Box-o-truth style 12ga testing

swmn

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Total shotgun n00b here. I have been reading a TON on the intrawebz. I think I am pretty Ok at telling the wheat from the chaff when I open google, but kinda feeling my way in the dark on this one.

What I am after is dependable instant incapacitation out to 20 feet using 12ga for home defense. But I like my neighbor OK, and I like his dog just fine too. I measured the distance from the side of my house to our common fence, and then eyeballed across his lawn to the side wall of his house, I get 22-25 feet of lawn between our buildings.

Test barrel is a 20" Remington smoothbore with remchoke system, rifle sights, I used an improved cylinder choke and a full choke today. Test ammunition is remington part number 12B1, 12ga, 2 3/4", 1250fps velocity (Too cold to get my chrono out today. It says 1250 on the box, OK?) 16 pellets, #1 buckshot.

FWIW Sportsmen's in Fairbanks is sold out of this. It took me three trips, but I cornered the market on this stuff right now, and I don't have that many boxes. That right there is why this thread is in the handloading section. I can buy all the components, the real question is do I want to duplicate this load for HD.
barrel.JPG

First I patterned the barrel and load at 20 feet into a cardboard box. I measure "about" eight inches with the improved cylinder choke, and "about" six inches with the full choke. The ammunition box says "works best with full choke". The package my choke came in says "works best with size #4 shot and smaller." I got the smaller pattern with the full choke and stuck with it for the rest of the day.


I see I am currently limited to two pictures per post. I am going to have to reserve some posts before I get back to the story...
 

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swmn

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One nice thing is I didn't have to adjust the rifle sights on the new barrel, at least today. At 20 feet my patterns were pretty well centered onm the point of aim. I am going to fool with slugs at yards instead of shot at feet before I call it good, but I figured Remington shipped it set up for something.

Jugs are standard from the grocery store, i ran the expensive water through my humidifier and refilled with tap water. Nominal 12" through the first jug, six inches through the second jug.
 

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swmn

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First is the recovered pellets, seven of 16 in jug #2, one pellet recovered from jug number three.

I am hurrying through the story because I don't know how long I have to edit the five posts I am juggling right now. I have read a couple places that 2" water penetraion is about equal to 1" of penetration in standard ballsitic gel. no idea if it is true, but I recovered 7/16 pellets from jug two, they penetrated more than 12 but less than 18 inches of water.

I am thinking instantly incapacitating at 20 feet, yes, decadent overpenetration that is a flagrant danger to my neighbors (like 44 magnum might be) no.

Other is setup. 20 feet from muzzle is half inch drywall on 2x4 with 1/2" OSb representing my exterior wall. 20 feet byound that is 1/2" OSB representing the exterior of my neighbor's house, on 2x4, with 1/2" drywall representing the inside of his living room...
 

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swmn

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This is 20 feet from the muzzle, drywall inside my house, OSB on the outside. That's not going to buff out.
 

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swmn

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Got the last one open in time.

Forty feet fromt he muzzle, having already passed through the exterior wall of my house, this models my neighbor's exterior wall. I was goign to staple up some vapor barrier - - I had the naive idea that maybe some of the pellets might hit the OSB and bounce off. I couldn't find any vapor barrier scraps, so stapled up a single layer of corugated cardboard, liek a pizza box, instead.

Notice in the last frame all the sawdust under the box, and all the holes inside my neighbor's living room.

My take home is don't miss.
 

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mike h

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Probably wouldn't need more than one box for home defense. How many times do you figure you're going to have to reload to ward off an intruder?
 

swmn

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Probably wouldn't need more than one box for home defense. How many times do you figure you're going to have to reload to ward off an intruder?

I am not so much worried about needing 35 million rounds in case of a zombie horde. What I think I have here is a combination that should be instantly incapacitating at 20 feet, but in event of a miss my neighbor might have #1 buck flying around his living room pretty fast.

Given the barely adequate water penetration I think I want to keep whatever the velocity is, but fool with wad choice when I reload #1 buck to "1250" fps in search of a smaller pattern at 20 feet.
 

rbuck351

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If you're only going to shoot 20 feet or so, go to a heavy load of lead bird shot in #2 size. How far do you suppose you need to penetrate into a mans chest to stop him real quick. Pour wax in the shot before crimping if you want to keep the pattern tight and still not over penetrate.
 

LeonardC

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Thanks for sharing your experiment. I moved in a different direction for HD, but back in the day I loaded Federal 3" #4 Buck shot. 41 pellets per shell. Never shot anyone with it, so can't say how it'd work. I don't remember all the whys, but it seemed like a good balance between stopping power and not over penetrate. My hazy memory tells me those pellets are about .22 size. I'm sure 2 3/4" would work about as well.
 

swmn

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On the penetration side, IIRC the rubric is for defense you want enough penetration to get into the chest from the side, through an arm.

I haven't seen any number 2 shot on the shelf local, I'll keep an eye out for it.

I have also read good things about the federal "FliteControl" wad on the real box-o-truth, http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/theboxotruth.htm , I am thinking of article #56.

The FliteControl wad is not yet available to reloaders, though I think Sportsmens' Fairbanks had some in federal factory loads, either #4 or #6 shot size.

Do appreciate the idea about hot wax. I ran into another idea, a fella somewhere used a wrapper for a roll of dimes, only he slid it over a dowel to crimp the first end and then put the shot in the paper tube, slid that into the hull and crimped the shell closed over the top. I have figured out how to do a hot wax bath. Haven't spent a lot of time pouring hot wax on things, but I suspect pouring from the top I won't get hot liquid wax all the way to the bottom of the shot column.

FWIW Remington uses a two piece cup and over wad system, no spreader spike in the shot cup, column filled with a tiny white particles, powder almost, I think someone said its polystyrene, supposed to keep the shot from deforming under sudden acceleration.

Thanks for the ideas, I'll put them all on the drawing board. To me a smaller pattern means I have a better chance of putting all the pellets in the bad guy, and a lower chance of sending a stray pellet into my neighbor's living room.
 

Mobius

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For wax slugs, you want to dump all the shot out and mix the wax and shot in a cup you heat up. Then pour the mix back into the shell. That way the wax is mixed into the shot well. Wax slugs are good for low penetration on hard media. The wax keeps the shot all together, but when it hits a hard surface, it dissipates the energy very quickly in breaking up the "slug". I've seen tests where a wax slug will penetrate the exterior of a car door, but won't make it through the inner metal panel. All that energy is wasted in the shot breaking up and can't make it through the second sheet metal.

Another cheap way is to use cut shells. Which is essentially the same principle, except cut shells do penetrate a bit more.

On a side note, one thing I've been told by instructors and take it for what it's worth, is that they don't use hand loads for self defense. (Not saying all instructors say that, just some have told me this.) Their rationale is that a rabid lawyer will try to claim that you were out for blood because you made purpose built killing machines. One of the more famous proponents of not using hand loads is Mossad Ayoob. (You should know who that is, if not, look him up.) He mentions that one of the more difficult things to deal with in a court case is that they cannot (for a lot of reasons) accurately replicate the loads. The biggest being that you cannot destroy evidence in a court case and testing any remaining loads you may have in your gun would destroy them as evidence. You can keep all the records you want, but a good lawyer will point out that there is no way to know for sure what was in the exact load you fired. If you use factory loaded ammo, you can say replicate it with another factory load. If you use hand loads, they can't do that. Just some thoughts. Not trying to convince anyone not to use hand loads for SD, just some things to think about.

Oh, and BTW, cool posts. Always fascinating to learn more, thanks for sharing.
 

swmn

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I am aware of Mister Ayoob's take on reloaded ammunition for Self Defense. As I am purposefully setting out to make a load less dangerous for my neighbors I am not especially concerned.

I think with #1 buck (0.300" roundball, nominal) I am going to build a tube open at both ends, place those vetically in an empty pan, stack the 16 pellets of shot inside the tube on the spacer, and then melt wax in the pan until the tubes are full all the way up to the top. Then excavate the tubed shot columns from the wax...

Can you describe the "cut shell" method in any detail?

Thanks
 

limon32

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Cut shells are just bird shot with the plastic hull scored with a pocketknife just above the brass. The plastic hull leaves the barrel with the shot still inside, described to me as a "poor mans slug".
 

Mobius

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Cut shells are just bird shot with the plastic hull scored with a pocketknife just above the brass. The plastic hull leaves the barrel with the shot still inside, described to me as a "poor mans slug".

Clarification, on a high brass. For low brass, you want to cut the shell above the powder column in the shell. You can usually feel the middle of the wad between the shot cup and the powder cup. The thin part in the middle. Score the shell nearly all the way on both sides leaving a small part of the outer shell in tact. When the shell is fired, the pressure is enough to rip the shell the rest of the way cutting the top of the shell off the brass. So the entire thing flies out, shot, wad, and case as one piece. Poor man's slug is a pretty decent description. It's going to penetrate a bit more than a wax slug because it will take more to break it up.

The wax slug is probably a pretty good bet.
 

Kay9Cop

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Try the same thing with #4 shot and I doubt you'll penetrate into your neighbor's home. And load of #4s at 20 feet is probably not something someone is going to walk away from.
 

limon32

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Clarification, on a high brass. For low brass, you want to cut the shell above the powder column in the shell. You can usually feel the middle of the wad between the shot cup and the powder cup. The thin part in the middle. Score the shell nearly all the way on both sides leaving a small part of the outer shell in tact. When the shell is fired, the pressure is enough to rip the shell the rest of the way cutting the top of the shell off the brass. So the entire thing flies out, shot, wad, and case as one piece. Poor man's slug is a pretty decent description. It's going to penetrate a bit more than a wax slug because it will take more to break it up.

The wax slug is probably a pretty good bet.

Thanks for the clarification, I've never actually done it, would have been disappointing to cut one and have all the powder fall out!
 

rbuck351

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At 20 feet and waxed, it's not going to matter much what size shot you use for performance on a person. If you use buck shot and miss it could very well penetrate into your neighbors house where as bird shot probably won't.
 

Nitroman

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Total shotgun n00b here. I have been reading a TON on the intrawebz. I think I am pretty Ok at telling the wheat from the chaff when I open google, but kinda feeling my way in the dark on this one.

What I am after is dependable instant incapacitation out to 20 feet using 12ga for home defense. But I like my neighbor OK, and I like his dog just fine too. I measured the distance from the side of my house to our common fence, and then eyeballed across his lawn to the side wall of his house, I get 22-25 feet of lawn between our buildings.

Test barrel is a 20" Remington smoothbore with remchoke system, rifle sights, I used an improved cylinder choke and a full choke today. Test ammunition is remington part number 12B1, 12ga, 2 3/4", 1250fps velocity (Too cold to get my chrono out today. It says 1250 on the box, OK?) 16 pellets, #1 buckshot.

FWIW Sportsmen's in Fairbanks is sold out of this. It took me three trips, but I cornered the market on this stuff right now, and I don't have that many boxes. That right there is why this thread is in the handloading section. I can buy all the components, the real question is do I want to duplicate this load for HD.
View attachment 76608

First I patterned the barrel and load at 20 feet into a cardboard box. I measure "about" eight inches with the improved cylinder choke, and "about" six inches with the full choke. The ammunition box says "works best with full choke". The package my choke came in says "works best with size #4 shot and smaller." I got the smaller pattern with the full choke and stuck with it for the rest of the day.


I see I am currently limited to two pictures per post. I am going to have to reserve some posts before I get back to the story...

You are in Fairbanks? You should go to the University library and look up the coroners books so you can see what a shotgun does to a human being. Also, there is no such thing as "instant incapacitation" unless it is a head shot or a spine in the upper five vertabrae. A header with a 12ga is just plain messy.
 

Secondhand Bob

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Another thing about cut shells or poor mans slugs, they work in single and double barrel guns, but in pumps they don't always feed, they bend in the center and ball things up. Don't even consider trying them in semi auto's!
I didn't notice fiberglass insulation in your walls. Fiberglass sometimes really slows things down as it wads around the projectile going through the walls.
#4 buck might be the ticket you are looking for, at 20 feet it will be lethal, but shouldn't get through the neighbor's wall.
 

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