View Full Version : Testing HD loads

Old Guard Dog
April 18, 2009, 10:29 AM
I've been working up some HD loads that will be lethal within the ranges encountered in a home, but will reduce overpenetration. Here is my latest:

2 1/4" hull- BP Multi-Hull
1 oz. #4 buckshot
12 grains- Titewad
Wad- BP-STS-
.030" overshot card
Roll crimp

It patterns nicely at 30', has very little recoil, and the noise is about half of a regular shot.
Tested with an 18 1/2" open cyl. barrel, holds a 7" group

April 18, 2009, 10:38 AM
So far, so good.
Have you done a penetration test? See http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3.htm

Old Guard Dog
April 18, 2009, 10:53 AM
I will do penetration tests as soon as I settle on which load to use. (I've tested 4 others) This one is a little time-consuming to load, as I need to trim the hull and trim the wad cup. The nice thing about it is a finished 2" shell, so you can get six in where normally only five fit the mag. I've tried several others, and I know it will penetrate a 3/4" white pine board. I like the way Box-O-Truth used drywall sheets. That is an affordable way, instead of the ballistic gels.

April 18, 2009, 11:38 AM
Wet newspaper will make a decent repeatable media. Penetration in a sloppy wet torso is going to be different than dry wood or drywall...
Just a thought...

April 18, 2009, 12:20 PM

You're correct, Brent. I should asked if he'd done an overpenetration test. Hey, if it won't do wet newspaper, why test on gypsum wallboard?


.45 COLT
April 18, 2009, 05:33 PM
I'd be interested in any results you get. Do you have any idea the MV of that load? Seems like it would be pretty slow, maybe down around 1,015 FPS or slower, but that's a guess. Another question - are you using bare #4 or is it plated?

Saturated newsprint is a pretty good test medium, as long as you're testing penetration and not overpenetration. Two to four layers of Denim over the newsprint will simulate clothing.


Old Guard Dog
April 19, 2009, 02:39 PM
Your'e right about muzzle velocity being slow. According to the loading data from Ballistic Prod., it is a sub-sonic load, 900 fps with 7800 psi pressure. I think #4 buck is the smallest size that should be used, as it will lose velocity pretty quickly. The shot I used was not plated. That is what I want in a HD load. It is much quieter than even a light target load.

I am waiting for a backorder of 00 buck so I can load some and then I will do the penetration tests, and get back to you. If I use some wet newspaper, I should be able to recover some pellets to see their condition. I will be using a teflon liner instead of a wadcup with the 00.

April 19, 2009, 03:13 PM
Load what you like in your guns, but have you considered the possible legal and liability concerns of using handloaded ammunition for self-defense? I'm not necessarily saying that you should or shouldn't, just that there are things that must be considered.

April 19, 2009, 04:16 PM
...have you considered the possible legal and liability concerns of using handloaded ammunition for self-defense?...

Webleymkv, your point is well taken and too frequently overlooked when discussing HD loads. Not just handloading can be suspect, the practice of mixing factory loads within the magazine might be used to demonstrate intent.

Old Guard Dog
April 19, 2009, 08:11 PM
My intent is to protect my family if threatened, and stop the threat, without endangering anyone else with overpenetration. The loads are all published and tested data, nothing exotic like fletchettes, etc. This would actually be my defense if needed. I am experienced with firearms, and have been factory trained (USMC- Vietnam). That's all I can say.

April 19, 2009, 10:33 PM
The argument is that the prosecutor may attempt to argue that you cooked up some sort of super deadly homebrew shotgun shell because the ordinary store-bought kind wasn't deadly enough for you. The fact that you did such a thing will then be used in an attempt to prove that shooting the BG was premeditated and therefore not self-defense.

Are these arguments stupid? Yes, they most certainly are and most of us know better. However, the Judge and Jury may not know better. Again, I'm not saying that you definately should 'roll your own' nor that you definately should not, just that there are other considerations besides just the physical performance of the ammo.

April 19, 2009, 11:17 PM
Old Guard Dog,

The other side of the Webleymkv's argument is that if you had the knowledge to make a reduced load, why wasn't the load reduced even more? If there's a fatality, it could have been avoided with a reduced load. If there's a maiming, it could have been avoided. There's probably an attorney who would ague that if you were shooting rubber balls, that they were too painful and the load should have been reduced. It's a no win situation with civil litigation.

Sadly, it's your experience that could work against you since you may be held to a higher standard of care than the reasonable man. (I, too, am a Vietnam vet -- just so you know we're of a similar age.) I spent the last 20-years of my professional career as a consultant/expert witness supporting litigation. It never ceased to amaze me how a skilled litigator could turn something seemingly benign and insignificant into a cause of action.

I was involved in a shotgun fatality as a percipient witness. During a hostage situation, following a bank robbery, a local LEO mistook the fleeing hostage for the BG and fired. The media had just cast the DA as soft on LE because of a questionable acquittal in a case alleging excesses against civilians. Needless to say, the shooter was put through the wringer as the DA covered his own six. Eventually, the jury found the LEO not guilty. IMHO, had other LEOs not violated procedure, the verdict would have been guilty.

We're all entitled to equal justice, but to think all justice is equal is naive.

.45 COLT
April 20, 2009, 09:38 PM
Old Guard Dog wrote:
I think #4 buck is the smallest size that should be used, as it will lose velocity pretty quickly.
#4 Buck @ 900 FPS MV will be traveling ~857 FPS @ 30 Ft (35 Ft Lb) and ~838 FPS @ 45 Ft. (32 Ft Lb).

00 @ 900 FPS MV will be traveling ~868 FPS @ 30 Ft (90 Ft Lb) and ~854 FPS @ 45 Ft (87 Ft Lb)

When it doesn’t start out with much, there isn’t much to lose.:)

I’ve loaded some light (1 ounce) Buckshot loads for SD/HD, but in full-length cases and a higher MV. At 33 Feet I put all 8 pellets of 00 in a 6” circle with one of those loads, probably don’t want it any tighter.