Birdshot OK for badguys?! What the heck?

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by OctoberRust, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. PEC-Memphis

    PEC-Memphis Scottish Member

    During college I worked at a doc's office (pulmonary). I did a chest x-ray of a fairly large guy (probably 6'-4"; 280#) who was getting a Tn-DVR exam (disability). I developed the CXR (back then we used tanks to develop the film), between developer and fixer, I'd usually make a quick check of the film with a darkroom light. I thought a film had been splattered with fixer. After fully processing the film, and looking at it on the light-box, it was apparent that he had been shot (twice) with birdshot - the lateral films showed that one set of shot was in the front and the other was in the back - both with little penetration.

    I asked that pt about it - he said it was from a shotgun - from two separate incidents. :wow:

    I asked why the ER didn't remove the shot, he said something to the effect of - he didn't go to the ER (either time) because it wasn't "in his best interest at the time".:whistling:

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    #61 PEC-Memphis, Oct 8, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  2. RichardB

    Silver Member

    Shotgun World has had extensive similar discussions.

    For Jello lovers only.

    I'm sure that Mr Google will find many more like discussions with penetration numbers and more photos of jello, hog and beef flesh and bones, and maybe people.

    #62 RichardB, Oct 8, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  3. Kingarthurhk

    Kingarthurhk Isaiah 53:4-9

    I use only 12 guage 00 buck, though I have some slugs as well, though that is going to have some penentration issues. My thought is if you can't hit with 00 buck there are some serious issues. Birdshot is for birds for a reason. You are more likely to make an agressive person even angrier with birdshot.
  4. Glock19Fan

    Glock19Fan Cool Guy

    With the military being very specific about what type of projectiles they use, I think their choice of buckshot speaks volumes about what is the best for defense.

    With that said, the only shotgun I have is a NEF single shot 20 gauge with #3 buckshot. Energy wise its very similar to 12 guage 00 buckshot loads, but with more (smaller) pellets. I have a stock sleeve with 2 more of the same load, and 3 slugs.

    The shotgun is not my primary defensive weapon though.
  5. SCmasterblaster

    Millennium Member

    Oh, heck with it. I'll stick to my 12ga Slug & 3 OO buckshot pellet loads.
  6. Why not just use rock salt and shoot the BG in the butt? LOL
  7. SCmasterblaster

    Millennium Member

    The jury wouldn't view it to kindly. :shocked:
  8. I started reloading with shotgun shells in the 1960's and had access to trash dumps in Kansas where I shot several times per week. I've shot about every product, material and item on the planet with 12 gauge rounds and know what they'll do.

    I have supreme confidence in 00 Buck loads and have loaded and fired cases of them. Birdshot, while absolutely fatal at very close range loses effectiveness so rapidly with distance, that it's a mistake to consider it for SD use. I've been shot several times with birdshot at 60-70 yards, it failed to penetrate my winter clothing and just plain made me mad!

    I use 00 buck and slugs. That's the end of the tale for me.

  9. SCmasterblaster

    Millennium Member

    Same here, I use a combo load - slug and 3 OO buck pellets.
  10. More than likely that was w/ some choke, it matters. Avg shot spread for riot chokes, 1"/yard or 6"-7" @ 20ft. Unless the shot is heavy & the hit on an unobsturcted area, like the throat/face, it's not likely to hit anything vital. A denim jacket would slow the shot enough, add a layer of muscle/fat, the BG is just gonna be pissed off. Geeze, I have had wet pheasent not drop from a solid hit w/ #6 @ 60ft from a mod choke. Doesn' give me confidence in birdhsot of any flavor for serious SD.
    #70 fredj338, Oct 9, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  11. Are birds breaking into your house? DOC
  12. SCmasterblaster

    Millennium Member

    heh heh heh heh! :supergrin:
  13. Bird Shot at home defense distances is a game stopper. No handgun would even come close with the exception of a CNS hit.

    Based on my experience dispatching various animals at close range there was no reason to believe that bird shot would not have a similar effect on humans. That theory was supported by a buddy of mine who is the chief radiologist at the largest level 1 trauma center in the southeast US. The number of gunshot injuries they see each year is unreal. In over 30 years he has never seen a single individual that has survived a shotgun blast to the torso at room distances. I asked him if it matter what type of load was used and he said no. He said at room distances the shot acted as a single frangible projectile and the trauma and blood loss was "not survivable"

    On the other hand, they patch folks up regularly with multiple shots to the torso from all flavors of handgun rounds. Some of these have been on the receiving end of local law enforcement shooting .40 and .45 ACP glocks fed with Remington bonded Golden sabers, Winchester Ranger T, Speer gold dots etc.

    I keep #4 turkey loads in mine, but I have no reason to doubt the opinion of my friend especially since it mirrors what most of the EMT, trauma center type folks have related in this thread.
  14. You honestly can't say that w/o discussing choke, it matters. Open riot choke @ 21ft, if the guy is wearing heavy clothing & big enough, it is NOT a game stopper, not by a lot. Anyone that hunts bigger birds knows this. If you are going to load #4 birdshot why not #4 buck? It's certainly going to get thru any clothing worn & even from a riot choke, those heavier pellets will certainly pentrate heavy muscle & bone. The only reason to choose birdshot is becasue it's all you have.:dunno:
    #74 fredj338, Oct 10, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  15. You make very sounds points if your ER friend is telling the truth and I believe he is. That is why my first line of defense is a shotgun(18" pump). However if I have to defend myself with a handgun, do I use a .22 or a.40? The .40 of course, imho. Therefore , if I am going to "eliminate a threat", do I use large shot or small shot in a shotgun? Large shot, no question. Many out here may confuse what bird shot is. There is a "skeet" load(low powder), "game" load(medium powder), and what we use to call "high brass"( for duck and pheasant) or heavy powder. If you use bird shot, get the "high brass"(excuse my ancient terminology, I only reload pistol cartridges).My SD cartridges are factory high grain rds, I would not prefer to shoot my low grain reloads for "eliminating a threat". I keep my pistol as close as my pump in my bedroom.

    Shotguns are more accurate for most people and studies I've read, say it is the best "one shot stop". I use 00 buck, if it will bring down a 160 lb deer, I trust it for my needs. I've never seen a seasoned deer hunter deliberately load with "bird shot" to kill a deer. Debate this all you want, but for a little more money per round, WHY USE BIRD SHOT?
  16. Choke means nothing at 7 yds. I load turkey loads because they are higher quality shells (high brass, more reliable feeding/ extraction) than most target loads. Buck shot will penetrate walls/ floors etc more effectively than bird shot. A real issue in my house. Once bird shot loads have passed through sheet rock, doors, floors etc they may still be dangerous, but much less lethal than buckshot.

    At 21 feet a skeet load will render a canadian goose into mangled sack of goo, so I have no idea what you are talking about with regard to larger birds.
    #76 weagle, Oct 10, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  17. In my case it's because my house is 3 floors and many scenarios could have me shooting up and down stairwell/floors as well as out through many windows toward very nearby homes.

    At 7 yds bird shot is very deadly on humans. At 40 yds or after passing through a solid barrier, much less so.

    I have plenty of buckshot at home, so cost does not come into play. If there was a civil unrest scenario and I was having to defend against attackers from outside my home you can bet I'd switch to a rifle, or slugs and or buckshot as the situation dictated.
    #77 weagle, Oct 10, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  18. To each his own. But I will shoot through sheet rock if he does not respond to my invitation to give me a clear shot................ :)
  19. As I said above,"to each his own". That post was written about 25 minutes ago but got hung up here before I could proof read and submit. Hope neither of us ever have to test out our theories.......... DOC
  20. IMO anything birdshot can do, buckshot can do better.

    Also, to me the whole over-penetration thing seems to be blown way out of proportion. First of all, if you just hit what you're aiming at then over-penetration does not matter. A miss with birdshot is going to be way more dangerous than #1 buckshot (my preferred HD load) that hits the bad guy. Even if #1 buck does penetrate all the way through the BG and through a sheet rock wall it's going to have lost so much energy that its going to be no more dangerous than birdshot that misses.

    The way I look at it, a person shot with birdshot MAY CHOOSE to stop after getting hit. However, a person shot with buckshot will usually have no choice in the matter.

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