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Old June 9, 2019, 04:11 PM   #1
keithdog
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HD shotgun defense loads.

I am planning to get a Mossberg Maverick 12 gauge, 20 inch, 8 shot shotgun strictly for home defense use. Now, I suppose once the BG heard me racking my first shot, they would turn tail and end of story. That being said, what would you load your shot gun with? I've always heard the cliché of 3 inch 00 Buck. But really, is 3 inch magnum really needed for close up SD shooting in your home? I've read that 2-3/4 high brass is more than plenty for HD and less shock to the shooter. And I have heard a lot of folks say they would load up with slugs. That would stop a BG dead in his tracks for sure. But would it go through a wall and into my neighbors house if I miss my target? So, I'm curious as to what YOU would choose for a home SD load? Thanks
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Old June 9, 2019, 04:26 PM   #2
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I'd start by keeping one in the chamber with the safety on. Unless you want to announce your presence to them by racking your gun. As for the other options that's all on you. If you shot something point blank all rounds will act like a slug. My living room is 5 yards long. Birdshot would spread to about a 5 inch pattern. It all depends on what you want.
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Old June 9, 2019, 04:59 PM   #3
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That's a good point I hadn't taken into account about the pattern being very dense at close range. Thanks.
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Old June 9, 2019, 05:21 PM   #4
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I have to agree blindstitch, one in the chamber and for up close social work about any load would work. I may lean towards 6 shot hunting load.
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Old June 9, 2019, 05:22 PM   #5
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1 inch per yard for a cyl bore gun is about avg.

I really like the low recoil OO buck from Remington. 8 pellet (down from 9) and reduced velocity make it feel like birdshot to the shooter.

Eight .33 caliber pellets at 1300fps at inside room distances will do all you need done.
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Old June 9, 2019, 05:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
I am planning to get a Mossberg Maverick 12 gauge, 20 inch, 8 shot shotgun strictly for home defense use. Now, I suppose once the BG heard me racking my first shot, they would turn tail and end of story. That being said, what would you load your shot gun with? I've always heard the cliché of 3 inch 00 Buck. But really, is 3 inch magnum really needed for close up SD shooting in your home? I've read that 2-3/4 high brass is more than plenty for HD and less shock to the shooter. And I have heard a lot of folks say they would load up with slugs. That would stop a BG dead in his tracks for sure. But would it go through a wall and into my neighbors house if I miss my target? So, I'm curious as to what YOU would choose for a home SD load? Thanks
No, 3" is not necessary, WAY too much for indoor use. I leave mine hammer down on an empty chamber. Since my 9mm is my first line, racking the gun is not an issue for me. But do not believe that Hollywood/Internet crap about racking the slide and all the BGs dive out the window.
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Old June 9, 2019, 06:41 PM   #7
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In my HD shotty I run Federal Power-Shok Low Recoil Buckshot, 12 Gauge, 2 3/4", 9 Pellets 00 Buck. It patterns great out of my gun and is my perfered HD load. I run a M3 stream light on my shotgun with a 20' barrel. With a light mounted on the Magpul forearm it lights up the front sight and helps me stay on target. I believe IDing the target is a must and with the light I can go constant on or momentary.

Skip the 3" loads, leave them for turkey hunting.


I also keep one in the chamber safety on, no need to let them know what I'm doing or what's waiting for them down the hall.
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Old June 9, 2019, 06:49 PM   #8
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Great feed back guys. I appreciate it. A buddy of mine today said to skip the 12 gauge for 20 gauge. That's what he bought. I'm not sure about that, but maybe he is correct in that a 20 gauge would be plenty of gun for HD. I'm thinking sticking with 12 gauge is probably the better call.
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Old June 9, 2019, 06:52 PM   #9
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The down side of a 20 gauge is the more limited selection of defense ammo and the usually higher cost.
If you select effective 20 gauge defense ammo the recoil will usually be the same as reduced recoil 12 gauge, and less shot in the air.

It's generally not recommended to leave a pump gun cocked due to concerns about both safety and wearing of the hammer spring.
One of the safety concerns is if there was a fire in your house the chambered round would fire, endangering you and firemen.

Many people do keep a round chambered, but most leave the gun in police "Cruiser ready" condition..... Magazine loaded, action uncocked.
The gun is perfectly safe and all that's needed to use it is to pump the action.

As for defense ammo, most experts and police recommend a buckshot.
The most popular are #00, #4, and #1, with #1 buckshot being considered the perfect load because it penetrates better then #4 and gives more hits and damage on target then the larger #00.

Slugs are used by some people, but a slug turns a shotgun into a modern musket that requires more precise sighting then a shotgun loaded with buckshot, and increases the chances of over penetrating.
Inside the average house it's easy to just plain miss even with buckshot, and very easy to miss with a slug.

These days for a true home defense shotgun the reduced recoil ammo is gaining popularity due to the lower recoil, which allows faster follow up or multiple target hits.
Many police departments are going to reduced recoil because of smaller men and women cops, and to encourage use of the shotgun by not pounding the user too badly.

Another mistake often made is over-accessorizing a shotgun. Everything that's added to the gun has a price, and that's weight, bulk, and slower in action.
The great advantage of the shotgun other then the devastating load of shot is the speed at which you can get hits on target.
Virtually anything you add to a shotgun will slow down that speed of hits.
You have to do a Real World cost-benefit analysis of each addition to determine if whatever actual advantage it adds is not outweighed by the reduced speed of which it can be brought into use.

One critical failure to be watched for is not so much weakened magazine springs, it's shotshell compression.
If a shotgun magazine is left loaded there's a chance the spring tension will cause the shells to start to collapse and begin to bulge in the middle.
Inspect the ammo in the gun at least once a month and if you see any bulges shoot it in practice and reload with fresh ammo.

I once had an 18 inch barrel Remington 870 Police with the factory magazine extension that caused some Federal #1 buckshot shells to develop bulges in one month.
The ammo most prone to bulging is foreign made ammo, and cheap ammo.
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Old June 9, 2019, 07:23 PM   #10
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at inside the house distances any load will prove devastating to an intruder, even birdshot (which I do not recommend). #4 Buck is a good round for pellet size AND pellet count. however, unless you live in stately Wayne manor, the spread of the shot will be next to nil so any load will work well.
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Old June 9, 2019, 07:44 PM   #11
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That's a lot of good info to digest Dfaris. Thanks
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Old June 10, 2019, 10:40 AM   #12
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I use Hornady Critical Defense 00 buck. I do not have one in the chamber but keep the gun in "cruiser ready" as Dfariswheel described but also with the magazine downloaded by one. I have a light on the gun and keep extra ammo in a side saddle.
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Old June 10, 2019, 12:58 PM   #13
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Good advice on getting the HD specialized ammo that is easier to shoot. Forget the racking horsepoop. Forget the can’t miss , fill the room, won’t penetrate horsepoop as said.

If you don’t have experience, find a good defense oriented shotgun class and if you can Three gun or IDPA style shotgun matches. One needs practice running the gun racking, aiming with stress and movement. You see practiced screwing up all the time.
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Old June 10, 2019, 06:40 PM   #14
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Absolutely Glenn. Birdshot is for birds. Use #4 buck or 00 buck.
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Old June 11, 2019, 07:16 AM   #15
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For home defense 12 Gauge loads, I use Federal flitecontrol OO Buckshot. You can get it with 8 or 9 pellets and with low recoil or high powered. Most of my stuff is 9 pellets of low recoil. The flitecontrol keeps the pattern tight which means more pellets on target and less chance of hitting other people/things.
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Old June 11, 2019, 01:26 PM   #16
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Now, I suppose once the BG heard me racking my first shot, they would turn tail and end of story.
Or they don't hear it at all. Or you have just announced your location to the intruder.

The internet/movie myth of racking a shotgun holds about as much water as Biden's advice to shoot both shells from your double-barrel into the air to scare off intruders.

Personally, I feel a pistol or AR-15 with proper ammo are better choices for home defense, but if you must go with a shotgun, 00 buckshot would be my choice.
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Old June 11, 2019, 02:13 PM   #17
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An AR indoors will blind and deafen the intruder in a dark room - and you as well.
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Old June 12, 2019, 06:31 AM   #18
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We have a couple 9's and an AK. I just want to add a shot gun to the mix.
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Old June 12, 2019, 07:39 AM   #19
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Let’s stay on topic.
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Old June 12, 2019, 08:11 AM   #20
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No, 3" is not needed at all. For coyotes and hogs, sure.

I prefer #1 buck for close encounter working shotguns.

If you think you need Flite Control wads for close in shotgun work, just go to slugs.
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Old June 12, 2019, 09:31 AM   #21
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Did someone say to pattern your buckshot loads at the various distances that you think you might use it in the home?

You want to see the spread of the pattern. It is mythology to want a big spread as a substitute for aiming the gun.

Another nuance, if you have a rifled barrel, the pattern may look like a very large donut with no pellets in the center.

Bottom line, you have to practice and test the gun.
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Old June 12, 2019, 09:47 AM   #22
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Did someone say to pattern your buckshot loads at the various distances that you think you might use it in the home?

That is important advice.
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Old June 12, 2019, 10:09 AM   #23
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It's all very well to say don't rack your pump gun, but that means you have to store it with a shell chambered, cocked and locked. 24/7, probably for years. I'm not sure that's a good idea.

All this "revealing your position" stuff sounds good, but are you really planning on shooting the dark form across the room without positively identifying who it is and if they are armed? Home defense is not combat.

I like to think of racking the gun as setting the proper tone for the brief negotiation about to take place. (Hands up or I shoot.)
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Old June 12, 2019, 10:11 AM   #24
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It's all very well to say don't rack your pump gun, but that means you have to store it with a shell chambered, cocked and locked. 24/7, probably for years. I'm not sure that's a good idea.

All this "revealing your position" stuff sounds good, but are you really planning on shooting the dark form across the room without positively identifying who it is and if they are armed? Home defense is not combat.

I like to think of racking the gun as setting the proper tone for the brief negotiation about to take place. (Hands up or I shoot.)

To address the OP's original question: 12 ga 2 3/4" 00 Buck. Plenty of power, reasonable recoil, smooth feeding.
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Old June 12, 2019, 10:29 AM   #25
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Yeah, I say these things because of the buy a magic racking shotgun and all will be well mantra we hear.

Yes, most DGUs are from untrained, simple incident scenarios but I worry about those that aren't.
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