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Old 08-04-2012, 08:47 PM
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Default Buck shot and rifled barrels

After talking to some of her friends my wife told me she wanted a pump action shotgun for a night time house defense gun. I've never been a pump fan always preferring a sxs. Frankly while I obviously want something reliable I didn't want to invest too much into something that will not get used much. Once I find a brand of buck shot that functions well she'll probably only run a box of ammo a year through it to keep her familiarity up and most of her actual practice will be with low recoil trap loads. Neither of us hunt any more nor do we shoot clays.

That is the background. In a LGS I found a gently used Remington 870 Express Magnum slug gun for $240. We had 870s in one Battery that I served as Armorer so I felt comfortable with the action design and the price. Then I saw that it had a rifled barrel. What little testing data I was able to find with buck shot and rifled barrels the rifling seems to expand the shot pattern 1" per foot. The longest realistic shot in our house would be about 25' which should give a 2' shot pattern. A smooth bore barrel at the same range is supposed to have only a 4-5 inch shot pattern.

My thought is that I'll use a smaller shot size, maybe #3 buck to increase shot density. However my hope is that the wider shot pattern will increase the probability if a hit at inside the house ranges.

OK, so what are the flaws in my thinking? If this is a totally bad idea then deer season is only a few months away and I'm sure I'll have no trouble getting rid of a rifled 870 then.
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:17 PM
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You'll probably be fine if you don't plan on using the gun outside of the house. Me personally, I would want the ability to use the gun for protection outside the house at longer distances if I had to. You could sell just the barrel and replace it with something else. My home defense 870 was bought new as a 28" vent rib barrel and I bought from Midway the 18.5" fixed Modified choke, tritium rifle sighted barrel for home defense. New, the gun was ~$270 with a rebate a couple of years ago.

On Gun Nuts he tested buckshot out of a rifled barrel on a full sized deer target. I think he only got 3 hits on the outer edges of the deer target at 15 yards. That limits the effective distance way too much for me.
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:29 PM
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My thoughts would be to step down shot size to increase density. Spinning the shot column causes the shot to sling outward, increasing your chance of missing. A rifled barrel, (or choke, for that matter) would be used more if they gave an advantage to a scattergunner.

I would opt for a used 870 barrel of the cheap kind, and shorten it to 18 1/2".
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:01 PM
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On any shotgun the pattern is tighter with larger shot size (smaller number). I don't think the buck sized shot pattern will be 2' atacross the room and down the hall, it might be with 5's or 4's (both of which will tear up an intruder at 30'), as for "Distance", Hunting people is frowned upon in most states, but those rifled barreled shot guns bring down alot of deer every year.
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