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Discussion Starter #1
I've been pondering this for a while and thought I would bring it to you all since most of you are far more experienced than I.

Jeff Cooper discussed three ranges for a shotgun:

A range: the range at which a shotgun's pattern has not yet opened up and it must be aimed like a rifle

B range: the range at which a shotgun's pattern has opened fully and can be used as...well, a shotgun.

C range: the range at which a shotgun's pattern has opened so much that it is no longer effective or safe to use and one must switch to a slug.

So why shouldn't I just use slugs all the time and no buckshot? What is the advantage to the 00 buck?

At A ranges I'm aiming the shotgun like it's shooting a single projectile anyways, at B range it's not like I can aim in the general direction of my target so I have to aim the shotgun anyhow, and at C range the buckshot is ineffective so I have to use a slug.

My point is that at A range nothing changes, at B range, I don't see a real advantage to 00 buck, and at c range I have to use a slug anyways.

Seems like using slug all the time would remove a lot of complication with shotgunning. I would prefer to not have to be changing loads while fighting or being shot at and using only slugs would solve that problem.

The only advantage to using buck is possibly...less penetration for in-house? I can't even see that really being the case though.

So, why should I use buck? We sure trained on it at the academy and most people use it so there must be a good reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I've been pondering this for a while and thought I would bring it to you all since most of you are far more experienced than I.

Jeff Cooper discussed three ranges for a shotgun:

A range: the range at which a shotgun's pattern has not yet opened up and it must be aimed like a rifle

B range: the range at which a shotgun's pattern has opened fully and can be used as...well, a shotgun.

C range: the range at which a shotgun's pattern has opened so much that it is no longer effective or safe to use and one must switch to a slug.

So why shouldn't I just use slugs all the time and no buckshot? What is the advantage to the 00 buck?

At A ranges I'm aiming the shotgun like it's shooting a single projectile anyways, at B range it's not like I can aim in the general direction of my target so I have to aim the shotgun anyhow, and at C range the buckshot is ineffective so I have to use a slug.

My point is that at A range nothing changes, at B range, I don't see a real advantage to 00 buck, and at c range I have to use a slug anyways.

Seems like using slug all the time would remove a lot of complication with shotgunning. I would prefer to not have to be changing loads while fighting or being shot at and using only slugs would solve that problem.

The only advantage to using buck is possibly...less penetration for in-house? I can't even see that really being the case though.

So, why should I use buck? We sure trained on it at the academy and most people use it so there must be a good reason.
The margin of error will not result in a miss. With 00 buck, you dont necessary have to be 100 percent on mark in order to hit the target. With a slug, you would have to obtain a sight picture and be accurate in order to "hit" your target, while 00 buck, if time or circumstance does not allow you to obtain the sight picture (such as an attack) when in close quarter situation, you still can pull the trigger and get a "hit" on your target or threat due to the spread and multiple projectiles. I believe that the shotgun has the advantage in close quarter encounters due to the nature of its ammunition; and law enforcement and military use it for that reason. I believe the less penetration in home is a big advantage because missing your target and hitting another person, such your own family member or your next door neighbor would not be a good thing. Just my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The margin of error will not result in a miss. With 00 buck, you dont necessary have to be 100 percent on mark in order to hit the target. With a slug, you would have to obtain a sight picture and be accurate in order to "hit" your target, while 00 buck, if time or circumstance does not allow you to obtain the sight picture (such as an attack) when in close quarter situation, you still can pull the trigger and get a "hit" on your target or threat due to the spread and multiple projectiles. I believe that the shotgun has the advantage in close quarter encounters due to the nature of its ammunition; and law enforcement and military use it for that reason. I believe the less penetration in home is a big advantage because missing your target and hitting another person, such your own family member or your next door neighbor would not be a good thing. Just my opinion.
within a home the spread of buckshot is negligable so the spread issue is kind of moot, and I suspect that the lesser penetration issue would be moot as well: It may as well be a slug.

clearly 00 buck at the right range accounts for an amount of human error that a slug will not, but again, that advantage is only at a very limited range (1 inch spread per yard means the spread effect really begins at what...8? 10 yards? And it ends at 25 or 30 yards).

Is it worth the bother to have to worry about changing ammo in the middle of a gunfight? A .72 cal projectile going into the bad guy at 1500 fps sounds pretty good to me.

nevertheless, you make two good points:

between 8 and 25 yards (or so), 00 buck is advantageous because it (1) accounts for human error and (2) may limit overpenetration.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
00 would stop easier if you miss. Unless you are using those slugs that are made to fall apart on impact. Then I guess its about the same.

You should test it see what you like better. Buy some pot belly pigs, blow them to pieces with different shotgun shells. Find your favorite.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Also, spread. If you used birdshot it will have a wider spread that increases quite a bit with small amounts of distance.

As far as buck and slugs go, there are good points made above.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Maasad Ayoob explained it like this...

Think of your handgun as infantry and your shotgun as artillery. Artillery is meant to be fired from an entrenched zone into a known impact zone. I can guarantee that a slug out of my 870 will punch through this house and into the neighbors. The likelihood of this happening with 00 buck or a hollow point out of a handgun are drastically reduced.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Also, spread. If you used birdshot it will have a wider spread that increases quite a bit with small amounts of distance.

As far as buck and slugs go, there are good points made above.
Not only that, but if the perp has heavier clothes on than the bird shot, unless at PBR (point blank range) will not have enough penetration. I would never use bird shot as a defense option unless it was all I had.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Not only that, but if the perp has heavier clothes on than the bird shot, unless at PBR (point blank range) will not have enough penetration. I would never use bird shot as a defense option unless it was all I had.
Sure. When I went back and re-read the OP, it didn't seem he was even wandering about birdshot, so I left it well enough alone. Another good point though for others whom may read this and want to use the cheaper ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The OP already knows how I feel, but for the rest of you I like this approach. I fill my magazine with Winchester PDX ammo except for the last round is 00 buck and it will enter the chamber first. The way I see it, if I need to pull the trigger more than once on my 870 Tactical, I want the most devastating destruction I can get. Lets face it, if one round of 00 buck is not enough to end the threat than you may be in over your head already...

http://www.winchester.com/Products/shotshell-ammunition/supreme-elite/pdx112/Pages/S12PDX1.aspx
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The best reason I have for using buckshot instead of slugs in my shotgun is that the buckshot has a significantly milder recoil, allowing me a better opportunity to get back on target for a follow up shot. The slugs Ive used are violent and jarring making fast follow up and target reacquisition significantly slower.

The second best reason is the effect once the shot hits tissue. A single slug is going to cause a single massive cavity, devastating in its effect indeed.

Yes, at home distances all the buckshot will likely impact in the same place, but once they hit and enter tissue the nine pellets of buckshot are going to start going willy nilly, each taking a slightly different path through the tissue and (at least theoretically) increasing my chances of striking a vital organ.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
At defensive ranges, is 00 buckshot or a slug really gonna make a difference? No. At slightly longer ranges, the 00 buckshot gives you the spread effect, hence a little more forgiving in the aiming department. So at short distances, they are equal (both will make soup out of the badguy). And at longer ranges, the buckshot is more forgiving in shot placement. Why not be prepared for anything?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You might consider the new Federal LE #1 buckshot. It is available now from several places online. #1 buckshot is the minimum recommended that reliably penetrates 12 inches of standard ordnance gelatin. It has 15 #1 pellets with flitecontrol.

I bought some but I haven't had time to try it out yet. For the time being I'm keeping my shotgun loaded with Federal 132.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
OK...

At HD distances, you need to aim with buckshot just as much as a slug. The pattern won't be big enough to offer much forgivenes.

Case in point:

All of these patterns were from a 20" Benelli M1S90 Tactical with IC choke shooting Winchester Ranger RA12005 low recoil 9-pellet 00.

10 feet:


15 feet:


In fact, patterns really don't open up until you hit 30-50 feet...which is a pretty long shot for inside most people's houses...

30ft (head)


50' (lower abdomen)


And, just for fun--the headshot is a six foot (from the muzzle) distance pattern:



So--you're going to have to aim no matter what. That being said--00 buck will likely--LIKELY--go through less walls than a slug; each individual pellet will slow faster than the large chunk of lead will. However--it's likely a 9mm JHP will actually penetrate more walls than the buck.

(This is one of the reasons I like an AR-15 chambered in 5.56 and using a SP or HP for HD, since that round will likely fragment & yaw after hitting a wall..normally, they'll penetrate less than most defense-worthy pistol and shotgun rounds--but that's another subject)

The #1 buck isn't a bad choice, but can sometimes be a bit more difficult to find. Personally--and while I acknowledge this goes against Doc GKR's advice--for strictly inside the home distances--say, 15 yards or less--I think a good #4 buck would give as acceptible compromise of penetration in soft targets--that is, goblins--and being stopped fairly rapidly by a hard target--walls.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The #1 buck isn't a bad choice, but can sometimes be a bit more difficult to find. Personally--and while I acknowledge this goes against Doc GKR's advice--for strictly inside the home distances--say, 15 yards or less--I think a good #4 buck would give as acceptible compromise of penetration in soft targets--that is, goblins--and being stopped fairly rapidly by a hard target--walls.
+++1 on #4 Cuda! #4 buck is a great load for HD IMHO. Alot of people can say what a round of buckshot could or could not do to flesh. I am no scientist, or engineer. As someone who has hunted deer his whole life with a shotgun, I can tell you that #4 buck at household range will safely put a badguy nite-nite. I have the opportunity to use all different loads of shotgun ammo and see their effects on deer in all kind of conditions/obstructions. A bad guy with or without a coat at 15' inside your home is going to either lose life or limb with #1-#4 buck, and "minimize" penetration of walls from other family members throughout the home if you should miss your target. Cannot say the same for the larger 0 buck sizes and slugs. 00 buck and larger are very devastating loads!!! They can go clean through 12" of flesh and bone, and keep on going at close ranges. #1-#4 most of the time stops halfway through the vital cavity ;).

I by no means am bragging of hunting accomplishments. Nor am trying to offend the PETA crowd here. Just trying to give real world information on the effects of buckshot.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I use birdshot as I live in a townhouse and I guarantee 00 buck or slugs will pass right through my walls and maybe hurt/kill the families living next to me. There's no place in my house that my shots will be more than 10-15 yards so a face full of birdshot @ 10yds will stop almost anyone.
 
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