00 Buckshot has become the defacto standard in HD loads. If you live in an apartment, you should probably refrain from using heavy shot that will penetrate walls too easily. I have seen someone fire a 00 buck through a wall. The affect on the other side is staggaring. Shot goes everywhere and digs into wals on the other side of the room. If there is anybody in there, they will get hit.So that being said, your surroundings have a lot to do with the load you choose. Don't just think about neighbors, other bedrooms, etc. will be just as much as a concern.
 

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I keep 2 cheap-*** federal bird/sheet shells loaded in my mossberg at all times in my house. Bird/skeet would only piss someone off farther away than 20-30 yards, but any closer and it will f*ck them up bad. And you'd have to stick the end of the barrel right against the wall to make it go through. The reason I only keep 2 in the magazine is to keep the spring from getting sag. And if my 2 bird shells arn't enough to stop any son of a b*tch that breaks in, I have a tacstar side saddle with 6 high power 3" 00 bucksshot shells ready to finish the job. I highly recommend one of these side saddles. They are useful as heck, and look cool too :) I never keep a round chambered when the gun is not in constant use just for safety sake.NateLive free, die hard. Edited by: Guardian at: 1/6/03 9:36:39 am
 

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I own a trigger lock for each of my guns, but at the moment there is no need. No one around to touch my guns. I only put trigger locks on my guns when I know my sister is coming over with her kids, or I am transporting my guns in my car.
 

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must be nice to have that option, trigger or chamber locks are mandatory here to be one your firearms at all times when they aren't being used, no matter where they, and ammo is supposed to be locked up and not in the vicinity of the firearm
 

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Rick618 - Experts whose opinions I hightly value suggest that a good in-home defensive load would be a low-powered load of number four or number 1 buckshot. Shot larger than number 1 buck may well penetrate the outer wall of a house. Shot smaller than number 4 buck is likely to anger the subject, but less likely to terminate the threat. As for bird shot, I used to think that number 6s would be fine, but later it occurred to me that there's no reason to do it when the goal would be accomplished much better with the smaller buckshot loads. Also, the question might be raised in court later why you used bird shot if it truely was a situation that requried you to use deadly force.
 

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Ahhh the court question....here is a place that perception is key....YOU want to be perceived as the homeowner defending life and liberty so the all tacted out 12ga with folding stock and holo sights is a no-no....the defense lawyer of the sweet, darling angel that you have so kindly removed from the gene pool, the criminal justice system, and everyone else's back pocket is going to try to sway the jury in their favor against this crazed gun freak that was in wait hoping for someone to break in so that they could be shot. Pics of you in camo or suggestions that the dozen guns in your house are reason to suspect your intentions will be raised. It is sad that the system gets turned around that way, but instead of the criminal being on trial you are going to have to defend yourself once again, likely in a civil matter. In some places the stringent restrictions on the use of deadly force are such that even if there is a real threat IF YOU have another option, say going to another room the shooting is not justified.As to gun locks....screw 'em, atleast on a protection/home defense gun, there is no way to fumble in the first few moments and likely no light situation if and when someone breaks in.YOU have to teach responsible gun safety in your own home...whether it be to a significant other or kids they need to know the dangers and the reason that the tool is there. If this means taking the hunter safety course or a basic pistol course with them then so be it. There is a fine line between a hobby and insanity.
 

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Out of curiousity, I really have to ask. Why not use a less than lethal round, like rubber shot, or those nylon shot bags as the first round or two (assuming that you have a 6 or 8 rd capacity) ? After that second round load 2 rounds of #1-#4 buck shot. I've heard that at over 10' Rubber buckshot usually doesn't have the ability to kill, but at under 10' they can kill. Wouldn't that come across as having no other choice? On gun locks, I'm of mixed feelngs. I feel that there is a point in which children are too young to understand about gun safety. I don't have children, either. On the other hand a locked gun is usless for home defense.
 

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I wanted to address a few points appearing so that anyone looking over these posts doesn't come away with some serious misconceptions. First the use of rubber bullets: The use of a firearm against by a private citizen against an assailant is considered, universally, deadly force. Regardless of the load you're using, if you shoot you've committed yourself. In order to take a justifiable shot, you must be reasonably sure that you or another innocent are at great risk of death or serious bodily harm. That being the case, use lethal ammo...forget the non-lethal stuff. This isn't riot control!!! Second, birdshot will penetrate interior walls well beyond "contact" with a wall (this is a classic exmaple of the ill-informed failing to engage their brain prior to striking the keyboard). A cylinder bore will, generally, cause a shot load to spread at a rate of 1" per yard. Even with 7.5 shot, one will get reliable and injury causing penetration through most interior walls out to 10 feet. Again, if one is going to shoot, use something that will neutralize the threat. Bird shot will not penetrate to vital organs adequately outside of a couple of arms lengths. Granted at contact distances it will rathole into the body and prove as deadly as 00 buck. But even across the room, one needs pellet mass for penetration. www.Firearmstactical.com has a good report on comparative penetrations of shotgun loads. The conclusion, for home defense purposes, was that 1 buck was the way to go. Remember, we're suppose to develop the ability to get solid hits on adversaries as our best means of avoiding penetration into adjoining rooms.
 

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Here's something else that needs to be refuted before someone walks away believing it..."Bird/skeet would only piss someone off farther away than 20-30 yards, but any closer and it will f**k them up bad."You're kidding, right? I assume by "bad" you mean that the adversary has been injured enough to be out of the fight. So at 19 yards bird shot will be incapacitating? This premise is based on what? Certainly not the use of a pattern board or any thought about pellet penetration at that range. Again, from my earlier post, birdshot inside of 10 feet is trouble on the receiving end. Not the best choice by any stretch of the imagination, but still trouble. Out to 20 yards...no energy, no penetration, no way.
 

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Ripley,You have brought up several very good points. Since the previous post, I have learned quite a bit about tactical ammunition, and I agree with you about using something with a bit more punch. I do however feel that I do have to disagree with one or two points.First, squirrel shot can mess up any person in one shot. at 30 yards a shot to the face can cause temporary or permanent blindness.Second, in most cases, a Home Defense situation, you probably will not engage at over 30feet. Also, I tend to follow #2 of the USMC Rules for gunfights..."Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammunition is cheap, life is expensive."
 

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Having practical experience from more than 20 years in the Corps, I wholeheartedly agree in multiple hits. Hit them first, hit them fast, hit them repeatedly... On birdshot, I'll just reiterate one of my earlier points that taking a shot, regardless of load used, constitutes deadly force. Consequently, the load should have the means to decisively stop a fight, which at 20-30 yards is either buckshot or slugs. An analogy would be choosing between a 22lr or 9mm/45acp for a defensive handgun. The 22lr may do the job.However, I'll go on record that I have no desire to absorb a birdshot load at room distances, despite its tactical limitations. It just wouldn't be in my top 10 loads to choose.
 

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Ripley,First, Welcome to the Tactical forum. I look forward to seeing any input you can provide. In your onpinion, what would you use living in an apartment. Would you still load with 00Buck, or back down to something smaller? Personally, I would prefer 2-3 rapid succession shots with a smaller shot. I am interested to see your choice would be.
 

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For home defense use I would go with a non-plated #1 buck load. Something like the Winchester XX. The absolute smallest shot I would go with would be the Federal Tactial reduced recoil #4 load.Take a look at the already mentioned firearmstactical.com
 

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Oops...I meant to say Winchester Super-x. The double-x supreme is copper plated, the super-x is not.Also, I've heard of some tests done where 00 buck penetrated more sheet rock than FMJ .223, though I don't know the credability of the tests. According to the experts, #1 buck is more lethal than 00 anyhow, as it has more pellets yet still gets the necessary target penetration.
 

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In WI the law says you can only use deadly force if you fear for your life or the life of other. My lawyer says a dead criminal can not witness against you, kill the SOB. One thing no one has hit on yet is the use of ammo specifically designed to destroy a target, special lethal home defense ammo. Below are descriptions and prices for ammo available that are more or less made for this application. I load the Terminator ammo, it ain't cheap but you never want to buy more than one pack anyway.TERMINATOR TERMINATE your objective with a hollow core slug sealed with dozens of tiny lead pellets. The slug mushrooms to nearly 1-1/2 inches on impact.SKU# 12ga-term11 pack (3 shells) @ $11.99AVENGER Stop an intruder in their tracks! Hollow steel balls eliminate multiple room penetration and your objective! Light recoil allows use by most family members.SKU# 12ga-avenger11 pack (3 shells) @ $9.98 www.hitach.com/shop/12gaspecial.html Let the dog hunt the birds, ... you hunt the dog.Edited by: GordonSetter at: 1/6/03 1:11:22 pm
 

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Guardian,My opinion remains the same...go with buckshot, whether it's 4, 3, 1, or 00 (I've yet to figure out any real defensive advantage to 000).Living in an apartment poses some of the same problems one encounters in a single family dwelling. I have 4 bedrooms on the top level of our home, containing Mrs Ripley, 3 kids, and yours truly when I'm not in the dog house. Course of Action #1 for bumps in the night is to first opt for the two condition 1 handguns (and the keys to one of the long gun safes) in a quick access safe next to the master bed. My "bedside" handgun is a Glock23 with M3 tac-light and tritium sights, so that (if at all possible) I can carry the smallest child while herding the other two back to the master bathroom (which serves as a safe room). I can still, onehanded, ID any intruders and shoot if necessary. Meanwhile Mrs. Ripley has a second handgun and opens the safe containing my 870.Once back in the master bedroom I'll shift to the 870 with a loading of 00 buck (2 3/4' to reduce the likelihood of "short stroking" a 3" shell). After shooting A LOT of different brands, what performs best in my barrel after having it overbored and the forcing cone lenghtened is ESTATE 8-Ball. "Best" is defined by a consistent pattern and ability to keep all the pellets in the torso out to extended ranges (with my combo it's in excess of 35 yards). The only reason I even care about extended ranges is the tiny chance I would find myself having to engage someone outside firing into my home. I'm lucky that the cheap stuff is what performs best in my particular barrel. After giving you more info than you asked for, let me answer your original question. If I can't gather the kids I essentially have your apartment situation. If the problem is downstairs and all family members upstairs, I simply cover the stairway and await the calvary. If a bad guy is upstairs and I have to shoot, the best approach (in my situation) is to take a knee and fire upwards, just as one should do in a crowded situation on the street. My background has caused me to "get small" almost instinctively, so going low and staying low is part of my routine. Any pellets that miss an assailant will continue upwards and pass "over" the wife and kids in other rooms. This negates concerns about penetration from the 00 buck.Obviously this approach will not work for everyone. My best advice is to predetermine "safe" firing lanes and directions. I'd loosely defined a "safe" lane or direction as one that minimizes risk due to structural penetration. This requires abandoning any urge to "prowl and growl", instead requiring you to pick a piece of ground that allows you to cover threat areas, but still uses a "safe" firing lane. A defensive firing position real close to where you acquire the shotgun is best. Think about solid backstops like major appliances and bookcases. Perhaps adjoining utility rooms will work. Maybe a dumpster beyond an exterior wall. You can even position bookcases to your benefit, either to act as a backstop or as cover for you. THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION FOR AVOIDING STRUCTURAL PENETRATION IS THE ABILITY TO HIT RELIABLY. Shoot enough, from realistic positions, to hit. Regardless, stick with something that can penetrate to major blood vessels and vital organs. Preferably something that has the word "buck" in the load description. To minimize penetration if everything goes wrong, or if you're in that middle unit on a middle floor, my advice is to go with 4 Buck. Stay safe!
 

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I best shut-up for while after this post or it will look like I'm hogging the board...Gordonsetter makes an interesting point about "exotic" defensive ammo. Some of these loads cost a considerable amount when compared to "conventional" ammo, and the claims are almost as high as the price. I see these, at best, as a novelty in flashy packaging. In the worst case the claims are spurious and put the lawful user at risk. One thought about these specialty loads may be worth considering. Why aren't specialized police and military units using this type of ammo? If it's really that good, one might expect entry teams or military spec ops to use it. Beyond using breaching loads, you'll find these units loading conventional slugs and buckshot with few exceptions. Why, because they work and have well established track records. In the rare instance when we may rely on our chosen load to prevail in a fight, the odds may be more in our favor with something proven. I'm a bit curious about an attorney that implicitly advocates killing your assailant so that he or she can't testify against a citizen involved in a justifiable shooting. First, the legal "party line" is to shoot to eliminate the immediate threat...not to specifically kill. Those really are more than just nice words. Second, modern forensics will likely "witness against you" if there's something to "witness" about. My 2 cents.
 
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