Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Tactical, combat, military, law enforcement and home defense use of a Remington 870 shotgun.
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Synchronizor
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Re: Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Post by Synchronizor » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:18 am

Just remembered this:
Brass Fetcher - Shotshell comparison Slow Motion THUMBNAIL.JPG
Click for the video:
Brass Fetcher - Shotshell comparison Slow Motion THUMBNAIL.JPG (27.24 KiB) Viewed 3374 times

This is a video from Brass Fetcher's excellent channel, comparing #8 birdshot, #4B, #1B, 00B, & 000B impacts in ballistics gel. They also compare the damage and kinetic energy transfer to a .45 ACP bullet. All shots are made from ranges of 10 feet. For reference, the blocks that the gel targets are sitting on have 1" square cross-sections, so you can gauge the penetration from that.

Pretty definitive, I'd say.

I think people who prefer birdshot for its lower penetration are focusing on the trees and not seeing the forest. An effective load may have greater individual potential for collateral damage, but it will also better stop the threat and allow the confrontation to be ended quickly. A less-effective load will likely require more shots to end the threat, increasing the number of opportunities for collateral damage to occur. An ineffective hit will also quite possibly bring even more flying lead into the equation in the form of frantic return fire from a wounded, desperate opponent.

On top of all that, the type of defensive situation we keep these guns at hand to defend against are quite likely to involve a group of perpetrators. These are shotguns we're talking about here. If I've got 6 shells in my tube and 4 armed psychos kicking the door down, I'm not going to waste time with warning or wounding shots; I want every shot I make to be able to put a target down, hard.

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Re: Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Post by lockoutmonkey » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:24 pm

What about the rubber/polymer buckshot and slugs? They are supposed to be less than lethal so no overpenetration but will stop the threat at close range. Or so I have been told.

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Re: Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Post by Kentactic » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:36 pm

lockoutmonkey wrote:What about the rubber/polymer buckshot and slugs? They are supposed to be less than lethal so no overpenetration but will stop the threat at close range. Or so I have been told.
Thats worse then birdshot. Normal sober people shoot each other with that for laughs. The load you use must take the target out mechanically. No matter how modivated a person is they cant attack you with pellets through their brain or heart for too much longer.

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Re: Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Post by DaveC » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:22 pm

Pretty definitive, I'd say.
Boo-ya!
[both barrels, erm, I mean "+2!" :oops:

As far as less-than-lethal ammo goes, do remember that every shot fired has a lawyer attached. In the case of buckshot, that's every pellet. In Texas, the so-called "castle doctrine" changes the legal scenarios quite a bit from those of some other states. If there was not an imminent threat to your life, then any shot fired was not warranted and therefore the onus is on the firer. If "less-than-lethal" causes serious injury, loss of an eye, trauma, etc.--and it very likely just might--there are potential lawsuits all over. :idea:

At my defensive shotgun refresher I raised the prospect of "less-than-lethal in a case, say, where a dog--possibly feral, possibly someone's pet--attacked chickens, ducks, or similar critters on one's property. The instructor noted that the Coast Guard and some police departments that use less-than-lethal shotgun munitions often have a dedicated shotgun, frequently with a blaze orange or yellow stock to visually indicate that such munitions are to be used *only* in a shotgun so marked... Imagine the possibility of mishandling munitions in a contemporary civil suit!

My fellow shotgunners were frankly appalled and rather incredulously asked me whether it might be more prudent to use a BB or pellet gun... I didn't have a pellet gun, and I still don't, but folks sure do like dogs I guess...
Alle Kunst ist umsonst, wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch prunst.

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Re: Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Post by Synchronizor » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:49 am

The thing to remember about less-lethal ammo is that it's meant to be used by massed law enforcement against unarmed or lesser-armed mobs. And even when they do employ them, they're backed up by other officers and other guns loaded with full-power, fully-lethal ammunition in case things go south. That's one of the reasons guns loaded with less-lethal ammo are so clearly marked.

Also, the term "less-lethal" is appropriate. Bean-bags, rubber buckshot, heck, even just the plastic wad from a birdshot shell will leave a shotgun with enough energy to seriously injure or kill someone at close ranges. A gun is lethal force, no matter what's loaded in it. If you're not justified in shooting to kill, you're probably not justified in shooting and hoping you'll just wound them.

I do have some Zytel (plastic) buckshot shells, but there are limited circumstances where I would employ them. My gun stays loaded with lead buckshot. If I'm going to be shooting someone, I'm not going to be pulling any punches.

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Re: Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Post by antares » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:12 am

Considering the lower cost, lower recoil and lighter weight of birdshot as opposed to buckshot, it would be what most LE departments would use. They don't. The one's that still use shotgun, do not use birdshot...it doesn't work fast enough to disable an adversary. When the adversary has leather or heavy wool outer garments, the effectiveness of birdshot gets even lower.
Buckshot or slug is most effective to disable/stop a human target.
Use what's available(the largest, heaviest shot is preferred) if no buckshot or slug ammo is on hand, but if given a choice in a HD role, buckshot or slug is best.

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Re: Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Post by Bastard File » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:39 am

Hands down and without question 00 buckshot...either 2-3/4" 9-pellet Winchester 00 or the Remington 2-3/4" 12 pellet 00. This is what is in all my 870 "home defense" shotguns. I have 6-slugs in a leather lace on shell carrier in the event the party is moved outdoors.

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Re: Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Post by Synchronizor » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:21 am

Bastard File wrote:Hands down and without question 00 buckshot...either 2-3/4" 9-pellet Winchester 00 or the Remington 2-3/4" 12 pellet 00.
Smaller buckshot sizes have some advantages, especially at close ranges, and should not be ignored for HD. They offer a faster energy transfer, and are less likely to pass completely through the target with enough velocity to harm an innocent bystander.

Like the 3" magnum shells, I'd skip the 2.75" magnum loads. All they do is cause heavier recoil, the patterns will be the same size. I can't imagine a situation where a hit with a 12-pellet 00 load will stop someone, but they'll shake off the same hit with a 9-pellet load. No need to be masochistic in a HD shooting, you'll already be at enough of a disadvantage.

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Re: Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Post by lockoutmonkey » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:23 pm

Do you mean smaller as in 400 buckshot?

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Re: Home defense: Bird shot, Buck shot or Slugs ?

Post by DaveC » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:26 pm

Lots of so-called "magnum" shotgun loads are akin to "double-shotting" the guns of a broadside-firing wooden-hulled man-of-war, no? As ol' Rough and Ready Zachary Taylor once put it: "A little more grape[shot] Cap'n Bragg!" Double canister shot... :geek:

I will say that I conciously load light-recoiling buckshot shells for HD... Low-recoil means quicker recovery times and thus higher rates of fire while I'm using a pump gun. Also, there's no telling what injuries I may have sustained before getting to the shotgun to "repell all boarders" and there is the third other salient factor: Other possible users of the defensive gun might be my spouse, who decidedly does not like fierce recoil.
Alle Kunst ist umsonst, wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch prunst.

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