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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own an 870 Express Magnum Youth Model 20 gauge, it is a very good self-defense gun because it is so small that you can swing it around in the house and easily handle it and pump it quickly. I have #8's in it, because it can't go through walls like buckshot will and up close it is gonna damage someone very badly. I'm just wondering if this is a wise choice to use #8's for home defense, will it stop an intruder? I know it won't hurt them as bad as buckshot will, but is it wise to use #8's or should I use #6's instead or what? Give me your opinion.
 

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I personally wouldn't use something so small, because like you say, you gotta be really close for it to do any significant damage. At 30 ft though, you can probably easily take their eyes out, with the spread from all that little shot. hehehe

Anyway, personally, I'd switch to something bigger. Or, keep the small shot for your first round or two, then have some buckshot as backup if the intruder decides to stick around... because if an intruder stays AFTER you've blasted off a shotgun round (no matter WHAT round you fire) then you've got a serious hostile situation on your hand that you need to put a stop to...
 

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At 30 ft though, you can probably easily take their eyes out,
Inside a home any shooting incident is likely to be 1/2 that distance. And, at those close ranges a shotgun is a cannon.

I can tell you from experience that 00 Buck will completely penetrate an interior lath & plaster wall, leaving about a 1-1/2" hole and print about a 14" pattern on the oposite exterior wall. It lodged inside the exterior wall, but had the building been modern sheetrock construction, rather than older lath & plaster, I expect it would have exited the building.
 

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I used to keep birdshot in my 20 ga for self defense, but reconsidered it after reading some of the posts here. Get some #1 or #4 low-recoil buck--it won't go through the walls. The best self-defense gun is the one you keep around, practice with, and are willing to use 8)
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just my opinion, but if you fire a shotgun in your house even remotely close to an intruder, unless he's a hitman specifically out to kill you, he's going to haul butt. It won't matter what shot you're using because he's going to be 1/2 mile down the street before you have a chance for a second shot.
 

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Like Jeff23 said, I would also recommend #1 or #4 Buck. I'm not so sure it won't go through interior walls, especially at close range. In fact, if it didn't have good penetration ability, it wouldn't be much good at actually stopping someone who isn't feeling any pain such as a druggie high on methamphetamines. I don't want to count on frightening someone or hurting someone, because people who break into an occupied house likely aren't thinking clearly or capable of feeling pain at the present time anyway. I want a load that will STOP them regardless of their state of mind. To get this, you HAVE to have good penetration. That's why birdshot doesn't get my vote unless you can count on sticking the gun muzzle in his gut and pulling the trigger. I want something that will penetrate at least 9" to 11" in soft tissue and break small bones (ribs, wrists, arms, etc) on the way through. Birdshot may cause a lot of surface bleeding and a bad infection, but I want something that works quicker than that!
 

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Use 7 1/2's, won't go through wallboard and will definately get some attention and respect.

Bucksot is has too much power for the home.

Set up some targets using gyproc, etc and test at 10 and again at 15 feet. You will be surprised.

RePete.
 

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Well, upon reflection, I guess that the question about whether or not #1 or #4 buck will go through walls depends upon a number of things, including what kind of wall it is. But winning the engagement depends upon the tactical situation. In my case, it's just me and my wife, she's in the same room as me, so it doesn't matter whether the shot goes through the wall. (except that I want it to go through the bad guy first). Therefore, the most important thing is practice, so that I'm comfortable in a low-light situation and thus hit with my first shot as well as a follow-up. Ulysses and those like him have convinced me that birdshot won't get it done against at least some adversaries. I'd shoot at the main mass (body area) and probably hold just a bit low. Again, the best weapon for self defense is one you can hit with.
 

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I've also gone back and forth on what type of shotshell to use for "home defense." Conventional wisdom tells us that in a typical indoor situation, (usually less than 15 feet from the target) the results of hitting a human target (the intruder) with a shotgun blast are extremely devestating no matter what the shot size. Whether you use 9 shot or OOO buck, you're going to stop the person pretty quickly. The buck shot loads carry tremendous kinetic energy and will likely kill the person very quickly if hit in the chest area or the head. 9,8,7 and other loads kan kill easily at that distance as well albeit not as quickly as buckshot. A 12 or even a 20 gauge shotgun is the most detructive, powerful weapon man has devised in short distance combat.

My suggestion is using 2 and3/4 " BB shot loads for home defense. It combines the best of both worlds: you have a decent amount of penetration and more kinetic energy than the smaller bird loads but not the overkill of buck shot loads. Avoid using the 3" or 3 and 1/2" magnum or steel loads..The recoil is very unpleasant and is not practical in home defense situations. I agree with the others and I can't say enough how important it is to be comfortable and familiar with your firearm, shoot many types of loads at the range and use high quality ammunition. If you own an 870 then you should use Remington ammo. I've used Fiocchi in my 870 at times but I find the Remington loads to be the most reliable. Hope this helps! :D
 

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Sorry, but if it will not penetrate sheetrock, I would NOT use it for home defense. He may be wearing a leather jacket and or multiple layers of clothing, which more than likely stop most small shot. At home defense distances a shotgun pattern will not be very big. 2 or 3 inches at the most, so you are going to need make a well placed shot, just pointing it in a general direction will not get it.
 

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Take a 1/2 thick piece of plywood, cover it with an old jacket or couple of shirts. Back up about 17 ft and hit it with a light trap load of 71/2's. You will be amazed at the damage done. Anyone who says "you might put out an eye" has no concept of what they are talking about. Inside the home with the limited range, whatever you would hunt rabbits with is devastating.
 

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Checked out the box o truth. I think some of his approach is flawed. At close range the shotcup still retains the shot. A 1 1/8 oz load of 7 1/2's moving at 1200+ feet per sec will transfer an icredible amount of energy to the target. Kind of like catching a sledge hammer between the eyes. also the Idea that you need at least 3" of penetration to damage vital organs is way out of line.
 

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Standard 20ga buckshot size is #3. Pretty good stopper. I've seen guys get shot with birdshot and they're still around. Saw a guy get hit with 00, different story. Why the concern about going through a wall? Do you have a house full of people? If so, would you shoot anyway? What if you had to shoot through a wall to hit someone? Would birdshot handle that? What if HE was wearing a vest? Would birdshot have enough poop to knock him down?

Be prepared for the worst. Hope for the best. But first, take some firearms self defense training. Shoot that gun a lot so you know what the hell you're doing. If not, leave it in the safe.
 

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Slugs are what I would use. To stop someone fast you need to hit vital organs and bird shot dosen't have the kinetic energy to travle through flesh and bone deep enough to do it every time. Law enforcement agencies have done extensive testing on thoracic cavity penetration and they choose to carry slugs or buckshot. If you choose to put your life in some bird shots hands then good for you, but if you have a family to protect then smarten up and grab some buckshot or slugs.

ETA:heres a link http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=109958
 

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SS said:
Standard 20ga buckshot size is #3. Pretty good stopper. I've seen guys get shot with birdshot and they're still around. Saw a guy get hit with 00, different story. Why the concern about going through a wall? Do you have a house full of people? If so, would you shoot anyway? What if you had to shoot through a wall to hit someone? Would birdshot handle that? What if HE was wearing a vest? Would birdshot have enough poop to knock him down?

Be prepared for the worst. Hope for the best. But first, take some firearms self defense training. Shoot that gun a lot so you know what the hell you're doing. If not, leave it in the safe.
I have a pretty small apartment, and pretty thin walls. First round up is #8 - if that doesn't get somebody's attention, I have 7 rounds of #00 buckshot waiting their turn. I don't care if you have a vest/leather jackets/etc, #8 at 10 feet is going to hurt.

If I need to shoot through a wall/barricade, I keep a few slugs on the side saddle.
 
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