View Full Version : home defense barrel chokes

August 12, 2000, 07:01 AM
I have heard a lot lately about tightening up the spread of the shot for what I thought was home defense shotguns. I have a cylinder bored barrel. Here is my question. I thought that in using a shotgun for home defense I am trying to give my self as big of a hit area as I can, am I all backwards on this? My thoughts are that if the pattern of the shotgun is full to the max I may have used a rifle or hangun. I want a hd shotgun to give me a little help in a stressful situation. The longest distance I will ever have to shoot inside is 10yds max. My way of thinking is to use federal personal defense shells. These are supposed to expand quicker. They do. I have patterned them for 10yds and I get an 9-11" circle well within the width of a facing persons body. I feel when the shotgun is needed I will be quite excited and the long gun to hold with two hands should give more stability. Also as I said I want the pattern to help to if my shot was not too hot or if the object moves. Would you guys give me your thoughts on what I've said. This is for a hd situaton only. Last thing some people talk about chasing outside and still firing at a greater range. I don't think that is a good idea. You don't know if the object had any help waiting outside. You have goten the object out of your house and in my state the police do not take very kindly to people chasing intruders outside and finishing them off. You would probably be shooting at their back side, well thats something else...

Looking for any thoughts

[This message has been edited by curious (edited August 12, 2000).]

Bennett Richards
August 12, 2000, 10:09 AM
VangComp is the ONLY way to go!

Ask anyone that owns one!


Dave McC
August 12, 2000, 07:47 PM
The big advantage to a shotgun for HD is not spread, at typical HD ranges the load hits as a solid/near solid mass,regardless of choke. 00 from my HD 870 runs about 5 inches at 10 yards.

The advantage is the massive amounts of energy dumped into the target, shotguns come as close to a sure stopper as anything this side of crew served weapons, or nukes.

Regardless of choke,load, or addons, a shotgun must be AIMED in a HD situation to be

IMO, you'd be better off finding a load that patterns tightly,and working on your chops to make you and your shotgun work best together.

Oleg Volk
August 13, 2000, 12:27 AM
I found that each load has a spread/no spread range. With #7 birdshot, my 20ga cylinder bore gives a ragged hole up to 10ft or so. After that, it opens up fast, losing penetration but gaining coverage.

August 13, 2000, 06:54 AM
I just want to clarify some things. This is for home defense. I am not concerned with anything beyond 10 yds for my first few shots. 25yds or more is somehting I will not see for the initial firing. I also said that I do believe that in my state chasing someone outside greatly increases any chance of getting into far more serious trouble with the law. I have #4 tactical buckshot and a few slugs on a butt stock shell holder if in some unusual case I was outside or needed longer range. I have patterned my gun and for my way of thinking. This is how it is set up. The first shot (which will probably end a hd situation) I want some spread. I will probably be half asleep and questioning "is this really happening". This is why I feel more spread will help. I do understand what you are saying about too much spread and of course I must aim well no matter what. I do understand the limitations of federal personal defense shells. Very close range. Thank you very much for your helpful info!


Badger Arms
August 13, 2000, 01:39 PM
Curious. You've put lots of thought into this but there needs to be a dose of reality here. Shotguns do not spread any appreciable amount in a home. Unless you live in a mansion, you are looking at an average of about 8-12 feet for typical shots. Any more and the threat is really not so much of a threat. At any of these ranges (generally below 5 yards) the shotgun will dump all of its pelets in a neat little pocket. You will need to shoulder the gun and point it at the center of mass. If the threat is close, you are talking point-blank anyhow so jam the muzzle and yank the trigger.

I think you miss the point with any discussion about choke. Even the widest choke will not make up for pointing errors in HD situations. Your biggest asset will be your situational awareness -- is it a friend or foe -- and your willingness to kill your adversary. A case or two of shotshells at the range or in the field should give you a good idea of what your gun is capable of.

sabot slug
August 13, 2000, 03:32 PM
Assuming you don't livee in a hundred yard cavern, but live within a home much like most of the rest of us do, you should have NO concern about the pattern, as the shot will not have the distance involved to disassociate itself too much at all! Your greater concern will be in making the shot hit at all during a fire-fight as your aim will be more critically important! DO BE AWARE of those whom you love being on the other side of a wall you may be shooting at, thus, the type of shot/load potentially heading in that direction!

August 13, 2000, 06:02 PM
Thanks for all the help. I think after being hit over the head 3 or 4 times it is starting to sink in and make sense. If this is so would a magnum load be best or is it not worth the recoil and over penetration?
(my understanding of a magnum is that it has more lead than a regular shell).

Dave McC
August 14, 2000, 07:18 AM
Shoot a perp at close to contact ranges with anything, he will be unable to tell if it's a Magnum or a light trap load. The lighter loads are easier on you, and shot to shot recovery(in the case of multiple assailants) is faster.

Say you use a field load of #6 shot. At close range it's acting like a solid bullet, of 75 caliber,moving between 1100 and 1300 FPS.On impact, it acts like one of those high priced Glaser Safety slugs.

August 14, 2000, 10:30 AM
Agree with Dave, all you need is a standard (or reduced recoil) 2.75" load. Magnum power is not necessary with a 12 bore.

Cf. Suarez's "The Tactical Shotgun" for more info on defensive ammunition.


Justin T. Huang, Esq.
late of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Badger Arms
August 15, 2000, 12:44 AM
Magnums are fine but not necessary. If you can handle the magnum, use it. I use 12 pellet OO buck for the most part. It's a 2 3/4" Magnum load. That means more rounds in a mag or a less-stressed spring. Either way is good for your gun.