The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Dave McCracken Memorial Shotgun Forum

Closed Thread
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 10, 2008, 11:16 PM   #76
Senior Member
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: Florida, east coast
Posts: 2,106
This is so much fun!

Around here the average home is CBS due to hurricaines and the average 'home confrontation' is 12 ft. according to local LE. From my personal experiments even a Dove load is going to hurt somebody a lot at short range.
NRA Patron Member
Swampghost is offline  
Old December 11, 2008, 02:09 PM   #77
Senior Member
Join Date: February 12, 2005
Location: North central Ohio
Posts: 6,504
I experienced an incident hunting this year, though not "scientific" in the usual sense of the word, but interesting to me. We were hunting grouse (the locals call 'em "pats") and woodcock in Oscoda County, Michigan over my ten year old setter, Kate, when, toward evening, a woodcock flushed from under her point. We were in typical heavy Michigan bird hunting cover and I got a glimpse of the bird going right to left and fired. I was using a Browning Double Auto with a modified choke and standard 1 ounce, tweve gauge shells with #7 1/2 shot. As I swung on the target my barrel crossed an intervening tree limb at a distance of about ten feet as I pulled the trigger. Down came the limb, narrowly missing Kate.

After the good-natured kidding and laughter from my two hunting buddies, we examined the tree and were surprised to see a limb fully four inches in diameter cut cleanly off, as if it were severed with a hatchet. And the tree was quite green. Though, if you noticed my earlier post, I am an advocate of #4 Buck as a self-defense load in a home situation, I will never again disparage ordinary birdshot as a close-range self-protection measure.

And, for those who might be interested, after a five minute search and as darkness was closing in, we found the bird!
NRA Benefactor Life Member
dgludwig is offline  
Old December 11, 2008, 02:22 PM   #78
Senior Member
Join Date: January 12, 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,728
I guess that is when I reach for the rifle.
Yep, or you can switch to slugs in the shotgun. Of course a load of 00 buck is still dangerous at well past 100 yds. It's just not terribly organized into a pattern anymore. Definitely will make you want to keep your head down though. But then that brings back the issue of collateral damage.

1 ounce, tweve gauge shells with #7 1/2 shot.
Those fairly well shred the plywood target backers at my range too. I can fire 00 buckshot and put 8 or 9 holes in it, or I can fire a dove load and shred the wood at the same distance. Only problem is that wood isn't a very good simulation of flesh. Wood splinters and shreds where tissue doesn't so much.
NRA Member
NC Hunter's Education Instructor

PCCA Member (What's PCCA you ask? <- Check the link)
rantingredneck is offline  
Old December 11, 2008, 02:50 PM   #79
Senior Member
Join Date: November 25, 2008
Location: California
Posts: 1,951
I've gone to #2 Hevi Shot backed by 00 buck in my HD shotgun but i will reach for my Sig first. If I can't hit a BG from the hip in a bedroom with a Sig226 its time to hang up my gun
Retired LE, M.P., Sr. M.P. Investigator F.B.I. Trained Rangemaster/Firearms Instructor & Armorer, Presently Forensic Document Examiner for D.H.S.
armsmaster270 is offline  
Old December 11, 2008, 03:37 PM   #80
Jeff Mulliken
Senior Member
Join Date: July 13, 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 250
If you have a BG hiding behind a sofa and you shoot him through the sofa it's gonna take some serious splaining in court, unless your in the middle of a serious and ongoing exchange of fire. In many states, under the law, that is about the same thing as shooting him after he surrenders.....
Jeff Mulliken is offline  
Old December 11, 2008, 11:58 PM   #81
Senior Member
Join Date: April 29, 2008
Posts: 177
You asked this same question back in Feb.Were you looking for different answers?
xm21 is offline  
Old December 17, 2008, 02:52 PM   #82
Join Date: November 10, 2008
Location: Lafayette, TN
Posts: 49
I measured the distances inside my house, which is designed with doorways staggered (not facing each other, for privacy.) Longest possible shot (near impossible scenario, shooting through an internal doorway) would be 31' (10 yards). Most likely scenario is >5 yards (10-15'). I really think with the small pattern involved that #4 buck or Low Recoil 00 are going to be equally devastating.
" A man has got to know his limitations!"
Inspector Harry Callihan, SFPD

Last edited by wjh2657; December 17, 2008 at 03:05 PM.
wjh2657 is offline  
Old December 17, 2008, 03:01 PM   #83
Death from Afar
Senior Member
Join Date: November 7, 2004
Location: Living the dream in Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND
Posts: 1,635
There arguably is an advantage in bird shot, it has to be said, if you are to stand trial for shooting someone. IF you can say " i grabbed my duck hunting ammo" it may sound better to someone who knows nothing about firearms compared to " I grabbed my teflon coated heatseeking kills everything cartridges of death".
"Beware of the Man with one gun...he probably isnt into guns enough to be safe with it".
Death from Afar is offline  
Old December 17, 2008, 04:50 PM   #84
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 9,062
If you live in a reasonable state, it won't matter what you shoot them with-legally or civilly.
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
Bill DeShivs is online now  
Old February 25, 2010, 12:03 AM   #85
Join Date: November 28, 2008
Posts: 52
No. 4 buckshot

I know this is a way old thread but I found it interesting. When considering what to use for home defence we have to balance the rounds effectiveness with the possiblity of over penetration ( ie walls) we are responsible to were every pellet lands. with this in mind I think that number 4 buckshot is a nice balance between terminal performnce and the risk of going through a wall.
Howa M1500 - .308
Bell and Carlson A2 Stock
harris bipod
Friends don't let friends buy Nikko Sterling Scopes
rdsii64 is offline  
Old February 25, 2010, 01:50 AM   #86
Junior Member
Join Date: February 3, 2010
Posts: 7
After scanning through the thread, I just realized how old it was, but it's still a good one!

I keep my shotgun loaded with #4 3" Magnum steel shot. Not that there's any tactical advantage, it's just what I shoot geese with, so I have plenty of it!

And also, for more information on the subject, check out the Box-O-Truth. That guy does some awesome, real-world research!
bobcoop06 is offline  
Old February 25, 2010, 02:44 PM   #87
Uncle Ben
Senior Member
Join Date: January 31, 2008
Location: Southern California
Posts: 400
Yes, I would. I have 00 buck in my Mossberg 500, but I would not feel uncomfortable with #4 buck either. You mentioned 15-20 yards distance in your post, but inside your house you are not going to ever be that far away from the person you are defending your life against.

If they are outside at a greater opinion is that you should not be shooting at them at all, but rather you should be inside on the phone with the police.
Lazy + Complacent = DISARMED
*FIGHT to keep your guns & join the NRA. Contact your representatives about 2A issues at and to be kept up to date on the current issues visit
Uncle Ben is offline  
Old February 25, 2010, 08:21 PM   #88
Senior Member
Join Date: February 15, 2005
Location: Vernors and orange barrels.
Posts: 661
which would you prefer in a modified choke barrel? 00 or #4 or are they indiferent at home defense ranges.?
Pezo is offline  
Old February 25, 2010, 08:35 PM   #89
Senior Member
Join Date: January 31, 2010
Posts: 115
Id trust it to fight pirates on the ocean and in the home.
If guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns
waterfowler is offline  
Old February 26, 2010, 12:58 AM   #90
Senior Member
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 5,939
At the start....

of my career, there was a trend to go to #4B as a LE load, and I have some articles somewhere that discuss/suggest its use by the military. The emphasis seemed to be on higher hit probability.

Its performance past very short distances was considered disappointing, penetration wise, and against common light cover and heavy clothing, and LE seems to have gone back to 00B as a rule. My agency did. Note this is for general police use, where longer range confrontations MAY occur, or suspects could be using cover, as in a vehicle or barricaded in a structure, or outdoors in heavy clothing at some distance.

Inside a residence, at distances measured in feet, it would do fine.

The term "rat hole wound" comes to mind.
bamaranger is offline  
Old February 26, 2010, 06:38 PM   #91
John Schwartz
Junior Member
Join Date: February 26, 2010
Posts: 4
Two advantages with a shotgun that I always point out to people looking for a HD gun are the versatility of the ammo and their intimidation factor. Consider home invasion scenarios.
  1. In most circumstances, burglars would rather go to jail than be shot, so even pumping the action is enough to intimidate and subdue them. Burglary is often a crime of convenience, and losers will break into a house to steal easily fenced items, but have no interest in hurting the occupants. Since criminal penalties for breaking into a house with a weapon are far more severe than simple burglary, savvy criminals will leave their weapons at home. In these cases the intimidating size and presence of a shotgun is all you need to win the day. Whether you have 00 or #4 buck won't matter.
  2. In the rare event that an intruder is not impressed by merely having a big huge gun pointed at them, a "warning" shot is usually enough to calm them down. Birdshot is great for this. It's loud and flashy, especially in a dark room. You can shoot someone's feet and give them a taste of things to come without mutilating them for life. You'll also have fewer concerns about over-penetration and legal ramifications of shooting someone. Police will be more sympathetic to a homeowner who doesn't immediately shoot to kill.
  3. At this point, the only people left as threats are probably on hard drugs, like PCP. My Mossberg 500 can carry five rounds in the tube, so even after firing a warning shot at the invader's feet, I've got for more shells ready to go. #4 buck shot is perfectly adequate at this point. In a home environment, it will be sufficient to rip any drug addict to shreds.

I think a lot of people who discount #4 buck are expecting home invaders to be wearing Kevlar or somehow invade your home from 50 yards away. If they've got body armor, then you're better off with a 30-06 than a 12 guage, and if they're 50 yards away, you'd have a tough time explaining to a judge why you felt the need to kill them. In any realistic scenario, #4 buckshot is more than adequate to defend your home.
John Schwartz is offline  
Old February 26, 2010, 09:37 PM   #92
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 9,062
Welcome. It's painfully obvious you are new here, so I'll go easy on you-
There is very little accurate information in your post.
I'll leave it up to the others to explain it to you.........
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
Bill DeShivs is online now  
Old February 26, 2010, 10:06 PM   #93
Senior Member
Join Date: July 15, 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,746
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs
There is very little accurate information in your post.
I'll leave it up to the others to explain it to you.........
Okay, I'll take a few points and someone else can take over.

Originally Posted by John Schwartz
even pumping the action is enough to intimidate and subdue them.
Old wives tale, your defensive shotguns chamber should already be loaded.

Originally Posted by John Schwartz
a "warning" shot is usually enough to calm them down.
Never fire warning shots, even at the ground. The only time you fire is with the intent to stop your assailant.

Originally Posted by John Schwartz
Birdshot is great for this.
Bird shot is for little birds, not defense.

I would go in to more depth, but a search of this forum on this subject will show you that we have been over this it ad nauseam. Plus others will come along and expound on the points I've outlined.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."- Thomas Jefferson
nate45 is offline  
Old February 26, 2010, 10:53 PM   #94
John Schwartz
Junior Member
Join Date: February 26, 2010
Posts: 4
I think we just live in different areas and have different sorts of concerns. I knew a lot of dumb asses in high school, and they're the sort of kids who'd wind up getting arrested for B&E. Lots of tough talk, but deep down they're just plain dumb. Not a single one of them would resist at all if shot at with bird shot. Hardened dangerous criminals don't actually invade people's houses. Unless you're a drug dealer or something, you don't need to worry about people bringing guns to your house to rob you. Maybe where you are, things are different.

Seriously, the way you guys talk about it, it's like you're planning on a Taliban assault on your house. #4 buck would rip a person to pieces at a few yards. If you think that birdshot is ineffective at short ranges, let me ask you this. How much money would you charge somebody to allow them to shoot at your feet with birdshot? I doubt you'd let them do it for free. And to all the people who doubt #4 buck, what would you charge to let someone shoot you in the chest with it?
John Schwartz is offline  
Old February 27, 2010, 07:26 AM   #95
Senior Member
Join Date: June 4, 2006
Posts: 194
John, people with a great deal of training and experience are trying to tell you that you are mistaken and you aren't listening.
The racking of a pump shotgun only tells the bad guy(s) where you are. There is an internet myth about the overwhelming fear that comes over said bad guy(s) with that sound, but you won't find any evidence of that in real life and you won't find any of the top end trainers saying that either.
If a person or a group breaks int an occupied house, they are generally after more that the plasma tv. You seem to think that this only happens to drug dealers, well even the cops make frequent mistakes when raiding supposed drug dealers. You need to do some more research, home invasions are on the rise even with the fall of the overall crime rate, and these people come in armed.
As far as birdshot, that dead horse has been beaten into a pulp. The ballistic gelatin tests are out there and easily found by search. If you want something less scientific but still very useful, check out The Box O Truth website. An ugly surface wound might scare away the timid, and it might infuriate someone else. A heavy coat will stop most bird shot at close range.
Warning shots are never a good idea. In many jurisdictions, a warning shot is treated the same as firing directly at someone. Discharging a firearm may only be done to prevent death or great bodily harm. If you need to shoot, shoot at them. In your scenario of firing a shot into the floor, this leaves you with a gun pointed at the floor and the bad guy(s) close at hand. This can lead to the shotgun in their hands.
wilson133 is offline  
Old February 27, 2010, 08:56 AM   #96
Senior Member
Join Date: December 17, 2007
Posts: 5,950
My thoughts on #4 would mirror bamaranger`s. In Ohio, around the mid to late 60`s, the Franklin Co. Sherrif`s Dep. went to #4 buckshot for reason`s explained similar to what bama suggested. Another reason was the fact that during a discharge in a close quarters dwelling (apartments etc), the powers-to-be felt the lesser penetration factor would be a better thing.
To date I believe they`ve went back to 00.

IMO, #4 buckshot will do the job in close quarters and should be used if your worried about over penetration. If not worried, use 00.
shortwave is offline  
Old February 27, 2010, 10:03 AM   #97
Senior Member
Join Date: May 6, 2005
Location: North Chesterfield, Virginia
Posts: 4,336
Would I trust my life to No 4 buckshot? You better believe it. Would I take it deer hunting? Nope. Most shots at deer are taken at longer ranges. However I have seen a few deer killed with No 4 buck. Usually out of a 20 ga. It works.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
CajunBass is offline  
Old February 27, 2010, 11:47 AM   #98
Junior member
Join Date: May 10, 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 2,774
Man alive, not one single guy here grew up with a BB gun. That is truly amazing.

Anyone who ever owned a BB gun knows that they are .177 caliber. So BB is the shot size that is closest to .17 caliber. Cannot believe all the mistakes made here regarding the caliber of shot.

#4 Buckshot is going to be more traumatic than 00 Buck, for the person is going to be hit in far more places. The odds of being hit in vital locations thus goes way, way up.

If you use copper plated #4 buckshot, that is going to improve penetration. So make sure that the ammo you use is copper plated. They also tend to pattern better.

Any notion that choke has no effect on shotgun patterning is completely bogus and untrue. I have a light modified choke in my FN SLP. It is halfway between an improved cylinder and modified choke in its restriction.

Federal unfortunately discontinued their Premium 2 3/4 inch Buckshot load that used copper plate buckshot. However, they still produce it in a 3" inch version with 41 #4 Buckshot.

I still have over 100 rounds of the discontinued 2 3/4 inch load, which was loaded with 34 copper plated #4 Buckshot in it. And that is what is in my FN SLP currently:

My FN SLP holds 8 +1 of these shells. That is 9 x 34 = 306 Buckshot without reloading. That is a lot of holes.

LanceOregon is offline  
Old February 27, 2010, 11:59 AM   #99
Junior member
Join Date: May 10, 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 2,774
Looks like I was wrong about the P156 4B load being discontinued by Federal. It has been removed from Federal's retail product list on their website, but it is still included in their 2010 Law Enforcement Product catalog.

So they must still be making it for LE use.


LanceOregon is offline  
Old February 27, 2010, 12:05 PM   #100
Junior Member
Join Date: January 13, 2010
Location: North Myrtle Beach
Posts: 9
I love to read all the opinions... Look face the facts, most anything fired from a 12ga. can be deadly. Yea I read the Birdshot post, if you think your coat will stop a dose of 12ga bird, come on over and we'll try it. At less than 10 yards you're going to have a big problem covering your face and torso. If a load of 12ga bird to the head at 15 feet won't do major damage that #4 Buck will. Not a good site to witness, not Hamburger Hill but Hamburger Head.
Capt.Mike is offline  
Closed Thread

newbs defend birdshot , nonothing weirdo rants

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:14 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12646 seconds with 7 queries