Best Shotgun Shell for Home Defense?

Best Shotgun Shell for Home Defense?

This is a discussion on Best Shotgun Shell for Home Defense? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I've been told that #8 is good because there will be very little collateral damage and I have been told to use 000 buck for ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array kdangler's Avatar
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    Best Shotgun Shell for Home Defense?

    I've been told that #8 is good because there will be very little collateral damage and I have been told to use 000 buck for it's stopping power. What should I use to protect my family but not take out walls and other people behind them?
    "It is the duty of all citizens, irrespective of party, to denounce, and, so far as may be, to punish crimes against the public on the part of politicians or officials." ~President Theodore Roosevelt~


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    This is an example of overthinking things.

    You don't worry about this or that.

    If some insane crazy criminal is coming at you, you want to stop that person. I load #1 Buck.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    I don't worry about walls in my house. I use whatever will make the biggest holes in my target. (And possibly the guy behind him. )
    "Rock and load, lock and roll... what's it matter? FIRE!!"

    "Gun control means hitting your target every time."

    Please take everything I say with at least one grain of salt- I am a very sarcastic person with a very dry sense of humor.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    Everyone talks about shot size. What distances are being considered? The longest shot inside my home is going to be 30'. Just how much stopping power is lost with #4 or even #6 shot at "across the room" distances. From bed to doorway is 18', shot pattern will be about what, 6" at most at, 18'?

    If you are really worried about stopping power, why even consider shot, why not use slugs? I have shot small animals at 20' to 30' and they are often unusable because of how much damage has been done to the carcass. What am I missing?

    All that being said, I do keep my side-by-side coach gun loaded with #2 under the bed.
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    Birdshot is for birds (which is why it is called birdshot).

    #4 buckshot or larger.
    oneshot, MinistrMalic and sgb like this.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Anything that will penetrate 12-15 inches in gel (the FBI standard) will also go through walls. IIRC, the guys at The Box O' Truth - Ammo Penetration testing did some testing on this.

    I also use #1 buck - it meets the penetration standard, yet gives you more pellets per shell than 00 buck.

    I would not use anything smaller than #4 buck.
    oneshot likes this.
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    My coach gun only sees '00 buck'.
    oneshot likes this.
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  8. #8
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    ^^^^^YEP^^^^^^^^^^^



    To what these three are saying
    If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

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  9. #9
    RKM
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    000Buck here, backed up by slugs.

    I don't buy the whole #4 buck won't go through walls. I had a .17 air rifle that went through walls. Any load out of a 12 gauge is going to go through at least one wall.

  10. #10
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    Birdshot is for birds. Yes, it will make a nasty surface wound, but it won't penetrate enough to disrupt what needs disrupting.

    At the risk of repeating myself ad nauseum, years ago while bird hunting I was approached by a coyote that appeared rabid by his behaviors. I unloaded the magnum 6s in my gun (20 ga pheasant load) and dropped in the magnum 4s - 1-1/8 oz of buffered, copper-plated shot I carried for foxes. First round to the chest at maybe 10 yards barely got his attention, and did not knock him down. Second round stopped him but clearly didn't kill him. I circled in behind him and delivered a third shot to the neck/back of the head at maybe 5 feet, at which point this critter was finally hors de combat. After that I carried 3 rounds of #4 buckshot in my vest, though not strictly legal by CT hunting regs.

    Yes, at living room or home hallway distances the shot pattern won't be huge, but it is a big mistake to rely on the shot charge acting as a nearly-solid projectile and penetrating as if it was. "Hope is not a strategy." Slugs and 000 buck might be a bit much for home defense in cardboard tract houses (I live in one so I can say it), but using birdshot for a defensive load should only be if you've got nothing else left. Please, use real buckshot for defense.
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  11. #11
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    To echo what others have already said, the absolute lighest load I'd consider would be #4. I personally stick with the tried and true 00. Whomever told you #6's will leave less collateral damage is full of crap or plain old doesn't know what he's talking about. GO down to your local hardware store and buy a sheet of 1/2" drywall. Cut in in half so you know have two 4'X4' pieces. Shoot one with 00 and the other with #6's and a typical indoor distance... say 10 feet. Tell me which one is easier to patch.
    I'd be far more concerned with a "flyer" which is much more likely with the lighter loads. I'd find a shell that shoots nice, tight consistent patterns in your gun and stick with it. (incidentally, that will be most likely something in the 00 or #4 range... I'll bet you a beer)
    "Just blame Sixto"

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    I use 2400 fps turkey shot...
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
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  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    I still say, from shooting experience, that #4 buck is the best combination at distances encountered in a home invasion. My 870 is filled with 2 3/4" #4 Buck.
    "...whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36)
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    If you are worried about the neighbors, and use a double-barrel shotgun, there was an interesting thread on here a while back about making "cut shells" out of birdshot...which essentially turns them into a fragmenting slug. Won't feed in a repeater, but would be interesting to see some penetration testing with the concept.
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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  15. #15
    VIP Member Array Civil_Response's Avatar
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    00 Buck here.

    Also, I don't believe in alternating shells in any way... it's loaded full with one kind of ammo.

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