Let's talk about home defense 12-ga loads again

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by 1952Sniper, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. 1952Sniper

    1952Sniper New Member

    Aug 22, 2002
    I've always used one of my handguns as my home defense weapon of choice. But I'm now dedicating that role to a shotgun. So I'm asking you guys what you think the best load is for a 12-gauge home defense weapon in my environment and with my equipment.

    The shotgun is a 18-1/2" barrel full choke pump action shotgun (5 round tube mag + 1 in the chamber and I'll be building a leather buttstock wrap for it with more shell capacity). See picture below. I live in a rural area with no one around me who would be in danger of overpenetration from any shotgun load. It's just my wife and myself who live there, so there are no worries even about penetration through walls to another room. Our house is rather small and the only rooms in the house are the two bedrooms and the bathroom. The rest of the house is one big open space, so I'm not worried about having to turn tight corners or anything.

    Given my choice of shotgun and my environment, what kind of loads would be the best all-around home defense loads? Right now I have my first shot as 1-5/8 oz. #4 shot followed by 5 rounds of 1-1/8 oz. #8 shot. I'm not too terribly knowledgeable on shotgun loads so any advice you could give me would be great.

  2. Those are real good loads for very close range. Not going to get much better (bigger) than that without sending projectiles into undesireable areas.

    If you have any family in the house at all, even one, you still don't want to rule out overpenetration in your considerations. Crap happens. I read a report about a man and his wife who lived alone together. During a violent entry the attacker got between the couple. Husband fired one shot with a SA .44 revolver, dead center in attacker's torso. The bullet went through him and struck his crouching wife in the head killing her. If hubby had a shotgun with birdshot I imagine it might have not been a tragedy.

  3. stash247

    stash247 New Member

    Oct 18, 2003
    Central Texas
    Friend, an ounce is an ounce, in medicine; whether #4, or #9, it's still an ounce of medicine; Bigger shot only encourages overpenetration, at indoor ranges.
    On the other hand, #7 1/2- #9's will give a surgeon a full night's work, where the bigger stuff is only a couple of hours; what would you pick as a 'just reward' for someone who violated your home???
    My personal choice is an Ithaca M-37, with the cheapest 'dove and Quail' loads I can buy (7 1/2 shot), out of efficiency for purpose.
    Rationale? Anybody in my home can reach, rack, and fire it, with satisfactory results, where a pistol, or rifle, or even a shotgun, with larger shot, would do less well, all players, considered. Just my .02. Terry
  4. yoric

    yoric Former Guest

    Nov 5, 2005
    You probably won't get to it, so what it's loaded with won't matter. You'll either sink or swim with the pistol. If you don't ccw the pistol around your home, you probably won't get to that, either (in time for anything but luck to determine the outcome.) small birdshot ain't worth a damn, because it wont reliably penetrate deeply enough. Put the muzzle in contact with a block of gelatin, or a critter, and fire a charge of #9, and most of the pellets won't penetrate more than 5" deep. The penetration at 10 ft, after piercing a heavy coat, won't be more than 2-3". #2 birdshot is the smallest pellet that makes any sense for defense.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2005
  5. 1. You might get a gun in time; you might not. But why the hell would a man buy a gun for home defense and not keep it loaded. Why would a man buy a gun for home defense and not intend to defend his home period. Your advice is fatalistic, negative, and basically says quit before you even start.

    2. Them little lead pellets are lethal all out of proportion to their size.

    3. I've seen many times that #6 shot pierces clean through critters out at 20 or so meters. I've seen coyotes bagged at good distance with just #4 shot and the pellets went through-out the abdoman in a swiftly lethal fashion. A load of shot at "inside" distance will kill you good and quick. There's cemetaries worth of dead men as testement to the fact.

    4. It's small game season in most of the country now. HIt the field with a scattergun and see what it can do.

    One other thing. About your other post. The advantage of a shotgun for home defense is not wide patterns. In most rooms the pattern won't get bigger than a fist anyway. Might as well be a rifle as far as that goes; you must still aim or be a competant point-shooter. The advantage is a massive traumatic load that is highly unlikely to penetrate a wall with lethal energy retained. Or a man's body. Or a wall, a window, another wall, a microwave, a door, an infants crib and a tiny pillowcase...for that matter.
  6. Smoky14

    Smoky14 Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Nowhere NM
    I'm currently using Rem Tactical, reduced power, loads. Pleasant to shoot, tight pattern at indoor range and you can shoot enough to stay in practice. Its 1-1/8 oz of #8 shot. I also have OO buck shot in reduced load. From an 18in gun these work just fine are so easy on the shoulder.
    My son put me through a 200rnd course of fire and was really glad the last 100rnd were the reduced loads, the first 100 were full house slugs.
    Smoky with the black and blue shoulder
  7. There are several factors which bear on shotgun use for home defense, as I see it at least.

    To begin with, let me state that there is nothing more effective than a 12 gauge, short of a handgrenade or atomic weapons. Alas, the powers-that-be tend to frown on the use of those two. :rolleyes:

    1. Shortcoming: Shotguns tend to be difficult to store close enough at hand for really quick access, and to be rather awkward to handle in confined spaces.

    2. Shortcoming: Shotguns can indeed be over penetratative, particularly with heavy loads, such as 00 buck. Ya gotta be careful where you shoot.

    3. Shortcoming: Some potential self-defense users (most often women, no chauvinism implied) find their recoil simply too heavy for self-defense use.

    4. Advantage: An intruder hit solidly with a 12 gauge load is very unlikely to continue the attack, unless he can figure out how to do it from Hell. :)

    5. Advantage: The very sound and look of a shotgun can be a deterent factor if an intruder is faced, though one should never, ever depend on this as being a certainty.

    My own solution: I keep a Smith 637 in easy reach, and practice with at least twice a month. I also keep a 12 gauge Winchester 1300 with the plug removed loaded thusly: First two up the spout, #4 buck; next three, 00 buck; final two, slugs.

    Just my thoughts.
  8. yoric

    yoric Former Guest

    Nov 5, 2005
    I'm not fatalistic, but I'm also not fool enough to think that I am likely to have 10 seconds in which to go get a gun and return to control a situation, either. Shotgun fans are the fatalistic ones. They just settle for being poor shottists with the pistol, too lazy to ccw one around their homes, etc. So they trust to luck and the shotgun's aura of being super-duper. I"ve shot a lot of game with both pistol and rifle. How many animals have you shot with say, a .45 Mag Safe? Yet you will of course be among the first to claim that the Mag Safe "lacks adequate penetration", when you don't really know a damned thing about it.
  9. Since eons ago, there've been several factors that decide victory in combat. Depth and time are a couple. Both go hand in hand.

    In your home you are a defender. You cannot decide when you fight, but you damn well can do a lot to give yourself ten seconds to get ready. Your imagination is the limit. A dog can give you ten seconds of warning; probably more, as they have since eons ago...

    If you are carrying a concealed weapon around in your own domain, you should mull over this thing.
  10. your best bet is to use a slug for a few reasons;good stopping power,less chance of thru and thru, one single projectile no spred,and pin point accuracy but the way I have a mossberg 500 my suggestion get yourself a surefire laser half the time you wont even need to fire when you see the fear in their eyes a little itty bitty red dot places.
  11. Light Coat

    Light Coat New Member

    I had a standard 2 3/4 load of #7 in my 870 one night. I read up on the overpenetration; tested the reasearch and that is what ended up in the first two rounds in my 870. Long story short; it is less than fatal against a guy in a coat. It does however; throw him through a screen door from accross the room. After the two #7's I have 3 very unkind handloads. I figure if they don't get the clue after being mistaken for pheasants I need to ring their bell. I use mixed shot; doctor's nightmare figuring out what the guy got stroked with.
  12. Kahr

    Kahr New Member

    Nov 8, 2005
    Covington, GA.
    I keep 5 3" 00 Buck in the Mossberg 500 Mariner 12ga. Now, overpenetration is not an issue whatsoever for me, the reason being I live alone in the middle of 5 acres, I'm not to worried about buckshot traveling to my neighbors.

    And just for fun.

    Attached Files:

  13. kahr how does that shotgun shoot wth the pistol grip? :D
  14. stash247

    stash247 New Member

    Oct 18, 2003
    Central Texas
    Anybody buying into the 'lack of penetration' issue, with birdshot, needs to consider: Would you come and play in the dark with me, even in a heavy coat, but INDOORS (read that, 10 foot range) If I PROMISED to shoot at you with ONLY Win AA Skeet loads???
    I've seen broken ribs, punctured lungs, and worse from impact, of a substantial pistol round, on a protective vest, which did not penetrate the vest, but took out the wearer!
    Most creatures of the night are much less well protected, and an ounce of shot, even in small sizes, carries energy well in excess of any pistol going.
    If one hears the sound (Unmistakeable) of the slide going forward on a shotgun, he has entered into a "Career Decision" zone. Not that all lawbreakers are that smart; obviously, many are not. Still, if I can avoid a shooting, it is to my very great advantage to do so. When the shooting stops, the problems have only just begun.
    Living by one's self, out in the country, on a large property, are not truly relevant, since what we are talking about is the immediacy of incapacitation, which, with equivalent energy, favors the multiplicity of wounds.
    The same load that stops most quickly, in the country, is the safest, in town, regarding over penetration concerns.
    Should the situation get real 'up close and personal', a shotgun becomes an 'impact weapon' the likes of which no handgun can match.
    The choice seems obvious.
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