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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up a 20 gauge NEF/H&R Pardner Compact pump.

This is my first shotgun actually. I've been busy reading the manual, stripping, cleaning, and familiarizing myself with the gun but I need some tips and advice. Mainly on the right kinds of ammo to use.

The main function is home defense. So I need a bit of info on the types of buckshot loads in 20 for that purpose. I've been told that #2, #3 and #4 are the best for that. What are the differences in those loads and is there any difference in 2 3/4' vs 3' shells?

My main concern however is steel shot. The Pardner 20 has a modified screw in choke tube, and I was told the gun is lead only and cannot handle steel shot. I don't want to risk shooting it and end up damaging my choke or barrel. However many of the ammo boxes I've seen don't have this marked, so I'm afraid I'll get steel by mistake.

My first ammo purchase was a 5 round box of Federal Premium Vital-Shok, #3 buck, 20 pellets. It says it's copper-plated, but doesn't say if it's steel or lead. Can a lead only gun handle copper-plated? What about nickel-plated?

I've also found these on Cheaper than Dirt, and am considering ordering them. I am buying for home defense, so I need to know if these rounds will suffice. I don't want underpowered bird shot or anything.

34331 - Ammo 20 Gauge Fiocchi Golden Pheasant Load 3" #4 Nickel Plated Lead 1-1/4 Ounce 1200 fps 25 Round Box

65656 - Ammo 20 Gauge Federal Power-Shok Magnum Buckshot 3" Shell #2 Buck 18 Pellets 1200 fps 5 Rounds Per Box

65084 - Ammo 20 Gauge Winchester Super-X Buckshot 2-3/4" #3 Buck 20 Pellets 1200 fps 5 Rounds Box

The last one is marked as unplated, so this is lead I assume?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
A "lead only" gun can handle plated shot just fine. The reason a shotgun would be "lead only" is due to the strength of the barrel. New guns with screw in chokes are generally safe for steel, but older guns with chokes built into the barrel are not. A gun that shoots steel through a choke has to be stronger than a gun that only shoots lead because the lead will slightly deform to clear the choke if needed. Since you have a screw in choke, just go buy a cylinder bore choke to replace the modified choke and you'll be fine shooting steel.

As for knowing if a shell has steel in it, it will say steel on the box and typically on the shell itself to prevent using it in a "lead only" gun. You also have to watch out for tungsten loads. Tungsten is a hard metal like steel, but heavier.

As for your choices of shot for home defense, the #4 nickel plated lead is bird shot and should not be used except on birds. Notice it comes in a 25 rd box. Most buckshot comes in a 5 rd box.

The other two should be fine for home defense.

The difference in shot size is the smaller the number, the larger the diameter of each pellet. So #3 is larger than #4 and #2 is larger than #3. Got it?

So how big are the pellets? The diameters of each are as follows;

4 Buck is .25"
3 Buck is .25"
2 Buck is .27"
1 Buck os .30"
0 (Aught) Buck is .32"
00 (Double Aught) Buck is .33"
000 (Triple Aught) Buck is .36"
000 (Quad Aught) Buck is .38"

Whatever you do, don't confuse 4 Buck (.25") with 4 shot (.130"). Buck is for hunting animals like coyote, deer, etc. Shot is for hunting birds like pheasant and ducks. The only shot I might dare purposely use for self defense is FF (.23").

There's a lot of good information here about shot and buck for shotgun shells.

http://www.info4guns.com/shotgun_gauge_ammunition.html

Shotgun shell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i would sell the 20 and buy a 12, mossberg makes a maverick 88 6 shot 18.5 inch home defense model for 200 out the door. then grab 00 buck for your home defense needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i would sell the 20 and buy a 12, mossberg makes a maverick 88 6 shot 18.5 inch home defense model for 200 out the door. then grab 00 buck for your home defense needs.
Typically, I'd agree with your statement (though I like the Rem. 870 myself), but, since I have no idea who 711 is, (gender, age, stature, physical ability, etc.) I cannot recommend one gauge over the other. A smaller, weaker individual might not be able to handle a 12 gauge shotgun. In that case, a 20 gauge would be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
711, you can go nuts on this shotgun load topic. To this day I do not know how some of the nearly crazy ideas have got out there, people thinking they need slugs for home defense, loading buck and slugs alternately, etc. At home defense type ranges, a shotgun is a devastating weapon, really no matter what the load. With a modified choke, it will take probably 30' for any shot to begin to spread. Shooting a potential attacker at maybe 7' with even #8 birdshot will hit with a force equivalent to several large caliber handgun rounds. Don't sweat this stuff too much. Also, don't think the shotgun is a magic tool. You still have to aim, and be proficient with the weapon.

Steel loads will be clearly marked, as will tungsten, bismuth, etc. If a metal is not specified, it's lead. The 2 3/4" shells are fine and the 20ga is a fine defensive weapon. Any size buckshot load you can easily find will do what you need if you do your part. Make sure you practice, learn the controls on the gun, learn what can go wrong and how to fix it quickly if the need arises.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the help guys. That really sets my mind at ease.

I didn't realize the #4 I linked was birdshot, I saw that it was a 25rd box and just thought it would be a good deal. I won't order that one then.

I've shot 20 gauge guns before, but not 12. I think I could handle one though. The main reason I got it is economics. $180 dollars. I could have spent more for a Mossberg or something, but the XD9 and Mini-14 are the pride of my collection, and the extra hundred will go to keep them fed and happy (and my new 20 as well). I'm very pleased with the purchase, and won't be selling it anytime soon. I believe 20 is more than adequate for home defense, based on the research I've done.

One other thing - one of the shells in that box had an open end, it spilled some kind of white powder and the pellets are now showing. Is this round safe to fire or should I get rid of it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
711, you can go nuts on this shotgun load topic. To this day I do not know how some of the nearly crazy ideas have got out there, people thinking they need slugs for home defense, loading buck and slugs alternately, etc. At home defense type ranges, a shotgun is a devastating weapon, really no matter what the load. With a modified choke, it will take probably 30' for any shot to begin to spread. Shooting a potential attacker at maybe 7' with even #8 birdshot will hit with a force equivalent to several large caliber handgun rounds. Don't sweat this stuff too much. Also, don't think the shotgun is a magic tool. You still have to aim, and be proficient with the weapon.

Steel loads will be clearly marked, as will tungsten, bismuth, etc. If a metal is not specified, it's lead. The 2 3/4" shells are fine and the 20ga is a fine defensive weapon. Any size buckshot load you can easily find will do what you need if you do your part. Make sure you practice, learn the controls on the gun, learn what can go wrong and how to fix it quickly if the need arises.
You are wrong in the extreme to recommend any flavor birdshot for defense. And guess what--that shot load won't hit any harder than the shotgun recoiled--if Isaac Newton knew what he was talking about, that is. Not only that, but kinetic energy is a fool's measure of payload effectiveness.

I work with a guy that took a #5 pheasant load in the back at about ten feet; the pellets that penetrated his Carhartt jacket all stopped in muscle tissue (all but one, actually, one got inside his chest cavity, but did no harm). made a NASTY looking wound, but wasn't a stopper, not a bit.

OP--do not heed this guy's advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the help guys. That really sets my mind at ease.

I didn't realize the #4 I linked was birdshot, I saw that it was a 25rd box and just thought it would be a good deal. I won't order that one then.

I've shot 20 gauge guns before, but not 12. I think I could handle one though. The main reason I got it is economics. $180 dollars. I could have spent more for a Mossberg or something, but the XD9 and Mini-14 are the pride of my collection, and the extra hundred will go to keep them fed and happy (and my new 20 as well). I'm very pleased with the purchase, and won't be selling it anytime soon. I believe 20 is more than adequate for home defense, based on the research I've done.

One other thing - one of the shells in that box had an open end, it spilled some kind of white powder and the pellets are now showing. Is this round safe to fire or should I get rid of it?
You got a good deal for $180. Congrats.

Unless the shell is 100% open, the shell is safe to shoot. The white powder is the filler that goes in between the shot. Just push the crimp closed again. If the crimp won't close enough to keep the filler in, seal it with a couple drops of candle wax. Not too much, just enough to keep the filler in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You are wrong in the extreme to recommend any flavor birdshot for defense. And guess what--that shot load won't hit any harder than the shotgun recoiled--if Isaac Newton knew what he was talking about, that is. Not only that, but kinetic energy is a fool's measure of payload effectiveness.

I work with a guy that took a #5 pheasant load in the back at about ten feet; the pellets that penetrated his Carhartt jacket all stopped in muscle tissue (all but one, actually, one got inside his chest cavity, but did no harm). made a NASTY looking wound, but wasn't a stopper, not a bit.

OP--do not heed this guy's advice.
Yup!

Bird shot is ineffective as a self-defense round. Don't think of it as an ounce of lead, but as hundreds of tiny lead pellets. With #8 shot it takes 410 of those little pellets to equal one ounce. That equates to 1.07 grains per pellet. The only reason it penetrates at all is that at close range it's still in the shot cup. The shot cup is very flimsy though, so the cohesion is lost almost instantaneously.

However, it only take 15 of the 2 Buck pellets to make an ounce. That equates to 29.16 grains per pellet.

Just for comparison, many .22LR bullets weigh 30-40 grains. In effect, getting shot with an ounce of 2 Buck is like getting shot by 15 .22LR bullets at the same time.

Now, which one so you think will be the most effective?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Any suggestions on a good pistol grip for the Pardner 20?
My only suggestion is: don't.

A pistol grip--as in, only a pistol grip, no buttstock--is basically useless; actually, worse than useless because you can't aim your shotgun as well, it's harder to control with recoil, and you won't be able to cycle the action as fast.

And it gains you nothing at all.

A pistol grip buttstock is another matter, but I don't think there's anything for the 20ga receiver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My take on lead only, is steel and bismuth are abrasive material. copper plated is like a case hardening on lead. it helps it keep shape under the pressures of being shot. It helps prevent flyers. copper isn't as abrasive as steel and bismuth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Leave the birdshot for intruders of the feathered variety, it is not a viable option to stop a real threat. When your life is at stake you want your shot to count. Contrary to popular belief a blast from a shotgun regardless of the ammo will not knock an intruder out the door, nor should you expect to send an aggressor scurrying by "racking" the slide. Birdshot does have its place in your HD plan and that place is practice rounds, much cheaper and usually easier on the shoulder. Also practice with some of your chosen HD round, you want to know how it performs and what it feels like to shoot. Slugs are nice to have at the ready but certainly don't alternate these loads in your HD shotgun, ie. dutch load, slug, buck, slug, buck and so on. If the need arises you simply load a different round and move on. Your magazine should be loaded with all the same ammo.

I personally keep my 12ga fully loaded with federal 00 buck in 2 3/4, it patterns the best in my gun. A reliable light mounted to your shotgun is also a sound investment as is a sling. You need to be able to see what you are about to shoot at and you don't want to sit your gun down if you need both hands for something else. Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sell it and save your money for an 870 in 12 gauge, a pistol grip is good for 2 things and they are some rifles and handguns , also #4 pheasant loads are a whole lot different than #4 buck (#4 buck is 2x the size)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
if you have a house with tight corners and narrow hallways then i would recommend a pistol grip. but if you buy on you need to put a **** ton of rounds through it and get use to hip firing it and also holding it out and firing it sideways (as in you stick it out a door and fire down the hallway). what every one else said about pistol grips is true it more then doubles the felt recoil and also kills the ability to aim. but if you do things like practice firing it w/o aiming ect a pistol grip could give you a big tactical advantage. now i know ill probably get flamed for all this but i have a house with narrow halls and a full length shotgun was of no use at all to me, there was only one place i could use it and that was in my garage/workshop. something that helped me with the felt recoil was a little weird exercise, what i did was hold the shotgun up with my arm strait out as long as i could with one hand. it was a pain in the ass but after a while i was able to hold it steady and after that i could shoot it with one hand and when i used 2 hands the 12 gauge felt like a 20 gauge instead of a 10 gauge.

oh and i dont know the barrel length but unless its 20 inches or under a pistol grip is pointless.

EDIT* i saw that you paid 180 for the 20 gauge, i picked up my mossberg maverick 88 18.5 inch home defense 6 shot for 203$ out the door from academy sports. and there is like 20 different parts to change and upgrade cus the maverick 88 is almost the same gun as the mossberg 500.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yeah...not so much.

If you need to maneuver a shotgun in tight quarters...well, if it's down at hip level (stupid place for it to be if you're actually going to need it), the buttstock won't be in the way, it'll just stick out behind you.

If you actually have the shotgun raised and you want to reduce the length, just tuck it under your armpit. This will also give you better control of the shotgun in the case of a grab.

Take a look at any real-life tac team and notice that beyond a dedicated breacher, all of their shotguns will have buttstocks.

Leave the pistol grips for the mall ninja gangsta wannabes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Forget the pistol grip only, go pistol grip with a buttstock if you must have a pistol grip. Really you should invest in a shorter LOP stock or modify your existing stock to a shorter length. As was already said, felt recoil is immensely greater with a PGO. The only place I could see it being advantageous is if you needed your shotgun inside of a confined space such as a vehicle for defense.
 
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