View Full Version : Slug OR Buck Shot...Which Is Best for Home Defense?

February 10, 2001, 10:30 PM
The title says is all (well almost). For home defense, do you load with slugs or buck shot, or how about a combo of both. If you believe a combo of slugs AND buck shot is best, do you have the slug or the buck shot as your first round?

P.S. I have clarified my post titled "Badges???" under HANDGUNS--GENERAL FORUM. Please take another look at it and leave your opinion on this hot topic.

Thanks for your opinions.

February 10, 2001, 11:01 PM
'Pends on who you think's gonna come callin'. Unless you expect hard targets (including large bears or other large wildlife) or live in waaaay out in the country, use buck.

Oleg Volk
February 10, 2001, 11:25 PM
In my 20ga I keep 3-4 rounds of #3 buck (which I know doesn't have a very even patrern :() followed by several slugs. If I worked through four rounds of shot, then the perp is either dead or behind cover.

February 10, 2001, 11:27 PM
I prefer buckshot.

This post has been edited in deference to Oleg.My apologies.

Oleg Volk
February 10, 2001, 11:31 PM
And I can't imagine that a TFL member would slam another fellow gunnie for humbly asking people's opinions. AR-10, seriously...what could you possibly gain by snide remarks like that?

February 10, 2001, 11:40 PM
I don't understand something. Just because you don't like the subject of the post or topic, you make a personal attack on the poster. This is very sad when posters do not have the freedom of expression, unless they want to risk a personal attack.

Yes this is a VALID topic. For your info, my agency is thinking of changing the shotgun ammo it issues to its LEO's to a combo of slugs AND buck shot (instead of just only buck shot). Oops, sorry to burst your bubble.

Welcome to the year 2001. Times are changing. Tactics are changing.

I welcome all opinions...in my opinion, however, personal attacks do not serve any proper purpose in a forum such as this.

Who else agrees with my opinion? Speak out! Be heard!

February 11, 2001, 12:01 AM
The topic as you posted it is "home defense".I don't think slugs are appropriate for home defense.I assume we are discussing 12 guage shotguns.I don't anticipate having to shoot through the walls of the house.

I have already edited my previous post.I apologize for offending you.

February 11, 2001, 12:25 AM
Oleg, just an aside...do you know if a mag extension is made for a 20 ga. mossberg 500? It seems that the tube and cap design are such that you coud not simply drop in an= mag tube extension...just curious.

In any case, I've been keeping No.4 bird shot 2-3/4" shells for my HD shotgun. Given the title of this topic, should I take it to mean that my ammo is insufficient?

PS I've given up on ordering Estate buckshot from NSS...


Oleg Volk
February 11, 2001, 12:36 AM
No idea on Mossberg 20ga...doubt it could be set up with an extended tube. Except for the Winchester 1300, I don't think 20ga is marketed as defense.

On slugs: I live in a ferro-concrete building, neighbors aren't in danger unless interior doors or windows are hit.

Mike Irwin
February 11, 2001, 02:11 AM
I use Winchester or Remington No. 4 buckshot as my primary choice.

At household distances my S&W 3000 police gun will keep all 24-27 pellets in an area the size of an average human chest.

I have 5 rounds of Sellier & Belloit 000 buck (12 pellets) in a stock carrier.

I'm not even sure that I have any slugs left at the moment, but I normally keep some Winchester or Remington slugs around as a last resort kind of thing.

February 11, 2001, 02:40 AM
IMHO, to guarantee stopping a man-sized threat one needs to use either 00 or 000 buck shot or slugs. Bird shot or #4 shot just does not have the margin of safety required to guarantee a stop.

As far as which (buck or slug) should be used in a HD scenario - my opinion is that buck should be used up to the range where your gun patterns larger than 12" then slugs.

I keep the HD gun loaded with buck and have 3 slugs and 3 buck in a butt cuff ready for either a reload or a select slug.

Interestingly, when I was recently in Thailand I was asked to give some instruction to the US Embassy USMC guards. Their SOP was to load buck/slug/buck/slug/buck/slug and carry buck and slug for reloads. They now carry loaded with buck and same slug/buck assortment available for reload. The turning point for them was getting comfortable with selecting a slug if needed and patterning their guns to get a good feel about effective range with buck. To make a l-o-n-g story short, if you need a slug, the threat should be far enough away to allow you to selectively load a slug. All buck available in the gun assures effective threat management at closer ranges.


February 11, 2001, 07:38 AM
Romulus sez:

>PS I've given up on ordering Estate buckshot from NSS...

I'm a swell guy, so I ran your numbers for you.

2.19 x 20 = 43.80

23.10 (quoted shipping from twitchy NSS website) + 43.80 = 66.90

20 ten-round boxes equals 200 rounds.

66.90 divided by 200 equals 33.45 cents per round.

If you can get buckshot cheaper than that in Kalifornia, maybe I'm living in the wrong state. But I doubt it.

Al Thompson
February 11, 2001, 08:10 AM
RC, the controversy over slugs vrs. buckshot is tied to overpenetration. A slug will rival a rifle bullet in it's ability to punch through walls.

Most of us live in the suburbs and have to factor that in. With buckshot, you have less of a chance of projectiles escaping the house and killing your neighbors.

Lots of threads on this over the years. The bottom line is to examine your personal situation and plan your engagement areas.

For example - there are two primary places to engage bad guys in my house. Both areas have occupied dwellings in the line of fire. My loads for the shotguns that are dedicated in those areas are loaded with #2 birdshot as the first round, # 4 buck in the on-board ammo carrier. The area of my house that I could cheerfully engage folks with a M2 .50 caliber is the least likely avenue of approach.

You've got to plan your defense and select the tools accordingly.

BTW, at close range, (HD distances) birdshot will work fine. Our prison guards here use # 5 turkey loads for inmate rehabilitation. Works fine for them.


February 11, 2001, 12:45 PM
I appreciate your efforts, Laissez, and you are right. But I need to find out whether that 23.10 is actual shipping cost or whether part of it goes to NSS...I won't pay an excise on shipping unless this is disclosed, UPS is already getting my money...

Still cheap, at 33 1/2 cents a round - the cheapest I can find here is about fifty a round

February 11, 2001, 01:54 PM
The purpose of slugs is to extend the range of your shotgun for those times when you really wish you had a rifle instead of your shotgun...

Unless your envision taking shots beyond 25 yards, I strongly recommend buckshot over slugs for home defense.


Dave McC
February 11, 2001, 05:13 PM
Like Erick said, each home must be evaluated and a load picked.

Casa McC is a townhouse, and I like my neighbors. The first two rounds up are field loads. I THINK it's 6's but might be 8s. Next up is duty 00. The premise is that after one or two shots, any further shots might have to be through the fridge,tho I regard that as long odds.

The SS has a couple slugs, along with more 00. Just in case.

Caveat, I've not seen a shotgun that will pattern buck and group slugs to the same POA. Sight in with one and find out where the other one hits. Center of pattern with 00 runs 16-18" lower at 25 yards than the KO Brennekes in my HD 870.

February 11, 2001, 07:31 PM
One point that may warrant some attention is the type of clothing the intruder may be wearing, i.e., light or heavy clothing (based on local/weather/etc.) If near the furthest point of possible contact in your house, perhaps the lighter loads may not be as effective. You'll want your first, or every shot to count. This may not happen if the lighter load (birdshot, etc.) is used at the longest distance within your floorplan. You may only get the first shot in, I'd prefer that it be an effective round, not one that I have to graduate up from.

I load with 00 buck, with slugs on sidesaddle in the HD enviroment.


Mike Irwin
February 11, 2001, 09:20 PM

I'm using No. 4 BUCKshot, not No. 4 pheasant shot.

A 2 3/4" fold-crimped shell from Win/Rem has, I believe, 24 pellets, each rough 0.27" in diameter.

You get a lot more than 000 buck because they pack a lot more efficiently.

And, because you can pack more in there, you get neary half again as much payload weight, and 1/3 or more energy.

No, you don't get quite the range that you do with 000 buck, but it would be a very unique house (or situation, for that matter) for you to have to shoot at more than 10 yards.

My parents old house (where I grew up) and the one where they are living right now might be exceptions to that rule. They're old "central hall" Victorian style, and if you stand in the front halls of either, you can see straight back through to the kitchen, may 20 to 25 yards off.

Dave McC
February 12, 2001, 04:52 AM
EricO, at the longest shot possible here, we're talking 25 feet. The load will hit as a semi solid mass, sort of a super Glazer Safety Slug. Unless it's Kevlar, clothing will make no difference either.

Saw an evidence photo once. It showed most of an individual slumped in a chair, with his head missing from the eyebrows up. Field load, distance of about 6 feet.....

February 13, 2001, 04:50 PM
I know someone who was shot with .410 birdshot at almost contact distance (abdomen). Evidently it was close, but he made it. Makes me believe he would still have been able to keep fighting, had the shooting been deliberate. Don't go too small- I would personally never go below a 6 at the lowest.