Aiming a shotgun.

This is a discussion on Aiming a shotgun. within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; There have been a few threads here lately that I have brought up the subject of my shotguns and I realized that I haven't shot ...

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  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array AZJD1968's Avatar
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    Aiming a shotgun.

    There have been a few threads here lately that I have brought up the subject of my shotguns and I realized that I haven't shot them lately. So today I went out and had a little fun with them.
    One of the ones that I took was my 870 that I use for home defense. It has a short 18 1/2" barrel with an Improved Cylinder choke loaded with 2 3/4" 00 buck, and I was curious.
    So, I set up a target at 30' and let one fly. here is what I got:







    If you notice, all 9 pellets were in a pattern of only 4 1/4" at its widest point. Remember, the barrel that I was useing is one of the shortest that they make and the choke (Improved Cylinder) is one of the least restrictive on the pattern, meaning that this shotgun is designed to throw one of the widest patterns available, yet it is still only 4 1/4" wide at 30'. With almost all other shotgun barrels and chokes, the pattern will only get tighter.
    IMO, shotguns should be aimed and not shot from the hip.

    Please be safe.
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    VIP Member Array suntzu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZJD1968 View Post
    If you notice, all 9 pellets were in a pattern of only 4 1/4" at its widest point. Remember, the barrel that I was useing is one of the shortest that they make and the choke (Improved Cylinder) is one of the least restrictive on the pattern, meaning that this shotgun is designed to throw one of the widest patterns available, yet it is still only 4 1/4" wide at 30'. With almost all other shotgun barrels and chokes, the pattern will only get tighter.
    IMO, shotguns should be aimed and not shot from the hip.

    Please be safe.
    No arguement. At SD and HD distances you need to be as accurate as a rifle or pistol. That is why many folks prefer an AR-15 for HD instead of a shotgun.
    nedrgr21 likes this.
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    VIP Member Array peckman28's Avatar
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    Very true. It is amazing how many out there still believe the myth that you can just aim them up the hall and anything in their path will get hit with at least one pellet. Shotguns are devastatingly effective, but you have to use them properly. Which means you have to actually aim with them, very much like you would with a rifle.

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    Member Array UrsusMedius's Avatar
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    I'm very unfamiliar with shotguns. I've been around people that use them for deer and bird hunting, but never fired one. This is important news to me. Thanks!
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    Member Array pignut's Avatar
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    Good info. I have often read comments about shotguns and I have thought that I hope people don't believe they will really clear a room or sweep a hallway. That could be very hurtful to someone who thinks because they read that they don't have to aim. Very good test that shows the truth.Could be very helpful. As was said great weapon but it needs to be aimed.Even further out it needs to be aimed. Very good post.
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    Shotgun Spreader Choke.

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    VIP Member Array Secret Spuk's Avatar
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    IMO Shotguns should NOT be aimed or shot from the hip. IMO A shotgun should be aimed, and shot like a rifle. In close quarters there is a technique that often gets mistaken for shooting from the hip. The stock is tucked under the arm and the gun will conform and aim generally directly in front of the shooters body. Shooting a shotgun from the hip is in my experience... the stuff of hollywood. And we all know that life does immitate art.
    AZJD1968 and Kavalander like this.

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    Senior Member Array yz9890's Avatar
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    Shooting a shotgun from the hip is movie magic or an absolute last resort.

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    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    I couldnt agree more. There is all kinds of WRONG thinking re shotguns, some even that trainers repeat. Like "You cant miss with a shotgun". The heck you cant!
    Quote Originally Posted by AZJD1968 View Post
    There have been a few threads here lately that I have brought up the subject of my shotguns and I realized that I haven't shot them lately. So today I went out and had a little fun with them.
    One of the ones that I took was my 870 that I use for home defense. It has a short 18 1/2" barrel with an Improved Cylinder choke loaded with 2 3/4" 00 buck, and I was curious.
    So, I set up a target at 30' and let one fly. here is what I got:







    If you notice, all 9 pellets were in a pattern of only 4 1/4" at its widest point. Remember, the barrel that I was useing is one of the shortest that they make and the choke (Improved Cylinder) is one of the least restrictive on the pattern, meaning that this shotgun is designed to throw one of the widest patterns available, yet it is still only 4 1/4" wide at 30'. With almost all other shotgun barrels and chokes, the pattern will only get tighter.
    IMO, shotguns should be aimed and not shot from the hip.

    Please be safe.
    AZJD1968 likes this.

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    Distinguished Member Array dben002's Avatar
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    I must protest....(in a manner )...agreed you should aim your shotgun.....however....

    I do have a 12 gauge pump cut down to 19 inch that with any spread load the pattern dispersion is such that at the distance of a hallway, a room, across the back deck you can hip fire, behind your back fire, between your legs shoot and you're going to hit your target.

    Now, I'm not advocating any of the above, just saying......
    There are two types of people who carry concealed weapons...Responsible ones and Irresponsible ones...which are you...

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    I guess the only real difference between a shotgun and an AR for HD is the number of holes per shot from which the BG bleeds. I'll go with more is better.
    AZJD1968 likes this.
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    Distinguished Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    It's not that you don't have to aim it! Of course you do! It's no different from any other firearm. It's just that a near miss or a graze with a single projectile can be a devastating hit with one or more pellets from a shot shell. If there is a chance the assailants are likely to be bunched up, like in a narrow hallway, or through a doorway there is also a good chance you can hit more than one with a single shell. If they're in cover and returning fire it's much easier to hit half a head,some hand, some arm, and the barrel of a gun with a shotgun than with anything else. Believing you're always going to have a man sized target with a visible center of mass is a conceit, and one you should not have.

    A shotgun simply makes the target bigger. Aim small miss small.

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    Member Array JohnHancock's Avatar
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    You certainly need to aim! As for technique, my "from the hip" is about chest height. Position your head directly above the barrel and windage will follow. Elevation is a bit trickier, but if you shoot level from the chest at a BG standing at about the same height, you'll hit them center mass, PERIOD! Contrary to what many here say, you CAN shoot pistol grip/"from them hip" and hit accurately at distances of 40 feet or less using this technique. I also incorporate a laser for HD just to be sure! Let the flaming begin!

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    Distinguished Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    Try the same test with some 3 1/2" turkey magnums in no.4 shot, and don't use a Double XX turkey choke. Talk about an angry swarm of bees! It may or may not be lethal, I doubt anyone could return fire if they took a full blast of that at 30'!

    I have an old, double trigger, 10ga, side-by-side hammer gun. The barrels are full chokes (no screw in chokes). We call it "Elmer Fudd". It kicks like an old dangerous, African game rifle. If you're not a large man and ready for it you will take a step back. It's an oddity, though I have shot snow geese with it. I wouldn't use a two shot gun for home defense, but if I wanted to destroy one target with one shot its probably the most powerful round in my arsenal...

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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    I never use 00 Buck shot. I use # 2..... at 30 ft.. you will get what you got with 00 Buck. With # 2 steel shot.... you'll get about a 6-7" wide hole ... about 3-4" high... thru steel plate. You reaffirmed to me why I'll stick with # 2 steel shot.
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