View Full Version : A Weird Idea for a Defensive Shotgun Load...

Christopher II
June 11, 2002, 12:41 PM
Okay, last night I was discussing this with caliban over spinach and artichoke dip and beer. It seemed like a good idea at the time, so know, in the sober light of dawn, I cast it out to you for your ideas.

The basic concept is a very lightweight shotgun slug formed out of Delrin or some other high-impact plastic. Rifled slug, of course, with a big fat hollowpoint. Say, 0.3 oz. going out at 2500+fps.

The intent is to have a single shotgun projectile that provides a great deal of wounding potential to an adversary (massive expansion, lots of frontal area even if not expanded,) but that loses most of its effectiveness beyond 40-50 yards or upon impact with a wall, etc.

The advantages that I see are greatly reduced penetration against hard targets, less overpenetration than standard rifled slugs, and not having the multi-shot liability issues associated with buckshot. While retaining sufficent terminal effect and range to win a pistol fight.

So, any thoughts? Should I break out the reloader?

- Chris

June 11, 2002, 01:31 PM
Not crazy at all; Richard Davis used this same idea for a handgun load, and came up with "Thunderzap" rounds. I think this would be one hell of a short-range defensive load, and would make a HUGE temporary cavity. I've got a reloader, maybe I should...

June 11, 2002, 03:42 PM
Good idea..Would think choice of material would be critical, to get desired properties, though

Al Thompson
June 11, 2002, 04:33 PM
SDC has it nailed down. I actually found some Thunderzaps Monday. (bought a couple of packs when I lived in the burbs)Strange that it should come up again.

FWIW, I think it's a great idea. I've also fired some of the German 7.62 training rounds and they worked well at 25 yards, out of steam by 100 yards. I think it would be a heck of a tool if some of the problems encountered by Second Chance could be worked out in advance.

I read somewhere that the Thunderzap bullets were pretty weak. Apparently the material used tended to shred in penetration tests. The Thunderzaps also had a pressure problem - tied up my M60 S&W bigtime. I was not too keen on the wildly different POI/POA issues either.

Seems to me you could almost stay with the shuttle appearance of a standard Foster type slug. Make it out of a high impact nylon or something more exotic. The powder needed to get the high velocity may be a real challenge as it was for the Thunderzap.


June 11, 2002, 05:46 PM
The Thunderzaps I tried were won in Trivia Competition at the old Second Chance Bowling Pin Match. Out of my snubnose revolver they shot way low. Adjustable sights might be a good thing to have on the shotgun you fire plastic slugs through.

June 11, 2002, 05:48 PM
3/4" Delrin stock, a lathe & you should be well on your way. Oh yaeh black Delrin - for that tactical look. ;)

Dinkin' with the tail end (forester-like) ought to eventually provide the best base seal.

Shawn Dodson
June 11, 2002, 07:02 PM
Personally, I'd like to see a 7/8 oz. 12 gauge Quik-Shok slug.

Dave McC
June 11, 2002, 07:21 PM
Good idea, Shawn. How about a 5/8-3/4 oz full wadcutter hollow base,hollow point where both ends are identical? Pure lead, of course...

Easy to mold. We can control expansion by the thickness of the lead at the ends of the projectile, kinda a Minie effect.

Push this out of the muzzle around 1000 FPS for controllability.

June 11, 2002, 11:00 PM
Wondering if something like that, Dave, might tumble.

The "either end" idea sounds good (same as with a bevel-base wadcutter), but what about a final op to swag a wad on the back as a stabilizer? Any kind of stock wads available the one could jig the wab/sug combo & then run in through a simple sizing die to swag the base wad on? Kinda like a Brenneke ...

Drop a glass marble (Cat's Eye, of course) in the front as an expander ....

June 12, 2002, 12:37 AM
Have a few more beers and bust out that reloader! :D

Dave McC
June 12, 2002, 04:14 AM
Back before high performance ammo for the 38 SPecial was common, and before Ayoob et al convinced us handloads were a nono, a common carry round was a HB wadcutter inverted in the case over a moderate charge of Unique. Wet paper performance was incredible.

The load shot fine in some revolvers, horribly in others. A 2" bbled model 10 I had at the time would fire 3" groups at 25 yards from a rest, but the HBWCs all keyholed a bit.

As for swaging on a wad, no prob for a better engineer than I.

A couple other ideas for HD loads, more user friendly than those used at present but still quite effective, are.....

A load with 6 00 at 1300 FPS.SWEG, about 75% of typical free recoil.

A 2/3 oz load of #2 bird shot, in a wad/shot cup designed to keep the lead in until impact, then fragment.To further drop penetration, use steel 2s or lead 4s.A Glazer on steroids as it were.


June 15, 2002, 11:44 AM
and tried this:

Steel ball bearings in the cup? I dunno how many would fit, but lets say the 1/4" balls (equivalent diameter to 3Buckshot) for smaller gauges, and maybe 3/8" (.375in. equivalent to a bigger 000Buckshot) in big gauges?
It would be lighter than lead, so it would be ALOT faster, and the leaflets of the cup would protect your barrel.
And it would penetrate from here to breakfast!

(and be environmentally PC)

Anyone ever tried this?

Dave McC
June 15, 2002, 02:28 PM
Why not?

Shotgun ammo, IMO, is entering a really exciting period. One can, through the massive amount of info and components available, tailor a load exactly for a given mission.

Disclaimer, stick to the loading manuals when working up a new load. If you blow up yourself, shotgun or house, it's on you.

June 18, 2002, 09:43 AM
how about saboting (is that a word?) a REEEALLLY light slug in a big ol 12ga. Say a soft cast lead 45 with a great big hollowpoint, not that little divet in the factory slugs.
That would seem to produce a reduced penetration slug, with big expansion.
I dont know what size sabot would fit in a 12ga and be 45 caliber, though. anyone know?

June 18, 2002, 10:27 AM
i wonder what noodling with carbon fiber placement in a metal matrix might yield.

One could engineer a high density penetrator with an integral sabot that separated and fragmented on impact

the sabot matrix could contain bonus binary payload vacuoles

Saboted Payload Penetrator Liquid Aramid Terminator

The SPPLAT round

June 18, 2002, 11:57 AM
and they say kids are dangerous! :-p now your giving me all these ideas, just gotta get a reloader ;) of course i'll be careful

June 18, 2002, 12:01 PM
forgot to mention, i'll keep this thread "confidential" here when i go for my reloading training as a jr leader this fall with a person going to get certified as a leader so i'll be the first for our county to be trained for it, we can reload our shotgun shells in front of an instructor, or me i guess, at the "practice" in this discipline, and shoot them at competitions, very nice

Mike Irwin
June 18, 2002, 03:17 PM
"The Thunderzaps also had a pressure problem - tied up my M60 S&W bigtime."

Sounds almost like it was a LACK of pressure problem due to a very light projectile.

Primer backs out on firing, but the case doesn't set back enough to reseat the primer...

Al Thompson
June 18, 2002, 04:31 PM
Thanks Mike, should have made it clear. Had to punch out the empties with a nail. The cylinder revolved fine, the empties would not extract.

Strangely enough, IIRC, they worked fine in my Security-Six.

Mike Irwin
June 19, 2002, 02:32 PM

That is weird.

Ben Swenson
June 19, 2002, 04:24 PM
I'd like to see a 12 guage IQ load (You know, that funky Aguila handgun ammo - the stuff they bill as being "smart").

Since they're made from a very light alloy and have an enormous hollow point, I'm sure you could get them running pretty fast. I'll have to email them and see if they plan on offering something like this.

emailed them and they say that they are not planning on offering this "at this time" but "perhaps in the near future."

For what it may be worth.

June 20, 2002, 02:22 PM
I know absolutely nothing about reloading, so if this would destory a barrel or maim the user - take it easy on me! Here goes -

has anyone tried loading buckshot without a buffer and using, say, birdshot as a buffer material instead? for use as a home defense round, I think that this would be devastating. At close range it would basically be like a big slug but at farther ranges you would have the performance of buck shot (with the added advantage of all those little pellets too). Good idea? Insane? Just won't work? Waste of time? I've been curious about this for a while.

June 23, 2002, 07:35 AM

I have what I call a General Purpose Varmit Round (GPVR). It is a 2 3/4" AA hull, WAA12R wad, 3/4 oz of #6 lead and topped off with 6 .31" lead balls. I use surplus pulldown powder, so I won't mention charge weights here.

Pattern of the buckshot is much tighter than an un buffered 12 pellet load, and the #6 shot gives adequate pattern density for snakes and rodents.

Shotshells are a lot of fun to experiment with, just remeber to change only one variable at a time and start slow/work up gradually.

June 23, 2002, 09:03 PM

unfortunately, I don't have the capability to reload (yet?). Does anyone manufacture anything like this? I'd like to try something like this out!

June 23, 2002, 11:40 PM
bikeguy, pick up a lee load all shotgun loader, 39 bucks last I seen them, that's what i use, My favorite buckshot load is a 2 3/4" hull with a standard birdshot cup loaded with 8 pelets of 000 buck buffered with number 4 shot, It is a great round , patterns pretty much in the middle between the hardened plated buffered premium buck shot and the cheap soft unbuffered stuff and costs less then either to load. i keep the powder charge down to limit my recoil, No chronograph but i'de say probably 1000 fps , still plenty enough to ruin your day. Someone was talking about plastic slugs before, has anyone tried taking a standard bird shot wad, wrapping the outside of the fingers (sealed cup) with masking tape and filling it with epoxy blended with no 12 birdshto, after it sets, remove the tape(as much as possable) and load, Could work, expecially in a rifled bore like a glaser safety slug, not sure, possable watermelon tests. as in any ammo related post, use common sense, if it sounds like a bad idea it probably is, Play at your own risk!

June 24, 2002, 10:47 PM
Long ago, I melted the lead out of some 158 gr SP .357 mag bullets (in casting pot) & then filled the empty jackets with #6 shot. A dab of silicon closed the wound. Poor man's MagSafe round.

Loaded 'em up & did some pretty informal testing & no chrony. Results seemed to be in the ballpark of MagSafe's own, but again, really zip for test data = all anecdotal.

Don't see why a shot cup couldn't be suitably "statisized" a la MagSafe.

1 oz of #4 (hell anything!) coming apart just after contact should be devestating.

Andrew Wyatt
June 24, 2002, 11:20 PM
has anyone tried loading an aluminum slug or buckshot?