View Full Version : BB Shot Vs Buckshot

Narcoleptic Warrior
November 6, 2006, 05:52 AM
I live in the suburbs of my country's capital city and using the layout of my front/back yards and my house, the longest distance for a home defense shot is 15 meters.

With this in mind, I have considered the two following loads for use in my 12ga shotgun.

Winchester Ranger 2 3/4" high velocity shells loaded with 1 1/8 oz of BB shot at 1350ft/s?

Winchester super X 2 3/4" shells loaded with 00 buck?

The ranger shells cost US$0.26/shell while the super X shells cost US$0.79/shell.

Which shell kicks harder? I can just about tolerate the kick of the BB shells and don't think I can handle anything heavier in recoil.

Based on 1) recoil, 2) cost and 3) close range effectiveness, which load should I choose?

November 6, 2006, 11:34 AM
You MUST tolerate the recoil somehow because #00-buck is the better choice here...you're in trouble if you can't.

But to reduce said recoil, add a recoil-reducing stock or add weight to your gun, but you DO need to deal with the recoil somehow as the heavier 00-buck is the better choice due to the range. If it were inside a home/room, that's be a different story but shooting outside from within your house -- that could happen in my HD case, too -- use 00-buck.

Besides, how many rounds of 00-buck do you think you'll be firing in a HD scenario? Probably not many -- which means not a lot of recoil to deal with -- and under stress when shooting ANY gun, most people don't even remember the recoil afterwards.

Good luck,

-- John D.

P.S. If cost of ammo is a problem, get into reloading, which has other benefits other than reducing ammo costs.


November 6, 2006, 11:43 AM
00 Buck.

November 6, 2006, 01:06 PM
Reduced recoil 00 buck has been shown to be effective for HD. Going outside the house is not going to be considered SD in my opinion.

November 6, 2006, 01:34 PM
Try some #4 buckshot at the range. I personally think that's about the best. Plenty of carnage for the BG, but not too likely to over-penetrate and hurt someone else.

November 6, 2006, 03:10 PM
I think that #4 buck would do very well at close ranges and still penetrate far enought to reach the vitals. it would also be less likely to go through several walls like 00 buck. Don't worry about the kick, it you ever have to use the shotgun in a real situation you won't notice it at all.

Lee Lapin
November 6, 2006, 03:34 PM

Make sure your shotgun fits you properly, and that your form/gun mount etc. are good. If you don't have friends or family members to help you, look for a gun club, hunter safety course, NRA basic training course (see http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/basictraining.asp to locate a class) or the like, to make sure you get your basics nailed down correctly.

Find yourself some light- recoiling birdshot loads (7/8 ounce, 1 ounce max) to use, to train and practice with your shotgun. Heavy loads at high velocities are going to hurt and that's not necessary for learning to run the gun.

Do look at getting some reduced recoil buckshot to use as a defensive load if recoil is a problem for you. Use some of that in practice also so that you have confidence in your ability to control it and hit with it.

Train safe- Stay safe,


November 6, 2006, 05:10 PM
The buckshot is going to kick harder, but they're not going to give you the spread target loads will. Get some slugs and let me know how they are:D, I love shooting the 2-3/4 "sluggers" out of my remington 18".

November 6, 2006, 05:18 PM
Lee Lapin, I don't think they have the NRA in other countries. It's the National Rifle Association, not the International Rifle Association.

November 6, 2006, 05:25 PM
Dave, do you need a laxative? :)

November 6, 2006, 10:34 PM
I found that 2 3/4" is faster than 3". the # 4 is good also. My Mav 88 with a 22" likes them.

November 6, 2006, 11:13 PM

In a SHTF situation (or in France where Islamists riot with impunity) -- where there is no law -- all bets are off...do whatever you need to do. Repelling boarders -- shooting out your windows at punks in the yard -- is quite acceptable.

And here in Texas, someone engaged at night even in criminal mischief -- like trying to break into your car -- can be shot that way at a distance.

So expand your mind a bit and consider the possibilities.

-- John D.

November 6, 2006, 11:53 PM
I was curious as to how 00 Buckshot performed at longer ranges. One day at my friends farm we were shooting my .308 at about 100-125 yards at a wooden pallet with a police training target stapled to the front. I shot a 3in Magnum 00 Buckshot load out of my 28in Rem 870 and all but three projectiles (12 out of 15) landed on target (that is actually hit the bad guy on the target). This coupled with the fact that it knocked the pallet over coupled with the rounds short range destruction make it my #1 choice for HD.

November 6, 2006, 11:58 PM
:D What can you say to that! Seriously though! Tell me more about this. I don't live in Texas but it sounds interesting!

November 7, 2006, 01:49 AM
England has an NRA. But yeah, not doing much there except begging the Man for some special permits to hold events.

I'm proud to be uncivilized in that sense.

Oh yeah 00 Buckshots rule. The deers I took with my shotgun didn't complain.:D

Lee Lapin
November 7, 2006, 11:48 AM
Thank you, Dave.

Perhaps you could tell me what country NW is posting from?


November 7, 2006, 12:45 PM

For your reading enjoyment...



Page 57:

in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in
using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably
believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate
the other's trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the
(b) A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible, movable
property by another is justified in using force against the other when
and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately
necessary to reenter the land or recover the property if the actor
uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit after the dispossession
(1) the actor reasonably believes the other had no claim of right
when he dispossessed the actor; or
(2) the other accomplished the dispossession by using force,
threat, or fraud against the actor.

justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible,
movable property:
(1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under
Section 9.41; and
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly
force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary,
robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal
mischief during the nighttime; or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing
burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime
from escaping with the property; and
(3) he reasonably believes that:
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by
any other means; or
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover
the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial
risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Now, some people will say that shooting people over theft is excessive. I say that's their opinion. Mine is it's not and good riddance to the punks/gangsters/thieves.

The concept that everyone's life is "sacred" and actually worth something is pure BS...not street-reality at all.

Regardless, some people ask, "Is your TV set (for example) worth someone's life?"

I say, "Yes, it is. Contrary to ignorant popular belief, lots of people's lives -- criminals for example -- aren't worth crap, so yes, my TV set IS worth more."


Each of us has to decide whether to shoot or not re: criminal mischief or theft (at night) in Texas...I choose to shoot. So please, no lectures about consequences...I couldn't care less about the aftermath, court appearances, being arrested, whatever. And being a former combat vet, I lose no sleep over taking out the trash.

Others can do as they wish, but they shouldn't second-guess those of us who will shoot, and who take the "war on crime" seriously....unlike most two-faced wimp BS politicians.

This so-called "war on crime" we all hear about is really a big joke just like "the war on drugs" is.

But not at my house.

-- John D.

November 7, 2006, 01:01 PM
Thank you for putting in words what I was thinking.

November 7, 2006, 03:00 PM
Amen to everything you just said. All I can say was I wish I lived in Texas.

November 7, 2006, 03:51 PM

November 7, 2006, 06:33 PM
for a shot load to kill, you need one of two things. Luck, in a pellet or two finding a vital spot, or penetration, to make your own luck. BB won't penetrate like the heavier buck shot will.
I don't know of any military or police unit that issues BB to the guys and gals. There has to be a reason.

November 7, 2006, 07:12 PM
Ok...Here's some info that I have collected. I don't know how accurate any of the info is as I am not at any of the testing sites. You read and you decide. I hunted as a youth and I still like to shoot stuff on an ongoing basis, so I know a bit about what shotgun shells do. I'll give you some snips with the URL. Please go to the pages and read what they have to say, then get some shot shells and go shoot some stuff. You'll figure it out. Shooting is experiential...

Shotgun Pellet Wound Ballistics
A shotgun pellet produces wound trauma by crushing the tissue it comes into direct contact with as it penetrates. In order to produce wound trauma that will be effective in quickly stopping an attacker, the pellets must penetrate his body deeply enough to be able to pass through a vital cardiovascular structure and cause rapid fatal hemorrhage to quickly deprive the brain of oxygenated blood needed to maintain consciousness.

Shotgun pellets are classified into two general categories: 1) birdshot, of which individual pellets are typically less than .20 caliber in diameter, and 2) buckshot, which varies in diameter from .24 caliber to .36 caliber...
...Birdshot, because of its small size, does not have the mass and sectional density to penetrate deeply enough to reliably reach and damage critical blood distribution organs. Although birdshot can destroy a great volume of tissue at close range, the permanent crush cavity is usually less than 6 inches deep, and this is not deep enough to reliably include the heart or great blood vessels of the abdomen. A gruesome, shallow wound in the torso does not guarantee a quick stop, especially if the bad guy is chemically intoxicated or psychotic. If the tissue crushed by the pellets does not include a vital cardiovascular structure there's no reason for it to be an effective wound...
...Many people load their shotguns with birdshot, usually #6 shot or smaller, to minimize interior wall penetration. Number 6 lead birdshot, when propelled at 1300 fps, has a maximum penetration depth potential of about 5 inches in standard ordnance gelatin. Not all of the pellets penetrate this deeply however; most of the shot will penetrate about 4 inches...
Number 1 buck is the smallest diameter shot that reliably and consistently penetrates more than 12 inches of standard ordnance gelatin when fired at typical shotgun engagement distances. A standard 2 ¾-inch 12 gauge shotshell contains 16 pellets of #1 buck. The total combined cross sectional area of the 16 pellets is 1.13 square inches. Compared to the total combined cross sectional area of the nine pellets in a standard #00 (double-aught) buck shotshell (0.77 square inches), the # 1 buck shotshell has the capacity to produce over 30 percent more potentially effective wound trauma.

In all shotshell loads, number 1 buckshot produces more potentially effective wound trauma than either #00 or #000 buck. In addition, number 1 buck is less likely to over-penetrate and exit an attacker's body.

For home defense applications a standard velocity 2 ¾-inch #1 buck shotshell (16 pellet payload) from Federal, Remington or Winchester is your best choice. We feel the Federal Classic 2 ¾-inch #1 buck load (F127) is slightly better than the same loads offered by Remington and Winchester. The Federal shotshell uses both a plastic shot cup and granulated plastic shot buffer to minimize post-ignition pellet deformation, whereas the Remington and Winchester loads do not.

Second best choice is Winchester's 2 ¾-inch Magnum #1 buck shotshell, which is loaded with 20 pieces of copper-plated, buffered, hardened lead #1 buckshot. For those of you who are concerned about a tight shot pattern, this shotshell will probably give you the best patterning results in number 1 buck. This load may not be a good choice for those who are recoil sensitive.

Third choice is any standard or reduced recoil 2 ¾-inch #00 lead buckshot load from Winchester, Remington or Federal.

If you choose a reduced recoil load or any load containing hardened Magnum #00 buckshot you increase the risk of over-penetration because these innovations assist in maintaining pellet shape integrity. Round pellets have better sectional density for deeper penetration than deformed pellets.

Fourth choice is any 2 ¾-inch Magnum shotshell that is loaded with hardened, plated and buffered #4 buckshot. The Magnum cartridge has the lowest velocity, and the lower velocity will help to minimize pellet deformation on impact. The hardened buckshot and buffering granules also help to minimize pellet deformation too. These three innovations help to maximize pellet penetration. Number 4 hardened buckshot is a marginal performer. Some of the hardened buckshot will penetrate at least 12 inches deep and some will not...


Shotgun Terminal Ballistics

..."A large slow projectile will crush a large amount of tissue, whereas a small fast missile with the same kinetic energy will stretch more tissue but crush less. If the tissue crushed includes the wall of a large blood vessel, far more damaging consequences are likely to result than if this vessel absorbs the same amount of energy in being stretched or temporarily displaced by cavitation."

The key in selecting effective wounding ammunition for deployment in a tactical shotgun is to balance the desire for multiple projectiles (higher first round hit probability) with each projectile's inherent capability to effectively wound. Hopefully our gelatin tests listed lower provide you with a bit more information to effectively evaluate the myriad of ammunition available as it relates to your own requirements...


Wound Profile Illustrations

..."The wound profile was developed at the Letterman Army Institute of Research in order to measure the amount, type, and location of tissue disruption produced by a given projectile, and to present the data in a standardized, easy to understand picture.

"The entire missile path is captured in one or more 25 x 25 x 50 cm blocks of 10% ordnance gelatin at 4°C. The penetration depth, projectile deformation and fragmentation pattern, yaw, and temporary cavity of the missile in living anesthetized swine tissue are reproduced by this gelatin. Measurements are taken from cut sections of the blocks after mapping of the fragmentation pattern with biplaner x-rays. These data are then reproduced on a life sized wound profile which includes a scale to facilitate measurement of tissue disruption dimensions, a drawing of the loaded cartridge case before firing, the bullet weight and morphology before and after firing (and calculated percent of fragmentation), and the striking velocity...


Finally two sites about shooting stuff...



I load Number 1 Buck, and I'm stickin to it...so that's my vote.

November 7, 2006, 10:52 PM
Look at the link you provided that contains ballistics_shotgun and click on it. There are gelatin results for pellets here from #8 bird to 00 buck. There is data for lead BB shot and they say it is perhaps the perfect balance of pellet count (which increase the probability of hitting a vulnerable spot) and penetration for SHORT range work. Home defense should be short range work.

From looking at those tests, the debate for me would be whether #2 lead was suitable or not. If you're expecting leather clad bikers, I'd move up to the larger buck sizes. Aim for the face, and #2 would probably get the job done.

I'm not so sure a full 12" of penetration is required for a shotgun. Others have said vitals are typically at least 6" deep, so to me that would be the absolute minimum penetration you want for all pellets (and perhaps an average penetration of 9 to 11 inches would be a good indicator of this). I do believe though that full penetration is more effective for stoping power. However, that may not be desired in a home defense load.

November 8, 2006, 12:30 AM
The trick is finding lead BB shot commercially. All the BB I have encountered recently is steel.
"...We feel lead BB has it's place, being a reasonable balance of penetration and pellet count. That being said, it is not recommended for medium range work. #4 buckshot is the minimum pellet size we recommend for general tactical applications..."

Go buy some, shoot some stuff and get back to me...

Narcoleptic Warrior
November 8, 2006, 04:08 AM
Using an old SXS gun, I fired the lead 1 1/8oz high velocity BB load today to test penetration.

The target was 140 sheets of A4 paper wrapped in 2 old cotton sheets. My country is VERY tropical so the possiblity of encountering thick clothing is practically nil. Range to target was 10 meters.

Anyhow......2 pellets completely penetrated the paper and 4 cotton layers while the majority of pellets shot through 2 cotton layers and 100 sheets of paper.

I would have liked more penetration, but the recoil of 00 buckshot scares me. (reduced recoil loads are simply not available here) As it is, I shot 30 of the HV BB loads and my shoulder HURTS. The SXS i was using already had a limbsaver recoil pad.

November 8, 2006, 09:14 AM
You may not (probably wouldn't) get enough penetration to stop an attack from someone bent on killing you, with BB shot. It will work if you're dealing with a not-so-determined average crook, but scaring and injuring him, but you will get much better penetration into vitals. BTW, there are many choices in between those two.... BBB, No. 4 buck, No. 3 buck, no. 2 buck, no. 1 buck, and single ought buck.