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Old September 27, 2007, 06:59 PM   #1
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Larger birdshot for HD

I've heard many times that birdshot wont penetrate to adequate depths if used more than a couple yards away on an attacker, but have never heard anyone address the use of the larger duck and geese sized birdshot like B,BB,T. Since buck and birdshot cross into eachother caliber wise I'd like to hear your thoughts on using the heavier birdshot loads for home defense in an average sized home. Thanks
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Old September 27, 2007, 07:21 PM   #2
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Heavy birdshot would still be a little safer indoors than buck or slugs if you miss but I wouldn't count on it to work any better than smaller shot on an attacker if you do hit so better still aim for the face to be sure of stopping him.

Or so it seems to me.
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Old September 27, 2007, 07:25 PM   #3
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Bigger is better, until you run into overpenetration concerns.
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
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Old September 27, 2007, 09:52 PM   #4
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I have been low rated and meanmouthed due to the fact that I keep my Nova 20 gauge loaded with #6 bird shot in case of HD. I have investigated hundreds of incidents of home invasions, shootings during breakins, shootings because a drug deal went bad, etc. The vast majority were shot with small shot and I never had one to walk away from the scene. If the bad guy is within 30 feet, the results are usually fatal. Over that length and it puts a bad hurting on him requiring much painful medical repairs..

We have a lot of gung ho HD commandos that want to go all the way with unnecessarily heavy loads. They are not necessary in spite of the gelatin tests and all the water jug tests. Experience with patrolling one of the largest counties in the state and getting these type calls frequently, I am a believer in small shot because that is all most people have in their trusty shotguns. Bad guys are stopped and their evil intentions are altered but quick with #6 or larger shot within household distances.

I have been to many autopsies and observed the hamburger effect that the hundreds of small shot do to the human body. I have never known a perp to survive a 10 yard shot if hit in the vitals. If hit elsewhere, a 50 cal machine projectile won't stop him.

Our patrol cars had guns loaded with buckshot of various sizes but in over 30 years of carrying one I never had the occasion to use it in the line of duty. It was an insurance requirement. IMO, they were overloaded and would do a lot of collateral damage if they ever had to be used. We carried Mini-14s for serious taking down of perps. Only one projectile to control. With a shotgun, you fill the area with uncontrollable projectiles that go where they want to and they are not used for that reason, except for rare and unusual occasions of which I have never been a part of.

I have a Nova 20 gauge loaded with #6 promo loads from Walmart that gives me plenty of confidence. Some people say they want to load with what the police use. Wrong phraseology. Police carry shotguns loaded with various buckshot loads. They do not use them. At least in my part of the world, they were a PR deterent. The rifle and handgun was the tools of the trade in police work. The shotgun is a psychological deterent, looks bad, sounds bad, but it is the last weapon that a police officer wants to use.
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Old September 28, 2007, 12:17 AM   #5
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Some things to think about...

I don't see why birdshot coudn't be used for home defense, and here's why.

1. At the distances encountered during a break-in situation the shot pattern doesn't have the time/distance to open up so what you're basically getting a concentrated blast of birdshot into the target.

2. The goal to a defensive shooting is to stop the aggressor. A concentrated blast of #6 shot from 10 - 15 ft away will take a persons face clean off. That'll stop anybody.

3. Birdshot is the least likely to cause collateral damage.
Just a big fan of guns.
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Old September 28, 2007, 06:47 AM   #6
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...i'll admit i use birdshot..

its my practice munition too, 7.5shot for 3.88/box of 25

at 5yds with my 18" cyl bore bbl, the spread is under 2.5inches--i'm not an expert, but thatll put the hurtin on any bad guy..

i keep two rounds of buck at the end of the tube in case the birdshot didnt do the trick...and a round of slug on the buttcuff...just in case..

EDIT: it was more like 5yds

Last edited by GATMOG; September 28, 2007 at 08:01 AM. Reason: Distance was wrong
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Old September 28, 2007, 07:34 AM   #7
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I'm surprised that the foam at the mouth group hasn't waded in with their predictions of doom if you use birdshot...

As an old EMR doc I know what birdshot does at close distance... 16 YO broke into a mom-n-pop shop at 2AM and was bent over the cash register prying it open... Pop shot him at 10 - 11 feet with a 12 ga. load of bird shot... He lost his prostate, scrotum, rectum and most of his bowel was shredded... Being young and healthy as a horse - and having the taxpayers cover his bills for the finest surgeons and internists in the area - he took nearly 3 days to die from complications of his wounds - but he never took another step after the gun fired...

I will make my standard challenge to those who will rant and rave that birdshot won't do the job... Duct tape a chuck steak to a gallon jug of water (or milk) and shoot it into the chuck steak at 9 feet with birdshot.. Post the video for us to see and then tell us you would let someone shoot you at 9 feet with birdshot...
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Old September 28, 2007, 08:02 AM   #8
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I'd say if you have a short choked bbl, birdshot becomes even more damaging..

EDIT: to add, my default defensive point of aim is the groin/abdominal area..regardless of whether or not birdshot is lethal through heavy clothing, nobody wants to be shot there..
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Old September 30, 2007, 01:59 PM   #9
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I am willing to bet that unless someone is all hopped up on some wacky drugs any sized round of 12 guage ammunition is going to at least make them fall down and say owee.

I would definitely say that the three inch magnum BBB rounds i have been using for geese would be quite adequate for HD situations.
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Old September 30, 2007, 10:14 PM   #10
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Well, sooner or later the Tacky Cool guys will show up here and tell me how wrong I am. I keep my Berreta 390 with a full choke nearby. It has #5 Turkey loads in it. I REALLY doubt, anyone threatening me or mine in my house will do anything but fold up at the ranges available in here. I know I am going to have a huge carpet cleaning bill to remove his body parts and excretions. I simply have a Berreta 390, nothing fancy, no tacky cool gear attached as I doubt I will need 15 to 20 rounds strapped to the gun. It isn't even a pump gun, it is a semi auto, another faux pas on my part as we all know it has to be a pump. I guess I just figure in the event some really bad guy shot me in the arm, I could still shoot the gun one handed over and over and not have to try to pump it with a messed up hand. I keep hearing how dependable pumps are, well my 390 has fired in compitition probably 15, 000 shots or more and not once a hiccup. Pretty dependable don'tcha think?
Anyone that has doubts, set up a 2x4 at 15 to 20 feet and see what happens to it. A 2x4 is a lot tougher than a soft bodied person, no matter what they are wearing. Ya all do what you like, I am happy with what I have and if you don't think it will work, well, c'mon over unannounced at 3 AM and see.
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Old October 1, 2007, 09:33 AM   #11
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I think any birdshot #6 and larger is suitable for HD. I mean a room that is only about 20' across isn't that big of a range for the shot to spread out in. Being an LEO I have my mossy loaded with 00 buck currently. I am thinking about loading up with Dixie Tri-ball II's. I wonder what 3 .60 cal 325gr. Hard cast balls would do to a bad guy. By the way they are slow at only around 1100 FPS.
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Old October 2, 2007, 03:25 AM   #12
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i like 2 3/4" #1 buckshot for HD. but to each their own. whatever your comfortable with.
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Old October 2, 2007, 07:53 PM   #13
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I agree with ebutler462 and k8do. Being a retired LEO I'll add my $0.02. I NEVER carried a shotgun in my patrol car, but I always had a mini-14 in the trunk, in case I needed something besides my duty weapon. While I have never used a shotgun against a BG, I will feel very comfortable with my 12ga. loaded with #6 turkey loads as my HD set up. I also keep a 20ga. stoeger coach gun loaded with #2 plated low recoil loads, for my 90lb. wife. I seriously doubt anyone will get past those 2 shots if she ever needs it.

I can relate a story on birdshot. A few years ago I was out dove & rabbit hunting and ran into a 120lb. havalina. One shot from my 12ga. with #7 1/2 dove loads at about 10 yards and it was down and out. I think their hide & fat layer is tougher than a BG, with heavy clothing.

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Old October 2, 2007, 10:17 PM   #14
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well, contrary to most Tacky Cool guys opinioms, at household ranges of 15 to 20 feet nothing other than #6 or bigger is needed. We always hear from the people with 20 rounds attached to their guns, folding stocks, twin pistol grips and massive payloads. Anyone that knows the facts and is not trying to be "cool" knows that a "Turkey" load will stop anyone at household ranges. You don't need buckshot, slugs or any other gizmo. I get so tired of reading posts where it seems like some people just can't wait and hope someone breaks so they can prove a point. Sad part is, none I have read have any real idea of how to counter a breakin other than to "Rack" a round in whereby the perp hears your gun and craps his pants. Last thing I want to do is rack a round in and telegraph where i am at.. Damn, I am glad I don't live in that dream world.
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Old October 3, 2007, 02:43 PM   #15
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I look at things from another angle. I looked at the ballistics of the shotgun shells in comparison to other calibers used in SD. Using data for standard remington 12 ga buck you are propelling the shot anywhere from 1100 to 1300 fps. A standard OO pellet is only 54 grains. So you are looking at each pellet being around the same velocity, but less than half the weight of a 9mm. Im no scientist but same speed but much less weight means less penetration.

If you would fire a 9mm indoors if required to, then why would you not fire OO buck?

That said, I could care less what a man chooses to defend his family and property with as long as they are responsible with it, know its capabilities and know the available backstop.
One person with courage makes a majority
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Old October 6, 2007, 10:43 PM   #16
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i dont think id use anything outside #5 to #9 like said befor to each his own..
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