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  #1  
Old 03-19-2011, 07:29 PM
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Default Best 12 Gauge self defense shells?

I recently purchased my first shotgun (a 12 gauge pump Mossberg 500) for self defense use in my house. I have a large collection of handguns and rifles and reload for them but don't know jack about shotgun ammo. In the past I have shot a friends pump with 00 buckshot but as I have a bad shoulder it really hurts with that load. I am looking for a good knockdown load that won't be so harsh on my fragile shoulder any suggestions. I don't know a lot about the different shot sizes and assume I need to look for something with less ft-lbs of energy.
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:44 PM
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You could try the reduced recoil "tactical" loads, or perhaps a more generous recoil pad if you could find one that isn't tacky to touch, as those are wholly unsuitable for defensive work. But either way, it's still a light 12ga pump gun running buckshot, which in its standard loading has about the same free recoil energy as a 458 win mag, as I recall.

Frankly, if you are recoil sensitive or have shoulder issues, you'd be better off ditching the shotgun for a carbine of some sort - AR, AK, .357 lever gun, etc. - or just using your pistols.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:02 PM
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I have an AR and AK but am worried about overpenetration into a neighbors house. Currently I have two Glocks loaded with Black Talon loads, a model 21 and 17 which I keep in opposite ends of the house and am very proficient with either one but wanted a pump to hopefully scare away any intruders with the sound of racking the pump and not having a lethal ending.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:20 PM
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I prefer #1 buckshot in my old 500A, but it's not always easy to find. I think #1 bridges the gap between 00 and #4 buck, as the pellets are .30 caliber and there are 16 of them. 00 buck usually has 9 .33 caliber pellets, sometimes 12(DON'T get the 3" magnum loads unless you like pain. There are MUCH better loads out there), compared to 27 light .25 caliber pellets in #4 buck.



+1 on the "ditch the shotgun for a carbine" crowd if recoil is a problem for you.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:30 PM
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I agree with low recoil/tactical buckshot as the best choice if you've just gotta use a shotgun. BTW, in defensive use (you aren't wingshooting birds), the shotgun butt is placed on the pectoral muscle midway between the nipple & top of the shoulder, not in the shoulder pocket. If the elbow is kept down (should point at the ground) while pulling the butt in to tense the pectoral musle, the punishment is much reduced. You might also consider trading for a 20 gauge or autoloader of either gauge. The 20 may be more limited in factory ammo, but the buckshot load is sufficient for defensive use indoors.

Given your situation, I'd strongly suggest 40-45 gr .223 loads in your carbine. The FBI found them to be less penetrative of building materials than pistol ammuntion. Just make sure you run 100 or so rounds of your choice through your particular choice through your AR to ensure proper function and get the sights adjusted properly.

I'd also strongly suggest a decent pair of sound amplifying ear protectors. You want to be able to hear before, during and after firing in the house.

Last edited by WR Moore; 03-19-2011 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:40 PM
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I have a neighbor whose house is relatively close, and I would hate to hurt any of those kids with stray buckshot, so I have opted instead for plain old #8 birdshot in my Winchester 1300 Defender. I have never had to use it for self-defense purposes (thankfully), but figure if the sound of a shell racking into the chamber doesn't eliminate the threat by making him run away, discharging it in his chest should make a pretty good mess of him and end it right then and there.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:43 PM
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In my Remington 870 I like 2-3/4" Magnum loads of 1.25 oz. BB-shot. I doubt that any intruder will know the difference from a shot inside the length of my house, but I don't have to worry about penetrating 2 or 3 walls with slugs or buckshot, neighbors sleeping in their beds, etc.

Any of the standard 2-3/4" or 3" magnum goose loads should do quite well for home defense.
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:00 PM
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Estate #4 buck (because you get 25 shells for $18)would be my first choice, Winchester 00 buck second ( a 15 round box for about $9 at Wal Mart) Up close any target load. Lots of overrun Olin GI 00 buck on the shelves now (if you don't mind the kick)
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:24 PM
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"....but wanted a pump to hopefully scare away any intruders with the sound of racking the pump and not having a lethal ending...."


You know, I think the sound of racking a shell into a 20 gauge sounds almost EXACTLY the same as a 12 gauge!

Did you ever consider anything but a 12 gauge?
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:57 PM
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7 1/2 or 8 birdshot should work just fine inside your residence.
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:56 AM
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I have been using the low recoil 12ga 00 buck in my self defense shotguns. Winchester or Remington are both good rounds. If you are worried about going thru the wall into our neighbors apt, try some of the
rubber buck shot. It will put the bad guys down, but not dead.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenbeanie67 View Post
If you are worried about going thru the wall into our neighbors apt, try some of the
rubber buck shot. It will put the bad guys down, but not dead.

....and you could still kill someone, which you did not mean to do by using "less than lethal" ammo. I try not to play the lawyer card, but that is not something I would want to try to defend in court after an incident.
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:51 AM
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Look guys, if anything will stop a lethal aggressor, it will penetrate walls if you miss your target. Quit worrying about what happens if you miss and practice so that you don't. While birdshot (so named because it's meant to use on itty-bitty critters normally used for food) can be lethal to large, highly motivated critters at extemely close range, that isn't a range you want a lethal threat to be at when you engage.

Don't bet your life, or the lives of those you love, on what's termed "less lethal" specialty ammunition like bean bags and rubber bullets. You may be expecting incapacitation, the other person may not have read the ads and fail to react in what you may feel as a proper manner. Also, people have died after being hit with those. As noted, it could be argued that the use of that type of ammunition indicated that you did not feel you had justification to use lethal force and any resulting death is manslaughter.

Last edited by WR Moore; 03-20-2011 at 02:57 AM.
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  #14  
Old 03-20-2011, 03:09 AM
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If you already bought the shotgun you could try upgrading the stock to a Knox recoil reducing stock to help with recoil
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:23 AM
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PD here tested and came up #4 mag. shot shells. You could see the difference in the loads.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:23 AM
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I keep a Mossberg 590 with buckshot. I usually keep the pistol grip installed. Using a pistol grip takes some practice, but would remove the recoil from your shoulder. Question will then become how well your wrist can take the recoil.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:10 AM
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Default Best 12 Gauge self defense shells?

Let's face it guys-there ain't no "bad" 12 gauge defense shells. I don't think that the shootee gives a royal root n tootin' whether he is shot with 00, #4 buck, 7.5 shot or steel F shot or whatever you can shuck through the action.
Being the discerning man of talent that I am-I use heavy shot duplex turkey loads, buffered of course Less wear and tear on my Home defense shotgun, a Parker BHE-double trigger splinter forearm with straight stock choked IC/M
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:31 AM
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I too use the Estate #4 Buckshot. Recoil isn't too bad, but if you add the Limbsaver #10201 recoil pad it really cuts it down. Fits well, out of the box, and easy to install.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:50 AM
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#8 birdshot at close range will dissuade any would be intruder wether its a mortal wound or not. Especially when said intruder is faced with the likelyhood of 4 more shots coming his way if he doesnt vacate the area, and quick.....and you shouldnt have the worry about the possibility of inuring you neighbors


I keep my SKS with 5 FMJ, steel core, HP's in the mag, and my 870 with 4 rds of 00 in the tube. My nieghbors arent very close...
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:58 PM
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870 Pump. 20 inch/8 shot extension.
First 2 up are 7 & 1/2 Birdshot.
Next 3 are #4 Buck.
I don't load it up all the way except for riots.
Some live with hurricanes & tornados,
I live with earthquakes & riots.
Welcome to LA.
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  #21  
Old 03-20-2011, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B1A View Post
I recently purchased my first shotgun (a 12 gauge pump Mossberg 500) for self defense use in my house. I have a large collection of handguns and rifles and reload for them but don't know jack about shotgun ammo. In the past I have shot a friends pump with 00 buckshot but as I have a bad shoulder it really hurts with that load. I am looking for a good knockdown load that won't be so harsh on my fragile shoulder any suggestions. I don't know a lot about the different shot sizes and assume I need to look for something with less ft-lbs of energy.
Good choice.I especially like the Moss`s top mounted safety.
In a extreme emergency you won`t notice the recoil so for defense, load good powerful stuff, but for practice go light.

you will be very surprised when you pattern your gun -birdshot at 10-15 feet will only spread out to about a 9 inch pie plate size circle

there is a video on youtube showing the penetration on different layers of drywall with shotguns.
You can also load various types of shells in one loading. A shotgun is very versatile.
I like having a tactical flashlight on mine. I absolutely want a positive ID on my target before I shoot.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:06 PM
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Federal LE127 00 and 127RB slugs are police favorites. I have seen the results on deer and dogs, but not on people. I trust those loads enough to use them at home in an 1187. john
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:15 PM
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jeff quinn told me to try pulling forward with the left hand and pulling back with the right sort of like you are trying to pull the shotgun in two. this with the right recoil pad works wonders. also consider tactical buckshot loads. these have a little less recoil that the standard hunting 00 buck loads.

as an aside, i was getting ready for turkey season and tried the 3.5" 2oz of number 5s. amazing recoil! too much for this wimp.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:26 PM
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I've never shot ~any~ load in a pump 12 gauge that I would consider useable with a "fragile" shoulder.

Do some research on shotguns and I think you'll find they are a special purpose weapon with a narrow mission. Low light, moving target scenarios are where the shotgun excells. Beyond that, you're better off with a good carbine. Your shoulder would like an AR much, much better than a pump 12 gauge.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack oconnor View Post
I like having a tactical flashlight on mine. I absolutely want a positive ID on my target before I shoot.
What kind of tact light did you end up getting?
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coach22 View Post
870 Pump. 20 inch/8 shot extension.
First 2 up are 7 & 1/2 Birdshot.
Next 3 are #4 Buck.
I don't load it up all the way except for riots.
Some live with hurricanes & tornados,
I live with earthquakes & riots.
Welcome to LA.
I've loaded mine where every other shell is either #2 or 1oz slug. The thought is, first slow 'em down with #2, then take your time with slug...repeat, as necessary. I load my Moss 590 8/1 capacity (the first 1 in the chamber is #2), ALL the way in order to create an overwhelming "force multiplier", if/when needed. Welcome to the Motor (Murder) City.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:44 PM
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There are a couple of ultra light recoiling trap loads Winchester has on the market. You might try them out. An ounce of lead is still an ounce of lead.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:47 PM
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Default Rack or not to rack?

Why would you bother having a home defense weapon in your home that is unloaded. Realize that prior to "racking" your shotgun you have a CLUB in your hands (unless of course you rack a live round out onto the floor, the round that could mean the difference between winning and loosing).Should I have to employ my shotgun for home defense, the first clue that an intruder will have is a flash of light from the unburned powder of the first round sent their way (light travels faster than sound)
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:06 PM
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Practice shooting from the hip...gun held tight against your side and pushing forward with your non-trigger hand. Also, get a sidesaddle to create more weight and give yourself the extra shells. This point-and-shoot method has always worked for me. I have both 12 and 20s in the home. If you must shoot from the shoulder, go for the 20.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:52 AM
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12 gauge #1 buck has a following for SD - more pellets than 00 and less (but still adequate) penetration.

My HD shotgun is loaded, round chambered, safety off.

Birdshot is for birds.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hovnnes View Post
There are a couple of ultra light recoiling trap loads Winchester has on the market. You might try them out. An ounce of lead is still an ounce of lead.
Except when it's birdshot.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotorCityGun View Post
What kind of tact light did you end up getting?
I don`t remember the brand light on the shot gun and I cant check it either , because I lent/gave my gun to my best friend to use as a anti pirate defense. He is cruising in the Caribbean on a sailing yacht. It came from a gun shop in Moorehead City NC so I presume it`s a good one.I am not expecting to get this one back,So I guess I`d better start looking for another 12 gauge.

I have another light which I mounted on my S&W M-57 and it is :

LED Lenser # 701203

I bought it at either Lowes or Homedepot it cost about $50 and so far it has been great ,very bright and able to withstand the recoil of lots of .41 magnums and for that cheap a price I don`t think you can beat it.
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:33 AM
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Pirates in the Caribbean? Maybe back in the 1700's. Okay, 1800's too. Now they are in Somalia where there is no government to control the waters. Scary stuff for us cruisers.....
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
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Except when it's birdshot.
The OP has a problem with heavy recoil. At very close quarters the terminal differences between buck, 7-1/2bird shot and a 7-1/2 light trap load would likely be a non issue.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
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Pirates in the Caribbean? Maybe back in the 1700's. Okay, 1800's too. Now they are in Somalia where there is no government to control the waters. Scary stuff for us cruisers.....
My friend is in the Bahamas and he is concerned about remote/lonely anchorages .
There has been trouble there and he felt justified to go there armed.He is also a very accomplished small plane pilot and he is very cautious/prudent without being too PC, so ,
If my gun gives him peace of mind I am satisfied.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack oconnor View Post
My friend is in the Bahamas and he is concerned about remote/lonely anchorages .
There has been trouble there and he felt justified to go there armed.He is also a very accomplished small plane pilot and he is very cautious/prudent without being too PC, so ,
If my gun gives him peace of mind I am satisfied.
Hmmm... I'm a pilot also! Coincidence? Maybe!

I have no problem being armed.... Maybe not pirates, but some anchorages have hoodlums anyway. In fact, many do. Boats aren't exactly fortresses! I hope he never has to use the weapon and his rum punch never runs dry!
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
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Hmmm... I'm a pilot also! Coincidence? Maybe!

I have no problem being armed.... Maybe not pirates, but some anchorages have hoodlums anyway. In fact, many do. Boats aren't exactly fortresses! I hope he never has to use the weapon and his rum punch never runs dry!
Me too. He also is a fanatical Lobster diver,and semi fitness nut.
For a 60 ish year old man he can dive deep and often -
*** makes me sick!!!
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
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The OP has a problem with heavy recoil. At very close quarters the terminal differences between buck, 7-1/2bird shot and a 7-1/2 light trap load would likely be a non issue.
At 'very close quarters' an ax would be more effective than bird shot.
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