Shotgun ammo

What are y’all’s thoughts on ammo for 12ga. For home defense, range practice?

I’ve been told #6 is a good all around shot but I’d like to hear from other shotgun users.

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00 or #1- 4 buck. For home defense low recoil is fine, probably ideal.

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For practice, cheap target loads will send them where you point them.
Buck is for serious situations.
There’s lots of opinions on what size Buck, but does it really matter? For HD I don’t think so.
Federal Flite Control is the current choice of many agencies because it holds a tight group waaaay out there.
That’s definitely not what a homeowner would want for inside HD use.
FWIW I buy Estate 00 or 4B because they come 25 in a box
Also Estate (when they were in Texas, before Federal bought 'em) used to make shells for the military back in the 'Nam era

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Agree completely on Flight Control. For HD my personal preference is 20 ga. 00 shot (or #4). Whatever is selected it is critical to pattern your shotgun using your defensive ammo at distances representative of your home.

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Most indoor ranges that allow shotguns won’t allow target or birdshot loads, just buckshot or slugs.

On another note, Federal flite control spreads to about the size of a saucer at 10-15 yards from my Tac14, which I prefer over a one to two foot spread.

It IS important to pattern your shotgun because they all behave differently.

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For defense? Buckshot.

For practice? Depends on what your range allows and what you can afford, what gun you’re shooting, and how much volume your shoulder can take.

I like the Federal flight control/Hornady critical defense versa tight, in a cylinder bore or with a cylinder choke. Maximum tightness. 8 pellet 00 is probably best although the 15 pellet #1 may have a good argument

When I lived in an apartment my HD long arm was a 12 gauge loaded with 2 3/4" Magnum #4 buckshot. 34 pellets, at a lower velocity than the non-magnum 27 pellet.

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Sadly, Federal doesn’t make #1 Flite Control any longer. I asked, the answer was a resounding “Nope.”

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Well dang, I’m really going to have to covet what I have left.

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Send it to me and I’ll dispose of it.

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Did you mean 12 gauge? All I ever seem to encounter in 20 is number 3 buck.

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Not sure if they’re still around, but Warwolf Ordinance used to have some interesting options.
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Can’t figure out if you want 00 or 000 buck? why not both and some 0000 to boot? Maybe toss in some bird shot. The shredder took all the guesswork out and put it all in one round. I fired a few a year or so back. Fun rounds.
I know there are some others that use a combined slug/buck round. I haven’t fired any of those, though, but they seem like they’d be good for home defense. I believe Estate makes (made?) a police round that had a slug with buck.

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IIRC, the LAPD used to issue the 20 gauge Ithaca 37 with 4B shot loads about the same time they issued patrolmen DAO S&W .38 Spl. revolvers. Please correct me if I’m wrong as I don’t remember things as well as I used to.

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#4 buckshot is .24 size, while #1 buckshot is .30 in size. A 1.2-ounce slug leaves a 5/8-inch entry wound and variable exit sizes. I like the #1 Buckshot myself.

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For my home defense Remington 870 with a 20 inch barrel, cylinder bore; #1 Buck seemed to pattern better at 15 yards.

I think it was Lucky Gunner that did a good test of various loads a few years ago. I will try to find it later and share it with everyone.

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Lucky Gunner has tons of videos and testing. They are a pretty good resource and a good place to buy ammo as well.

This is not the actual test I remember but the videos reference it.

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They do a great job. This was exactly the info I remember and was going to comment with. Nice job!!

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Thank you good sir.

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I like 00 buck for my Remington 879 with 18-inch barrel. It opens up to about plate size at 10 yards which will work nicely in a home defense situation.

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I think we all suffer from that more than we want to admit. I have been looking for something besides number three buck in 20 gauge which is why my ears always perk up when people talk about something different.

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I’m new to the shotgun world and it isn’t really a SD option for me. But when considering it and researching the options #1 buck seemed like a good choice. Sufficient penetration with less risk of over penetration. Some #4 bucks did not penetrate sufficiently in testing, though plated #4 usually met the minimum standard and may be a good option if you have neighbors nearby. 00 over penetrates and goes through multiple walls. Unfortunately #1 isn’t the most available option.

More recently I was having a conversation with some people with a lot of shotgun experience who said they prefer slugs even inside the home since when buckshot goes through dry wall it can deflect off the 2x4s and end up going in directions you don’t want it to. They live in rural areas and weren’t worried about the slugs exiting their home. Just didn’t want pellets rattling around inside hitting family members.

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