View Full Version : Shotgun Ammo for HD

March 9, 2011, 01:10 AM
Hello all,

I am not new to handguns, yet I am VERY new to shotguns...I have a Remington 870 Magnum, only shot years ago with my pops. My HD gun is an XD-45 with a tac light...However, I want my 870 locked and loaded with the best self defense round. I have....

Bear with me...

12 gauge
2 3/4 Length
3 3/4 DR. EQ.
1 1/4 OZ Shot
6 shot


Whoa... #8?

Don't understand this...

March 9, 2011, 01:19 AM
Hi Constantine

I'm sorry you missed me with the
3 3/4 DR. EQ. ??

I have a Benelli M3 house gun (bedroom) and a Savage 350 for a barn gun, I use #4 buckshot and keep a few slugs on hand (for Zombies) :D

March 9, 2011, 01:27 AM
Get some Hornady TAP 00 Buck, it is a little pricey, but it works and will kill what it hits.

March 9, 2011, 01:28 AM
Brother, I lost myself...lol I have a few buckshot too, it looks like a massive bullet that's metal in the shell as opposed to a folded shut plastic shell?

I dream of the zombie apocalpyse :)

So I have it loaded with #6, is that okay?

March 9, 2011, 01:29 AM
Hornady TAP 00 Buck

Explain this to me Rob....please?

March 9, 2011, 01:30 AM
"So I have it loaded with #6, is that okay? "

TBH: my minimum is #4 buck, but its just my .02$

March 9, 2011, 01:40 AM
"Explain this to me Rob....please?"

Hornady TAP ammunition has a low muzzle flash Constantine, good for HD ammo.

March 9, 2011, 09:09 AM
Minimum is # 4 Buckshot and # 1 buckshot (harder to find) might be the best balance. I like 00 buckshot. If you live in a crowded area # 4 would be your best bet.

March 9, 2011, 09:34 AM

March 9, 2011, 09:37 AM
Birdshot is for Birds
get buckshot any flavor will work 2 3/4" 9 pellet OO buck has worked wonders for years you dont need 3", use 4 buck if your worried about over penatration

March 9, 2011, 10:15 AM
So I'm guessing 00 will over penetrate? It's basically one huge slug? #4? so the #6 I have is for birds? I think I may have a few 00 theyre better that bird shot then.

They have a huge piece of metal clearly showing in the shell correct? I'll take some pics in a minute.

March 9, 2011, 10:28 AM
Here they are. See some of the red ones?

March 9, 2011, 10:29 AM
00 has 9 to 12 pellets that are (someone correct me if I am wrong) .36" in diameter. If you are worried about over penetrating, take a look at #1 or #4 buckshot, where you are getting into the realm of aroudn 30-34 pellets that are about .24" diameter. Make sure it says "Buckshot" as #4 Buckshot and #4 shot are not the same, regular #4 shot having a diameter of somewhere around .13". Buckshot might over penetrate but birdshot will under penetrate.

March 9, 2011, 10:35 AM
So I'm guessing 00 will over penetrate? It's basically one huge slug

I think what you have are slugs. yes they can overpenatrate but are exellent stoppers. OO buck will have 9 or 12 large round balls IIRC .33 caliber.
Here is a good picture od OO buck
here's a slug

generally speaking slugs will go through quite a few sheet rock walls, OO buck will only go through a couple, 4 buck will go through 1 maybe 2.

My personal gun is loaded with OO buck with a 2 slugs and 2 more OO buck in the butt cuff.

Lee Lapin
March 9, 2011, 11:29 AM

Whenever people ask me what gun is best for home defense, my usual answer is "Whatever gun you are best with."

If you haven't shot your shotgun in years, and didn't shoot it much even then, chances are you don't need to have it as an HD gun just yet. If I've misunderstood what you said in your OP in that regard, please feel free to set me straight.

IMHO you need to get some more trigger time on the 870 before you depend on it in a pinch. Some good training in fighting with a riot gun (as opposed to just shooting one on the flat range) would probably help too. Usually it's best to train and practice with light birdshot loads, with buckshot and slugs reserved for experimentation to determine what particular loads your particular gun likes best, and for more serious training and practice.

What loads you ultimately use for HD will to a large extent depend on your physical circumstances. Things like how many people live in your house/apartment, the construction of the building, what neighbors you have and their proximity, all affect the appropriate choice of shotgun loads for defense. We live well out in a rural area, nearest neighbors are hundreds of yards away, and there are just the two of us, my wife and I. Our house shotguns are loaded with 00 buckshot in the magazines and 1 ounce slugs in the Sidesaddles- overpenetration is not likely to be a problem for us, in other words, and we may have to use a shotgun outside the home at longer range as well as inside. People who live in more constrained circumstances will likely want to consider smaller shot than 00 buck for HD loads.

But before you worry much more about what you load your shotgun with, get it to the range and UNload it- a lot :). Pointed downrange. At targets. And start experimenting with whatever loads you think you need to use, to see what works well in your gun and what is the easiest to get quick followup shots with. Getting pushed around with excess recoil will slow down followup shots, so overly heavy loads should be avoided for HD.

Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhgwHQCJwWw and if you like what you see, consider getting the whole video. Short of a formal class it's one of the better presentations out there IMHO.



March 9, 2011, 12:09 PM
Constantine - those 1-1/4oz #6 are GREAT pheasant loads - a tad much for chukar

For HD, any of the buckshot loadings will serve you well enough

March 10, 2011, 10:16 AM
Rob228, thank you for that. Insightful..Much appreciated!

mavracer, The clear shells make life so much easier for me. lol thank you for that too..So best bet is no slugs...I have really close neighbors.

Lee Lapin, you sir are 100% correct! Stupid of me, haven't shot it in ages..Should just go out and shoot all those rounds? cartridges? shells? Whatever shotgun shells are called in that sentence! I should shoot all those out and learn more of it. lol Though I NEVER was going to depend on it having not shot it! I always have my XD45 w/ tac light on my night table, first thing I grab (since my 1911 is at the plastic surgeons ;) ) I think based on your response the thread can be closed now. I really appreciate it, I seriously know NOTHING about shotguns or their ammunition. That's my zombie apocalypse gun :P I'll go out and shoot it.

Sorry, wait...what kind of shooting? I don't think they have targets for shotguns at my range? Just skeet....Maybe I'll head down to this other place I know and just do an ammo dump..Those are really old rounds that my old man got from 1980 something.

Also, this 870 is God awfully long.

oneounceload, really? I think I may just test them all out. So anything "buckshot" is a go?

Carne Frio
March 10, 2011, 11:16 AM
Bird shot is very effective when defending against little birds.
This link had a very well done set of tests showing that.
Be sure and scroll down to the bottom part of page 2.:D


Jake Balam
March 10, 2011, 12:45 PM
You can buy a replacements barrel for cheap. Just don't saw off your hunting barrel.

In my HD shotgun I have two rds of #4 buck, followed by five 00

#4 is less penetration, and bigger spread, so I use them for what I call panic shots (two shots in quick succession when bg scares the poop outta you) then the 00 for after I regain some composure

We shoot at gravel pits so we set up a target and blast away :)

March 11, 2011, 10:35 PM

I know it's Wikipedia, but I'm relatively new to this game too and the following really helped me:

Shotgun shells generally come in three varieties:
Birdshot: lots and lots of little pellets
Buckshot: lots of bigger pellets
Slugs: a few big chunks of metal

While there has been extensive debate on the subject (just use the search function...I think every 10th thread on here is about the "perfect" home defense/self-defense shotgun and/or ammo), the general consensus is that:
Birdshot: is adequate at extreme close ranges, but beyond that it's debatable (though it will penetrate far less than the other two options)
Buckshot: seems to be the consensus choice in that it's not too small (birdshot) and not too big (slugs); people seem to favor #1 or 00 buck
Slugs: practical for hunting when the deer is like a 100 yards away, and excellent for police/military work when the bad guys are hiding behind cover/concealment, otherwise it just over-penetrates far too much in a home defense setting

To answer your original question then:

12 gauge
2 3/4 Length
3 3/4 DR. EQ.
1 1/4 OZ Shot
6 shot

That's #6 birdshot (sometimes birdshot is labeled "target shot" since all those little pellets are good for breaking clay pigeons)


Whoa... #8?

That's #8 birdshot.

Generally, you're not going to find much in the way of buckshot and slugs at your local Walmart -- may have to go to an actual gun/ammo place.

Hope this helps.


March 12, 2011, 09:03 AM
So I have it loaded with #6, is that okay?


Im a strong proponent of birdshot in HD shotguns ONLY IF over-penetration is an issue. If you live alone in a rural area, load 00 buck.

For urban areas/kids or pets in the house....use birdshot, but look for a good goose load, 6's are too small.

Size 2 shot is the way I lean. It will drop anything indoors; less likely to injure a neighbor next door.

March 13, 2011, 10:48 PM
They also make reduced loads for hd. Reduced recoil/noise/penetration. Saw some today at Dick's for like $9 for a box of 5. I live in the country so I have some copper plated 00 Buck.

March 13, 2011, 10:55 PM
12 gauge, 3" Magnum Remington 00 Buck. Shot hundreds of em problem free outta my 870. Some may disagree, but that's what I have in mine.

March 15, 2011, 05:01 PM
Just picked up some Winchester PDX 1's from Cabella's in CT. They have a 1oz slug and 3 00 balls in the same shell! I figure 3 of them with a few rubber slugs should be a good deterant.

March 15, 2011, 11:25 PM
So. Turns out this is what I had in there. Really is bird shot. Lol terrible. Put in the slugs now. That's for like the zombies or something. I gotta shoot all this bird shot out.

March 16, 2011, 12:50 PM
This might help some. #4BK at a minimum, #1BK or 00BK is all around best. If you live in an apartment or townhouse I would go with #1BK.

This picture is to show the shot size comparison and number of balls in each shell.


March 16, 2011, 01:03 PM
After useing 00 buckshot on deer when I lived in NJ (no rifle hunting allowed ) I just use Remington 2 3/4 00 buckshot .Not fancy but works like a champ in all my 12 gauge shotguns .:D