View Full Version : Home Defense Firearm

July 11, 2007, 05:33 PM
Now, in theory, this rather argumentative philosophy teacher lives in a place Karl Marx would be proud of:
The People's Republik of Kalifornia. In their eternal wisdom, they have banned any weapon that looks like an assault rifle, with a pistol grip, has a bayonet, and, IIRC, certain types of flash hiders, and, anything with over a 10 round detachable magazine.

Now, said PHD was in a gun store, and, saw an AR 15 with a 20 mag, short barrel, perm attached. Have to break the gun at the receiver to load it, but, it does give you 20 rounds. But, it was 800 dollars.

It brought back a flood of memories, that go something like this:

Two match grade AR 15's, with selector switches. Shot under 2" all day, with open sites.

Two Match grade M1A's, one E 2 stocked, under 1 inch, 100 yards, all day.

Now, what we are after. Close quarters home defense weapon for under the bed. No problem with over penetration, since we have natural bullet catchers, read berms, on entry side, etc.

I don't want to buy one rifle just for this purpose, but, something that I can shoot at the range, and be accurate. Only accurate guns are fun. I'm leaning away from a shotgun, since I'm not a member of the skeet club, and, without that, would never shoot a shotgun.

So, for a gun that would survive a year or two in a police evidence locker, it needs to be cheap, corrosion resistant, accurate, not pistol griped, well under 10 pounds, open sites, 10 round magazine, semi-auto, and, chambered for a round that's very cheap, and fun to shoot.

I think this means military calibers, like 223 or 7.62 X 39
or 308.

Or, would I be better served with one of brownings semi-auto ugly guns, that fire heavier calibers???

Or, a bolt gun?



Dr. S

July 11, 2007, 05:57 PM
Well, Doc, if it were me, I would go out and but a Remington 1100, 11-87, or 870 in 12 guage, even though you don't belong to the local skeet club. Standard barrel,wood stock, plugged magazine. Then I would load it with #2 bird shot or #4 buckshot, 2 3/4" shells. Then if and when a bad guy comes a-callin', you are ready for serious social discussions about religion, his lineage, his sexual preferences and practices, and social relations. And if the local DA sees the police report, he will assume it was some unfortunate incident that involved someone with an ol shotgun who used cheap ammo to fend off the evil attacker.

However, if you opt for an AR-15, and some poor, deprived social derelict were to get killed while mistakenly opening the door to your house, it would be another case of evil black rifles destroying society.

Besides, a 12 guage at 20 feet is poetry in motion when used in self-defense. By the way: I hope you can paint, because if you use a 12 guage to stop an intruder inside a house, you will need to repaint the wall.

July 11, 2007, 06:48 PM
You maybe right. I forget about the whole PC, live near San Francisco, but in conservative area routine.

I do have a weakness for nice, old, winchester pump shotguns, but, I don't think they come cheap.
Something about the sound of pumping it that is just music to my shell like ears...

Those Saiga 308 sporter rifles looked pretty cool, as did the much cheaper 7.62 x 9.3 versions...

Dr. S

July 11, 2007, 07:06 PM
Based on what was demonstrated here:


I would avoid birdshot for home defense. The "Cliff's Notes" version of what you'll find there is that #4 and #1 buckshot will penetrate 6 sheets of wallboard/sheetrock, #00 will penetrate 8 sheets, and birdshot penetrates two sheets of wallboard/sheetrock.

What this translates too is that the #00 will kill your bad guy, #4 and #1 will injure him, and the birdshot will sting like hell.

July 11, 2007, 07:45 PM
Never use a gun you cherish for SD/HD because you will never see it again. Just figure if it saved your gluteus it served its purpose, and if you get it back that's just gravy. I have guns I love, and they live in the safe, not in the real world. Not that I don't shoot them, but they're not for use in repelling boarders.:p

Since you have already spent the money it doesn't matter what would serve you better. A Communust Country gun is probably a lever action with a forward mounted scope. As a substitute for capacity you can top off while continuing to fire. You have my sympathy for living in the DPRK. I was born there and lived there for the 1st 45 years of my life, but the Demonrats ran me out. Now I wish they would give it back to Mexico and we would be rid of Nancy Pelosi and Waxman.

July 11, 2007, 07:46 PM
REMINGTON 870 or Mosberg 500 with 00 buck ,may not be new,hi tech or fancy but it will put lots of hair on the wall .:D

Bill DeShivs
July 11, 2007, 07:59 PM
Bird shot at 10 feet will do a lot more than sting like hell!

PTR 91
July 11, 2007, 08:08 PM
A SKS wouldn't work out would it? How about a Marlin 30-30 lever action? Anything Saiga is great.

July 11, 2007, 08:21 PM
So let's see:
* 000 buck, 00 buck and 0 buck will kill the bad guy, but #2 bird shot will not? I want to test it.
* #1 or #4 buck will just injure the bad guy? I want to test it.
* Birdshot will sting like hell? How about someone volunteers to stand 10' away and let me have at them with #2 bird shot? #2 birdshot is .160" in diameter, #4 buck is .200" in diameter. No argument that #4 buckshot will penetrate better, but #2 birdshot will fully penetrate a goose at 50 yds. A #2 pellet has about 60 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle, about 1/2 of what a 22LR has. I have read of people being killed by birdshot, so I believe it can happen.
* Notice the stories about people being shot and injured with birdshot were shot with small birdshot. #6 shot is .120" in diameter.
* People are not made of wallboard. If you want to see how bullets affect wallboard, go to Boxoftruth.com.
* I suppose, after that rant, I will agree that loading #4 buckshot into the old 12 guage would do just fine.

July 11, 2007, 08:39 PM
I'm actually really a newbie in this area. I haven't ever wanted an SKS, or really considered it. I'm not really up on 7.62 X 39, and how effective it is, but, I suspect it's a LOT better then 45 Super.

Likewise my shotgunning was only one old Winchester pump that was light, handy, and my friends home defense gun, 30 years ago.

I realize my rifles are a bit impractical, since they are both around 10 pounds, both have scopes, and, in 30-06 and 375 H&H.

A double 450 Nitro express would be nice...

Seriously, with all the Kali limitations, the shotgun might be the better way to go. I just hate having a gun I can't shoot at the range.

Are the Saiga's accurate? Out of a relatively short barreled gun, read around 20 inches, how light, and how accurate are the SKS, or AK 47 types?

Also, what about a mini 14 from Ruger? Last time I shot one it was about as accurate as a shotgun, but that was 30
years ago.

Please don't derail my thread into a shotgun load selection thread. Plenty of police use 12 gauges around here, and, I'd just call the local retired police armourer I know, and ask him what he ordered for his troops...

Dr. S

July 12, 2007, 12:40 AM
870 with an extension.

July 12, 2007, 01:03 AM
I could see going with an 870 with an extension, but with the laws in Kalifornia I'm not sure you could get an extension legally.

IMHO, I would go for a Mossberg 590 with the swapable barrels. This way it's still a pump gun, you won't get nailed with having a semi-auto street sweeper (I mean a 12 gauge), and you could also use it with deer slugs for hunting if you so desired.

A sling with extra shot shells could easily be added to either if in the event you needed to reload.


July 12, 2007, 02:41 AM
Sub-10 shot? In a blister pack at my local store right at the point-of-sale.

Bill DeShivs
July 12, 2007, 02:50 AM
The Rossi .357 carbine lever action with 16" barrel would work well.
If you get a shotgun, you don't need extended magazines, sidesaddles, flashlights, or any of the faux commando stuff.

July 12, 2007, 02:53 AM
Mosberg looks like the way to go. Price is right, and, it won't make me violate my never a Remington ammo or rifle rule.

Have to start looking around and see if the shotguns around here are priced right, or the usual 500 dollar only rule...

Dr. S

chris in va
July 12, 2007, 02:54 AM
If you're dead-set on something besides a shotgun, check out the shorter Saiga's. The SKS to me is just too darn heavy.

I have an SKS, Mosin and bolt action x39 carbine. The Mossberg with buck is what sits in the corner at night.

July 12, 2007, 03:04 AM
Chris, you wouldn't happen to have weight figures for the guns you have, would you?


Dr. S

July 12, 2007, 04:57 AM
It seems you are looking for a decent target rifle and home defense weapon to boot.

I have found the 7.62x39 (Russian) SKS, AKS, MAK, etc to be less than stellar in the accuracy department.

Most of the AR-15 systems (Bushmaster, Armalite, Olympic) seem to be quite accurate, even with 16" barrels.

I'm not sure how the "high-capacity" magazine problem plays in your state.
I suspect its not good. I seem to remember seeing certain FAL weapons "made California" by welding a fixed 10rd mag in place.

Given all of this, I have one item for you to consider.
There is an M-1 Garand .308 Tanker knock-off that is small, .308 powered, and uses a 8-round en-bloc.

Its only an inch longer than my 16" AR-15.
I'm sure the Garand is California legal, and I got to tell you its accurate.

It is a battle rifle, plain and simple. But, (considering its capability), it is small, powerful and highly accurate.

If you want a highly accurate rifle, that is CA legal, and is compact, this guy could fit the bill.

Oh, buy the way, once you get used to the en-bloc system, you can reload this gun quick as a wink. (The en-bloc was used in WWII Garands).

July 12, 2007, 08:23 AM
Even though there is a berm on the entry side, over penetration is still a consideration. Any number of things can happen to get turned around or have a good guy behind a bad buy. Go with a short barrel pump 12 guage. Your choice of loads.

July 12, 2007, 10:21 AM
However, if you opt for an AR-15, and some poor, deprived social derelict were to get killed while mistakenly opening the door to your house, it would be another case of evil black rifles destroying society.

If you're in that litigious an area, a lever-action carbine is indeed a decent thing. They're accurate, powerful, and if it's held up in court, it's not an EBR, it's that you, the poor homeowner, had to use John Wayne's gun to defend yourself.

Most people are not at all threatened by the sight of a lever-action, even though they can put out anything from a .357 magnum big-game cartridge to a 45-70 that'd take down a moose.

July 12, 2007, 04:28 PM
I'm sick of California. They should make the gun laws for citizens more LAX. They expect us to have even SMALLER guns with the amount of mexican citizens they are bringing in here, who are all armed and who don't follow the law? Why are the laws getting tighter on American citizens, but more relaxed on non-citizens who are here illegally and go illegal things? Some things need to change around here. That's why Ron Paul needs to be elected in 2008!

July 12, 2007, 06:03 PM
The 357 lever gun is a good choice. Having an SKS for trouble down the block might not be a bad idea either - they'll all put 10 rounds into a 16" wide chest at 150 yards without any trouble. And the chineese and russian ones without the grenade stuf aren't that heavy.


July 12, 2007, 06:22 PM
What this translates too is that the #00 will kill your bad guy, #4 and #1 will injure him, and the birdshot will sting like hell.

#4 buck shot is 20+ pellets with enough energy to penetrate three interior walls. Dump that into someone's chest and I think it will do more than just injure them.

As for bird shot, I'd look at Box o' Truth's data for powdered metal breaching rounds -- 10 sheets of sheet rock at 15 feet. And that's from a round designed to have absolutely minimal wounding potential. At inside a house kind of ranges I would not be volunteering to step in front of a load of birdshot. A torso hit would likely be fatal or incapacitating.

July 12, 2007, 06:56 PM
1. I believe Saiga's are not allowed in PRK. Likewise most other things you might want to buy in the lead-hose department, such as normal AR15s (as your post alludes to, ARs must have a fixed mag).

2. For "EBR" semi-autos, look at the Kel Tec SU-16 CA (CA being the cali-legal model), an SKS, or the Mini-14, or the Mini-30 (same as mini 14 only in 7.62x39mm). The Kel Tec will likely have the accuracy edge, but the mini 14 will have the durability edge. The SKS is a bit heavy, but an excellent economical rifle for this situation. I'd go Kel Tec, but then again I despise all things ruger.

3. For sporting semis, as always, you've got Rem 7400/750, or Browning BAR, or the Benelli R1, or the new Winchester one. I'd imagine .243 win would be a good cal choice for combo range use/home defense.

4. For a shotgun, if you're anti-Remington, look at a Mossberg 930 semi-auto (not the 935). Get one with a fully rifled barrel if you want to be able to shoot accurately at the range in addition to defense work. I'd go with 20 guage if you get a slug gun - easier on the shoulder. Even rifled slug guns will shoot accurately with buckshot at across-the-room ranges.

Oh yeah, birdshot does a lot more than sting under 10 yards - it will make a deadly bloody mess of a victim, due to the shot being so closely bunched, physics forces dictate that it act more like one big slug than separate pellets when they all hit adjacent skin at the same time.

FWIW, I use 12 ga, 2.75", 000 Buckshot, and 9x19mm as home defense calibers. Triple OT buck is 10x .33 cal pellets - *almost* like shooting your home invaders with ten .32 acp bullets at the same time.

July 12, 2007, 07:19 PM
BAR in 338 might do it.;) Looks like a Slug, pump, or semi-auto 10 round Mossberg might be the ticket.

Tanker would be a gun I'd love to have, but, I'd hate to loose it, and, I don't think they are cheap around here. Real garand, in 30-06 might work, since I bought a bunch of ammo I can't shoot at the range with steel in it. Still, wouldn't be PC, and over penetration would be a given.

Have to go down to the gun stores and find out what the story is on Saigas. Just got the gun of the day, and it's the saiga 223 for something like 259.

Thanks all for the suggestions.

Dr. S

July 12, 2007, 11:39 PM
Birdshot only penetrates 2-3" in human tissue. Shoot some ballistics gel with birdshot at across the room ranges. This is the truth: Birdshot is great for killing birds, that is all.

Your shots must be able to penetrate to vital organs to immediately stop the threat. Birdshot is not going to do that. Breaching rounds are not going to do that. Beanbags, stun balls, rock salt, flechettes, and birdshot are all horrible choices for shotshell loads for a shotgun in a HD situation.

If you insist on a shotgun for HD, load it up with Buck shot, #4 buck as the minimum, 00 buck being about the optimum for penetration.

Over-penetration is an issue for sure, know your firing lanes, shot and hit your target, and you don't have to contend with over-penetration.

Oh, and when possible, move outta Cali and get to a "Free" state. I cannot wait to get outta NY.:)

July 12, 2007, 11:44 PM
Heavy buckshot is simply not an option in apartments, though. You've no idea what is beyond that wall.

July 13, 2007, 08:13 PM
What kind of shot do they use in 00? Is it pure lead?
Is there 'home defense' 12 gauge loads that use very soft 'pellet's to give maximum expansion, shock, and minimize penetration? Or is the shot hard, and non-expanding?


Dr S

July 13, 2007, 08:48 PM
Most lead shot, including buckshot, is produced by pouring molten lead through a sieve at the top of a tower, and as the liquid drops it forms spheres, theoretically perfect spheres but not always due to the impact into the water at the base of the tower. Sudden chilling hardens the shot to a certain extent, but it is still soft.

The shot is then sized and sorted, and graded according to size. 000 buckshot (triple-ought) is approximately .35 caliber, 00 (double ought) is approximately .33 caliber, 0 (single ought or just ought) is about .31 caliber, then #1 buck= .29", #2= .27", #3= .25", #4= .23", then you go to bird shot, starting with BBB= .20", BB= .18", #2= .16", etc every .020" is another size.

The penetration of buckshot is dependent on its mass (weight), with 000 being the heaviest, #12 birdshot being the lightest. Since the shot charge is what is being expelled from the shotgun, different size shot will have equal velocity but different energy. 000 buck will penetrate a typical wall easily, so no good for use in apartments, and it has few pellets. #12 bird shot will penetrate through a cardboard box at 25 yds, but not much more, but has several hundred pellets in a typical 1 1/4 oz charge. So you pick something between the two extremes to suit your situation, which is why I recommended #4 buck or #2 bird shot.

If you are going to use buckshot for home defense, try several different sizes and pick one that gives satisfactory patterns out of your gun.

July 13, 2007, 11:28 PM
Socrates, SKS. 10 rd mag legal in Ca. probably more people killed with 7.62 x 39 than all other cartridges together. Cheap to buy and not much to lose if confiscated. Accuracy is good if you breathe on it a bit. Mine will do 2" groups all day. And, it is about the only thing that is legal in this benighted State.

And anyway why Socrates? I always thought Thales or Plato had some good ideas too. Or Archimedes.:rolleyes:

July 14, 2007, 12:35 AM
FirstFreedom seems to be carefully correct, except for his off-hand remarks about Rugers.
Now, getting back to the original problem, I think you were looking for a reasonably accurate rifle that is small enough for use in a "home defense" situation, and you live in California.

This is a tough call.
My first advise would be not to combine so many requirments into any one weapon. In terms of firepower a 12ga shotgun is a premium choice. (I don't think even the great state of Kalifornia has found a way to ban them yet).

However, since your primary requirement is for a rifle that can double for home defense use, we need to look elsewhere.

DSA builds a decent .308 FAL thats been dorked up to be CA legal. (I think they welded a 10rd mag on to the unit).

I have previously mentioned an M1 tanker rebuild that will be as accurate as the afore mentioned FAL.

The SKS (with its 10 rd fixed mag) is accurate to 3moa at 100 yards.
(I'm not sure if the SKS is leagal in CA).

Ruger builds a "Deerfield" .44 mag carbine that is pretty intersting.

Good luck and God Bless!

July 14, 2007, 01:17 AM
FAL thats been dorked up to be CA legal

Ok, that's *one* way to put it. :D

July 14, 2007, 11:10 AM
My choice: