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What's best loads for protection

2184 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Sander
What's best loads to use for home protection in a shotgun besides buckshot?
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Just out of curiosity, why are you looking for something other than buckshot? Are you looking for shells that can be used in a choked sporting/hunting gun?

I hate it when people answer a question with a question :D But I'm just curious...
Are you ruling out all sizes of buckshot? If so, why?
I wouldn't use slugs, so I guess that some flavor of birdshot would be all that was left. But I'm not sure what you're really asking. Please elaborate...?
For protection in the home, use 1 1/8oz, 7 1/2 shot loads. They are just as devistating.

Try a test, put up some gyproc, 1/4" plywood, any common house construction material, and shoot at it. You will see just how effective birdshot is.

Well, the thing of it is this- a bird shot at close range is going to do a lot of damage to anything, as long most of the shot ends up in the target. A light load, while it would still hurt badly no doubt, would probably not put down an intruder with a single body shot, unless it was at a close enough range to where most of the load would all hit in a small concentrated area. After the point where the shot starts spreading enough to where it isn't hitting as one concentrated group, it's like peppering someone with pellets that are way smaller than even BB's. Yes, that's still going to hurt, and probably knock someone down on their butt with a messy bloody looking torso. However, if it doesn't either shock them into unconsciousness or kill them, they will be really mad or scared and have their adrenaline really going, and if they have a gun too, they'll be ready to shoot back and they'll then have an advantage over you now because they're now on the ground shooting upward at you, while you're probably still standing there looking to see if they're dead. If you use a heavier load like buckshot, it's like hitting them with several medium to small sized caliber pistol shots (my 00 buckshot is very near the equivalent of having 9- .380 sized pellets in one shot) all at once. Even if you only hit them with three or four of the shots in a buckshot load, that would still have a pretty good chance of stopping them with one shot. Just my opinion formed from stuff I've both read and heard, but it seems to make a lot of sense to me...
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If you read any actual shooting statistics on the subject or look at the studies done on ballistic gelatin (which closely represents human flesh), you will find that the most effective sizes are anywhere from #4 Buck to 000 Buck. Probably the single best size if I had to pick just one size would be #1 Buck. Sure, birdshot will sometimes kill a person, but they usually die from loss of blood as a result of being shot. This can take from several minutes to an hour or more. If I have to shoot someone in self defense, I want to actually STOP them, not just have them bleed to death. Those who advocate the use of small birdshot have no statistical data or studies to confirm their recommendation. Usually, they just point to the fact that it will blow a hole in sheetrock at close range. Big f***ing deal :!: I can punch my fist through sheetrock at close range too, but that doesn't make my fist a lethal weapon. :shock:
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Calm down Ulysses, at least no one has recommended #9 shot...yet!

Any buck shot is a person/people stopper--when I pull the trigger (god forbid) I want to be ABSOLUTELY sure--with buckshot I will be. My choice is 00.
Buckshot is a great to manstopper, sometimes too good, I live with my family in a mobile home, one of my concerns is overpenetration. You, I, everyone is responsible for the projectile(s) that leave their weapon. If someone 20 yds down range catches a buckshot in the temple, guess who is responsible? The one who fired the weapon. I am not saying don't be armed, what I am saying is think about what is going on. Sheetrock, and most other construction materials do little to stop high powered rounds, indeed sheetrock will not stop 7 1/2 birdshot at close range. That is my home defense load light target load 7 1/2 shot.

BTW shot only spreads a little more than 1" per yard from my open choke 12 ga. at typical home defense ranges (just a couple of yards) most of my shot should end up in the target, if not the weapon holds more.
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Well, that is the good thing about this country we live in -- we can all have our 'opinions'. Everybody is entitled to their own.

If I lived in a mobile home, I may have another opinion than the one I have.

However, I would rather be alive and face whatever music comes along than be dead and not have to worry about 'excess penetration'. This situation contemplates a do or die situation, from my viewpoint.

There is no 'truth' here, only opinions--do what you are comfortable with.
Well, lucky thing about my job is I get to see lots of dead people! :shock: You see, I'm a Deputy Coroner.

I've had the opportunity to see, first-hand, several people killed via shotguns, exclusively with various shot loads (no buckshot or slugs). All of them were contact wounds (self-inflicted).

First, let's get one thing straight: Unless you reside in the Taj M'Hal, you're longest home defense shot is going to be at or less than 15 yards. At this range, even with an open-choke shotgun, the shot load is not going to spread out much. So, Rule #1 with a home defense shotgun: Shoot it like a rifle, because you MUST hit vital organs to stop the attack.

Next: Birdshot is very effective at not overpenetrating. Example: Had a fellow shoot himself in the chest with a 12ga. 1-1/4oz. load of Hi-Velocity #4 shot. This was a contact wound. The shot did not exit his body. (The human epidermis is extraordinarily elastic.) After the shot charge went through his body, destroying a very narrow path of tissue (most of the internal damage was caused by the powder charge which had nowhere to go, except inside him, since there was tight contact between the muzzle and the skin), the skin on the back side of his torso stretched out and "caught" the shot charge. The shot was all laying in between the epidermis and the sub-cutaneous fat layer on his back. So, Rule #2 with a home defense shotgun: If over-penetration is a worry, birdshot is a good choice for a defensive load.

Next: Another fellow shot himself in the head with a shotgun. (1oz of #7.5 in a 20ga. if I remember correctly.) This completely removed the skull cap and spread his brain over the ceiling. Rule #3 with a home defense shotgun: Rule #2 only applies if you shoot the badguy in the torso, where the skin can stretch. Refer to Rule #1!

Lastly: A case that really stands out in my mind was a baffler for awhile. There was a blood trail leading from a residence out into the back yard where the body was laying. There was a spent shotshell hull laying in the grass, along with the body and a shotgun, which still had an additional spent hull in the chamber. We thought we had a homicide at first, until we looked into several details. To make a long story short, this chap had shot himself with a 12ga (#6 shot this time, can't remember how heavy, but probably 1-1/8oz.) in the chest, BUT, he hadn't read Rule #1 above, and he missed his spine, heart, aorta, one lung, his liver, and his esophogus. Rather than lay there, suffering, waiting to bleed out, he crawled 35 yards back into the residence, grabbed two more shells out of the box, which was still on a shelf, several feet above the floor, and then crawled back out and finished the job. So, Rule #4 with a home-defense shotgun is: ALWAYS remember Rule #1!

I think we take for granted that if we get out the street howitzer, and start pulling the trigger at badguys, it doesn't matter where we hit them. Oh CONTRARE!! It matters MUCH MORE where we hit them, than whether we hit them with birdshot, buckshot, or a slug. Please, for your own sakes, remember that if (God forbid) you ever do have to defend yourself, remember: SHOT PLACEMENT!!!!

Now, for my own preferences, I load #1 Buckshot for home defense. It's the Winchester 20-pellet load at 1075fps.
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Thanks for that post, 10MM. Always nice to have an "expert" opinion combined with real world scenarios...
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