Interesting test results using different shotgun loads in home defense scenario

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by hkruss, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. hkruss

    hkruss Active Member

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    I saw an interesting segment on one of the outdoor channels today. A guy set up 4 sheet rock walls in line spaced about 10-12 feet apart to simulate a typical bedroom layout in a house.looked kinda like this. [] [] [] []

    Shooting a short barreled shotgun, he first fired birdshot, (I'm guessing 7 1/2 or 8's, he did not say), then buckshot, then a slug, all with the walls perfectly lined up. The birdshot went through both sides of the first wall stopping at the second, while the buckshot and slugs went through all 4 walls and beyond. It just gives a pretty good idea of the penetration capabilities of each of these rounds. The birdshot was about what I expected, the buckshot I kind of thought might not exit out the last wall, the slug, I had no doubt of what it would do!
    One interesting thing I noticed was how little the birdshot pattern had expanded when it hit the first wall. Probably no more than 10-12 inches. I figured such a short barrel would have opened up the pattern a little more even though he was only 10 feet or so from the first wall.
    Regardless of the results, I still feel a short barreled shotgun loaded with hi-powered 4's or 6's is the best home defense weapon. At least if you live with other houses all around you and you have multiple people living in your home.
    Anyway, I know we've had similar threads posted on this subject, but I thought some of you might be interested, maybe make you re-think some things.
  2. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Yep, and results vary widely even with nearly identical shotgun configurations, nevermind totally different shotgun setups.

    I had an 870 Police once with an 18" cylinder that with Federal 00 2 3/4th typically was about 12" patterns at 15 yards. Not exactly street-sweeping patters huh.

    It is not uncommon, especially with hunting style shotguns, to get a fist size pattern at 10' with anything you put in it. The old rule of thumb about 1" of spread per yard of flight is pretty accurate usually.

    If you desire a wider spread up close, some things you can do in combination to get a bit wider pattern are 1. Put in the tightest choke you have 2. Load un-plated shot...as in soft lead 3. Use the kind of wad that has little or no cup.

    Soft un-plated lead deforms easiest. A wad with no cup offers little protection from deforming the pellets. The tight choke helps deform the pellets. You probably already know that the more deformed the pellets the more rapidly the pattern spreads, as flat spots on the pellet sphere cause erratic flight. On the other hand...there's always a negative to every positive...to get that hard stopping performance the shotgun is renowned for, you need a fairly tight pattern and a center mass hit. Those big Hollywood wall sized spreads in reality even if you could make them they wouldn't be very effective at quickly stopping a man.

    Some of the biggest and most dangerous myths are probably that you don't have to aim a shotgun and that a shotgun always absolutely instantly drops an adversary...right behind those are the famous "bad guys run away when they hear a shotgun pump get racked."
  3. obxned

    obxned New Member

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    There used to be 'spreader' loads of birdshot available. These were sold so that a rather tightly choked gun could be used for close-up quail and such. These loads had thin cardboard wads layered in the shot column. They actually worked fairly well.

    Something similar in a buchshot load would be of great benefit to home defense. I wish some company would make these, or that I knew a handloader who could produce some.
  4. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    That sounds worth trying.
  5. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    January 2009 issue of Shooting Illustrated has a mention of this in an article about Blackwater's home defense shotgun course. Their recommendation is to use birdshot for in the house.

    They recommend buckshot for between 7 and 50 yards, with slugs for anything further than that. Inside 7 yards, whatever you use will hit as basically just one projectile. This means that, inside a house, birdshot will be just as effective as buckshot without the likelihood for overpenetration.

    I've planned to do this experiment myself, and I probably still will someday. But it's nice to get the results up front.
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