Author Topic: Best shell for shotgun HD!  (Read 28815 times)

inbox485

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Re: Best shell for shotgun HD!
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2014, 03:38:30 PM »
OK so lets look at that last little thing, which seems quite typical of the entire thread.

#8 shot will go trough walls and cause life threatening injury, but is in no way usable due to its ineffective penetration?

Does that mean that it is not useful in open field of fire but IS deadly if it goes through a wall first?

And why do I need 8" of penetration to hit organs that are only 3 inches from the body surface?

And how are you killing game if the shot is bouncing off the skin?

This entire thread has turned into a tangle of impossible contradictions.


I get the confusion, so I'll explain a bit.

The standard for penetration on human targets is 12" or more in calibrated gel. This isn't the same jello you see a lot on youtube, but gel that has been formulated and maintained at a controlled temperature and a calibration BB is shot through a chronograph to validate the penetration depth of a steel BB at a controlled velocity range. That gel more or less correlates to average tissue penetration (an example is there is a demo video of a pork hind half with gel behind it, and a block of plain gel, and the demo shows equal penetration depth). Not all tissue is equal so 4" of gel penetration does not mean you will get 4" into a chest even on an unobstructed frontal shot. 12" comes from a worst case path to the heart from the rear right, but it also relates to various obstructions that routinely happen in defensive shooting, and the FBI group that came up with it continues to back it as being the benchmark of a round that will consistently penetrate to the vital organs.

Penetration to vital organs is critical in forcing an assailant to stop rather than hoping the mental impact and pain compliance are sufficient. Penetration to vital organs is NOT critical to inflicting horrible gruesome wounds that could eventually result in death or permanent disfigurement.  Birdshot does not bounce off skin at defensive ranges. It tends to tear it to hell and stop at the first bone or cartilage layer. It also tend to rip out teeth, destroy eyes, perforate major joints, rupture intestines, so on and so forth, but none of those are consistent results or reliable for ceasing a dedicated assailant. Look up the first two face transplant recipients. Both took bird shot point blank to the face and were able to call 911 afterward.

If you shoot an assailant, they have a fair chance of dying, or they might be disfigured for life, but right then and there the only thing that matters is that it is their choice if they will continue fighting or not. So long as they continue to be a threat, you should be doing everything you can to take that choice away from them in as short of time as possible. If you shoot your kid in the next room over, he has a fair chance of dying, or he might be permanently disfigured, and the only thing that will matter at that moment is the fact that your kid just got shot and his life will never be the same.

Bird shot doesn't make shooting indoors any safer for bystanders. It just means your assailant gets to choose when to quit rather than you choosing for him.

Offline livinitup0

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Re: Best shell for shotgun HD!
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2014, 04:02:25 PM »
was thinking the same... every thread on this topic on any forum ive seen ends the same way (agreeing to disagree)

Im really trying to figure out a safe and reliable HD option for my apartment but every shotgun option I have thought of has either been called extremely dangerous either because of over penetration (00 buck) or not having enough stopping power (birdshot).

basically if I go through a wall im extremely likely to harm someone no matter what...one of the biggest reasons I haven't decided on a HD firearm yet. Highly frustrating.

inbox485

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Re: Best shell for shotgun HD!
« Reply #62 on: January 13, 2014, 04:12:58 PM »
was thinking the same... every thread on this topic on any forum ive seen ends the same way (agreeing to disagree)

Im really trying to figure out a safe and reliable HD option for my apartment but every shotgun option I have thought of has either been called extremely dangerous either because of over penetration (00 buck) or not having enough stopping power (birdshot).

basically if I go through a wall im extremely likely to harm someone no matter what...one of the biggest reasons I haven't decided on a HD firearm yet. Highly frustrating.

If it can forcibly stop a human being, a couple layers of drywall aren't going to make much difference, but humans make great bullet stops. Maybe take a class or two and see where your comfort level is. If you want to compromise and go for pain compliance, rubber ball, and bear foggers are better options than birdshot. Point is, birdshot isn't a happy medium, it is the worst of both worlds.

Offline trekker111

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Re: Best shell for shotgun HD!
« Reply #63 on: January 13, 2014, 09:42:50 PM »
OK so lets look at that last little thing, which seems quite typical of the entire thread.

#8 shot will go trough walls and cause life threatening injury, but is in no way usable due to its ineffective penetration? Penetrating a person (flesh), and penetrating a wall (hard) is 2 different things. Same as the 223 round i referenced, which will penetrate a ?" mild steel plate, yet doesn't pass through a deer completely, usually ending up in the off side ribs.

Does that mean that it is not useful in open field of fire but IS deadly if it goes through a wall first?
It's not anymore "deadly" after passing through a wall, but is still quite capable of causing permanent disfigurement, and maybe a slow agonizing death. Many people who choose to use birdshot for defense do so based on the false assumption that it won't penetrate a wall, combined with the false assumption that it will disable the attacker. It may dissable them, may not. 

And why do I need 8" of penetration to hit organs that are only 3 inches from the body surface?hitting organs does not stop a threat, damaging the central nervous system does, and birdshot can not penetrate that deep unless you shoot them in the back. Organ damage kills eventually, it may take a few seconds, it could take a few weeks.

And how are you killing game if the shot is bouncing off the skin?

This entire thread has turned into a tangle of impossible contradictions.


The most common result of birdshot wounds on people is permanent disfigurement and scarring. The sort of injury that juries love to award money for. Getting hit by a load of birdshot would hurt like hell, which might stop an attacker, or make them attack harder. They may turn and run, or they may shoot you.

We had a burglary a few years ago where the homeowner shot the burglar with a load of 7┬Żbirdshot from a distance of roughly 25 ft, from the bedroom door to the front door. We tracked the burglar for about a mile with a bloodhound, caught him, arrested him, and took him by the hospital on the way to jail. The majority of the shot load either missed, or failed to penetrate the guys clothing. The couple hundred pellets that did injure him, many of which were visible from the outside. Most of the pellets were removed by the ER Dr by simply squeezing them out, similar to popping a pimple, after that the Dr switched to tweezers, then a scalpel and tweezers. The guy still has a few pellets, about 12, that were in the rib cage wall. None of the pellets caused organ damage. He went to jail a few hours later with a prescription for penicillin. Our castle doctirine law protects a homeowner from civil liability, yet this burglar was able to get a law suit started on the basis that a reasonable person would know that birdshot would not cause death or incapacitation, therefore, the homeowner purposefully caused pain and disfigurement and was acting in malice, not self defense. A judge called BS and dismissed the case, but it still ended up costing the homeowner a couple thousand dollars in attorney fees.

Not what I'm going to trust my life, or the lives of my family to.

Offline MississippiJarhead

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Re: Best shell for shotgun HD!
« Reply #64 on: January 14, 2014, 12:28:09 AM »
Our castle doctirine law protects a homeowner from civil liability, yet this burglar was able to get a law suit started on the basis that a reasonable person would know that birdshot would not cause death or incapacitation, therefore, the homeowner purposefully caused pain and disfigurement and was acting in malice, not self defense. A judge called BS and dismissed the case, but it still ended up costing the homeowner a couple thousand dollars in attorney fees.

Not what I'm going to trust my life, or the lives of my family to.
Hmmm, being rabbit hunting was all I ever used a shotgun for there were years #6s were the only shotgun shells I had on hand. One could argue that effectively in most any jurisdiction, I would imagine. The same argument could likely be effectively made for shooting an intruder with any hunting weapon/ammo. "Was the .45-70 with 500 grain buffalo bore hollow points overkill for self defense? Sure, but I'm a hunter and they were all I had."

Offline Gulo gulo

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Re: Best shell for shotgun HD!
« Reply #65 on: January 14, 2014, 04:45:02 AM »
My father in law is a doctor. When he was with the bureau of Indian affairs in Nome, Alaska he treated an inebriate who had been shot with birdshot (I don't remember why he was shot, banging on the wrong door, insisting it was his house maybe). He said it only penetrated under the skin, hanging out on top or barely imbedded in the abdominal muscle. The guy was awake most of the time, repeating "you shot me! You shot me!" Til he was put on the airplane to anchorage. Don't use birdshot for home defense.

Offline Clybrad

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Re: Best shell for shotgun HD!
« Reply #66 on: January 16, 2014, 05:31:13 PM »
Thank you inbox for your suggestion.  I will do some research on rubber rounds.  I never thought of that... I love this forum.