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Old August 7, 2012, 03:14 AM   #1
Youngshooter
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Home Defense Load

Hey guys, I am going to school in wacky Waco, which I'm sure has much more infamous stories than it does otherwise. Well unless you're here you probably don't know that all of student housing is in a rather shady part of town. I mean, that's just the way it is really, nothing the can do about it really. So I was wondering because I've heard a ton of different opinions. My main question is, is 20 gauge birdshot a good home defense load? Me and another of my housemates also had 12 gauges in the house but I'm just wondering. Our area last year had quite a few physical encounters and I'd just like to know more.
Thanks a bunch for all of the information buds!
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Old August 7, 2012, 05:50 AM   #2
Dave McC
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Birdshot is better than nothing, but there are better choices.

In 20 gauge, the common buck load uses 3 buck. Some times one can find 2 buck in a 3" 20 gauge shell. Either is much more effective than birdshot, though there's somewhat increased risk of overpenetration.

As with all defensive arms, effectiveness depends on proficiency.
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Old August 7, 2012, 06:17 AM   #3
WV_gunner
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Make sure you are allowed a gun in your home. I didn't have a dorm, but those that did weren't allowed to have guns. Heck, you weren't allowed car parts in the dorms and this was NADC. The dorms themselves were a shady place to be. Violence and drugs are common. There was such a fear of rape that no females were allowed there and the female students have their own little building and every woman's bathroom was locked and only female students had a key. Just being at the campus at night was scary, but after class I was never alone till I got to my apartment. I'm a big guy and I'm afraid of much but I never felt comfortable in Nashville.

If the rules allow guns, then if I was in that situation, I'd use #2 or possibly a low recoil 2 3/4 slug. The purpose of the low recoil would be to reduce over penetration and not go through walls as easy.
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Old August 7, 2012, 09:58 AM   #4
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At close range, it is way better than nothing and would probably stop an attack. In your situation, it sounds like you have few good lines of fire so that may be your best choice under the circumstances. Generally, birdshot is not recommended but there are exceptions.
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Old August 9, 2012, 04:52 PM   #5
Hoosier_Daddy
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20 gauge birdshot would be better than nothing at all. 20 gauge turkey loads would be a step up but still technically "bird shot".
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Old August 9, 2012, 08:20 PM   #6
NYCShooter
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Any load that will stop an intruder will penetrate walls, to a greater or lesser extent. Your priorities are to make sure that all pellets are on target, and to immediately stop the intruder.

In order to be effective against humans the pellets must be able to penetrate deeply enough to reach the vital organs. Unfortunately, birdshot will not do that and is an extremely poor choice for HD (especially 20g). For 12g, only 00 and 1B are considered reliably effective.

I had been using LE132 00 (lower velocity, lower recoil, 9-pellet, FliteControl) for the past few years, even though I always considered #1 buck better. Unfortunately, I was never able to find any #1 that patterned worth a damn. Recently, however, LE132 1B (15-pellet, FliteControl was introduced and it has become my HD load of choice. The patterns are just as good as with LE132 00.

Here is a brief on shotgun HD ammunition by the Firearms Tactical Institute:
http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm
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Old August 15, 2012, 01:38 AM   #7
Turn2gold
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Thx for the link Nycshooter.

What choke would you use with #1 Buckshot?
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Old August 15, 2012, 02:19 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Turn2gold View Post
Thx for the link Nycshooter.

What choke would you use with #1 Buckshot?
Typically modified is a good choke to use with buckshot, but you need to pattern your choke/load combination to see how well it performs.

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Old August 15, 2012, 06:32 AM   #9
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I lived in that area when I went to Baylor. In most apartments, a thrown pencil could penetrate the walls.

In your situation, I'd recommend a good plated #4 turkey load for your first two shots, followed by the largest buckshot load you can find. At close range, the turkey load will act like a Glaser slug, moderate penetration & devastating wounds with shock. The buck rounds will be a good follow-up if the BG is behind cover, like a couch or table. I don't recommend slugs d/t the overpenetration issues & that you won't need a long-range option in that neighborhood. If you can, a Ruger 10-22 with extended mag & Velocitors might be a better option.

Also, make sure you have a way to secure & hide your gun(s) while you're gone. Most of the crime in that area is breaking & entering.
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Old August 15, 2012, 10:27 AM   #10
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I use kent 12 gauge number 2 duck loads in 2 3/4. Try it out.
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Old August 15, 2012, 02:16 PM   #11
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If the dorms are so dangerous, I wonder how long until your gun is stolen while you are out. Also, if it's lilke the dorm rooms I am familiar with you are never more than a few feet from the door and if someone bursts through it are you gong to have time to even grab a shotgun?
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Old August 15, 2012, 06:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by TheKlawMan View Post
If the dorms are so dangerous, I wonder how long until your gun is stolen while you are out. Also, if it's lilke the dorm rooms I am familiar with you are never more than a few feet from the door and if someone bursts through it are you gong to have time to even grab a shotgun?
The OP isn't in a dorm, he is in a house. Baylor doesn't allow guns in dorms, no colleges in Texas do. To the OP, no, IMO birdshot is not a good defensive load. Birdshot is for birds and should be left for birds. I would not use anything less than #4 buck for a defensive shotgun load.

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Old August 16, 2012, 01:27 AM   #13
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I see that I assumed it was a dorm, but he only referenced "student housing" and "housemates". If guns are not allowed in the dorms as you say, what makes you think they are allowed in student housing? The answer may depend on the exact wording of campus policy and whether housing is on campus or merely owned or operated by the institution.

I agree that birdhot is a poor defensive load and given the penetration issue resulting from having housemates #4 buck shot is a pretty good load. I hope the OP will not confuse #4 bird shot with #4 buck shot.
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Old August 16, 2012, 02:06 AM   #14
BillCA
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In a 20ga, #3 buck is most common but you can find #2 buck in some shops. I suggest #2 if you can find it. At short distances of smaller apartments/homes used for student housing, your pattern spread isn't going to be much. Rooms are what, 10x12 feet or 10x15? What's the longest range you'd have to cover? Perhaps 20-25 feet?

In 12ga you have more options. I'd suggest #4 buckshot for lower wall penetration or #1 Buckshot if necessary. If nothing else #00 buckshot. All these loads should be standard 2-3/4" loads (not 3" magnums). Low-recoil preferred.

It will be especially important to find a way to secure your shotgun against theft. That means more than just hiding it. Follow the link above to see one solution.

Even if you hide it, it does no good if you (or a roomie) let's it be known that you have a gun of any kind. Keep it to yourself. And while you're at it, don't forget you'll have to conceal those ammo boxes and/or spare shells. Nothing tells a thief you have a gun somewhere like finding the ammo. The same applies when you dispose of the shipping box for the gun. Cut it down and tape the pieces together with the logos and descriptions facing inside to prevent dumpster divers from finding it.
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Old August 16, 2012, 10:35 AM   #15
allaroundhunter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKlawMan View Post
I see that I assumed it was a dorm, but he only referenced "student housing" and "housemates". If guns are not allowed in the dorms as you say, what makes you think they are allowed in student housing? The answer may depend on the exact wording of campus policy and whether housing is on campus or merely owned or operated by the institution.
I am going out on a limb, being a college student myself, and saying that the OP is renting the house from someone completely unaffiliated with the University. Thereby, university policy has no standing. I could be wrong, but I do not believe Baylor has anything other than dorms (no other student housing), so I would have expected the OP to have said roommates or dormmates as opposed to housemates if he was going to be living on campus.

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Old August 17, 2012, 09:55 AM   #16
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AAH is right....no school-sponsored off-campus housing....just apartments & condos. University cops sometimes respond to off-campus calls to help Waco PD, but they can't enforce Baylor policy off-campus.

OP: make sure you get renter's insurance & list your firearms by serial number on it.
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