Author Topic: What Ammo for Shotgun  (Read 11718 times)

nelson96

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What Ammo for Shotgun
« on: March 08, 2012, 09:02:33 PM »
Okay, I feel silly that I know next to nothing about using a shotgun (I've hunted with every other firearm but a shotgun).  I feel even sillier that I own two shotguns (one has never been fired) and own next to no ammo for them.

Both are hunting length:
One is a Belgium made Browning 12 gauge (model "Light Twelve") that takes 2-3/4" shells and no variable choke
The other is a Benelli 12 gauge (model "Super Nova") that takes 2-3/4"-3-1/2" shells and variable choke

What do you all recommend for ammo on these two, to hunt with and protect with, in a SHTF scenario?

Offline PrepperJim

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 05:43:58 AM »
I never owned a shotgun before about a year ago. My dad had and 870 so I shot it and liked it. I bought one for myself.

What I did was buy various loads and worked up from an 8 to 6 to 4 and finally 00. The larger the number, the smaller the pellet size and the more of them in the shell. The larger number also has less kick. I am a good sized guy so I can handle the 00 pretty well for home defense. There is ammo called "managed recoil" that is recommended by a lot of law enforcement. It is a step down in recoil from the 00.  I bought a bunch and have not had a chance to practice with it.

I bought the 2 3/4 shells. I am not sure I could handle the 3 1/2.

http://www.shotgunworld.com/amm.html

Hope this helps.

Offline Ronin4hire

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2012, 07:30:56 AM »
While Ive never owned one, friends advised that the Benelli can be picky about its ammo & cycling.
Probably why Im happy with the 870 pump- it eats anything!
I have reloaded mountains of birdshot for it back in my clay days.
Tactically, I keep a few light slugs around and made some quantity #4buckshot purchases.
(Think I found SportsmansGuide offering come Fiocci copper jacketed #4 sorta cheap a while ago)
Birdshot is nice indoors or for small game,   #4 for further distances & bigger game, and slugs...   well thats just ugly!

Offline DrJohn

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2012, 08:17:10 AM »
For hunting pheasants we like #6 or #7 shot, 3 inch high brass shells, with lead shot. (hurts less when you bite down on them!) For smaller birds Bird shot is perfect, and for larger birds - ie geese, ducks and such #3 or #4 steel shot is required - Federal water fowl regulations require non-lead shot.  You can but some really nice tungsten shot, but this stuff is VERY expensive.

For Turkey I use a 3 1/2 inch magnum shell with #3 shot. One box is enough for a while as we are limited to 1 bird in the spring and 2 in the fall.

For home defense I use 3 inch 00 and #4 buck shot.

A day in the field hunting pheasants my son and I will both go through 2-3 boxes of shells and bring home 6-8 birds.  As to home defense - well, no such thing as too much?
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 08:28:36 AM by DrJohn »

nelson96

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2012, 04:53:06 PM »
I am a good sized guy so I can handle the 00 pretty well for home defense. There is ammo called "managed recoil" that is recommended by a lot of law enforcement. It is a step down in recoil from the 00.  I bought a bunch and have not had a chance to practice with it.

I'm not worried at all about recoil and am more concerned with what to use for hunting birds with these rifles, thanks though.

While Ive never owned one, friends advised that the Benelli can be picky about its ammo & cycling.
Probably why Im happy with the 870 pump- it eats anything! Tactically, I keep a few light slugs around and made some quantity #4buckshot purchases. (Think I found SportsmansGuide offering come Fiocci copper jacketed #4 sorta cheap a while ago) Birdshot is nice indoors or for small game,   #4 for further distances & bigger game, and slugs...   well thats just ugly!

These are the rifles I have and will stick with them, but thanks for the information.  I'll make sure I try the ammo out before buying too much.

For hunting pheasants we like #6 or #7 shot, 3 inch high brass shells, with lead shot. (hurts less when you bite down on them!) For smaller birds Bird shot is perfect, and for larger birds - ie geese, ducks and such #3 or #4 steel shot is required - Federal water fowl regulations require non-lead shot.  You can but some really nice tungsten shot, but this stuff is VERY expensive.

For Turkey I use a 3 1/2 inch magnum shell with #3 shot. One box is enough for a while as we are limited to 1 bird in the spring and 2 in the fall.

For home defense I use 3 inch 00 and #4 buck shot.

This is the information I was hoping for (very specific and to the point), thank you. . . .  Can you tell me what limitations I may need to keep in mind using the Browning with no variable choke and only 2-3/4" shells?

Offline joeinwv

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2012, 08:17:40 PM »
I don't typically use 3" shells, so don't worry about 2.75 not being enough.

Not being funny, most Remington loads have pics of animals on the boxes. ie: rabbits, doves, etc.

#6 is a good compromise round - I like #4 for squirrels.

If you look at different shells, you will note the high and low brass - this is the height of the brass area that holds the powder. While not typically a factor in pump guns, a semi might show a preference for one or the other, probably high brass. You can also typically make changes to the specific gun to tune it to the power of different shells. I don't know on your guns if this is an option.

Get a few boxes of 4,5,6 and some buckshot and see what the gun likes. Also get some large cardboard or poster board so you can see what your shot pattern looks like.

nelson96

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 09:55:02 PM »
I don't typically use 3" shells, so don't worry about 2.75 not being enough.

Not being funny, most Remington loads have pics of animals on the boxes. ie: rabbits, doves, etc.

#6 is a good compromise round - I like #4 for squirrels.

If you look at different shells, you will note the high and low brass - this is the height of the brass area that holds the powder. While not typically a factor in pump guns, a semi might show a preference for one or the other, probably high brass. You can also typically make changes to the specific gun to tune it to the power of different shells. I don't know on your guns if this is an option.

Get a few boxes of 4,5,6 and some buckshot and see what the gun likes. Also get some large cardboard or poster board so you can see what your shot pattern looks like.

So to keep it simple in my ammo stock, I can be pretty effective hunting small game and birds using the 2.75 in both the Browning (Semi-auto) and the Benelli (Pump)?

Do the boxes actually say "high or low brass"?

I got on the Browning website and discovered that my shotgun is a Browning Auto-5 "Light 12" with full choke made in 1957 by FN . . .  How useful will this gun be, meaning what kind of hunting will it be limited to?


inbox485

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 10:57:21 PM »
Shotgun ammo is target, range and choke specific. You need to know all three at least approximately to select an appropriate round. There are pretty concise charts out there for just that.

Here are a few online guides:

http://www.shotgunworld.com/amm.html
http://www.chuckhawks.com/shot_info.htm

About the only target you will consistently see garbage for advice is with two legged varmint control. For some odd reason, the same ammo that would make perfect sense for a 150-250 lb four legged animal seems "overkill" when the leg count goes from 4 to 2, and stuff meant for birds get recommended. I'll never understand why, but it is horrible advice and it gets good people killed. Never use anything smaller than #4 buck for defense, and even then just understand that anything below #1 buck is a gamble as far as having enough weight to penetrate enough.

Offline trekker111

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 11:21:22 PM »
For home defense #1 buckshot, 00 buck or 1 oz rifled slugs for hunting big game, 6 or 7 1/2 bird shot for small game. 3 1/2 or 3 inch for biggame, 2 3/4 for small game, 2 3/4 or 3 inch for home defense.

The only exceptions I would recommend to these guidelines are for hunting turkey or coyotes. 3" number 4 or 5 bird shot for turkey, and #1 or #4 buck for coyotes, if legal in your area.

Get a cylinder or improved cylinder choke for slugs and buckshot, a full or modified for bird shot. And a turkey choke for turkey hunting.

nelson96

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2012, 07:38:48 AM »
Shotgun ammo is target, range and choke specific. You need to know all three at least approximately to select an appropriate round. There are pretty concise charts out there for just that.

Here are a few online guides:

http://www.shotgunworld.com/amm.html
http://www.chuckhawks.com/shot_info.htm

+1 for the EXCELLENT charts, thank you.  Everything makes so much more sense now.

Offline RPZ

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2012, 08:37:39 AM »
Hunting stuff seems to be well covered. For defensive use I would go with slugs and shot loads.

Brenneke slugs. If the old 200 grain Speer HP for the .45 ACP was called the "flying ashtray", you can call this the flying oil drum (They have several other loads too).

http://www.brennekeusa.com/cms/h_classic_magnum.html

Remember that the average 000 and 00 buckshot load patterns will begin to open up after about 15-20 yards to the point where there will be some larger gaps. You want more than just two of three pellets in the vital zone ideally, so you should test your loads to see at what distances the pattern becomes too thin if using large buckshot.

One of the more interesting shotshell trends has been high density shot; alloys of tungsten, etc. Federal market a Heavyweight Coyote BB load.  The BB pellets are about .19 inch in  diameter; smaller than 00, #1, #2 buck etc, but the tungsten alloy is more than 30% denser than lead shot. That translates into retained energy and penetration with a high pellet count.

I do not have a 12 gauge at present and have not tried these, but if your Benelli will feed them reliably and pattern well,  this load will probably be a virtual pole ax out to 10 yards, and still perform well out and beyond 40 yards. Worth trying perhaps. If so, they are expensive - buy one box and try them before investing in a modest supply.

For the Browning, Hevi-Shot market some "Classic Double" loads if your gun is an older one you don't want to beat to death, and you could contact Hevi-Shot to see if the Belgian was up to shooting the 2-3/4 inch "Dead Coyote" with #4 buck.

Offline DrJohn

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2012, 09:38:44 AM »
The shot gun that is cylinder bore is not a great hunting tool as you really need to change chokes for different game and shot.  When you drop down from 3 inch to 2 3/4 you are just reducing the umpf of the load and reducing your effetive range.  Some semi autos may not cycle reliably will all loads so you will have to try out differnt brands and see what your gun likes.

nelson96

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2012, 09:46:31 AM »
The shot gun that is cylinder bore is not a great hunting tool as you really need to change chokes for different game and shot.  When you drop down from 3 inch to 2 3/4 you are just reducing the umpf of the load and reducing your effetive range.  Some semi autos may not cycle reliably will all loads so you will have to try out differnt brands and see what your gun likes.

Thanks Doc . . . .  Thank you ALL !

Offline sukivel

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2012, 11:44:35 PM »
I have every different size shot there is, but I stock up on #4.  I even have #4 loaded for my home defense. I think it's the most versatile. Stay away from steel shot unless hunting waterfowl.

nelson96

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Re: What Ammo for Shotgun
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2012, 01:05:30 AM »
I have every different size shot there is, but I stock up on #4.  I even have #4 loaded for my home defense. I think it's the most versatile. Stay away from steel shot unless hunting waterfowl.

Ya know what, that's not a bad idea (+1 for that one).  I'll try there first and see how it shoots out of both guns, I'll check patterns and I'll try to mimic some penetration scenarios for defense.

I won't worry about steel shot for waterfowl, if the SHTF the warden won't be giving out any tickets. . . .  There's a reason I don't know much about shotgun shells.  A friend of mine knows how much I like to hunt and he gave me some good advice a long time ago.  He said, "don't ever start bird hunting, because I know you, you'll get addicted to it and that's all you'll want to do." . . .  But if the SHTF, I want to be prepared to make the best of it (and have fun do'n it).