View Full Version : Buckshot or slug for home defence?

April 18, 2009, 05:03 AM
Like the title say would you use buck shot or a slug for HD? I have an 870 I recently picked up and I figured I would keep it in the corner next to the bed but am not sure what to keep it loaded with. what do you think?

April 18, 2009, 05:10 AM
Slugs are good to have around on the extreme off chance you might need them, but keep it loaded with buck.

April 18, 2009, 08:05 AM
a slug only if you are planning on disabling the BG's car!

Seriously, if you shoot the BG with a slug it will do serious damage to him, but will go straight through him and several walls, destroying whatever else it meets along the way. You dont want that for HD purposes. Stick with buck shot.

Check out: http://www.theboxotruth.com/

This guy has done extensive testing!!!

April 18, 2009, 08:25 AM
I chose Buckshot to be used typically, but, if you think you will just be defending a long hallway, then use slugs.,.a one shot stopper 99.999% of the time unless you graze an ear or pinky toe. There is no body armor to stop one of those bad boys.

As noted before, just make sure there is nobody you don't want to put a gigantic hole in behind the walls.

April 18, 2009, 08:27 AM
I use reduced recoil 00 Buckshot for HD/SD.

B. Lahey
April 18, 2009, 08:50 AM
Depends on the house you are defending.

If it is made of brick or concrete, or your neighbors are quite far off, slugs are great.

I live in a wood house with close neighbors right now, so I have chosen buckshot for the time being.

April 18, 2009, 09:35 AM
I load mine so that the first two rounds out are #4 buck and the next 5 are 00 buck. At hallway ranges #4 buck is devastating but with reduced risk to neighbors compared to 00 buck. Think of it this way - with #4 buck at short hallway distances (10') you're putting 27 x 24cal pellets moving 1100-1300fps or so into a 4-5" circle, with 00 buck you're putting 9 x 33cal 54gr pellets moving 1100-1300fps into that same 4-5" circle. 00 buck penetrates further but either will ruin a bad guys day at those ranges. At maximum indoor self defense ranges (lets say 50 feet) the extra mass of the 00 buck pellets becomes a big plus and that pattern will open up to roughly 18-22" depending on the shell.

Slugs are are really for distances greater than 25yds. For a 12ga rifled slug you're looking at a 437gr projectile moving 1300-1600fps. That's way overkill for the home and the over penetration risk will put neighbors at serious risk.

April 18, 2009, 09:43 AM
I chose Buckshot to be used typically, but, if you think you will just be defending a long hallway, then use slugs

Buckshot is more than effective enough for any long hallway, unless you are talking about a hallway in a college dorm or something.

a one shot stopper 99.999% of the time unless you graze an ear or pinky toe. There is no such thing as a one shot stopper 99.999%. A one shot stop is achieved by taking out the central nervous system, brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. A heart shot or a shot striking a major blood vessel may cause incapacitation in 30-60 seconds by depriving the brain of blood and oxygen. A lung shot may cause a collapse lung (pneumothorax) within a minute or two by depriving oxygen. It probably will take longer than that, though, especially if only one lung is dropped Almost any other shot is not physically incapacitating in a short period of time, whether you hit them with a 12 g slug, 7.62 NATO or any other round that is so famed as an instant stopper in internet lore.

I say physically incapacitating because many people are psychologically incapacitated by a gun shot or even the appearance of a gun regardless of the caliber of the weapon. I guess you could also take out both arms and effectively incapacitate a bad guy, but I was trying to stay within the realm of reason.

Personally, assuming you have a 20g or larger, I would reserve slugs for headshots only at least in a HD type scenario. Even with a 410, I'd probably use a magnum shell with 5 000 buck, but if you are limited to a 2 2/3 410, a slug might be my choice.

April 18, 2009, 09:55 AM
For home self defense, I would suggest #4 buckshot as you will clearly have a lot higher percentage of hitting your target. I believe there are 25+ buckshot pellets coming at your target instead of one single projectile that possibly could go through your walls and end up in the neighbors house, causing injury, etc.

My Remington 870 that sits next to my bed, is loaded with #1 or #4 buckshot, (depending on what I shoot at the range and availability). Without a doubt, is the best defensive round I can think of, (if you have the proper time and distance to use the shotgun). If not, your pistol is your best choice for very close engagements with a bad guy.

April 18, 2009, 10:26 AM
buckshot in mine with a box of slugs next it and more buckshot on the buttstock.

April 18, 2009, 10:32 AM
# 4

April 18, 2009, 11:05 AM
#3 buck 'cuz that is the largest shot in town in my 20 and 00 for my 12...
Slugs for hogs and deer...

April 18, 2009, 11:31 AM
Skydiver, At home defense range (indoors), it doesn't matter if you have one projectile or 100,000... A miss is a miss and nothing will substitute for a miss. Contrary to popular hollywood induced belief, Shot spread at typical HD range is in the order of 1-3 inches with 3 being pretty far away. This is from a cylindrical bore which is the most open.

Katrina Guy
April 18, 2009, 05:51 PM
which buckshot to use for H.D. would be a question worthy of a response.

B. Lahey
April 18, 2009, 06:08 PM
Shot spread at typical HD range is in the order of 1-3 inches with 3 being pretty far away.

Ah, I see you have never fired card-wad S&B 00 through a full choke.

The pellets get flattened and spread like crazy. 8"-10" patterns at 10 yards. 4" to 5" at 5 yards. Heck, those non cup-shaped wad loads spread like all hell even without the squish effect. I can keep all the pellets on the target at the longest ranges my house provides with a cylinder bore, but the patterns are fairly large.

If your house is small like mine, get the cheap Czech buckshot.

April 18, 2009, 06:42 PM
Never had a full choke...:o

April 18, 2009, 07:38 PM
As with anything where there are choices personal preference comes into play. I prefer the slugs, because I have personaly seen the devasting effect it has on deer during hunting season. Every deer I've shot has went down immeadiately, no running like after a rifle hit. Even a deer that I just clipped under the rear hind area went down and was in such shock and without the use of it's rear legs could not move from that spot.

With todays sabot slugs and a rifled barrel you can hit center of target @ 100yards.

As you can see below any rifle/pistol/shotgun load will go through walls. Except the bird shot which won't go through a bad guy.

Again I say 00buck or slug is just as good at close range, it's just preference. :D

Lessons learned:
1. As we have shown time and time again, birdshot is for little birds, not for bad guys. It makes a nasty, shallow wound, but is not a good "Stopper".

3. 00 Buck in the 12 Gauge was excellent

5. Once again, the 12 Gauge Slug amazes us. It was devastating! Penetration was 5 jugs or almost 30 inches. That is equivalent to almost 15 inches of penetration of flesh.

A police officer was involved in some shotgun training, where they used #6 birdshot in the training due to lower cost. After the training session, he forgot to remove the birdshot and replace it with 00 Buckshot, the normal carry load.

That night, while on patrol, he confronted a couple of burglars and was in a shootout with them. He shot both of them with his shotgun, but forgot that he had it loaded with birdshot.

They killed the officer and escaped.

Never use birdshot against goblins. Use plated 00 Buckshot

Lessons learned:
1. Notice that the #4 and #1 Buck penetrated 6 boards. In previous tests, 9mm, .45 ACP, and M-193 out of an AR all penetrated all 12 boards.

So, it seems that these loads do not "over-penetrate" as much as some have led us to believe.

The 00 Buck penetrated 8 boards, but was stopped by the 9th. Still not as much penetration as the pistol or rifle loads.

The slug penetrated all 12 boards.

2. Once again, please notice the size of the entrance spreads....2 1/2" to 3 1/2". Therefore, anyone that says, "With a shotgun, you don't even have to aim. Just point it in the general area of the bad guy, and you can't miss", does not know what they are talking about.

You can very easily miss with a shotgun. You must aim to hit your target.

The problem with birdshot is that it does not penetrate enough to be effective as a defense round. Birdshot is designed to bring down little birds

In fact, tests have shown that even #4 Buckshot lacks the necessary penetration to reach the vital organs. Only 0 Buck, 00 Buck, and 000 Buck penetrate enough to reach the vital organs

But doesn't 00 Buck penetrate too much in interior walls to be a "safe" load in a home?
Yes, it does penetrate a lot. But any load that is going to be effective will need to penetrate walls to have enough power to penetrate bad guys

Lessons learned:
3. 00 Buck penetrates 4 walls with ease. It is a great "Stopping" round, but there is a price to pay.

4. Birdshot does not excessively penetrate drywall walls. But it does not penetrate deeply enough to reach a bad guy's vital organs. Birdshot makes a nasty but shallow wound. It is not a good Stopper.

For some real damage use these: Sabot Designs Flechette cartridge (19 darts)

April 18, 2009, 07:43 PM
Does it really matter? You get a smoldering hole with either one.

April 18, 2009, 07:45 PM
which buckshot to use for H.D. would be a question worthy of a response.
It depends on your needs. As I've said before the first two out the pipe will be #4 buck. That's all that I'm likely to need need at the 10-20ft distances that I need to defend in my home. But just in case I have five 00 buck behind those. I purposely chose Fiocchi's 12ga high velocity nickel plated 00 buck because it has a reputation for spreading out about as fast as any other commercial 00 buck. That's a plus at the 10-20 foot distances I might encounter inside my house. Now if I lived in the country or had a huge house and might have to take a shot from more than 10-15yds I'd use something like Federal's LE Tactical 00 buck which spreads out about half as fast and will therefore reach out farther. I keep a few boxes of that around for a rainy day to. If you're recoil sensitive then you might want to consider reduced recoil/power loads.

April 18, 2009, 08:24 PM
00 Buck Shot coming out of a 20 1/2" Barrel will take care of ever how many are trying to kick my door down.

April 19, 2009, 03:06 AM
Thanks for all the comments. I'm somewhat new to shotguns so this has been very informative for me. I guessed that the poll would lean more toward buckshot but I didn't think it would be almost unanimous. I guess 00 buck it is.

Para Bellum
April 19, 2009, 03:17 AM
NO! EXTREME OVERPENETRATION (little ballistic effectiveness)! :mad:

April 19, 2009, 03:56 AM
B. Lahey: out of a stock mossberg 500 with 20" barrel and 000 shot, I get a shot column of about 1-2 inches at 10-12 feet. At 20 feet it goes up to approx 2.5-3 inches.

That's the distance that I would consider for a HD situation (in my case), and was a bit of a surprise to me as I always thought that the shot would spread out quite a bit. Have adapted my training to actually aim properly now.

April 19, 2009, 04:35 AM
i voted slugs, but my situation isa little different. my nweighbors as well as us live on 1 acre lots, and have adobe fences seperating the yard, i also live ina 2.5 story house (split level) and my room is on the bottom floor. since i doubt ill be fighting ninjas crawling on my ceiling i dont have to worry about slugs ripping through the ceiling and flooring above.

April 19, 2009, 06:50 AM
Does it really matter? You get a smoldering hole with either one.

Might matter that the slug can penetrate the walls of your home and most of your neighbors as well.

Interesting that soft Foster type slugs, as commonly used by LE, do not tend to over penetrate human targets. This from a Fed LE Instructor, who was quite familiar with the slugged shotgun in his line of work.

April 19, 2009, 07:07 AM
The first couple full of rock salt, then a couple of buckshot then a slug for good measure..... depending if the encounter needs to escalate to lethal. If it goes to lethal right away, pump out the first two (quickly) :eek::D

Mike Irwin
April 19, 2009, 09:45 AM
Buckshot, specifically No. 4 buckshot.

Mike Irwin
April 19, 2009, 09:48 AM
"The first couple full of rock salt, then a couple of buckshot then a slug for good measure..... depending if the encounter needs to escalate to lethal."

The second a weapon comes out the encounter is automatically of the lethal variety.

Rock salt shells make sense ONLY if you want to A) make believe that shooting someone with a shell so loaded constitutes non-lethal force, B) want to end up in jail, and C) want to give away everything you own when the person you shot sues you.

April 19, 2009, 09:52 AM
That was actually a quite pathetic mundane attempt at humour :o:eek::D

April 19, 2009, 09:56 AM
I have Centurian Multi-Defense loaded in my Mossberg 500A. I sure wouldn't want to be on the recieving end of it.

Mike Irwin
April 19, 2009, 10:00 AM
I know it was, Dingo, but I just wanted to make sure everyone else knew that it's not a good idea at all.

April 20, 2009, 06:07 AM
Buck shot will go through the wall and into anyone in the other rooms so if overpenitration is a concern, and it should be if you live with anyone else in your house then go with a smaller shot. #4 is pleanty lethal and will not overpenitrate. Personally i dont like to go lighter then #4 but even #8 will take a guys head off under 10yards.

It is also easier on the recoil which is good if your wife of kids have to use the gun. it wont blow them on their behind like 00 will.

April 20, 2009, 08:02 AM
+1 To using buckshot. Your chance of overpenetration is much greater with slugs.

April 20, 2009, 05:49 PM
If you are defending against an invading T-800 and Skynet, go for the slug. For organic predators, stick with buckshot.

Katrina Guy
April 20, 2009, 05:55 PM
which is basically what a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with slugs is, heck if that's your reasoning, why not opt for a 45/70 and call it a day.

April 22, 2009, 09:42 AM
I have always heard this saying when there was talk about shot preference; Birdshot is for the birds, buckshot is for the bucks and slugs are for the thugs. I have my 12 ga loaded with BB followed by seven (7) rifled slugs.

Brian Pfleuger
April 22, 2009, 09:51 AM
Did any of you guys see the episode of The Best Defense wherein they tested wall penetration of various rounds?

I sticking with #7 birdshot, thank you very much. I can not foresee any human being withstanding a shot of ANYTHING from a shotgun at close (inside the home) range, never mind the 4 shells behind that first one.

Mike Irwin
April 22, 2009, 10:01 AM
Regarding wall penetration, even small buckshot will sail through drywall very handily.

I'm fortunate, though, that the dividing walls between my townhome and my neighbors are core filled cement block, so I don't have to worry about over penetration. And, the exterior shell is brick clad.

I'm also single, so I don't need to worry about interior overpenetration. As long as I know where my dog is, I have clear fire lanes for whatever load I choose to use, but I still choose No. 4 buckshot as my primary load out with a 5 rounds of S&B 00 buck in a buttstock carrier.

Lee Lapin
April 22, 2009, 10:09 AM

Give http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/173_11_041200/herdson/herdson.html a read...


James R. Burke
April 26, 2009, 11:27 AM
I would go with fine shot. Up close it is just like a slug, with a little distance you dont need to be super acccurate, and it wont penatrate a bunch of walls where people would be. When something happens fast people even well trained dont do very good at aiming and hitting. Then throw low light into it, and you have another problem. I dont think everyone would aggree with this just my thoughts on it.

April 28, 2009, 08:08 PM
What distanse do we have in our home... 10-20 yard maximum? Or if you meet the intruder in the door? 2-3 yard? I would´t like to be the one who stands in the other end of your barrel, even if you use US:nr 9!

April 28, 2009, 08:28 PM
Federal Flite Control 9 pellet 00 buckshot in the tube. Either 5, 6, or 7 rounds depending on which shotgun I happen to pick up.

Brenneke KO's in the sidesaddle.

Evyl Robot
April 29, 2009, 04:24 PM
Slugs = Massive overpenetration!!!

I know from experience that a 12-gauge slug will go right through cinder blocks and shatter them on the way. Brick external walls aren't going to stop slugs.


April 29, 2009, 04:54 PM
While excessive pattern diameter is no substitute for a well placed shot... A load of buck shot that increases spread by only 2 inches once in a torso is more likely to hit a needed vital organ than a pass thru slug that misses them all. Heck even an increase of 1 inch is great once in the torso. Gotta cover all your bases. I only intend to be accurate enuff for a COM hit. I didn't say I could pick the organ in advance;)

April 29, 2009, 06:00 PM
I prefer Federal LE Tactical Low-Recoil 00 Buck for HD duty. If I'm feeling so inclined, I may keep a couple slug rounds in the Speedfeed stock. But, I generally only consider slugs if I anticipate the need to "reach out and touch" some BG from a good distance.

Of course, if "reaching out" was of major consideration (to me), I probably wouldnt have bothered spending money for a CQ weapon.

April 29, 2009, 06:22 PM
I'd use buckshots for HD.

Slug takes away the whole point of using a shotgun.