shotgun gurus

This is a discussion on shotgun gurus within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; In a couple of months, I will finally be living in a place where I am permitted to have firearms. I just got a Remington ...

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Thread: shotgun gurus

  1. #1
    Member Array credy's Avatar
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    shotgun gurus

    In a couple of months, I will finally be living in a place where I am permitted to have firearms.

    I just got a Remington 870 magnum express for home defense (based on some suggestions I've seen here), yet I'm completely clueless about shotguns. I've never found one, and now I'm hearing all this weird stuff about chokes and different types of shells.

    What is the best choke and shot type for home defense? I want something that will put an invader down for the count, but not go through the walls and ruin my neighbor's day.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    unless they changed the choke should be fixed on the home defense and not changeable

    Almost anything is going to go though the walls I load mine with buckshot 2 3/4 " Shells I dont see a point in 3" mags for HD

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by credy View Post
    What is the best choke and shot type for home defense? I want something that will put an invader down for the count, but not go through the walls and ruin my neighbor's day.
    I'm afraid that what you want doesn't exist. Any ammunition that has enough penetration to get to an assailant's vitals has enough penetration to go through drywall.

    The problem, essentially, is that drywall is a lot easier to go through than the human body. Drywall stops birdshot, pretty well. Unfortunately, birdshot is far too wimpy to penetrate flesh. Buckshot is an excellent anti-personnel round, but it can go through quite a few sheets of drywall before stopping.
    Last edited by Blackeagle; June 7th, 2007 at 08:50 PM.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Array raysheen's Avatar
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    well I think you'll probably get differing opinions on the best shot type for home defense question. Here's my opinion: If it will penetrate an invader and put him down fast then it will also have the ability to go through your walls and ruin your neighbor's day. I like 00 Buck and/or #4 Buck for home defense but again this is a very personal subject. I would suggest reading as much as you can and making an informed decision. As to the question of choke, I don't really think it matters at home invasion distances choke choice won't make a huge difference in pattern size. As such I use a cylinder choke in my gun...
    again, only my choices and there will be people who disagree with me as strongly as the 500 vs 870 debate is
    oh...and you chose wisely...contrary to popular belief there IS a correct answer to the 500 or 870 question! (just kidding of course)

  6. #5
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    I'd not worry about choking too much - and another thing is even with birdshot - at close range before the pattern has opened a lot - it's a ''useful'' mass of BB's as a cluster.

    My 870 is not the std and takes chokes - so I keep full choke in it. Usually load with birdshot because I do not envisage a long range shot at all .... the SIG will handle that better!
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    If you want to learn about choke and all the intricacies of it, check out some sporting clays boards or websties. Or just do a google search for shotgun patterns or something generic like that.

    As far as home defense, most HD shotties with short barrels are cylinder bore fixed. It really doesn't matter much at in house ranges IMO. Anything inside 30 feet is gonna be pretty tight.

    I load mine with #4 high brass 2 3/4" game loads. No good past about 30 yds, but for in house, they'll do the job. No disrespect to Blackeagle for the article but I bet these guys were shooting from a few yards away in their tests. House clearing will likely be at distances measured in feet, not yards. I have seen #4 pellets tear clean through a 7 pound pheasant and come out the other side (7 or eight inches) from 25 to 30 yards. At 40 yds however, it barely penetrates 2" if oyur lucky. At a few feet, it should penetrate pretty good. Lighter shot of course won't work farther out because it loses momentum due to less mass in each pellet.

    I started using #4 after reading an article some years back regarding effectiveness without overpenetration. I think it was in an NRA mag. The author seemed to think that while #4 will penetrate a wall, it is less likely to be deadly after doing so than buckshot. I tend to agree, but have never had anyone stand behind a wall to test it, nor have I shot anyone with it at close range to see if they fall or not.

    I will say that at close range all will kill. I guide a little, (quail hunting)and the man I work for had a friend and fellow guide get killed about 7 years ago by #8 birdshot to the gut at close range. Dick Cheyney shot his buddy from several yards away with a 28ga and lite game loads and a pellet reached the heart. I would not reccomend
    anything that light for HD however. JMO, YMMV
    Last edited by sgtD; June 7th, 2007 at 09:29 PM.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtD View Post
    No disrespect to Blackeagle for the article but I bet these guys were shooting from a few yards away in their tests. House clearing will likely be at distances measured in feet, not yards.
    From The Box O' Truth:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Box O' Truth
    A policeman told of seeing a guy shot at close range with a load of 12 gauge birdshot, and was not even knocked down. He was still walking around when the EMTs got there. It was an ugly, shallow wound, but did not STOP the guy. And that is what we want... to STOP the bad guy from whatever he is doing. To do this, you must have a load that will reach the vitals of the bad guy. Birdshot will not do this.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Box O' Truth
    A friend of AR15.com sends this:

    "I saw a gunshot victim, about 5' 10" and 200 lbs, taken to the operating room with a shotgun wound to the chest. He was shot at a range of six feet at a distance of just over the pectoralis muscle. He was sitting on his front porch and walked to the ambulance. We explored the chest after x-rays were taken. The ER doc had said 'buckshot' wound, but this was obviously not accurate.

    It was # 6 shot. There was a crater in the skin over an inch in diameter. When the shot hit the level of the ribs, it spread out about five inches. There was ONE pellet that had passed between the ribs and entered the pericardium, but not damaged the heart at all. As you say, 'use birdshot for little birds.'"

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    Again, no disrespect, and i read the article beofre i posted. "birdshot" can be many things so the first instance could have been #8s or #9s for all I know. I also believe tha #6 shot won't reach vitals on a human, especially if it was in a typical low brass bird shot load, which 6's usually are. #4 high brass at 20 ft is nothing to take lightly.
    #4 buckshot, which launches 27 .23 caliber pellets at once.

    The original poster said he is concerned with overpenetration, therefore as the article also states, buckshot is not what he is looking for if he's concerned with killing people in the next room. Therefore #4 is a viable alternative. I also agree with you Blackeagle that what he and others like me want (a perfect soultion) doesn't exist.
    Again IMO.
    ultimately, we are just providing info and he will have to decide for himself what is best for his circumstance.
    Here is a qauote and link to someone who agrees with me.

    http://www.recguns.com/Sources/VG1.html

    "The second thing is that birdshot makes a lot of sense for home
    defense. I keep my home-defense 12 gauge loaded with two #4 birdshot
    rounds followed by 00 buck. Birdshot is much less likely to penetrate
    thin interior walls and kill innocent people on the other side, and has
    lower recoil than buckshot for faster follow-up shots (I live in a
    thin-walled apartment house, however - if I lived in a solid house with a
    lot of land around, I would definitely choose buckshot instead). The
    stopping power of birdshot should not be under-estimated: at ranges out
    to thirty feet or so, birdshot is virtually a solid column of lead
    (imagine an angry swarm of bees chasing Elmer Fudd and you'll get the
    idea). Choose any #4 or BB high brass lead hunting load. I like the
    Federal "Classic Lead Hi-Brass" #4 birdshot (HI26-4) and Winchester
    "Super-X" #4 high brass birdshot (X12-4), but there is little difference
    between the various choices. Buy whichever you please."
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  10. #9
    Member Array What the?'s Avatar
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    A choke controls the constriction at the end of the barrel. This changes the pattern and spread of the shot. For close range defense, it won't really matter much.

    However, if you decide to use slugs, you will want a cylinder choke (zero constriction). Any other choke with slugs may cause accuracy problems, or even damage the gun.

    For home defense only, I would probably just use the choke that came with your gun, and buy some #000 shot shells.

    My gun is for birds and deer, so depending on the season, it may have a cylinder chokes and slugs, or birdshot (#5) with a Full and Improved Cylinder choke (two barrels).

    Birdshot is not optimum for defense, but it's better than nothing, especially at close range.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    I use #1 Buck in the magazine and Hornady TAP in my shell holder. The following provides some good information:

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm

    FBI testing procedures which show’s their requirement for 12” of penetration.

    http://greent.com/40Page/general/fbitest.htm

    Here’s a decent article on shotgun wound ballistics from the Western Journal of Medicine of special note is page 155 which deals with mortality rates based on distance:

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pag...geindex=3#page

    Another good read:

    http://www.tacticalshotgun.ca/ballistics_shotgun.html


    Most people don't walk away from birdshot at 3-10 ft. But, they can do some mischief before succumbing to wounds.

    Unfortunately, in my house I have the potential for shots over 10 ft, my longest shot is a little over 35’. I use something that will be effective at the greatest distance in which I may have to take a shot. My chosen gun/load will keep all of its pellets on a silhouette target out to 21 meters reliably.

    The only reliable way to stop a human attacker instantly is by hitting 3 locations, brain, brainstem, or central nervous system above the waist. Anything else and they can still pull a trigger until they bleed out. As you may know, animals can soak up a lot of punishment, I’ve killed elk that didn’t even register a hit and went a ways before going down, and have had deer run close to 100 yards after heart/lung shots that destroyed those organs.

    An animal running is one thing, a still functioning knucklehead hopped-up on drugs with loaded gun in my house is another. Everybody worries about over-penetration of his or her weapon, but the potential is for two (or more) people with guns. I know the fields of fire within my house, IE whose bedroom is where, the other guy doesn’t care. I want that threat neutralized ASAP, so I use ammo that will get 12 inches of penetration.

    BTW in two tactical shotgun classes, the birdshot question arose and was not recommended. This is due to the lack of penetration. The FBI penetration tests call for 12” with handgun ammo, this takes into account outer clothing and shots at “bad angles’ IE through limbs etc. That's 12" regardless of distance.

    The bottom line is, we’ve all got to do our own risk assessment, I value penetration above the potential over-penetration risk. If I can all help it, no intruder gets within 10 ft of me, period. I also think that birdshot is highly effective when used to defend against attacking birds

    Chuck
    homo homini lupus est

  12. #11
    Senior Member Array Super Trucker's Avatar
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    I rotate #4 Buck then 00 Buck every other round.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Good points, so far. I would just ask- are you in an apartment, trailer or rent-house? It wasn't quite clear, from the post. If an apartment, yeah, you pretty much have to stick with birdshot. Just "shoot until the threat stops". BS is not known for stopping people, in any sense you wish to take that.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Rob99VMI04's Avatar
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    Door to Door Distances I don't think its going to matter much what choke you have in it. http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot20.htm

    Gives you a good Idea of what Buckshot really does.

    I Use a Heavy Goose (during Goose season) and Turkey load for home defense (during Turkey season) followed up by usaully the last 2 shots with 00 buck.

    If you don't believe you can miss with a shotgun even real close. Go out to a skeet field one day and shoot station 7 even with a skeet choke (REALLLY open Big pattern) people miss alot.


    I ran into a hunter from over in Europe in one of my CCW classes here in VA. He has a house in a country in europe I can't remember which country but they have the highest Moose population in the world, there country is also really long stretchs from what would be the equvalent of Maine to South Carolina. What he calls a moose I guess is really a Caribou or something that resembles one. Basically he said he hunts with a shotgun and shoots them with #7 1/2 to #9 birdshot. Something about that animals particalur CNS reacting to a big blunt force trauma. He said they do alot of tanning over there with the hides, so they don't use rifles or slugs because it tears up the hide. I really don't understand because I dont' see how one shot from a slug would be that hard to fix, but thats what he said. He really knew his stuff about shotgun's and hunting Moose, Caribou or santas reindeer whatever they where.

    Quote Originally Posted by credy View Post
    In a couple of months, I will finally be living in a place where I am permitted to have firearms.

    I just got a Remington 870 magnum express for home defense (based on some suggestions I've seen here), yet I'm completely clueless about shotguns. I've never found one, and now I'm hearing all this weird stuff about chokes and different types of shells.

    What is the best choke and shot type for home defense? I want something that will put an invader down for the count, but not go through the walls and ruin my neighbor's day.
    Last edited by Rob99VMI04; June 8th, 2007 at 11:20 AM.
    “Are you a thermometer or a thermostat, do you reflect or become what is happening in the room or do you change the atmosphere, reset the temperature when you come into the room”?--Chuck Swindoll

    Its not about guns...Its about Freedom!

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob99VMI04 View Post
    Basically he said he hunts with a shotgun and shoots them with #7 1/2 to #9 birdshot. Something about that animals particalur CNS reacting to a big blunt force trauma. He said they do alot of tanning over there with the hides, so they don't use rifles or slugs because it tears up the hide. I really don't understand because I dont' see how one shot from a slug would be that hard to fix, but thats what he said. He really knew his stuff about shotgun's and hunting Moose, Caribou or santas reindeer whatever they where.
    You'd have to show me a hide. Sorry, I smell many long nights reading Field and Stream, and BS. I've seen a convict shot with # 9. He was pissed(not dead), and you would not have had a useable hide, if one were going to tan him.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array Rob99VMI04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob72 View Post
    You'd have to show me a hide. Sorry, I smell many long nights reading Field and Stream, and BS. I've seen a convict shot with # 9. He was pissed(not dead), and you would not have had a useable hide, if one were going to tan him.
    Just passing on some hear say, I think it was SCANNNDANAVIAAAAAAAAa Maybe.
    “Are you a thermometer or a thermostat, do you reflect or become what is happening in the room or do you change the atmosphere, reset the temperature when you come into the room”?--Chuck Swindoll

    Its not about guns...Its about Freedom!

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