I think the equation doesn't change all that much. The smaller the shot, the less likelihood of over penetration and inury to innocent bystanders. And the less effective it is.
The bigger the shot, the better the penetration and the more effective it is.
One company is now marketing the "ultimate" HD load. It's BB's. I always called them goose loads.
How much efficiency you're willing to give up in the interest of being more safe is a call we all have to make.
I once saw a charge of the popular HD #4 buck hit a quarter inch plywood door, at an angle, and not one shot penetrated. And sometimes we forget that birdshot can easily be defeated by an easy chair or couch even though it's deadly at real close range (before it starts to spread).
00 buck works just fine, and has less penetration than pistol rounds. #1 seems to be the choice of so many--even if you can't find any.
I use Federal Tac 00 buck for HD. 8 or 9 pellet without FliteControl wad.
When I leave home and the shotgun goes with me (such as when shooting on public land), then I use the newer stuff with FliteControl wad, which prodces 7 inch patterns at 25yds--regarless of choke.
NOTE: It's my understanding that Federal is now producing #1 buck in their Tactical line of ammunition. If so, Googling around should turn some up that can be bought on line.
Last edited by Nnobby45; June 17, 2011 at 08:13 PM.