00 Buck penetration

00 Buck penetration

This is a discussion on 00 Buck penetration within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This was on a post of another thread, but I thought it interesting enough to start its own thread. It kind of has been discussed ...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17

Thread: 00 Buck penetration

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array ExactlyMyPoint's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Portland, OR

    00 Buck penetration

    This was on a post of another thread, but I thought it interesting enough to start its own thread. It kind of has been discussed before, but now we have evidence to the statement.

    Birdshot as a Defense Load
    I have had a lot of questions, summed up as follows: How effective is birdshot (#4, #6, #8, etc.) as a defense load?

    We have done tests with various birdshot loads. Birdshot penetrated through two pieces of drywall (representing one wall) and was stopped in the paper on the front of the second wall. The problem with birdshot is that it does not penetrate enough to be effective as a defense round. Birdshot is designed to bring down little birds.

    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.

    In fact, tests have shown that even #4 Buckshot lacks the necessary penetration to reach the vital organs. Only 0 Buck, 00 Buck, and 000 Buck penetrate enough to reach the vital organs.

    Unless you expect to be attacked by little birds, do not use birdshot. Use 00 Buck. It will do the job.

    But doesn't 00 Buck penetrate too much in interior walls to be a "safe" load in a home?
    Yes, it does penetrate a lot. But any load that is going to be effective will need to penetrate walls to have enough power to penetrate bad guys. If our only concern was to be sure we didn't penetrate walls, we would use BB guns. However, BB guns will not stop bad guys.

    Therefore, we must use loads that will STOP bad guys, and this means that they will also penetrate walls. So, be sure you hit the bad guy and do not shoot into walls where loved ones are on the other side.
    The Box O' Truth #3 - The Shotgun Meets the Box O' Truth - Page 1
    Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse or Rapture....whichever comes first.

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Thanks, I wonder what kind of penetration one gets from buckshot on wooden walls shch as pressed board or plywood paneling. Yhe test were run with drywall sheets. How about sheetrock. maybe a test with lathe and plaster walls. Not all houses are constructed with drywall. Different areas use different construction methods. The age of a house also determins what was used for interior walls. What effect does insulation have on penetration? I would like to see a test that have sections of real walls, not just sheets of drywall back to back.

  3. #3
    Member Array carver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    East TX
    I'm a hunter, and have been since I got my first gun at age 9. My first shot gun, at age 13, was a 12 ga. single shot Long Tom (32" barrel). I have hunted everything up to and including deer with a 12 ga., and have killed several with #4 shot. I do not intentionaly hunt deer with #4 shot, but I have had them walk up on me while squirl hunting. If you are using a single shot gun, then you take the shot with what you have, or just let all that meat walk away. I have never shot a deer with #4 shot at more than 30', and probably never will. At 30' the shot patern will only be about 4" across from a full choke barrel. Now if I can stop a deer with #4 shot, then it stands to reason that I can stop a man with it. I can promise you that #4 shot will shoot through two sheets of dry wall, and still cause damage to anyone on the other side! Will #4 shot penitrate to the heart lung area on a whitetailed deer? Yes, it will!

  4. #4
    VIP Member
    Array ccw9mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by raevan View Post
    Thanks, I wonder what kind of penetration one gets from buckshot on wooden walls shch as pressed board or plywood paneling.
    While certainly not a test against "real walls," I have done simple tests of taking out several of the 1x2" fir strips that are used at the range to hold up targets at the IPSC range. That showed predictable results.

    Here is a simple test I performed, unscientific though it was.

    Gun: Remington 870 Police, 12ga, 14" bbl.

    Loads: #8 bird shot target rounds; #1 buck; #00 buck. No #4.

    1. 12ga 2-3/4" #8 bird shot target loads, 10 rounds. No single pellet penetrated completely through a single 1x2" fir strip. Ten shots at the same, single 1x2" strip resulted in, again, not a single pellet penetrating, and the fir strip was still intact. Average depth appeared to be just over 1/8" or so, with none appearing to be so seep that a 1/4" knife tip insertion couldn't find the pellet.

    2. 12ga 2-3/4" #1 buck, 1 round. Several pellets penetrated completely through a single 1x2" fir strip. In one instance, two shots resulted in the top several inches disintegrating into small chunks of wood, with the strip becoming ~10" shorter. Was able to repeat this one more time, in which the 2nd shot blew the top portion of the strip off. No pellets remained embedded in the 1x2" strip, with all having penetrated right through.

    3. 12ga 3" #00 buck, 1 round. Several pellets penetrated similarly to 2-3/4" #1 buck, but with about double the damage to the fir strip. In one instance, as well, two shots resulted in blowing the top of the fir strip to pieces. Was also able to repeat this one more time.

    4. 12ga 3" #00 buck, 1 round, two 1x2" fir strips. Did a quickie test against two 1x2" fir strips stapled together. Damage was much the same, from the one round. Both strips got smashed, much as the single-strip test, above.

    All rounds were over 1000fps, with a hot #1 buck at ~1250fps, and the #00 a bit over ~1100fps, IIRC. Similar to a 9mm round and, at least in #00 buck, nearly the same size "pellets."

    Not a rigorous test, no. And, I realize this simple test wasn't against 2x4" pine, and the materials weren't laid together in a "wall" configuration. The correct method would be to stagger a dozen "wall" sections together in order to measure how frequently and how deeply a given shot of which type of load could penetrate the materials. Still, this simple test is telling, about the relative value of bird shot vs buck shot.

    As for hunting, I have not taken game with a shotgun, besides birds with bird shot. So, nothing to add from those encounters.

    What did I learn?
    • #8 bird shot target loads will likely not stop a determined attacker, by itself. Certainly wouldn't, given the right clothing (ie, a thick coat of heavy matl). At least, it won't do so nearly as quickly as I would like, and I would have to take out his neck in order for him to stop breathing, I think. That's simply not worth the "luck" factor, to me.
    • #1 buck will likely stop an attacker. Uncertain of the relative depth of penetration as compared to #00 buck in my tests on those materials, but in ballistic gel tests, #1 or larger (#0, #00, etc) can get the job done.
    • #00 will be even more likely. Uh ... yeah. No arguments, there.
    • With #1 buck, I wouldn't want to be on the other side of a single-thickness wall, let alone with #00 buck.

    Seems material enough to me, for a simple judgment to be made about risks of penetration through walls. I'd also want to know about penetrating a car door, windshield, floor of a house (ie, 1.25" plywood), etc.

    For me, 2-3/4" #1 buck seems to be sufficiently "messy" on the business end, sufficiently deep penetration to change the attitude of the attacker, and yet not nearly so capable of flying through walls as #00. The Winchester Sx 2-3/4" #1 buck I tried seemed the best of the lot, from smoothness of cycling, to recoil management, to damage of the target, to expected penetration. Likely, my choice. YMMV.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: Why the Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Here we go again

    I personally feel, based on my experience and informal testing, that a load of large bordshot will be effective for home defense at typical indoor ranges. If you have a sturdy block home and no family downrange your needs may be different than me in my Florida drywall split plan with my son's room across the house. Is birdshot ideal? Well, no. Is putting a load of Express OO through his crib, or a slug into my neighbor's kitchen acceptable? Also no. Like the man says, a load of #6 to the crotch or face will change the outcome of the fight. I still have a couple boxes of Federal Premium Personal Defense #2 shot and some Remington Duplex 2x6 shot laying around. "BB guns won't stop badguys", with one steel BB at airgun velocities, but 250 lead ones at a few thousand FPS is different.

    The B.O.T. is a great site, and lots to be learned there. Can't wait for the next chapter.
    Raevan, insulation test here:The Box O' Truth #12 - Insulated Walls - Page 1

    In my house, I built some heavy bookshelves to provide cover for the boy's room. I also have a strategically placed gunsafe and some heavy wood furniture and bed frame to contain any misses.

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Siafu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    East Jahunga
    i use #1 buck in the mossy 500

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array bzdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Seattle(ish), WA
    Quote Originally Posted by exactlymypoint View Post
    This was on a post of another thread, but I thought it interesting enough to start its own thread. It kind of has been discussed before, but now we have evidence to the statement.

    The Box O' Truth #3 - The Shotgun Meets the Box O' Truth - Page 1
    Your subject refers to buck shot, but the text of your message seems to refer to bird shot.

    In regard to buck, it is probably worth summarizing The Original Box O' Truth which suggests buck penetrates about 8 layers of sheetrock, slugs and most major caliber handgun ammunition goes through about 12.

    Basically, all penetrate enough where you should be aware what is beyond your target.


  8. #8
    VIP Member Array OPFOR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    I once shot an IPSC shotgun match with a 14" bbl, open choke 12 gauge. With #4 buck, I could not knock down the small steel squares at beyond 15 yards. They would "ding' and wobble, but would not go down.

    Compare this to the #4 Buck out of a 32" bbl, full choke, which (in the above example) is capable of killing adult whitetail dear at 10 yards or so.

    Obviously, a lot will have to do with the shotgun bbl and choke, as well as the load.

    All that being said, I would never choose #8 birdshot as an SD round, unless there were some incredibly exceptional circumstances.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    I don't post here anymore...Sorry
    Shotgun Home Defense Ammunition, .357 SIG -- A Solution in Search of a Problem?

    Tactical Briefs #10, October 1998

    Shotgun Home Defense Ammunition

    For home defense, a shotgun is superior to a handgun in terms of being able to stop a violent intruder as quickly as possible. A reliable, well-made, pump-action shotgun can usually be purchased for less than the cost of a handgun of comparable quality. Also, inexpensive birdshot ammunition, typically used for training applications, is about three-fourths the cost, round for round, of comparable handgun ammunition.

    Most people typically choose a shotgun for home defense for one of three general reasons: 1) to minimize wall penetration to reduce the danger to innocent third parties in case of a missed shot, 2) to maximize wound trauma to stop a vicious assailant as quickly as possible, or 3) because a shotgun does not require as much skill as a handgun to put lead on target.

    If you're considering a shotgun for home defense or already have one, we suggest you give some serious thought to attending a one or two day "defensive shotgun" training course from a reputable shooting school. (We have a few schools listed on our Links page.) It's one thing to be armed with a well-equipped, high-tech shotgun and premium personal defense ammunition, but if you're not a skilled shotgun operator, you're the weakest link in your last-ditch home defense weapon system.

    Shotgun Pellet Wound Ballistics
    A shotgun pellet produces wound trauma by crushing the tissue it comes into direct contact with as it penetrates. In order to produce wound trauma that will be effective in quickly stopping an attacker, the pellets must penetrate his body deeply enough to be able to pass through a vital cardiovascular structure and cause rapid fatal hemorrhage to quickly deprive the brain of oxygenated blood needed to maintain consciousness.

    Shotgun pellets are classified into two general categories: 1) birdshot, of which individual pellets are typically less than .20 caliber in diameter, and 2) buckshot, which varies in diameter from .24 caliber to .36 caliber.

    Table 1 and Table 2 list nominal size and weight information about lead birdshot and buckshot, respectively.

    Table 1. Lead Birdshot
    Number Pellet Diameter
    (Inches) Average Pellet
    Weight (Grains) Approximate # of
    Pellets per Ounce
    12 .05 .18 2385
    11 .06 .25 1750
    9 .08 .75 585
    8 1/2 .085 .88 485
    8 .09 1.07 410
    7 1/2 .095 1.25 350
    6 .11 1.95 225
    5 .12 2.58 170
    4 .13 3.24 135
    2 .15 4.86 90
    BB .18 8.75 50

    Table 2. Lead Buckshot
    Number Pellet Diameter
    (Inches) Average Pellet
    Weight (Grains)
    4 .24 20.6
    3 .25 23.4
    2 .27 29.4
    1 .30 40.0
    0 .32 48.3
    00 .33 53.8
    000 .36 68.0

    Birdshot, because of its small size, does not have the mass and sectional density to penetrate deeply enough to reliably reach and damage critical blood distribution organs. Although birdshot can destroy a great volume of tissue at close range, the permanent crush cavity is usually less than 6 inches deep, and this is not deep enough to reliably include the heart or great blood vessels of the abdomen. A gruesome, shallow wound in the torso does not guarantee a quick stop, especially if the bad guy is chemically intoxicated or psychotic. If the tissue crushed by the pellets does not include a vital cardiovascular structure there's no reason for it to be an effective wound.

    Many people load their shotguns with birdshot, usually #6 shot or smaller, to minimize interior wall penetration. Number 6 lead birdshot, when propelled at 1300 fps, has a maximum penetration depth potential of about 5 inches in standard ordnance gelatin. Not all of the pellets penetrate this deeply however; most of the shot will penetrate about 4 inches.

    Federal Personal Defense Shotshell
    Federal Cartridge Company offers reduced recoil Personal Defense Shotshells in 12 gauge and 20 gauge. Both are loaded with #2 lead birdshot. According to Federal's 1998 catalog, the shotshells propel their pellet payloads at a velocity of 1140 fps.

    (Note: We tested terminal performance of the 12 gauge Federal Personal Defense Shotshell, and published our results in Tactical Briefs, January 1999. Click here to read our product review.)

    12 Gauge Shotshell Ammunition
    For personal defense and law enforcement applications, the International Wound Ballistics Association advocates number 1 buckshot as being superior to all other buckshot sizes.

    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 ¾-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 ¾-inch #1 buck shotshell (16 pellet payload) from Federal, Remington or Winchester is your best choice. We feel the Federal Classic 2 ¾-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 ¾-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.

    Third choice is any standard or reduced recoil 2 ¾-inch #00 lead buckshot load from Winchester, Remington or Federal.

    If you choose a reduced recoil load or any load containing hardened Magnum #00 buckshot you increase the risk of over-penetration because these innovations assist in maintaining pellet shape integrity. Round pellets have better sectional density for deeper penetration than deformed pellets.

    Fourth choice is any 2 ¾-inch Magnum shotshell that is loaded with hardened, plated and buffered #4 buckshot. The Magnum cartridge has the lowest velocity, and the lower velocity will help to minimize pellet deformation on impact. The hardened buckshot and buffering granules also help to minimize pellet deformation too. These three innovations help to maximize pellet penetration. Number 4 hardened buckshot is a marginal performer. Some of the hardened buckshot will penetrate at least 12 inches deep and some will not.

    20 Gauge Shotshell Ammunition Recommendations
    We're unaware of any ammunition company who offers a 20 gauge shotshell that is loaded with #1 buckshot. The largest shot size commercially available that we know of is number 2 buck.

    From a strict wound ballistics standpoint, we feel the Federal Classic 3-inch 20 gauge Magnum number 2 buckshot cartridge is the best choice. It contains 18 pellets of number 2 buckshot in a plastic shotcup with granulated plastic shot buffer.

    However, the Federal Classic load might produce too much recoil for some people. Given this consideration, Remington's Premier Buckshot 2 ¾-inch 20 gauge number 3 buckshot cartridge is the next best choice. This load contains 20 pieces of nickel-plated, hardened lead shot that is buffered to reduce pellet deformation from post ignition acceleration and terminal impact. The Remington buckshot load will probably produce the tightest shot patterns in 20 gauge shotguns.

    Third place is Winchester's 3-inch 20 gauge Magnum number 3 buckshot cartridge, which contains 24 pieces of buffered, copper-plated, hardened lead shot.

    Shotgun Slugs, Flechettes and Exotic Ammunition for Home Defense?
    Unless you live on acreage and anticipate engaging bad guys at distances beyond 25 yards, shotgun slugs are not a good choice for home defense, because of their enormous capability to over-penetrate a human body and common building materials.

    Some shotgun cartridges are loaded with flechettes. These are small, steel, pointed dart-like projectiles with aft stabilization fins, and are commonly referred to as "nails with tails." The low cross sectional area of a single flechette, combined with the small amount of flechettes that can be loaded into a shotshell, makes them an inferior choice for home defense when compared to buckshot.

    Also, according to Second Chance Body Armor Company, flechettes are not effective against soft body armor, if this is a particular mission requirement for your ammunition. Steel shot also is ineffective against soft body armor.

    There are other various exotic shotshells that are best classified as gimmicks. These include rubber buckshot, bean bags, steel washers, rock salt, "Dragon's Breath," bird bombs, ceramic slugs, "bolo" projectiles and so on. The efficacy of these loads is questionable at best, and we advise you to avoid them altogether for this simple reason.

    With the right load, a shotgun can be very effective in quickly stopping the deadly violence being perpetrated by a criminal who's invaded your home.

    If you're worried that a missed shot might penetrate through a wall and harm others, load your shotgun so that the first one or two cartridges to be fired is number 6 or smaller birdshot, followed by standard lead #1 buckshot (12 gauge) or #3 buckshot (20 gauge). If your first shot misses, the birdshot is less likely to endanger innocent lives outside the room. If your first shot fails to stop the attacker, you can immediately follow-up with more potent ammunition.

    With birdshot you are wise to keep in mind that your gunfire has the potential to NOT PRODUCE an effective wound. Do not expect birdshot to have any decisive effect.

    Number 1 buckshot has the potential to produce more effective wound trauma than either #00 or #000 buck, without the accompanying risk of over-penetration. The IWBA believes, with very good reason, that number 1 buckshot is the shotshell load of choice for quickly stopping deadly criminal violence.

    End Notes
    The term "Magnum" when applied to shotshells means "more shot." Magnum shotshells usually propel their pellets at a lower velocity than a standard shotshell.

    Shotgun barrel length does not affect our shotshell recommendions.

    Cotey, Gus J.: "Number 1 Buckshot, the Number 1 Choice." Wound Ballistics Review, 2(4), 10-18, 1996.

    MacPherson, Duncan: "Technical Comment on Buckshot Loads." Wound Ballistics Review, 2(4), 19-21, 1996.

    MacPherson, Duncan: Bullet Penetration, Ballistic Publications, El Segundo, California, 1994.

    DiMaio, Vincent J.M.: Gunshot Wounds, Elsevier Science Publishing Co., Inc., New York, New York, 1985, pp. 163-208.

    That said...I've still got OOO buck I haven't gotten rid of and am more than happy to use that for social purposes.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    I don't post here anymore...Sorry
    As referenced above...

    PMC Starfire Ammo, M16 Wounding Effects, Speer 9mm 124 grain +P Gold Dot, Federal Persoanl Defense Shotshell

    Federal Personal Defense Shotshell Performance Data

    With clear weather descending upon us for the first time in several weeks here in the Seattle/Puget Sound region, we finally made it out to the shooting range to test Federal Cartridge Company's new 12 gauge Personal Defense Shotshell (product number PD12-2). We fired 6 shotshells: 3 rounds to examine shot penetration performance and 3 rounds to observe shot patterning performance. We also disassembled a live shotshell to examine its internal components.

    Federal introduced its Personal Defense Shotshell last year. It’s marketed as a "low recoil, optimized pattern" 2 3/4-inch shotshell. The 1998 catalog states the 1 1/4-ounce #2 shot charge is propelled at a muzzle velocity of 1140 fps.

    (A 20 gauge Personal Defense Shotshell is also available, product number PS20-2, which contains 1-ounce of #2 shot propelled at 1140 fps. We expect the 20 gauge load to perform very similar to the 12 gauge load we tested.)

    The Personal Defense Shotshell is packaged in cartons of ten shotshells, and costs about $10.00/carton. The packaging contains the following marketing claims:

    "Premium Personal Defense Shotshell Ammunition features a specially engineered payload that opens rapidly and offers optimized penetration. The amount of recoil has been reduced to improve firearms control."

    The bottom of the carton has an illustration of a cutaway shotshell showing the internal components, and lists four benefits of the Personal Defense Shotshell design:

    * Federal’s own extruded plastic hull made for quality performance.
    * Specially tailored shot load optimizes penetration.
    * Optimized patterns provide greater effectiveness at close range.
    * Loaded for low recoil.

    We used the water-filled half-gallon cardboard milk carton method to test pellet penetration. This procedure is described in Tactical Briefs #3. Briefly, several water-filled milk cartons were lined-up in a row and a single shotshell was fired into the row of cartons. The number of cartons penetrated by the pellets was counted, and the pellets remaining in each carton were recovered and counted. Pellet penetration depths were determined by counting the number of cartons penetrated and multiplying by 2.5.

    An Oehler model 35P proof chronograph was positioned in front of the row of milk cartons to measure the velocity of the shot cluster as it exited the muzzle of the shotgun and before it impacted the first carton. The shotgun used was a pump-action Remington model 870 fitted with a Remington factory 18-inch modified-cylinder choke smoothbore barrel with bead sight. The barrel has been modified by Vang Comp Systems to tighten shot patterns and reduce recoil. The distance from the muzzle to the first milk carton in the row was approximately 12-15 feet.

    Partly due to the wide dispersal of the shot pattern, not all the shot was recovered from the cartons. Some pellets exited out the sides of the cartons and continued downrange, while others were washed out of the cartons and off the test stand by the sudden wash of water escaping out the damaged milk cartons.

    The shot penetrated a maximum of 4 water-filled milk cartons. In all three tests the most shot was recovered from carton #3.

    The penetration test results are as follows:
    Shot #1. Velocity 1000 fps:
    Carton # # Pellets Recovered
    1 3 pellets
    2 15 pellets
    3 55 pellets
    4 2 pellets
    Remarks: Shotcup recovered from carton #2. Plastic and cardboard wads were recovered from benchtop.

    Shot #2. Velocity 1089 fps:
    Carton # # Pellets Recovered
    1 0 pellets
    2 0 pellets
    3 36 pellets
    4 8 pellets
    Remarks: Shotcup and wads recovered from carton #3.

    Shot #3. Velocity 1047 fps:
    Carton # # Pellets Recovered
    1 0 pellets
    2 0 pellets
    3 35 pellets
    4 7 pellets
    Remarks: Shotcup and wads recovered from carton #2.

    The majority of the shot was consistently recovered from carton #3, and this indicates that most of the shot penetrates approximately 5- to 7 1/2- inches. A few pellets penetrated to carton #4 to achieve a maximum penetration depth of between 7 1/2- to 10-inches.

    Click here to view photographs of our test results.

    In our October 1998 Tactical Briefs, we mentioned a photograph on page 19 of the 1998 Federal catalog that shows a block of ordnance gelatin into which the Personal Defense Shotshell was fired. We complained about a lack of a measuring scale in the photograph that would allow viewers to determine penetration depth of the shot in the gelatin. Based on our test results, we feel our original interpretation of the penetration depth of the pellets is wrong.

    Upon re-examination of the photograph it appears the gelatin block is approximately 8-inches deep. We originally believed the block to be 6-inches deep (the shotshell being fired into the the side of a standard FBI test protocol gelatin block with a dimension of 6x6x16-inches), and showed most of the pellets penetrating between 4- and 5-inches, with a few pellets penetrating beyond 5-inches.

    Whereas, if the block of gelatin is 8-inches deep, the results pictured in the Federal catalog more closely correlates with our test results. Most of the pellets in the Federal catalog photograph appear to penetrate between 5- and 7-inches with a few penetrating just slightly beyond 7-inches.

    This penetration performance more closely matches the data in Figure 10-8, Lead Alloy Sphere Penetration Depth, in Duncan MacPherson's book Bullet Penetration. MacPherson's figure shows a maximum penetration depth potential approximately 7-inches for #2 lead birdshot propelled at 1140 fps.

    However, the velocity of our pellets was approximately 100 fps slower than Federal’s 1140 fps design velocity. We’re going to speculate that the temporary cavity produced by the pellets in front of the shot cluster cleared the way, so to speak, by churning-up and propelling water out of the initial path of following pellets. This would give the appearance that the pellets are capable of penetrating deeper than their maximum potential. The pellets near the back of the shot cluster apparently did not make direct penetrating contact with the water for the first one to two inches after passing through the front wall of the first milk carton. This is purely conjecture on our part, but it seems to be a reasonable explanation for the penetration performance observed.

    The recovered shot was badly deformed. Several pellets showed signs of contact with the bore, causing flattening of the pellets and abrasive removal of the copper-plating to expose underlying lead. Until we destructively disassembled an unfired shotshell to see for ourselves, the extent of pellet deformation appeared similar to a compressed shot charge.

    An X-acto knife was used to cut open the hull of an unfired shotshell. We counted 104 pieces of undeformed spherical copper-plated #2 lead shot. Using an RCBS model 10-10 powder scale, the shot charge measured 533-grains, just slightly less than 1 1/4 ounces (547-grains).

    The 1 1/8-inch long plastic shotcup is a unique design. It has a 1/4-inch wide hollow post protruding out the center. It has no petals to protect the shot from contact with the bore. The base of the shotcup, which makes bore contact, measures 7/16-inch long. The design appears intended to maximize shot dispersal upon exit from the muzzle. The shotcup sits atop a disk-like cardboard wad. Underneath the cardboard wad is a plastic wad of similar thickness. The plastic wad sits atop the powder charge.

    We fired three test patterns. The distance from the muzzle to each target was 10-feet. All three shot patterns measured approximately 5-inches in diameter, with even radial dispersion of the shot. The shot pattern is accurately centered around the point of aim.

    For comparison purposes, we fired a Dove and Quail load, consisting of 1-ounce of #8 lead shot. The pattern of this load was approximately 2 1/2-inches in diameter at 10-feet.

    It appears the Personal Defense Shotshell has a pellet spread rate of approximately 2-inches for every yard of travel from the muzzle, which is twice the spread rate for conventional shotshell loads when fired from an 18-inch modified cylinder choke barrel.

    Recoil of the Personal Defense Shotshell was similar to the Dove and Quail load, which has a lighter shot charge.

    While the Federal Personal Defense Shotshell does not meet the IWBA’s 12- to 18-inch penetration depth guidelines, it is nonetheless adequate to use as the first one or two shots to be fired at an aggressor, as long as deeper penetrating buckshot is available for subsequent shots, if needed. The extreme spread of the shot pattern makes it unacceptable for anything other than room-distance, close-quarters, in-home personal defense use.


    Cotey, Gus Jr.: "Number 1 Buckshot, the Number 1 Choice." Wound Ballistics Review, 2(4); 10-18, 1996.

    MacPherson, Duncan: Bullet Penetration - Modeling the Dynamics and Incapacitation Resulting from Wound Trauma. Ballistic Publications, El Segundo, CA; 1994.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Thanks for the Box of truth post with insulation. This thread is getting filled with a lot of good info, thanks to all who have posted . keep it up.

  12. #12
    Member Array whamonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Spring Hill, Tn.
    I go with 00 Buck...why? Because that's what the police and Feds use. Good enough for them, good enough for me.

  13. #13
    Lead Moderator Array MattInFla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Central Florida
    You can't escape the physics here.

    Anything that will penetrate deeply enough to stop a threat quickly will penetrate several normal interior walls.

    Conversely, anything that won't penetrate several normal interior walls won't penetrate deeply enough to stop a threat quickly.

    A horrible looking surface wound might lead to the assailant being disabled through blood loss eventually. But they'll still have more than ample time to beat / stab / shoot you and yours to death in the mean time.

    Birdshot is for little birds. There's just no escaping the physics of it.

    Battle Plan (n) - a list of things that aren't going to happen if you are attacked.
    Blame it on Sixto - now that is a viable plan.

  14. #14
    Member Array jjwestbrook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    edgemoor ,sc
    i use 2-3/4 " #4 buck 27 pellets

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array cdwolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by whamonkey View Post
    I go with 00 Buck...why? Because that's what the police and Feds use. Good enough for them, good enough for me.
    My Shotguns are all loaded with 2 3/4 00 with the 3rd round a 3" slug.
    All my walls are solid brick, so I don't worry about over pen. if there's 2 of them I want all the pen I can get in a manageable load.
    I've taken deer at 60 yards with 00buck and all vitals were touched!

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Sponsored Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Similar Threads

  1. Bullet Penetration
    By Sneaky in forum Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: February 6th, 2014, 11:30 AM
  2. Is anybody using the Centurion buck and ball 12ga load. Holy penetration!
    By Superhouse 15 in forum Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: March 25th, 2011, 02:06 PM
  3. Penetration
    By fernset in forum Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: June 25th, 2009, 10:33 PM
  4. Ol' Mas and over penetration.
    By Rusty Bouquett in forum Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: December 13th, 2008, 01:05 AM
  5. Penetration Concerns
    By Zach and Holly in forum Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: May 5th, 2008, 10:13 PM

Search tags for this page

00 buck ballistics

00 buck penetration


00 buck vs 000 buck

00 buck wall penetration

00 buckshot damage

00 buckshot penetration

00 vs 000 buckshot

000 buck vs 00 buck
buckshot penetration

buckshot penetration test

federal tactical 2-3/4-inch 00 buck

lead alloy sphere penetration depth

Click on a term to search for related topics.