HD Shotgun Ammo

This is a discussion on HD Shotgun Ammo within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have done a search and found several threads that deal with HD shotguns, but none that deal with the ammo. Here is my question ...

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Thread: HD Shotgun Ammo

  1. #1
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    HD Shotgun Ammo

    I have done a search and found several threads that deal with HD shotguns, but none that deal with the ammo. Here is my question - what ammo do you keep for your HD shotgun?

    I have 2-3/4 "00" buck for mine. I figure that this should disable a BG and minimize overpenetration. I appreciate your thoughts.

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    VIP Member Array cmdrdredd's Avatar
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    That'll work, or some slugs.
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    I keep it "cruiser ready", loaded with 00buck, and slugs in the side saddle.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    ANY ammo, in ANY firearm, that will penetrate to the vitals on a BG, will also penetrate several interior walls in the event of an outright miss. In the event of a good hit to center of mass, I would not worry too much about overpenetration, unless you are using slugs.

    The only use for slugs in a defensive shotgun is for reaching out farther than you can with buckshot. Indoors, this is not an issue - use buckshot.

    The data I have seen recommends #1 buckshot as the best blend of pellet size, penetration, and number of pellets. If you cannot find it, then 00 is a good substitute.

    See this link:

    Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo

    From the linked article:

    Number 1 buck is the smallest diameter shot that reliably and consistently penetrates more than 12 inches of standard ordnance gelatin when fired at typical shotgun engagement distances. A standard 2 -inch 12 gauge shotshell contains 16 pellets of #1 buck. The total combined cross sectional area of the 16 pellets is 1.13 square inches. Compared to the total combined cross sectional area of the nine pellets in a standard #00 (double-aught) buck shotshell (0.77 square inches), the # 1 buck shotshell has the capacity to produce over 30 percent more potentially effective wound trauma.

    In all shotshell loads, number 1 buckshot produces more potentially effective wound trauma than either #00 or #000 buck. In addition, number 1 buck is less likely to over-penetrate and exit an attacker's body.

    For home defense applications a standard velocity 2 -inch #1 buck shotshell (16 pellet payload) from Federal, Remington or Winchester is your best choice. We feel the Federal Classic 2 -inch #1 buck load (F127) is slightly better than the same loads offered by Remington and Winchester. The Federal shotshell uses both a plastic shot cup and granulated plastic shot buffer to minimize post-ignition pellet deformation, whereas the Remington and Winchester loads do not.

    Second best choice is Winchester's 2 -inch Magnum #1 buck shotshell, which is loaded with 20 pieces of copper-plated, buffered, hardened lead #1 buckshot. For those of you who are concerned about a tight shot pattern, this shotshell will probably give you the best patterning results in number 1 buck. This load may not be a good choice for those who are recoil sensitive.



    While #1 buck might be ideal IF the the shot is hardened, the reality is that these loads might be hard to find. If finding hardened #1 proves elusive, 00 buck is a great choice instead.



    Hope that helps!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksholder View Post
    I have done a search and found several threads that deal with HD shotguns, but none that deal with the ammo. Here is my question - what ammo do you keep for your HD shotgun?

    I have 2-3/4 "00" buck for mine. I figure that this should disable a BG and minimize overpenetration. I appreciate your thoughts.
    Almost anything from any gun will penetrate interior walls. How resistant do you think sheetrock is? By minimize, do you mean only through the adjoining room in lieu of the next three. You can easily put a fist through sheetrock (assuming you don't center your fist on a stud!).

    You have to keep this in mind in any HD situation: anything you shoot at a BG is likely to penetrate into the next room. Be sure, be very sure of your aim if others are in the house. Only in the movies and on TV can you hide behind the typical interior walls. Remember the compound raid in Texas? The shots penetrating the exterior walls and hitting the LEOs?
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    Senior Member Array cz75luver's Avatar
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    What gauge shotgun?


    My research led me to believe that either #1 buck or #00 buck were generally considered best for 12 gague, but I want to say that Massad Ayoob recommended #1 as an "urban load" for the 12. My shotty gets loaded with #4 and #1. The reason for #4 is over-penetration. I have #00 as well, but I don't load it.

    While I also have slugs, I wouldn't use them for defensive purposes. Too high a chance of over-penetration into a neighbors house IMHO.

    Here's a link with some gel tests:

    12 gauge

    Taking a quick glance, the majority of the #00 buck seemed to penetrate more than the recommended 16". The #1 buck had an average of roughly 12" after going through an "interior wall" and denim.

    Here's a link to the Chuck Hawks list:

    Ammunition For The Self-Defense Firearm

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    I don't know about the best, but I keep 6 00 buck in the mag tube, 3 7 1/2 bird shot, and 3 slugs in the side saddle, just incase I meet up with some shady four legged bad guys.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Almost anything from any gun will penetrate interior walls. How resistant do you think sheetrock is? By minimize, do you mean only through the adjoining room in lieu of the next three. You can easily put a fist through sheetrock (assuming you don't center your fist on a stud!).
    Actually, I was not so much thinking of missing as a through & through. Your point, however, is well taken, especially with a scatter gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    Thanks for the info. My search string did not return this but it is spot on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cz75luver View Post
    What gauge shotgun?


    My research led me to believe that either #1 buck or #00 buck were generally considered best for 12 gague, but I want to say that Massad Ayoob recommended #1 as an "urban load" for the 12. My shotty gets loaded with #4 and #1. The reason for #4 is over-penetration. I have #00 as well, but I don't load it.
    I have a 12ga. I have gotten a nice over/under for skeet & sporting clays and am turning my old Mossberg 500 into a HD gun with a pistol grip and 18.5 cylinder barrel. It has many thousands of rounds through it, but should serve in the HD role with distinction - hopefully it never gets used!

  12. #11
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Well, like many others, I'm depending on the '00' and slugs in the 12ga. The more I think about it though, I've been rather impressed with the pattern of #2 steel shot out of my 870 Express at the range. The shotgun isn't my first pick for HD anyway, but if I plan on going out the front door to cure a problem, it's going with me. So please let's not get into the wall penetration issues and all of that stuff. If you were concerned about it, you wouldn't be choosing the shotgun for inside the home defense in the first place.......right?
    Here's some reading for you.
    Home Defense Shotgun Ammo

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    Federal or Winchester reduced recoil 00 Buck. Slight build members of the family can train with this load and not fear it if they need to use it. Our smaller build officers and females love it. Keeps all pellets on a B-27 head at 15 yards from our rifle sighted 870's.
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    Distinguished Member Array Jason Storm's Avatar
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    2 3/4" Federal Tactical 00 Buck w/ Flite Control Wads (ensures tighter pattern)

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    Distinguished Member Array Wasabi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Storm View Post
    2 3/4" Federal Tactical 00 Buck w/ Flite Control Wads (ensures tighter pattern)
    Same here. I have on hand both the low recoil (132-00) and full power (127-00) 9 pellet. Currently my 870P has the low recoil in it.

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    Remington high speed steel, goose load. Thats 135 or so 15 caliber pellets moving at 1500 fps. At a typical indoor house range of 20-25ft it would be rather messy.
    Current collection: Too many according to the wife...

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