View Full Version : Shot vs Buck vs Slugs...

June 5, 2002, 08:14 AM
I've been rethinkin the SG as HD weapon and what ammo is appropriate. I used to think birdshot was a good choice (Hits like a slug out to 10 ft, no over penetration, misses less lethal due to light weight.) But the sheer number of pellets actually increases your chances of hitting something not intended on a miss/periphrial. So what if its a lightweight pellet that strikes a bystander, with all the lawyers nowadays, you'd still be toast.

Buckshot is great if you plant em' all in the perp or have multiple BG's to engage. But if some pellets miss, your still in the hotseat. With the armor available, while unlikely is still a factor to be considered. If the perps armored or out past 25-35 yds, it may not be an incapacitating hit.

Slugs extend the range somewhat and are devastating pretty much at any range. Misses of course can be critical to your neighbors or homes, so what to do? Simple, don't miss.

I've never heard of an extended engagement with a SG. One or two rounds and its over. In this light I've revised my thinking thusly, I used to think 00 Buck backed up by a couple slugs. Now I think at the most 2 rounds of 00 backed up by as many slugs as the SG will carry. If a home invasion you may need to punch thru the wall. If only one or two BG's the 2 rnds of 00 will suffice. If more rnds are needed escalation of range and power are in order so switch to slugs and don't miss. I like the idea of only having one projectile at a time to be accountable for.

Anyone see any holes in this logic? Opinions?

June 5, 2002, 12:34 PM
Why would you need to punch through walls if there is an intruder?

Of course if you miss and hit someone with any of this stuff you will probably kill or maim the other person.

I think birdshot is the best way to go. However, I use #4 shot turkey load because its cooler than any other reason.

Slugs are good for distance. However, unless you have a massive house why do you need to shoot that far?


Al Thompson
June 5, 2002, 12:43 PM
The only issue I see in one we can't help with. In your tactical planning, you have probably identified your bad guys avenue of approach and your probable engagement areas.

In my situation, two of three areas are backstopped by occupied homes. Given that I have never recovered a slug from a deer, I am not comfortable with slugs or buckshot in the 12 ga that is the primary response tool for that area. The third area has no homes, just forest. I could use something belt fed and have no worries.

That being my case, I also believe that the fight will be what it is, not neccessarily what I want it to be.

The primary loads in my two shotguns is high brass #2 bird shot. The sidesaddle has three rounds of # 4 buck and a couple of slugs for flexibility.

If you have a higher quality of construction than I do (Masonite siding in the 'hood) and more intervening cover, the one projo per trigger pull may make sense. Hard to tell over the net.....


June 5, 2002, 01:25 PM
Why would you need to punch through walls if there is an intruder?

Well, my home is older and very well constructed. SD is like playing chess, if I 'wait for proper positioning' (clear shot), I'll likely lose. If I keep the pressure on and be agressive, I'll likely win. Slugs give me this option.

you have probably identified your bad guys avenue of approach and your probable engagement areas.

Correct. My backyard is 30-35 yds long with plenty of intervening cover, garage corner, trees and such. If I unleash buckshot out the back,I'm almost guarenteed to miss some pellets and homes right across the alley. I'm more confident in my ability to hit with slugs at that range, than keeping all pellets accounted for at same range. (I suppose I should actually pattern buckshot at that range to be sure.)

Gotta go back to work. More later...

June 5, 2002, 03:31 PM
Edward, I think you are mistakenly figuring requirement for accurate shot placement is less critical with shot or buck.

I do not agree. At normal residential defence shooting distances, bird, buck or slug will all perform about like a .73 caliber rifle shooting an ounce bullet.

Advantage of shot....if you fail to stop the bad guy with a poor shot you are less likely to nail a neighbor or passerby.


June 5, 2002, 07:11 PM
Sellier & Belliot 3" magnum, 15 pellet 00 buck....Muzzle blast'll probably kill BG at less than 10 feet('course recoil might kill me!), spreads out nicely at 40-50 feet (so I don't have to aim carefully, if being shot at).... Between the walls of my old house and my neighbors (all 200+ ft away, free-fire zone in most directions) the pellets won't penetrate...And I've got a good lawyer (If I REALLY need to do this, I'm not that worried about collateral damage)...Mostly hit what you aim for.... And if many BGs, hard targets, vehicles... This'll keep their head down while I get a REAL gun(SKS-M, w/240 rds worth of loaded magazines)....

June 5, 2002, 08:01 PM
Edward, I think you are mistakenly figuring requirement for accurate shot placement is less critical with shot or buck

On the contrary Sam. I know that in a lot of peoples minds 'you dont have to aim with a SG cause it'll spread and get em anyway'...I dont like that mindset. When that little voice in the mind starts thinkin that way you just slip in a slug and then the little voice knows he better aim.;)

The problem is containg every single projectile. I got trees at about 20 yds and out at the fenceline at 37 yds. If I'm shootin 00 buck and he's out there aways even if I get a good COM hit I may still lose a pellet or two over their shoulder. I didnt pattern this barrel with buckshot yet, but was hittin one of those C-more targets (about 6"X6"?) at 60 yds with slugs real regularly. Out to 37 yds should be no sweat.

Besides, buckshot might have some trouble with the big old spruce trees branches hanging down that they wont let me trim. A couple buckshot first cause its likely to be real close and over fast followed by slugs. If I'm forced to actually fire a SG more than twice, Yeah, I think it makes sense to go to slugs.

June 5, 2002, 08:40 PM
I have no neighbors closer than 1 mile away, and I do not intend to ever discharge a 12 gauge slug in my household. I don't like the idea of a 500+ grain projectile crashing through every wall of my house with spouse and child possibly in its path. I have 3 1 1/8 oz. #8 trap loads in my 4 shot mag on my 870, with 3 00 9 pellet and 3 slugs on the side saddle. I can easily select the appropriate ammo as the situation dictates. One must also consider the legalities and moralities of "self-defense" when the assailant is nearly half a football field away from your home. Unless they are hosing your home with a machine gun, flame thrower, grenade launcher, etc., I think you might be on legally if not ethically shaky ground. Your justification for lethal force diminishes with every yard your target is away from your house.

June 5, 2002, 08:48 PM
I realize that. Its not like I'm lookin forward to the scenario or anything. Just tryin to cover all the bases and be prepared.

June 5, 2002, 09:49 PM
Edward.....sorry I cast a shadow on your intent to aim accurately.


Dave McC
June 6, 2002, 04:42 AM
Ladies and Gents, my $0.02....

First, Casa McC is a townhouse. My front and back "Yards" are about the same size each as my living room. IOW, a crisis hasn't got much room to happen in w/o being off our property. Ranges and time frames will be very short.

Second, there's at least one firearm operable by every adult here kept ready and hidden on each floor. Sorry, I don't reveal many details on a public bb.

The HD 870 is upstairs. It's for scenarios where the family is all upstairs and shots will be directed down the stairs and at a max distance of around 12 yards. The first two rounds up are 8s, at max distance they'll be either still in the wad or as a semi solid, fist sized mass. Naturally, I've patterned these and the other ammo.

Next up are some Estate 00. On the S/S there's a pair of slugs and mo' 00. All bases covered, tho it's difficult for me to imagine a crisis that will require slugs here and now.

My deer 870 serves as backup, and is stocked with 00. The paradigm here is I may have to shoot through the fridge, or a car door if the mess moves outside. I seriously doubt this will ever be needed, but I'm as fallible as the next man.

If the balloon really goes up and something hits the fan, it's time for the Hillbilly Assault rifle, my Model 94 thutty-thutty. Outside only, of course.


June 6, 2002, 07:16 AM
If you're planning on engaging the bad guy(s) in your back yard, you'd better be prepared to spend time in jail. I doubt a self defense plea would stand up unless the bad guy was actually inside your house.

June 6, 2002, 08:33 AM
Most states it depends on different factors (check the laws, they're out there)...If he's running away for example, you're absolutely correct....No self defense there!... But if he has a gun, for example, you can justifiably say you feared for your life, and it should hold up in court, particularly if he's shooting at you...A LEO was also telling me (a long time ago) about "fleeing felons" law...Something to the effect that it would be OK to shoot IF the BG had committed a felony, but I have no idea if this is legit, now, and still might be questionable, depending on circumstance...Not thinking your gonna go "Hey, was that a felony he committed, or just a misdemeanor..."! Heard of self-defense cases where one factor was the fact that BG had prefiously committed "violent" crimes, but you're not gonna know that either, unless you were familiar with him, from previous experience (possible)....

June 6, 2002, 08:37 AM
Sounds like some are taking this the wrong way. First off, I dont want to engage the BG's. I'd have to be forced into it. I don't want the legal ramifications, I know I'd end up in jail but it might be better than being dead. I dont want to go outside.

I'm just tryin to consider the worst case scenario and how it may or may not be wise to consider going to slugs at some point if that godawful scenario ever happened.

No slight to anyone. No flames. If my line of reasoning for going to slugs rather quickly isn't a bright idea, why not? I'm not puttin this down as gospel or anything, its just thoughts. Maybe I'm wrong. The very idea that I may be thinking wrongly on this was in my head when I started the thread. I can learn. Just need others thoughts to compare with my own.

June 6, 2002, 08:58 AM
You see, my previous line of reasoning was that SG's are pretty useless, except for skeet and bird hunting. If you cant do it with a handgun, you need a rifle. I've come around to the HD utility of SG's now and am working through the different options available.

Give a guy a break, huh?

Al Thompson
June 6, 2002, 09:13 AM
Edward, I completely agree with your forward thinking. Although I live in a crowded urban area, I know that from my house to the stop sign is 125 yards, front door to street is 20 yards, neighbor on the right sleeps at the opposite end of his house, etc., etc.

War gaming and "what if's" all serve to enhance your level of personal security. Close study of your surroundings lets you have a plan in advance if trouble happens.

A good example of this is the shift from carbines chambered for pistol calibers to carbines chambered for 5.56 after some forward thinking folks figured out that 5.56 with a SP/JHP actually penetrates less. Made me re-evaluate my Car-15 for HD.

BTW, the fleeing felon laws are (IIRC) completely gone. The test case was in my hometown in the '70's and that doctrine was scrapped.

June 6, 2002, 09:25 AM
A shotgun is perhaps the HD firearm.

One thing Edward, I'd really suggest patterning with whatever you want to try out, & that at expected ranges. Every 00 buck at 37 yards from every choke I've tried throws quite a few fliers off of center mass. I usually get patterns measured in 3-4 feet at 25 yards - some buck may be better. Gotta figure that 9-12 00 buck with a 4' pattern will dump at least half of that off target anywhere past 25

I think I get the mental exercize you're going through & nothing the matter with that at all. The point brought up about "every foot further away from your house .... ain't self defense" is a good one though.

Every home set-up is different, as you're well aware. Personally, I'll use #4 buck - a 2-3/4 load of 27 pellets as my main loading. I do have a couple Brenneke slugs as a stand-by. I don't want to use either (of course).

Max distance for a shot in-house for ours is just over 25 yards. Fliers could take out the big TV/stereo, a picture window, BIG sliding glass door & my PC (wah!, :eek: & ;) )

Only way to be sure what does what is to pattern at expected ranges - choke & load.

June 6, 2002, 12:41 PM
Labgrade brought up something that probably most of us know but have neglected to mention.

Pattern YOUR gun with different loads of each....bird and buck. Each gun will shoot tightest with it's own favorite load.

More shootin = more fun.

Also.....most guns will shoot higher with most slugs....but not always.


June 6, 2002, 07:01 PM
A shotgun is perhaps the HD firearm.

I agree with that for sure.

I guess I'm off to pattern some different loads this weekend. Maybe even some birdshot too just to see.

DaveMcC, you said something about elongating the forcing cone in the bbl to tighten up the pattern and I wonder if its been done already to my barrel. I bought it used (police trade in) from vang comp. Do the police do that type of thing to their SG's? Is there a way to check it?

I appreciate the legal type advice also but am more interested in choosing ballistically (?) appropriate loads for our piece of dirt. I have long since pondered the legal ramifications of shoot - dont shoot, when where why and all that and came to the realization that I dont really have to worry too much about it because I dont go off half cocked and no one has ever made me have to shoot them. But if they did it'd have to be justified.

About the only possible down side to using slugs that I can see is also what makes slugs good, penetration or too much of it.

Dave McC
June 6, 2002, 08:19 PM
Edward, the only agency weapons I ever saw with long cones were Fed, and most Fed weapons aren't, TTBOMK. The longer cones are quite obvious, once we know where to look and what to look for. Lessee if I can explain it.

Standard cones look like a ring, longer ones look like a cone. Seeing one of each should do. That help?

Since you bought it from Vang,a simple phone call should clear it up.

As for the mod, it's a nice to have with no downside besides the modest cost. It's not mandatory.

My TB hasn't been done, yet.

A standard cone runs about 7/8", and a longer one usually starts at 1 1/2" up to 5". The last may be overkill, a couple of good smiths tell me that 2" is about all that's needed. Beyond that, results are not obvious.

For comparison's sake,doing the cone on my oldest 870 took about 4" from duty buck patterns, IIRC. That's a chokeless bbl.

The reason the cone job works is that it reduces the deformation of the shot as it transits from the chamber to the bbl. The slight shortening of the pressure spike means a bit less free recoil. I doubt anyone can feel it but in combination with other stuff, it helps a bit.


June 6, 2002, 08:47 PM
Thanks for the tip. No cone there. Definite ring

4" for 40 bucks sounds tempting though. Might as well do a before and after since I'm goin up this sunday.

I cant find Brennekee slugs for sale anywhere in this town. Where to buy?

June 6, 2002, 09:46 PM

I think Dave meant that the cone job reduced buck pattern by 4", not to 4" ... as in from 20" to 16" (fer example).

Worse case, Jenson's (here in Loveland) has the PMC Brenneke's (1 oz at 1600 fps) for $2/5 pack ... shoot very nice.

Dave McC
June 7, 2002, 04:55 AM
Thanks, Lab, I wasn't clear on that.

Ed, a before and after may not give a true indication. The tightest patterning ammo before may not be the tightest after. Interior bbl ballistics for shotguns are as complicated as Italian politics...

Regardless of ammo, your shotgun will benefit from a cone job.

June 7, 2002, 07:56 AM
Yeah thanks. Thats what I thought, 4" shrinkage. Guess I wasn't clear. Maybe I'll wait until later this summer to get it done so I can pattern some different brands of buckshot.

They're charging 4 to 4.50 a box for slugs here in the springs. I thought the 2 buck a box slugs were long gone. Hafta stock up on my next trip to Ft. Collins.

June 8, 2002, 11:38 AM
My suggestion is to pick up a box of rubber buckshot, one where the bullets are marked less then leathal, at accross the room ranges this will kill, especially with head or neck shots, however a lawyer can't nail you for using buckshot on someones poor son who was only trying to pass out bibles at three in the morning with a glock. If it says less then leathal on the box it will look like you were just trying to defend yourself but not hurt anyone. as a bonus i don't think these rounds would penitrait a wall or if they did they wouldn't go far beyond.

June 8, 2002, 09:18 PM
Agree with Erick.
Three main things can happen with less lethal rounds. Two of them bad.

1....Stop or discourage bad guy
2....Kill or maim bad guy
3....Piss off bad guy and he kills you.


June 8, 2002, 09:30 PM
Third that motion....If you need to use a gun, ITS FOR REAL....Shoot to kill, when you have no other option....

Al Thompson
June 9, 2002, 08:49 AM
Last year local LEO were forced to kill a guy with a knife. They tried the less than lethal rounds at close range and had horrible results. The guy was apparently on something and his pain receptors were not impressed with the bean bag rounds.

June 10, 2002, 04:22 PM
Welp, got cheated outta goin shootin.
Helped my friend move some stuff around on his property which is pretty close to where that fire is burning up there in teller and park counties. 17000 acres gone last I heard and movin' fast.:(

Back on topic, no way would I ever use rubber anything or blanks. I can just hear the DA, "Oh so you admit you knew the situation didn't require a firearm when you loaded up with _____?...:eek: Conviction just waiting to happen.

Pray for rain in Colorado. Thanks.

Dave McC
June 10, 2002, 04:57 PM
Praying, Ed. Good luck.....

February 25, 2007, 04:32 PM
people type alot