12 Gauge - Is 3-inch #2 shot a good defensive choice?

12 Gauge - Is 3-inch #2 shot a good defensive choice?

This is a discussion on 12 Gauge - Is 3-inch #2 shot a good defensive choice? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; The 3-inch #2 Magnum shells kick like crazy and make a pretty big hole. Would you consider these a good defensive choice?...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array SpringerXD's Avatar
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    12 Gauge - Is 3-inch #2 shot a good defensive choice?

    The 3-inch #2 Magnum shells kick like crazy and make a pretty big hole. Would you consider these a good defensive choice?
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    VIP Member Array Ghost1958's Avatar
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    00 buck in a regular high brass 2 3/4 inch shell in 12 ga will pretty much deal with anything from bigfoot on down. With less punishment on the shooter than 3 inch magnum
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    I tend to say overkill, better to go with a load that does not kick as much so you can get back on target if a second shot is needed.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    A decent 12ga 2-3/4" #00 or #1 buckshot should do you just fine. About the only reason I would consider legitimate for downsizing would be severe risk of penetrating walls to harm others nearby (as in a thin-walled apartment next to another apartment). And, for myself, I wouldn't consider anything stouter than these, given the requirement for accuracy and follow-up shots.

    If concerned about comparative penetration and wound-channel ability, check the various tests/results floating around the net: such as, Shotgun Penetration @ TheTruthAboutGuns.

    What I use: Rem 870P 12ga, 2-3/4" #1 buck. Haven't used it on a two-legged predator, though I don't imagine he'd be standing on those two legs long with a shot or two. Kicks plenty, but not so much as to destroy accuracy or follow-up shots.
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    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    it you think about it there is not much wrong with any load you put in a 12 gal shotgun. at close range, 15 feet and less, any load will stop the problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by frankmako View Post
    it you think about it there is not much wrong with any load you put in a 12 gal shotgun. at close range, 15 feet and less, any load will stop the problem.
    You know, yesterday I would have argued against that. But since looking at it with an open mind, I find myself softening about birdshot not being effective.

    I still agree that it is short on penetration in gel, but 1-1/8 oz birdshot, common in 2-3/4" shells, e.g. a Remington Gun Club Target load, has a velocity of 1200 fps, and produces 1572 ft-lbs of energy. Let me give that some perspective. If I raise a 15 lb bowling ball to 100 ft and drop it to the ground, at the ground it would have 1500 ft-lbs of energy. Can you imagine lying on the ground and that thing hitting you in the chest or face!

    I can't say I trust birdshot, but, incidents of legitimate real-world failures seem to be hard to find. By that I mean where the shot was well placed at short range i.e. home defense ranges, bout 20 feet.

    Here's something else to consider. Even bean bags that are supposed to be less-than-lethal can be lethal at close range and many PD's, I've been told, specify the minimum range bean bags can be used.

    Here's a very interesting article on the subject that may be of help:

    Editor's Notebook: Scattered Shot : The Tactical Wire
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    Too many people look at the ineffectiveness of larger-sized birdshot--at 20-30 yards. That's a valid point. Mostly when I see this question asked, I have to think it's about room distance--someone coming through my bedroom door at 10-12 feet or entering my house when I'm standing there with a load of #4s ten feet away. Under those conditions, I'll defy anyone not covered by body armor to take a blast to the chest or face and still remain determined to do me in. It may not be instantly lethal--like all handguns rounds or 00 will surely be, right?--but it's going to take the fight out of you and shift your focus to exiting stage left. These BGs are not Terminator cyborgs who shake off bullets like supermen.

    Now if you plan on using 7-1/2 shot to battle it out with a shooter across your front yard, you've got a bad HD plan.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Too many people look at the ineffectiveness of larger-sized birdshot--at 20-30 yards.

    ... ten feet away ... It may not be instantly lethal--like all handguns rounds or 00 will surely be, right?--but it's going to take the fight out of you and shift your focus to exiting stage left.
    Perhaps. Then again, perhaps not. Not every BG is weak-kneed if fired upon, not hopped up on something, not wearing some sort of protection against being shot. Hence larger shot, which is still no certainty. But then, after all, it's our very lives at risk. Having enough safety margin seems a worthwhile step.

    There's a reason LE doesn't arm itself with duck loads.
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    Senior Member Array bzdog's Avatar
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    12 Gauge - Is 3-inch #2 shot a good defensive choice?


  10. #10
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Game loads are for game. Self/Home Defense is...no game. So why play around? 2 3/4" buck or slug are all that fit into a social shotgun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    Game loads are for game. Self/Home Defense is...no game. So why play around? 2 3/4" buck or slug are all that fit into a social shotgun.
    Agreed. I'll use 000-#2 buck but prefer 00.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpringerXD View Post
    The 3-inch #2 Magnum shells kick like crazy and make a pretty big hole. Would you consider these a good defensive choice?
    No.

    Skip the magnum shotgun loads for defense - as you noted, they kick like crazy so getting back on target for follow-up shots will take longer then with a normal load.

    My experience with birdshot on a rabid coyote at close range forever put me off using it for any defensive purposes. The 'yote took two 1-1/8 oz shots of buffered and plated #4 shot (20 ga, short magnum) to the chest at maybe 5 yards, tops, and he was down but not out. The first shot barely fazed him.

    Even big birdshot like #2 is still small compared to the smallest buckshot, #4 - 0.15 in diameter vs 0.24 in. Given a choice, there's no way I would settle for birdshot for deliberate, planned-ahead defensive use.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Flip side of the argument - if the BG is ONLY 10-15 FEET away, why on earth are you going to hope that birdshot will stop him?

    Given that some folks have continued to operate after being shot through-and-through with 12 gauge SLUGS, why would you rely on a load meant for killing small game?

    Why? At that close range, you are probably only going to get ONE shot before the BG is on top of you. Seriously? Birdshot? I don't think so.

    If you are so concerned about overpenetration or a miss, then what about the handgun that you carry every day out in public? Better to leave the firearm at home then.

    I keep my 12 gauge loaded with #1 buckshot. Y'all do what you want.
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    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    Man this gets beat to death!!

    Use buckshot or slugs for human interventions and bird shot for little winged creatures with hollow bones.

    Why punish yourself with high recoil magnum shot when you can very effectively stop a human intruder with much lower recoil buckshot that is designed to stop humans and is easier on the shooter?

    Police, homeland security and our military use 2 3/4" buckshot.
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    Distinguished Member Array zamboni's Avatar
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    up close & personal = 00B

    beyond up close & personal = slug

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