View Full Version : Lightest load for a Home Defender?

March 20, 2005, 12:06 PM
After months of going back and forth with my Dad, we've finally agreed to get the Home Defender. I'm buying it really for him but much to my surprise he wants the six shot Remington 870 18," not the four shot. It surprised me because his permit restricts him to five shells but I guess if we move to a different city maybe his permit will be different...who knows...

Anyway, I don't want either of us to lose an arm praticing this at the range and I'd like it to be as pleasant as possible -- if shooting this can be considered "pleasant." What is the lightest load we can use at the range that will still be effective in the home? Thanks.


March 20, 2005, 01:03 PM
Remington has managed recoil Buckshot. Fine shot has low recoil too! Stay with 2 3/4in only unless you're a glutin for punishment ;)

Jim Watson
March 20, 2005, 01:04 PM
The various "tactical buckshot" loads are about the same ballistics (and recoil) as heavy trap loads. I would (DO!) keep them for home defense and practice/compete with the Walmart Federal Multi-Purpose shells. Look for 3 dram equivalent, 1 1/8 oz of shot for practice.

I have read all the stuff about the effectiveness of birdshot at close range and it does not impress. You cannot pick the conditions to suit your ammo.

I doubt you can get "tactical buckshot" at the local hardware or sporting goods store, they will have only the maximum load hunting ammo. Ammoman will not ship to Mass any more (You are in Boston, aren't you?) and I can't get online at Cheaperthandirt.com today.

March 20, 2005, 01:08 PM
My Home Defense 870 has two rounds of #8 Skeet loads in first...One in the chamber and one as the last one loaded in the mag. Followed by #4 Buck.

The skeet loads will stop most any threat. If it continues, the Buck will put them down.

Allows you to tell the police that you just grabbed your "target shooting gun" to do in the bad guy.....Be sure to shuck all buckshot from the magazine as you call 9-1-1......Doc

March 20, 2005, 01:17 PM
Massachusetts can't get anything online. I know some people think we can, but no, we really can't so I've given up on that end. I just want something effective in the home (which I'm sure will be damn near anything in a shotgun load) but still be able to have fun. Are the shotgun shells expensive to get? This will be my first shotgun so I've no idea what to expect all around.

March 20, 2005, 02:21 PM
try 1oz of 7 1/2 in a 2 3/4 shell. i patterned my 870 with the 7 1/2 at home defense ranges and it all goes into basically one hole made by the shot cup.

i definitely would not want to be shot with it.

March 20, 2005, 03:09 PM
There are two (relatively inexpensive) things you can do to both reduce recoil and have an effective HD load.

First, buy one of Remington's new R3 recoil pads.
This is a new elastomer pad that reduces felt recoil by as much as 30%.
These can be had for around $25.00 from Midway USA and other suppliers.
Shotgun users are RAVING about how effectively these new type pads reduce the pounding of shotguns.

Second, buy the reduced recoil buckshot loads.
These are made by most ammo companies, and like all buckshot, can be bought in 5 round packs, or 25 round boxes.

While slightly more expensive than cheap field loads, they aren't so expensive you can't afford to buy plenty of them.

Reduced recoil rounds reduce the amount of recoil by as much as 40%, while still being as effective as standard buckshot loads at closer ranges.

The reduced recoil loads were developed for use by women and smaller men in law enforcement.
Due to the punishing recoil of standard loads, many smaller officers weren't using the shotgun as much as they should.

The reduced recoil ammo is as effective at the typical ranges a police or HD shotgun is used at, but doesn't pound the shooter nearly as badly.

Most gun shops now stock reduced recoil ammo, or will order it for you. As an example of cost, Midway USA sells 5 round packs of Remington Reduced Recoil buckshot for $2.89 a pack, or $50.00 for a 100 round package.

That's affordable, and most gun shops won't charge too much over that.

For simple practice at less cost and even less recoil, buy the cheap "Dove & Quail" Field loads all gun shops and Wal-Mart stores sell.
These are very cheap, and have very light recoil.
DO NOT use these light, "bird shot" loads for HD.

March 20, 2005, 03:17 PM
Thanks! :) I really should get the recoil pad because with my father's arthritis, his shoulders ache from time to time. I just don't want to be knocked on my behind, and being a small woman, it's intimidating. If it were me, I'd just get the 870 26" but this is all his idea. I don't want him injured though trying to enjoy it and want the lightest loads I can find. Thanks for thelp.

March 20, 2005, 03:24 PM
Get the SVL recoil pad. Far more softer than Pachmayr pads. They cost about $30.00

March 20, 2005, 03:26 PM
Where can I find that pad? You got a link? Thanks. :)

Jim Watson
March 20, 2005, 04:20 PM
Geez what a repressive tyranny. As Jerry Pournelle says: Once we were free.

Surely you have a reliable dealer who stocks or will get you stuff.

Short lesson in shotgun shells, skip if you know it already.
Shotshells are rated by three numbers.
1. Powder charge is usually given in "dram equivalent" just as though they were still loaded with black powder. 3 DE is plenty. If given in velocity, 1150 or 1200 fps is enough. "Tactical", "Reduced Recoil", "Light" or "Lite" is great. Avoid "Max."

2. Shot charge in ounces of birdshot. 1 1/8 oz is 12 gauge standard. 1 1/4 oz is rather a lot, 1 ounce is either an "Extra Light" target load or a discount store load. 7/8 oz is a cheap and nasty promotional load, it will have a heavy powder charge to function autoloaders and so will not have less recoil.
Buckshot is listed by count. Usually eight .36" OOO or nine .33" OO, maybe one less in "tactical" down to 24 or more .24" #4 Buck.

3. Shot size. Smaller number is larger size; subtract the size of birdshot from 17 to get the diameter in hundreths of an inch. Buckshot is different, No 4 Buck is about .24", No 4 Shot is .13" diameter.

I repeat, check out Walmart for Multipurpose or Allpurpose shells. They are usually 3 dram 1 1/8 oz of No 7 1/2 or 8 shot. Many people think they are adequate for defense, they are fine for practice. If you want something nicer quality, get Winchester AA or Remington Premiere STS target loads. If you want something that kicks even less, get Extra Light target loads or one ounce target loads. Their quality is great. About $5 or $6 a box of 25.

I would still see if Friendly Local Overregulated Dealer would get me some Tactical Buckshot about as powerful as those target loads, though.

March 20, 2005, 06:03 PM
Managed recoil loads have been shown to be quite effective for home defense ,that's all you need.