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Thread: Loading of your defensive shotgun

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    Default Loading of your defensive shotgun

    The discussion of defensive shotgun loads on another thread has me thinking. HOW DO YOU LOAD YOUR DEFENSIVE SHOTGUNS AND WHY?

    I have three over-all purposes for my defensive shotguns and I load them differently depending on those purposes.

    1. Around the house: My house shotguns have to serve two potential purposes, first intended purpose is as an anti-personnel device, in which case my first two shots will be 3" 00 buck shot, followed by as many slugs as the tube will hold. I figure that any bad guy will either be dead or hiding behind cover after two shots, so the slugs are there to penetrate walls, sofas, doors, or at longer range, etc. as buck shot is a miserable penetrator and a short range only tool. Second, my house shotguns may be needed to shoot bears as we get them in the yard often, so that is the other reason my house shotguns are loaded with foster style slugs exclusively after the first couple 00 buck shot loads. For humans almost any accurate foster style slug will do, but for bears I have a strong preference for the 3" 600gr. Brenneke.

    2. Woods carry for bear defense: I carry them loaded entirely with 3" 600gr. Brenneke slugs. I seldom carry a shotgun for woods use as I prefer a good slim, light weight lever gun for that and see the 45-70 (with proper loads) or the 50 AK as a more efficient choice, plus I simply like the way a lever gun carries and handles over a shot gun.

    3. A car gun: Both of my trucks have shotguns in them that never leave the truck. For this purpose I load them with only slugs as I figure I may have to shoot through other car doors or shoot at longer range, or shoot a bear at a trail head/camp site, etc. At close range a foster style slug will kill humans as well as 00 buck and at longer range or behind cover, the slug really excells over 00 buck shot.

    Things to consider--standard 2 3/4 inch 00 buck shot contains 9 pellets. Magnum 2 3/4 inch Buck shot contains 12 pellets and 3" mag. buck shot contains 15 pellets. If I am using a gun with 3" chambers, I use only 3" buck shot loads, if I am using buck shot. If I am using a shotgun with 2 3/4 chambers, I carry only the 2 3/4 mag. loads with 12 pellets. I dont use any standard 9 pellet 2 3/4 buck shot ammo. OO buck penetrates much better than smaller buck shot, but it still under penetrates badly, especially if you have to shoot through cover.

    OK, how do you load your defensive shotguns and why? Thanks in advance.

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    Member outaMT's Avatar
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    For home defense with a shotgun, Straight 00 BuckÖÖ

    Iíve considered 00 and slug load variants for home defense for the exact reasons you stated. But, in my very humble opinion, itís the penetration of slugs through walls, or ceiling, or floor that concerns me. Iíve got a 2 story house full of wife and kids, and b/c of the family scattered throughout the house (or even the slug going out my wall and through the neighbors) I keep the tube full of 00.

    This could be an interesting thread, thank you!

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Home defense its 1 1/4oz 4's or 2 shot and both triggers.Everythin else slugs
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    Shotty too cumbersome for home. Colt .45 will do. Ever tried maneuvering a 12 gauge around inside a truck cab in a hurry? Colt .45 wins again. Unless the shotty is to take care of a wounded dog you ran over or a moose. I have a bracket I made in my boat to carry my Mossy 590A1 for those close encounters, but I also carry my FAL for when I need just a l'il more range. Wife has been chased by two moose in the last three years, so the FAL wins there. Last year late in the season I carried my .375 Weatherby.
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    When I used a short shotgun I kept it full of 3" 00 buck. That house was in town with a lot of neighbors and a critter encounter was not very likely. People encounters were always a possibility.

    I've pretty well moved away from it since moving to a smaller house (4BR in 1200sq ft- don't ask) with lots of angles, short spaces and gobs of interior walls. Handgun seemed simpler and easier, I'm also out in the boonies so a home invasion seems out of place. Big critter duty at home is done with a rifle.

    For hiking around I've generally given up on the shotgun and just started toting lightweight mountain rifles. Seems to carry better and I'm just more confident with it up close as well as further away. I've toyed with getting another rambling around shotgun but so far I haven't and just keep packing the .300.

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    Two defensive shotguns. 20ga loaded with all 2 3/4" 00buck for the wife, and a 12ga loaded with three 00buck and two 3" slugs (out of a smooth bore 19" slug barrel) for me. But I outfitted it like that assuming a multiple threat situation, and have a .45acp pistol within arms reach and a pair of pants that are easy to get on with a holster and extra mags set up for the pistol.

    And no I don't have my wife clear the dwelling with me... she knows her job is to get into the corner of the bedroom with the shotgun and the cell on speakerphone and just stay there.

    We aren't set up for bear or outdoor confrontations yet, but we will use the 12ga with all 3" slugs with the slug barrel for truck and trail use.
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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    Shotty too cumbersome for home. Colt .45 will do. Ever tried maneuvering a 12 gauge around inside a truck cab in a hurry? Colt .45 wins again. Unless the shotty is to take care of a wounded dog you ran over or a moose. I have a bracket I made in my boat to carry my Mossy 590A1 for those close encounters, but I also carry my FAL for when I need just a l'il more range. Wife has been chased by two moose in the last three years, so the FAL wins there. Last year late in the season I carried my .375 Weatherby.
    FAL, as in the .308 "battle rifle"? If so, you got a folding stock on yours? How is it configured?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Handgun seemed simpler and easier, I'm also out in the boonies so a home invasion seems out of place. Big critter duty at home is done with a rifle.

    For hiking around I've generally given up on the shotgun and just started toting lightweight mountain rifles. Seems to carry better and I'm just more confident with it up close as well as further away. I've toyed with getting another rambling around shotgun but so far I haven't and just keep packing the .300.
    I hafta agree with that. It makes sense to me, and for me, I'm pretty sure.

    I've never owned a Short Shoot gun of the type that seem to be designed for Home Defense.

    A rifle, and/or a suitable handgun for out in the swamps is the best choice for me I think.

    At home my most accessible gun, assuming I wake in time to repel an attack by BATF Agents, is a 22 Mag. Bolt Action. It's a rather short barreled Savage and a 4X scope on it. (This is needed to select a spot not covered by Body Armor.)

    I might get re-educated on this, but I have two objections to using a Shoot gun for Home Defense.

    First of all I'm thinkin that the Buck Shot WOULD penetrate most interior walls, and could do major damage to anybody on the other side.

    Second, those HEAVY Slugs, that are considered to be the best Bear Medicine, generate such Huge Recoil, that I dunno if I could handle it. (600 grains ????) It hurts to think about it. "F'gidaboutit".

    Aren't shoot guns designed to be used for birds and small game. I don't have any objections to adapting them to larger game, but I'm not sure you can make them all that suitable for Home Defense. Why did they do that?

    Yeah, I know they're scary. Almost as scary as Biden, but in a different way. For example, if I were in the Burgling Business, I would certainly avoid Tim's premises because knowing what he keeps available would scare me AWAY.

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    My shotgun's 30-40 .22 caliber pellets are good at not recoiling and not penetrating a lot of drywall:



    I can fire them one at a time or about 6 per second. Remember, it's good to have a pistol ... so you can get to your rifle.

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    My shotgun's 30-40 .22 caliber pellets are good at not penetrating a lot of drywall:



    Remember, it's good to have a pistol ... so you can get to your rifle.
    That thing is sweet! Dang! Is that a F2000?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    That thing is sweet! Dang! Is that a F2000?
    Thanks. FS2000. Only 29 inches long. 17 inch barrel.

    Even a 13-yr-old farm girl can kill beer cans at 50 yds with ease:


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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post

    Aren't shoot guns designed to be used for birds and small game. I don't have any objections to adapting them to larger game, but I'm not sure you can make them all that suitable for Home Defense. Why did they do that?

    Smitty of the North
    They did that because the shotgun is devastating at close range. In the hands of someone trained to use a shotgun for offensive/defensive purposes they have few equals. Standard 2 3/4" 00 buck from a cylinder bore choke is a great combo. Few guns can match the reliability of a Rem 870 stuffed with 00 buck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlpineEarl View Post
    They did that because the shotgun is devastating at close range. In the hands of someone trained to use a shotgun for offensive/defensive purposes they have few equals. Standard 2 3/4" 00 buck from a cylinder bore choke is a great combo. Few guns can match the reliability of a Rem 870 stuffed with 00 buck.
    I don't doubt the effectiveness, but maybe the practicality.

    If the shot spreads enough, you could shoot at one person and hit both.

    Something with a single bullet might be more selective.

    What about that? Is that a valid consideration?

    (Suppose this scenario. When you enter the fray another member of your family is under attack/being assulted, and they are BOTH out in front of you.)

    Smitty of the North
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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Around the homestead it is loaded with straight 00 or 000 buckshot. Right now it is full of the Federal tactical loads. It patterns fairly tight at across the room and down the hall, ranges ,2 to 4 inches,,,,
    but has a 16 inch wide pattern at 25 yards. (Shoulder to shoulder.) So 25 yards is the max I would feel good using buck-shot in a two-legged defensive situation, with this particular shot-gun.
    Since my property could involve longer shots, "maybe a 100 yards in some places between the trees" there are other options available besides the shatter-gun.

    I carry straight Brenneke slugs if I am using it to walk point while packing meat or fish back to the plane or boat.

    I also carry a few cracker-shells and 12 gauge flares. They are rough on the barrel and make a mess with fouling, but they come in handy from time to time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I don't doubt the effectiveness, but maybe the practicality.

    If the shot spreads enough, you could shoot at one person and hit both.

    Something with a single bullet might be more selective.

    What about that? Is that a valid consideration?

    (Suppose this scenario. When you enter the fray another member of your family is under attack/being assulted, and they are BOTH out in front of you.)

    Smitty of the North
    Yes that is a valid consideration, especially for the scenario you described. I think most people are assuming that the family (or any innocent persons) are not and will not be involved in the situation, which is also why I will always "clear" our house rather than wait to see if the perpetrator comes to my wife and I (you never no if they'll squeeze off a lucky round).

    For the most part (at least for home defense against people) the incident will probably happen at night when the perpetrators likelihood of confronting the residents is at a minimum. This also means visibility will be lower and actually aiming a weapon will become nearly impossible while under the extreme amount of stress you will be experiencing, which also plays to the "pointability" and error tolerance of a shotgun.

    Although I agree with the idea that many smaller rounds (.22cal) on target would be more effective than a few poorly aimed large rounds (larger rifle/shotgun slug), my philosophy with respect to defending my family is to do as much damage to the intended target as possible in as little amount of time and with the most consistency. After seeing the accuracy statistics from law enforcment agencies where officers are required to discharge their weapons (approx 30-40% depending on the source), I am especially sure that my ability to repeatedly put a solid round on target in that type of situation will be far less than my usual range and qualification statistics.

    And also, the problem with any hollowpoint round is the potential for the round to become stuffed with plaster from going through a wall and essentially becoming a solid core bullet. A safety instructor once told me that a 9mm hollowpoint will travel through nine 4' wide hallways before losing it's energy. But that scenario you described is part of the reason I also have a .45acp ready to utilize.
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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvsujustin View Post
    Yes that is a valid consideration, especially for the scenario you described. I think most people are assuming that the family (or any innocent persons) are not and will not be involved in the situation, which is also why I will always "clear" our house rather than wait to see if the perpetrator comes to my wife and I (you never no if they'll squeeze off a lucky round).

    For the most part (at least for home defense against people) the incident will probably happen at night when the perpetrators likelihood of confronting the residents is at a minimum. This also means visibility will be lower and actually aiming a weapon will become nearly impossible while under the extreme amount of stress you will be experiencing, which also plays to the "pointability" and error tolerance of a shotgun.

    Although I agree with the idea that many smaller rounds (.22cal) on target would be more effective than a few poorly aimed large rounds (larger rifle/shotgun slug), my philosophy with respect to defending my family is to do as much damage to the intended target as possible in as little amount of time and with the most consistency. After seeing the accuracy statistics from law enforcment agencies where officers are required to discharge their weapons (approx 30-40% depending on the source), I am especially sure that my ability to repeatedly put a solid round on target in that type of situation will be far less than my usual range and qualification statistics.

    And also, the problem with any hollowpoint round is the potential for the round to become stuffed with plaster from going through a wall and essentially becoming a solid core bullet. A safety instructor once told me that a 9mm hollowpoint will travel through nine 4' wide hallways before losing it's energy. But that scenario you described is part of the reason I also have a .45acp ready to utilize.
    For the multiple concerns you and Smitty identified, I strongly prefer a short-barreled rifle for a close-quarters home-defense weapon. The .223/5.56 to me is ideal because it is provably violently lethal to humans, especially at short range (the hunting rounds are even more so than the military ones). The .223 also does not penetrate a lot of drywall (varies alot with particular bullet choices, but the ones designed not to do so, are the best bullets of probably any cartridge made for this purpose), which is one reason the FBI and SWAT teams use the .223 almost exclusively (e.g., http://www.olyarms.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemi d=27). Moreover, it’s possible, and fairly common, if you have an intruder, he may have company. A rifle to me clearly is the superior weapon for that type of fight. While many can and do operate handguns effectively against potentially-multiple targets under extreme pressure, it is easier with a high-capacity rifle. It’s more controllable and easy to hit accurately with it, especially when you don’t have time to observe the target through sights. As you suggest, it's how calmly you respond when being threatened that largely determines how well you will perform rather than merely how good of a target shooter you are. And having my rifle makes me feel calmer.

    There are a lot of other weapons that work great, and many in a particular circumstance may work better [need a lot of penetration barrier (bad guy hiding behind at table) or, on the contrary, want very little penetration (bad guy out in the open, but don’t want to kill innocent bystanders), etc …], but to me a short-barreled .223 is one of the best possible compromises around for quickly killing and accurately multiple bad guys under pressure in dwellings but not killing your friends, family, or neighbors. Overkill maybe, but I’d rather have the balance too much on my side than too little.

    See also: http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ndoor-use.html

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    Defensive weapon choices are many and varied as we have seen with plusses and minuses with any choice (over penetration, targeting, ect..). I still think though that a 12 ga is a very good choice in the home for defense. A short barreled 12 with buck is devastating at close range on soft tissue.

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akshrop View Post
    Defensive weapon choices are many and varied as we have seen with plusses and minuses with any choice (over penetration, targeting, ect..). I still think though that a 12 ga is a very good choice in the home for defense. A short barreled 12 with buck is devastating at close range on soft tissue.
    I agree, and I certainly wouldn't want to be shot by a 12ga load of buckshot at close range.

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    A 30-round magazine stuffed with Hornady V-Max bullets would be just total hell on someone's body.

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    Thanks you guys:

    Those who addressed my concerns.

    It's not my thread, but I might as well learn from it, what seems pertinent to me.

    Thanks Again

    Smitty of the North
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