Ammo

Tactical, combat, military, law enforcement and home defense use of a Remington 870 shotgun.
timriley0927
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Ammo

Post by timriley0927 » Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:20 pm

What's the best ammo for home defense

Chief Brody
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Re: Ammo

Post by Chief Brody » Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:46 pm

Federal #1 Buck or #00 Buck with their Flite Control wad have recently become the standard others are measured against. Extremely tight groups. Regular 00 Buck from any number of manufacturers has been the old standby for decades. I live in a third floor apartment with neighboring houses close-by, so I load Fed #1B in my 870P to decrease the chances of of over-penetration - really, it depends on where you live, but ultimately, what shoots best through your shotgun. Try different brands and different distances (home defense distances) and see for yourself.

Steve
Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready. - T.R.

timriley0927
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Re: Ammo

Post by timriley0927 » Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:52 pm

I read that target rounds are good

Chief Brody
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Re: Ammo

Post by Chief Brody » Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:14 am

Target rounds would be classified as birdshot, which almost no one would recommend for home defense. That's a very hot topic. You can google birshot vs. buckshot and you'll find a ton of hits.

Birdshot is meant for birds or clay targets. Not bad guys.
Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready. - T.R.

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Reaper
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Re: Ammo

Post by Reaper » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:35 am

I've tested and played around with a few different sizes of shot for HD. In my house I use #4 buck, 27 pellets, in a 2 3/4 inch shell. Devastating at in home close range with a high percentage of hits and somewhat less penetration of walls vs. the bigger buck sizes.

Outside of the home, good ole' 00 buck is hard to beat.

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Synchronizor
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Re: Ammo

Post by Synchronizor » Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:13 am

I'm with Reaper; 27-pellet #4 buckshot (.24-caliber) indoors, 9-pellet 00 buckshot (.33-caliber) on the road or in the woods. My general approach with buckshot is to favor pellet count over penetration. I like to use the size that will put the most holes in the target while still offering sufficient penetration for the environment in which it's being used. At indoor ranges without anything really substantial in the way, #4B will easily make it all the way through a typical human body, and a 27-pellet #4B load gives you three times as many chances to hit something important as your standard 9-pellet 00B load.

If you think #4 might not cut it for your situation though, #1 buckshot is a pretty good middle ground that balances pellet count and penetration, usually giving you 12 or 16 .30-caliber pellets per shell. Penetration also depends on velocity, so if you're thinking about slower, low-recoil loads that are easier to control, it's best to go with a larger pellet size to compensate.

Target loads are a very poor choice for personal defense. The birdshot vs. buckshot debate may never die, but even proponents of birdshot agree that the very small birdshot sizes used in target loads are close to useless against large creatures; those sizes are meant for breaking clay targets or bringing down very small game like doves or squirrels. If you shoot a human attacker with a #8 or #7.5 target shell even at across-the-room distances, it'll hurt a lot and likely discourage them, but it generally won't do enough damage to actually make them stop unless they willingly decide to.

I've uploaded a pair of videos on birdshot and buckshot sizes and general applications, if you're interested in learning more.

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Holmes375
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Re: Ammo

Post by Holmes375 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:07 pm

Excellent video tutorials, sir.

If one lives in a region where winter climate is a factor the heavy clothing associated with such seasonal wear must be considered. Winter clothing is surprisingly effective in terms of impeding round projectiles and the target/bird shot loads are distinctly unreliable upon such clothing.

Buck shot is proven in the field and available in a flavor that will appropriately address most specific scenarios.

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Re: Ammo

Post by DaveC » Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:08 pm

timriley0927 wrote:What's the best ammo for home defense
1. Carefully and thoughtfully analyze your specific threat level, environment, peruse recent crimes committed/perpetrated in your community, the prevalence of armed criminal violence and home invasions in particular.
2. Think about what you can do to make your particular dwelling space more secure and, possibly, less enticing for a would-be criminal threat.
3. Determine whether a Remington 870 shotgun is an important--possibly decisive--element in your HD strategy.
4. If so, think about the ranges, the nature of the threat, the issues attendant with discharging a shotgun in an enclosed space, the likelihood of "over-penetration" concerns vs. the threat of "under-penetration" of cover, concealment, heavy leather outer garments, etc.
5. Modify your Remington 870 shotgun for the plan you've prepared above.
6. In light of the above, select a load for your Remington 870 shotgun from the admittedly lengthy, but by no means exhaustive list below. [International forum members will note that this is a U.S.-generated list of defensive ammunition, and so by no means will all of these ammunition types be available everyplace...]:

Defensive shotgun ammunition

1) 12-gauge:
Armscor 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
CCI/Speer “Lawman” 00 buckshot, 8 pellet 2-3/4”
Estate buckshot 00, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Estate buckshot No. 4 buckshot, 27 pellet 2-3/4”
*Federal PD132 Personal defense 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
*Federal PD156 Personal defense No.4 buckshot 34 pellet 2-3/4”
*Federal “Power shok” 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Federal “Power shok” low-recoil 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Federal Premium buckshot, 000 buckshot, 3”
Federal Premium buckshot, 00 buckshot, 3”
Federal Premium buckshot, No.4 buckshot, 3”
Federal Premium buckshot, 000 buckshot, 8 pellet 2-3/4”
Federal Premium buckshot, 00 buckshot, 2-3/4”
Federal Premium Tactical PB1321B No.1 buckshot, 15 pellet 2-3/4”
Fiocchi buckshot, 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Herter’s defense mini-buckshot, 00 buckshot, 6 pellet 2-1/4” [mini shell]
Herter’s defense buckshot, 00 buckshot 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Herter’s defense “muliti-defense” buck and ball, 1 .65-cal. Ball+ 6 No.1 buckshot
pellets 2-3/4”
Herter’s defense “multi ball” 2x.65-caliber lead balls 2-3/4”
Hevi Duty Close combat home defense No. 4 buckshot, 30 pellet 2-3/4”
Hevi-shot “dead coyote” 1-5/8oz. “T” shot (54 pellets), 3-1/2”
Hevi-shot “dead coyote” 1-1/2oz. “T” shot (50 pellets), 3”
Hornady “Critical Defense” buckshot, 00 buckshot, 8 pellet 2-3/4”
Hornady “TAP” FPD 00 buckshot, 2-34”
Hornady Zombie buckshot 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Hornady Varmint express No.4 buckshot, 24 pellet 2-3/4”
Noblesport MiniBuck 00 buckshot, 6 pellet 2-1/4” [minishell]
Noblesport Multi-defense No.1 buckshot, 16 pellet 2-3/4”
PMC “One Shot” reduced recoil 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
PMC “One Shot” No. 4 buckshot 28 pellet 2-3/4”
Remington SP1235B00, 00 buckshot, 18 pellet 3-1/2”
Remington SP12HB000, 000 buckshot, 10 pellet 3”
Remington SP12SB00, 00 buckshot, 12 pellet 2-3/4”
*Remington SP1200Bk, 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Remington SP12BK0, 0 buckshot, 12 pellet 2-3/4”
Remington SP12BK000, 000 buckshot, 8 pellet 2-3/4”
*Remington SP12BK1, No. 1 buckshot, 16 pellet 2-3/4”
Remington SP12BK4, No. 4 buckshot, 27 pellet 2-3/4”
Remington “ultimate home defense” 1-1/4oz. BB shot, 2-3/4”
Remington “ultimate home defense” 1-1/4oz. “duplex” #2 and #4 birdshot, 2-3/4”
[discontinued?]
Rio ammunition Royal Buck 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Rio ammunition Royal Buck low-recoil 00 buckshot 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Rio ammunition Royal Buck No.4 buckshot, 2-3/4”
Spartan 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Winchester Double X Magnum 000 buckshot, 10 pellet 3”
Winchester Double X Magnum 00 buckshot, 15 pellet 3”
Winchester Double X Magnum 00 buckshot, 12 pellet 2-3/4”
Winchester Double X high-velocity 00 buckshot, 15 pellet 3-1/2”
Winchester Double X high-velocity 00 buckshot, 12 pellet 3”
Winchester Double X high-velocity 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Winchester MG 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Winchester PDX1 12 “buck and ball,” 3 00 buckshot+1 oz. slug 2-3/4”
Winchester PDX1 S slug sectioned into three segments 2-3/4”
Winchester Super-X 00 buckshot, 3-1/2”
Winchester Super-X 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Winchester Super-X No.1 buckshot, 3”
*Winchester “Win-Lite” 00 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”

2) 20-gauge:
Federal PD256 Personal defense No.4 buckshot, 24 pellet 2-3/4”
*Federal Premium Power-shok No.3 buckshot, 2-3/4”
Federal Premium Vital-shok No.2 buckshot, 18 pellet 3”
*Remington Express No.3 buckshot, 20 pellet 2-3/4”
Rio buckshot No.1 buckshot, 2-3/4”
Spartan No. 1 buckshot, 9 pellet 2-3/4”
Winchester S20PDX1 S ¾-oz. segmenting slug 2-3/4”
*Winchester Super-X No.3 buckshot, 20 pellet 2-3/4”

3) 16-gauge:
Federal Classic No.1 buckshot, 12 pellet 2-3/4”
Federal Premium Power-shok No.1 buckshot, 12 pellet 2-3/4”

* Asterisk marked shot shells are those I have had excellent patterning results with from my particular shotguns, or I currently employ for my own HD plan. Buy sufficient quantities of ammo to effectively pattern your gun with the ammo chosen. Get some targets, butcher paper, a staple gun, and an appropriate safe range with adequate back-stop protection, and get the party started!
Good luck! ;)
Alle Kunst ist umsonst, wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch prunst.

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Re: Ammo

Post by DaveC » Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:26 pm

I should note that my own, personal appraisal of HD threats correspond reasonably closely to the excellent points generated by Steve/Chief Brody, "Reaper," and Synchronizor above.

In my case, I favor a 4+1 Rem. 870 12-gauge. I knowingly and admittedly sacrifice firepower, and having an "adequate" ammunition load out in the tube magazine to keep the shotgun a bit lighter and quicker pointing/handling. Back in a long stint in suburbia, it was loaded with Winchester "Win-Lite" reduced recoil 00 buckshot shells. Now that I live in a grittier, much more densely populated environment, I use Federal No. 4 buckshot shells. Should someone shoot into my home from a passing automobile--a type of crime not entirely unknown in this part of the world--I would be at a significant disadvantage with the lighter shot. So my loading for HD reflects more of a "repel all boarders" mentality to repulse an attempt to invade my home. My own analysis of potential threats has recommended to me that I will be out of time well before I expend the four extra shells in the tube magazine. Nonetheless, I do practice loading singly through the ejection port with inert "snap caps" and I have four extra shells mounted on a "side saddle" ammunition carrier attached to the 870.


I keep my Smith and Wesson/Howa Pontiac, MI police cruiser, ca. 1983 loaded with Remington No.1 buckshot should I move to "Plan B" and actually physically escape my home and "run for it" to a safer spot... Admittedly a long-shot.

I have taken a shotgun with me on very long road trips, but these days I favor a 9x19mm pistol-caliber carbine because it is lighter, handier, and fits in the confined spaces of my vehicle much better. Also, if I'm involved in a defensive scenario in a cheap motel while on the road, I'd rather be accountable for single 9mm bullets than a charge of buckshot. As the cliché expression has it: "Your mileage may vary!" Again, good luck to you. And stay safe!
Alle Kunst ist umsonst, wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch prunst.

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Synchronizor
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Re: Ammo

Post by Synchronizor » Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:33 am

That's quite a list there, DaveC, though I wouldn't consider everything on there to be suitable for HD.

3.5" super magnum shells are simply not worth the punishing recoil, and for most folks, 3" shells will also be more of a handful than they're worth.

Minishells with crimped lengths below about 2.1" are not a good defensive choice in an 870, as the gun's shell carrier isn't timed to feed them reliably.

I have no idea what advantage "buck & ball" loads like the Winchester PDX1 are supposed to have. The situational applicabilities of slugs and buckshot are completely different, I can't think of any scenario where a slow slug and three buckshot would perform better than a normal slug or buckshot load.

I wouldn't trust Remington's "Ultimate Home Defense" loads, if you can even find them anymore. I'm not at all opposed to the idea of a defensive load of larger letter birdshot (tuple-B, T, & F sizes) if the shot is made from something denser than lead to boost the individual-pellet performance, but looking at the specs, I don't think Remington pulled it off here. Even with the BB version, the 12 g/cc density of Remington's tungsten/bronze/iron shot isn't enough to balance out the reduced volume sectional density of .18-caliber pellets. Mass sectional density of Wingmaster HD BB shot is about the same as lead BBB, and only about 80% that of lead #4 buckshot.

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