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Discussion Starter #121
An individual pellet isnt that great, but 9 or on something like #1 or #4 Buck, 15 or 27 pellets that will penetrate plenty deep.
Again, this is about the performance of an individual pellet rather than the whole load. It was originally just intended to give some perspective to the energy in each pellet of a 00 load.

As for #1 or #4 buck, the total energy of the load will be divided equally over the number of pellets. So if the #1 or #4 load has the same energy as a 00 load, and there are 15 pellets, each pellet only has one fifteenth (or one twenty seventh) of the total energy. Penetration will be affected by both pellet energy and pellet diameter. Hence since the #1 and #4 pellets are smaller, it takes less energy to drive them into a substance. But they have less energy per pellet so it may be a wash.
 

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Tangle, your opening post brings up an issue that many give little thought too. While there is sufficient evidence that a 12g loaded with 00 makes a good defensive weapon at close quarters there are still some drawbacks depending on the distance to and environment in front of the target.

Please everyone note I am not saying the shotgun is a poor choice. I am saying that it has its limitations.

As the distance increases the spread pattern of the buckshot will increate in diameter. That can mean fewer pellets hit the target. That means less mass and consequently less energy. With penetration being the greatest factor in incapacitation any loss of energy means incapacitation ability. Add heavy layers of clothing and the situation worsens.

In outdoor environments where there might be natural barrier in front of the target shotguns can loose their effectiveness to incapacitate. It does not take much barrier to deflect a 00 shot ball. Their energy can be absorbed quickly by shrubery, overgrowth, etc. in Nam we normally had one 12 gauge in each squad when in patrol in the bush. They did little damage to the enemy, but they did two valuable things. First, they were great for clearing away vegetation so you could see the enemy. Second, the absolutely distracted the enemy because of their loud bursts and vegetation debris flying evetwhere. But the fact is that most of the killing and wounding was done my M16s and grenades.
 
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Discussion Starter #123
Tangle, your opening post brings up an issue that many give little thought too. While there is sufficient evidence that a 12g loaded with 00 makes a good defensive weapon at close quarters there are still some drawbacks depending on the distance to and environment in front of the target.
Exactly.

...Please everyone note I am not saying the shotgun is a poor choice. I am saying that it has its limitations.
Exactly.

...As the distance increases the spread pattern of the buckshot will increase in diameter. That can mean fewer pellets hit the target. That means less mass and consequently less energy. With penetration being the greatest factor in incapacitation any loss of energy means incapacitation ability. Add heavy layers of clothing and the situation worsens.
Exactly. This is why it's important to realize that at some point/distance we must consider the energy in each pellet rather than thinking of the impact as a full load. Most seem to think 40 yards is about max for 00.

...In outdoor environments where there might be natural barrier in front of the target shotguns can loose their effectiveness to incapacitate. It does not take much barrier to deflect a 00 shot ball. Their energy can be absorbed quickly by shrubery, overgrowth, etc. in Nam we normally had one 12 gauge in each squad when in patrol in the bush. They did little damage to the enemy, but they did two valuable things. First, they were great for clearing away vegetation so you could see the enemy. Second, the absolutely distracted the enemy because of their loud bursts and vegetation debris flying evetwhere. But the fact is that most of the killing and wounding was done my M16s and grenades.
Right on. :yup:

And the reminder, as you stated, the shotgun is a very formidable weapon at close range because the target gets the full load before the pellets lose their energy.
 
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Again, this is about the performance of an individual pellet rather than the whole load. It was originally just intended to give some perspective to the energy in each pellet of a 00 load.

As for #1 or #4 buck, the total energy of the load will be divided equally over the number of pellets. So if the #1 or #4 load has the same energy as a 00 load, and there are 15 pellets, each pellet only has one fifteenth (or one twenty seventh) of the total energy. Penetration will be affected by both pellet energy and pellet diameter. Hence since the #1 and #4 pellets are smaller, it takes less energy to drive them into a substance. But they have less energy per pellet so it may be a wash.
Yeah, the individual pellets don’t have much energy. But nobody is shooting a single 00 buck pellet.
 

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Remember reading years back where Park Munsey who had Alaska Master Guide Lic. #001 had given up his 375 H&H for a 12ga. Win. Model 12 cut down with staggered loads of 00 and slugs when going in after client's wounded Kodiak bears in the alder thickets......and you talk about single pellet energy.....so what.
 

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Discussion Starter #126
Yeah, the individual pellets don’t have much energy. But nobody is shooting a single 00 buck pellet.
It's true that we don't shoot individual pellets, but it is the ballistics of the individual pellets that dictates the effective range. Guys that hunt with shotguns have a powerful round with a lot of recoil that's only good to about 40-50 yards because of the poor ballistics of the pellets. So if a hunter is shooting a deer, it is the ballistics of the individual pellet that determines penetration. If four 00 pellets hit and they only penetrate 4" - 5", it's probably going to result in an animal that is only wounded.

It's kinda like the real-world example I gave in post #100. I'm repeating it here for convenience:

"I'm not sure that the reduced recoil Flite Control buck loads have the retained energy at 40+ yards to do more than just poke nicely grouped holes in target cardboard. About a month ago, a local police agency here got into a gunfight with a murder suspect. Two of the officers involved had 870 shotguns loaded with issued Federal LE-132 9-pellet low-recoil 00-buck. A third officer had a 20-inch barreled AR-15 loaded with some kind of 55-grain ammo. The fight occured at about 35 to 40 yards distance.

The armed murder suspect was shot into submission in just seconds. At the ER, the bad guy had a shattered hand, and one of his femur bones was so completely pulverized that the doctors reportedly amputated his leg. As you would expect, that was a result of .223 rifle impacts.

However, when the paramedics peeled the suspect's cheap leather coat off of him, numerous 00-buck pellets fell out of the leather material onto the floor of the ambulance. Let that sink in a couple seconds. The low-recoil buckshot had failed to fully penetrate the suspect's outer garment, a leather coat, and the pellets were embedded and stuck in the material..."


In this case "numerous" pellets hit but didn't penetrate.
 

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Discussion Starter #127
Remember reading years back where Park Munsey who had Alaska Master Guide Lic. #001 had given up his 375 H&H for a 12ga. Win. Model 12 cut down with staggered loads of 00 and slugs when going in after client's wounded Kodiak bears in the alder thickets......and you talk about single pellet energy.....so what.
Yep, as it's been said numerous times, the shotgun is a good close range weapon. This shows that the guide wasn't sure the 00s would do the job even at close range, so he backed them with slugs - which is a totally different case. The slug doesn't have it's energy spread over 8 or 9 pellets.

OTOH, that's the first time I've ever heard of a professional big game guide using a shotgun over a big bore rifle.
 

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It is likely a .380 would have also hit and not penetrated the leather coat.
 

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Just to stir the pot...what about a load using 8-pellet 00Buck running at 1600fps?

Just doing a little google-fu it looks like a .33 cal 00B pellet has a BC of .062 and is 53.8 grains...when I run that through a ballistics calculator it's coming in at 300FPE at the muzzle. Down to 1044fps at 75 yards and 130FPE with a 2.5" drop in trajectory with a 25 yard zero.
 

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Discussion Starter #130
It is likely a .380 would have also hit and not penetrated the leather coat.
Maybe, but there is a BIG difference between a .33 caliber ball and a .380 bullet. The 00 pellet is .33" in diameter at a weight of 60 grs. A typical .380 weighs 90 grs - 50% more mass and since it is also long instead of spherical, it would have a significantly higher BC. So who knows.

But either way, neither is very impressive at 40 yards.
 

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Discussion Starter #131
Just to stir the pot...what about a load using 8-pellet 00Buck running at 1600fps?

Just doing a little google-fu it looks like a .33 cal 00B pellet has a BC of .062 and is 53.8 grains...when I run that through a ballistics calculator it's coming in at 300FPE at the muzzle. Down to 1044fps at 75 yards and 130FPE with a 2.5" drop in trajectory with a 25 yard zero.
A COR®BON 90gr Self-Defense JHP, runs 1050fps and 220ftlbs at the muzzle from a 2.5 Inch barrel!

By 45 yards the 00 buck pellet has 181 ft-lbs left where the .380 has surpassed it at 187 ft-lbs. By 75 yards the 00 pellet is down to 139 ft-lbs where the .380 still has 179 ft-lbs. At 75 yards the 90 gr .380 fired from a 2.5" barrel has 29% more energy than a 00 pellet running 1600 fps from an 18" barrel (I say 18" but it is likely the barrel was much longer).

And the 90gr .380 has more momentum from the muzzle than a 00 pellet running 1600 fps from the muzzle. 12,4 9,5 By 45 yards the 90 gr .380 has 30% more momentum than the 00 pellet. At 75 yards the 90 gr .380, fired from a 2.5" barrel, has 43% more momentum than the 00 pellet.

And again, to avoid misunderstanding, this is a comparison of a single 00 pellet to a .380 bullet. The reason this has significance is to help us see what one 00 pellet behaves like and to emphasize that penetration of 00 buck depends on the energy/momentum of each pellet. So if 8 pellets hit, each pellet has 1/8 of the total retained energy and stands alone unless one pellet follows another pellet into the same hole.
 
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There have been people killed by stray buckshot. Someone who is good can dominate a handgun distance fight with a shotgun, but they can with a carbine as well.
 

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And again, to avoid misunderstanding, this is a comparison of a single 00 pellet to a .380 bullet. The reason this has significance is to help us see what one 00 pellet behaves like and to emphasize that penetration of 00 buck depends on the energy/momentum of each pellet. So if 8 pellets hit, each pellet has 1/8 of the total retained energy and stands alone unless one pellet follows another pellet into the same hole.
It also depends on what is struck by the projectile. One that strikes a bone will penetrate less.
 

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Discussion Starter #134
There have been people killed by stray buckshot. Someone who is good can dominate a handgun distance fight with a shotgun, but they can with a carbine as well.
Amen to both of those. I would make some additional comments about that, but they would really be out of the scope of the thread.
 
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Sample of one body

As a former Crime Scene guy I got to examine a lot of folks at the ME office after we finished the crime scene. I wont say which is better, (380 vs 00) but I have seen practical results.
One in particular was a great example for this thread. Drugged up male, wearing a T-shirt and armed with a handgun, absorbed 3 x 55gr urban Tap and 3 x 12ga Rem Reduced Recoil rounds from 14" barreled shotguns all at less than 5 yards distance. So at least we had one consistent body for bone and muscle structure and tested the loads all in a "like manner" so to speak. From this I developed the opinion that 14" barrels and reduced recoil loads were too weak for my preferences and desires of what I wanted in terminal effectiveness.
One shotgun round made it thru the chest cavity with about a 1.5" spread pattern, all pellets stopped at the back side of the chest- wad in the lung and a 2" dia. wound track. (~8 in depth to the wound track and the pellets stopped)
One shotgun round to the buttocks all pellets stopped at the top of the femur by the hip socket and hip joint (again about a 1" spread of pattern), but not much penetration.
One shotgun round to the lower chest and liver with again 1.5" pattern penetrated to the back of the thin body about 8" total length of penetration.
Lesson learned for me. Reduced recoil rounds in short barrels have limited penetrating power; and an 18" barrel length with High velocity 00 rounds I also examined in other autopsies penetrated much better.
The 55gr urban TAP was fantastic. Made Gelatin out of a thigh, and broke the femur for one impact.
Another TAP round thru the chest jellied a lung and was more devastating than the 00 buck wounds and much wider. It also did not over-penetrate and stopped on the far side of the torso in fragments.
Another TAP round jellied an bicep-tricep, broke the arm and then only made it thru the sheet rock and stopped in the wall cavity.
Another TAP round that missed the target (it was a dynamic fire-fight from a hallway to a room) made it thru drywall, and exterior OSB Sheeting, but could not get out the buildings aluminum siding. - So yes Urban Tap minimizes over penetration worries in interior environments.
Comparing all of these and other 00 buck wound tracks to various 380s I have seen used (or 9mm ball wound tracks) showed me that 00 buck pellets cause equivalent damage as 1x380 (if it expands). The 380 will generally penetrate better however.
BTW one 55gr Urban TAP can turn a large liver into liquid and cause one to bleed out massively internally while dropping that person instantly.
62gr SS109 projectiles at distances where they fragment are as effective on Caribou chest cavities as was an 06 round, so long a no large bones are encountered.
Lesson learned - test your defensive ammo on animals - its more realistic than Gelatin. Good handgun rounds are effective at handgun ranges on deer and you will learn a lot. Use full power ammo - Reduced recoil buckshot while nice for recoil sensitive people is not my first choice.
Shot placement was always the most important - "a golden hit to the Aorta with 380 ball beats 4 40rds every time.
 

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Discussion Starter #136
As a former Crime Scene guy I got to examine a lot of folks at the ME office after we finished the crime scene. I wont say which is better, (380 vs 00) but I have seen practical results.
One in particular was a great example for this thread. Drugged up male, wearing a T-shirt and armed with a handgun, absorbed 3 x 55gr urban Tap and 3 x 12ga Rem Reduced Recoil rounds from 14" barreled shotguns all at less than 5 yards distance. So at least we had one consistent body for bone and muscle structure and tested the loads all in a "like manner" so to speak. From this I developed the opinion that 14" barrels and reduced recoil loads were too weak for my preferences and desires of what I wanted in terminal effectiveness.
One shotgun round made it thru the chest cavity with about a 1.5" spread pattern, all pellets stopped at the back side of the chest- wad in the lung and a 2" dia. wound track. (~8 in depth to the wound track and the pellets stopped)
One shotgun round to the buttocks all pellets stopped at the top of the femur by the hip socket and hip joint (again about a 1" spread of pattern), but not much penetration.
One shotgun round to the lower chest and liver with again 1.5" pattern penetrated to the back of the thin body about 8" total length of penetration.
Lesson learned for me. Reduced recoil rounds in short barrels have limited penetrating power; and an 18" barrel length with High velocity 00 rounds I also examined in other autopsies penetrated much better.
The 55gr urban TAP was fantastic. Made Gelatin out of a thigh, and broke the femur for one impact.
Another TAP round thru the chest jellied a lung and was more devastating than the 00 buck wounds and much wider. It also did not over-penetrate and stopped on the far side of the torso in fragments.
Another TAP round jellied an bicep-tricep, broke the arm and then only made it thru the sheet rock and stopped in the wall cavity.
Another TAP round that missed the target (it was a dynamic fire-fight from a hallway to a room) made it thru drywall, and exterior OSB Sheeting, but could not get out the buildings aluminum siding. - So yes Urban Tap minimizes over penetration worries in interior environments.
Comparing all of these and other 00 buck wound tracks to various 380s I have seen used (or 9mm ball wound tracks) showed me that 00 buck pellets cause equivalent damage as 1x380 (if it expands). The 380 will generally penetrate better however.
BTW one 55gr Urban TAP can turn a large liver into liquid and cause one to bleed out massively internally while dropping that person instantly.
62gr SS109 projectiles at distances where they fragment are as effective on Caribou chest cavities as was an 06 round, so long a no large bones are encountered.
Lesson learned - test your defensive ammo on animals - its more realistic than Gelatin. Good handgun rounds are effective at handgun ranges on deer and you will learn a lot. Use full power ammo - Reduced recoil buckshot while nice for recoil sensitive people is not my first choice.
Shot placement was always the most important - "a golden hit to the Aorta with 380 ball beats 4 40rds every time.
Very nicely done - many thanks! Awesome real-world results post!

Some thought I was saying a shotgun is no more effective than a .380, and that was not what i was saying at all. What I was saying was illustrated exactly by your post - i.e. individual 00 pellets have about the same energy as a .380.

I think it's hard for people to realize that while the full load of a 12 ga is quite powerful, that power has to be divided up among the pellets, so in a 8 shot load, each pellet only has 1/8 of the full load energy. The other thing that's hard to grasp is that penetration of the individual pellets are not be pushed by the full energy of the load - again, each pellet only gets 1/8 of the full load energy so the penetration of an individual pellet is poor - as you observations of wounds reveal.

It does not surprise me that you found the .380 penetrates better than reduced power 00 loads.

Lastly, the 5.56 results are impressive! While it is smaller than a 12 ga 00 pellet, all the energy is in that one bullet instead of having energy divided up over 8-9 pellets.

Again, thanks for posting some real-world findings!
 

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True, but meaningless because they all hit at once and create 9 holes or most likely 1 big hole if shot at close range.

That's like saying 1 barbell plate weighing 101 lbs is heavier than 9 100lb weights. The 101lb weight ways more than each 100lb plate, therefore it's heavier. But the reality is it ways 900lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #139
True, but meaningless because they all hit at once and create 9 holes or most likely 1 big hole if shot at close range.

That's like saying 1 barbell plate weighing 101 lbs is heavier than 9 100lb weights. The 101lb weight ways more than each 100lb plate, therefore it's heavier. But the reality is it ways 900lbs.
Not at all like that. It's saying that the energy of the individual pellets fired from a shotgun, individually, have no more energy than a .380. It's also saying that the ability of a pellet to penetrate is no better than the penetration ability of a .380 bullet. All this becomes more significant with distance. Because of the shape of a .380 bullet and a pellet, the .380 would perform better than a shotgun pellet as range increases.

We cannot say all the pellets always hit the target. As the distance increases, the likelihood of all the pellets hitting go down significantly, plus the penetration power goes down as well.

Even when they all do hit, they may not be as effective as we would think. Real-world evidence of this was given by @V2d in his post.
 
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I don't and will never use 00 shot. I know # 2 steel shot will put a hole thru steel plate that is about 6-8" wide and 3-4" high. That's good enough.
 
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