Using the Shotgun and Shotgun Loads

Tan box of Hornaday Buckshot with red lettering on a white background

There are myths, misconceptions, and worse, misinformation about the shotgun. As the name implies, the shotgun was designed to launch a charge of shot rather than a single projectile. Small shot that is useful for downing birds and squirrels.

Tan box of Hornaday Buckshot with red lettering on a white background
Buckshot rules in personal defense with the shotgun. Make no compromises for smaller shot.

Common sense tells us small-shot loads are not suitable for personal defense. The shot produces several hits with a load designed to bring down flying or running game; however, when the game is deer-sized, you need a concentration of shot since you want the entire charge to strike the target. So, buckshot is ideal for deer-sized game and is also preferable for personal defense.

For personal defense, the range is often short, and the load should be centered for greatest effect. While shotgun loads can be effective, nothing handheld is 100 percent effective. As the great Colonel Thompson , father of the sub-machine gun in America, a primary force in the development of the .45 ACP cartridge, and a man of vast firearms and combat experience, noted, “The only way to achieve sure stopping of the enemy is to give the soldier a 3-inch cannon.”

One of the myths of the shotgun is that it scatters shot around for 10 or 12 feet. There is not enough shot in the shell to do that. The shotgun is at its best defending a home, ranch or campsite. It is a true defensive weapon when stopping an attack at short-range.

A short and handy shotgun, with a barrel no longer than 20 inches, is best for fast handling inside a home. There are numerous accessories and custom stocks unnecessary for home defense. If you want to have the same handling with a shotgun as an AR-15 rifle, there is some merit in that. However, the fast-handling natural point of the shotgun may be compromised. The defensive shotgun must be reliable; the occasional tie-up is not acceptable.

Practice Equals Effectiveness

For using a shotgun in home defense, you must practice combat drills. A shotgun is the most underused firearm and also the one with which most people do not practice. That does not make sense because a shotgun demands practice. At close range, it must be aimed just as surely as a rifle, or you’ll miss the target. So, get to the range and get to work. The shotgun should be a 12-gauge, although a 20-gauge offers acceptable wound ballistics.

Blue box of Federal Load for Target Practice Only on a white background
Use target loads for practice only. The Federal load, designed for clean burn and clay-breaking accuracy, is a good choice.

For practice on the range firing long strings, the light field grades of birdshot are acceptable.

  • You must be familiar with the recoil and points of aim and impact with the buckshot defense loading.
  • You should keep the shotgun at home, ready, with the chamber empty and magazine loaded.
  • You should practice racking the shotgun to load it.
  • You must be familiar with the location of the bolt release and safety.
  • Cheek weld is important; you must control the shotgun at all times.

When you are firing:

  1. Bring the bead of the shotgun or the front sight on target.
  2. Press the trigger.
  3. Rack the action, or allow reset with the self-loader.
  4. Fire again.

Moving target drills are good. Swing on the target; do not lead at combat ranges, place the bead on the leading edge of the target and press the trigger. The shotgun has plenty of power, and it is not infallible. Members of our protein-fed, ex-con criminal class have taken multiple hits with the shotgun before succumbing and  ending  the attack. Practice a follow-up shot. Another good drill is to fire two rounds, combat load, and fire two more.

Here is a good quick-and-dirty drill:

  • Two shots at 7 yards center mass
  • Two shots at 15 yards center mass
  • Two shots at 25 yards, center mass, with slugs

There are three ranges with the shotgun: A, B and C.

  • A is short range. At that range, which is up to about 7 yards, the shotgun must be aimed carefully for the loads to take effect.
  • At B range, the pattern has spread a bit and allows more chances of a hit with a less-than-perfect trigger break and sight picture. That is about 10-15 yards, depending on the choke and load used. That is ideal shotgun range.
  • C is the range at which the pattern has increased to the point that it is not useful for personal defense. That is usually about 20 to 25 yards with a short-barrel shotgun and buckshot. C is slug range. I have seen comments by those who should know better that if you want to use slugs, get a rifle. That type of comment shows a lack of experience. The slug is more powerful and has more wound potential than any common rifle at close range. The slug gives the user a greater degree of versatility.

Load Selection

Birdshot is designed to humanely kill a fowl weighing a few ounces and is ineffective for home defense. The penetration of the tiny pellets is unsuitable for home defense use. A leather coat or down jacket may stop the entire load. I have investigated contact wounds with birdshot that were not instantly effective. You should avoid birdshot and all game loads. They are useful for practice only. Since a shotgun’s loads are constructed more like an artillery shell than a cartridge, they are called shells.

Gray haired man in dark sweater and gray pants holding a shotgun in the hallway of his home.
In a home, skill and determination carries the day although be sure you use the proper load.

For personal defense inside a home and for area defense, particularly against coyotes and feral dogs, buckshot is the best choice. While there are arguments for single-ought, standard double-ought has the best reputation. You should not consider the smaller sizes.

While Magnum buckshot has plenty of power, those loads are at their best in heavy, long-barrel shotguns with tight choke intended for deer hunting. Reduced-recoil 12-gauge loads may exhibit a tighter pattern at combat ranges. Federal Power Shok buckshot is available at Cheaper Than Dirt! at a great price. That means it is very inexpensive for the level of protection it offers. A current good deal is the Sellier & Bellot buckshot at 25 shells a box starting at 5.30. Fixing a bug-out bag with a supply of 12-gauge shells is not expensive.

Shotguns sometimes rule unto themselves in the location and size of the pattern on the target. The chosen load should be patterned for the group at about 7 yards. For example, some shotguns exhibit an 8×11-inch group at 7 yards with one load and 7×9 with another, and so forth. Always adopt the tightest group.

Some specialty shotgun loads are designed expressly for critical defense.

  • Among those is the Hornady Critical Defense load, which always demonstrates a good, tight pattern and clean burn.
  • The Winchester PDX load uses a combination of buckshot and solid shot for effect.

Carefully consider your scenario and test the pattern of each load on paper.

Speaking of Slugs

As for slugs, a 1-ounce slug has plenty of wound potential. In my experience and per my research, a slug is a more reliable stopper than buckshot. Reduced-recoil slug loads offer adequate velocity and good effect.

However, if you foresee using the slug at ranges past 25 yards, use a full-power slug—the drop is less, and the effect on target greater. Among the single most accurate of all slug loads is the Fiocchi Aero. I have fired that slug at a long 50 yards in my rifle-sighted, smooth-bore Police Magnum. The Remington proved more accurate than it had any right to be. For defense against bears in the high country, that would be a good combination.

As you can see, the shotgun is not only powerful but versatile. In short, in a home defense situation, reduced-recoil buckshot loads are always the best choice.

The shotgun is a capable problem solver, when used by those who have trained well. Practice and pay careful attention to load selection.

Do you have a shotgun in your arsenal? What is your best tip for the right load? Have a favorite? Share it with your fellow readers in the comment section.



About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (42)

  1. Excellent points, except for 1, which I have serious concerns about. No one should ever train or get in the habit of pulling a trigger to load a shotgun quicker. That is a huge safety hazard. The risks are far too great to ignore, The shotgun could have been loaded at some point, and an innocent person could be killed or wounded if the weapon is fired negligently. Always treat all guns like they are loaded, even if you do not store them loaded. The risk of an ND is greater in a stressful situation. It is best to practice using the slide release button, it takes no longer to get to ready than by firing the trigger to unlock. It also on many shotguns, like my Winchester SXP Defender, located near the safety for convenience. I store mine empty chamber, slide locked, safety on.

  2. Hornady 00 all the way! Critical, Superperformence, Z-Max, etc…Never had a shell that didn’t fire. Patterns are’nt as tight as some loads, but a threat-stopper? Hornady rules! Slugs? American Whitetail #1. I have hit targets at 75 yards with ease! Also a very dependable load! Winchester PDX rounds are no joke either! Almost OVERKILL? Winchester Super, Remington, and Breneke are also great home defense rounds. I’ve tested all these loads tirelessly. Fiocchi is also a honorable mention. I have several guns, but I’m a 870 man all the way. It’s my favorite gun to shoot. I’ve tested all these loads with the Winchester SXP for comparison purposes and #4 Buck runs great out of that shotgun for some reason (Winchester Super X)? Shotguns and loads are like shoes? Everybody has their preferences???

  3. Very interesting article. Agree that birdshot is very questionable when it comes to home defense. My preferred home defense ammunition is buckshot.

  4. I used slugs number 4s and double alt buck. Shotgun is back up to by glock 36 or sw 357 one or the other is out with shotgun 590 mossberg

  5. The author seems very knowledgeable and well versed with the use of buckshot. Bigger, for the most part, is better. The officer appears to write from an experienced cop’s point of view, not that of an experienced hunter. I do tend to disagree with his assumptions on the use of “birdshot” as a defense round. Sure, small “fowl weighing a few ounces” are taken with shot sizes ranging from #6’s to #9’s. #4’s through BBB (also considered birdshot) are used for larger fowl (ducks, geese and turkey) out to 70 yards or so. I have personally used, with great success, 11/2 oz. of BB’s for coyotes for a number of years now. Clean kills are easily made out to 60 yards. At typical hallway distances, I doubt you will find a lot of difference between wounds created by #4’s or 00 buck. The patterns will still be very compact at 7 yards with either load. Smaller shot size will limit penetration as the distance increases. This may be a consideration in homes with multiple bedrooms, occupants and neighbors to contend with. I don’t want to sound like this is condemnation of 00 buck. It is not. I just want to consider the “myths, misconceptions, and worse, misinformation about the shotgun” or it’s ammunition.

  6. I can’t believe nobody else has taken issue that this article recommends leaving the chamber empty on a home defense weapon! Sure there are tons of claims that intruders run at the sound of a shotgun being shucked, but think how much time that costs you when your life may be on the line. Are you willing to risk your life for the 2 seconds it costs to make an intimidating noise with your gun? You’d be better served to start yelling obscenities at them. The only warning an intruder deserves to get is the muzzle blast, and I’m not talking about warning shots either. Don’t waste time shucking your gun for the sound, it may only alert the intruder where to start aiming their gun.

    1. After taking a defensive shotgun class with well known instructor Tom Givens I learned several reasons to leave the chamber empty. Foremost is safety, especially with any children in the house. A shotgun safety button is only a trigger block, it DOES NOT prevent the gun from firing. You can load the chamber, flick on the safety, and if you smack the gun on the floor, or drop it, there is a real danger that it may fire. A child that reaches for the loaded shotgun and drops it, or knocks it over, could be in mortal danger. With an empty chamber that can’t happen. It would take considerable effort, and some know-how, for a child to unlock the bolt and rack in a live round. An empty chamber also gives you a “buffer” in home defense situations where you are not pointing a live weapon at a target that may be yet unidentified, in your home. What if it was your son or daughter sneaking in or out in the middle of the night? Or any of their friends? It’s very plausible. You wouldn’t want to be pointing that shotgun, with your finger on the trigger, at anything other than a real threat. That’s also the reason Tom also dislikes flashlights on his weapons. In order to light up your potential threat you must aim a loaded weapon at it. Using just very basic training skills, a shotgun with rounds in the tube can be loaded VERY quickly without removing your hands from the weapon or losing your sight picture. There are two ways. Pull the trigger on the empty chamber and immediately rack in a shell. Or, depress the bolt release and immediately rack in a shell. Practice and train both ways to be most effective. There is no one BEST way to have your weapon ready when you need it. Every situation is very personal. But whatever you choose, PRACTICE and TRAIN it.

  7. You ARE loaded for BEAR!!–Two legged or four (Grizzly). The only thing missing is a 1″ wood Dowell, a 12 oz. soup can, and a Frag Grenade Mortor Launcher.

  8. Just shoot them in the face. I never saw anybody yet that was so Ugly they could stop a bullet. Somebody tried to catch one by their teeth sometime back and their not around anymore either.

  9. Not quite. My Garage is attached to the house and not a seperate structure/out building. Therefore , is considered part of–If you Shoot them outside; drag them inside with a strong Rope.

  10. I don’t necessarily agree with 00 Buck only. We live in a time when any swinging willy can buy body armor at will. So I like the idea of #1 or #4 Buck. Why? Because there are more opportunities for some pellet in the bunch to find it’s way through a seam, or between two plates, etc.

    At indoor ranges, any buckshot will do the job if there’s no armor involved, and while the smaller shot will show less penetration, they will also result in a much higher number of wound channels. Also, with a center mass hit, it’s likely your invader will be on his back after the hit even with a vest on, so he’s down and if he’s trying to get up again, you can fire at an unarmored part for follow-up.

  11. I have a Mossberg 500 pistol coil reduction ‘Blackhawk’ grip with breacher barrel, heat shield, and 20 mwt green lazer that looks at you like an irratated grizzly. My first load is a 2 3/4″ Rio #12 shot (2300 pellets) for intruder “hold that position, please” and my second shot is “Terminator-X from El Dorado, Arizona…a 2 3/4″ 1/8th ounce hourglass slug that mushrooms to 2” on contact with human flesh and THEN releases 15 # 9 buckshot pellets, with nothing expected to extract through. Home defence!
    I believe ‘Hornady’ critical my endanger my neighbors after pass through.

  12. I use 3″ #4 lead as the ammo in my in house gun. That is what rests in the side saddle. I figured that I would most likely be firing at 10 feet or less, so most of the pellets will be hitting in a very small spread. I wanted a pellet big enough to cause damage but have a good chance to be stopped by drywall or siding.

    Another thing you can do is load different sizes into the tube. Load the heavy hitters 1st so they are fired last. Example BB, 00, slug, slug, slug
    or 7, 4, BB, BB, BB

  13. Good article… As far as it went. I was disappointed that there was no mention of barrel chokes. Chokes are critical and directly tied to gauge, range, type and load of shot, etc. As far as load and shot are concerned, there is no ideal for all situations. That is why you will always get varied opinions. Inside your home over penetration must be addressed when selecting loads and for obvious reasons, but not really addressed in the article . Again a good article but a “couple chapters” are missing.

  14. I agree with Scott concerning the shotgun and its use as a home defense weapon…… Especially when the average actual distance between the shooter and the target is a hell of a lot less than 7 yards or 21 feet, when the average floor dimensions of a house are approximately 50x 25 feet. That 7 yard figure would have one or more walls between the target and the shooter. You are already most likely in trouble with the law if the encounter happened out in your front yard….. I would be inclined believe that max distance inside the house (not the garage- another trouble for you) would be well under 10 feet- even in a hallway…. My Winchester model 12 with modified cylinder and 28 inch barrel still has most of the #8 1/2 shot still in the cup as it passes thru a paper target at 10 feet and is empty at 20 feet and the shot pattern has opened up to about 2 1/2 -3 feet. My 3rd round is 00 buck and thru the same gun at 10 feet the spread is less than 12 inches . This would create an non-repairable wound!!! And, most likely, there wouldn’t be any stray 32 caliber pellets…… The article is informative, BUT there is a lot of info that is beyond useful self defense advice. When you have time to bring that shotgun to your shoulder- you may not be in the self-defense zone!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Hi Bob,
    Let me start by saying that I have saved your article for future reference because I gleaned a great deal of good and usable information from it.
    There is one part of the article that I do take exception with. I will quote several statements in the article and then I will give my reasons for my disagreement:
    “Small shot loads are not suitable for personal defense”. Then you go on to say “a leather coat or down Jacket may stop the entire load” and finally you state “you should avoid bird shot and game loads”.
    There are other factors that play into one’s selection of a personal defense load for their shotgun. I agree that buck shot is devastating but it is also the most dangerous for bystanders and has the most recoil. I am not going to go into the size of the pellet etc. but suffice it to say that a buck shot load generally will go through a wall and be of danger to the people, etc. on the other side (obviously, slugs or magnums, etc. will be potentially more problematic). The buck shot will also carry a great distance (lethally) as compared to bird shot.
    Now as far as the lethality of bird shot I would suggest anyone who thinks that a leather coat or down jacket may stop the entire load has never run a test from the most appropriate distance. Yes, if one is referring to bird shot at over 10 yards …sure…it will open and be far less effective. However, using your “short range” distance of 7 yards and agreeing with your statement “in personal defense, the range is often short” the 7 yard distance would certainly cover most situations in the home and I would suggest that #8 bird shot is not only effective but is in fact devastating. If there are doubts just go to Google and look up several You Tube videos on using 12 gauge #8 shot for home defense. A particularly good one is “Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense” by
    In fairness to your supposition about buck shot…I do use buck shot for the six month that I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and have no neighbors in close proximity. However, for the 6 months that I live in Florida, in a condo, I would not be comfortable using buck shot so I use #8 bird shot.
    Thanks for the article and I will use many of your training suggestions.

  16. “C is the range at which the pattern has increased to the point that it is not useful for personal defense. That is usually about 20 to 25 yards with a short-barrel shotgun and buckshot. C is slug range.”

    Huh? I suspect whoever wrote this was a cop that has no experience with anything but short barreled shotguns with fixed CYL bore. Screw in a MOD choke tube and the effective range with 00 buck is extended to at least 30 yds.

    ” While there are arguments for single-ought, standard double-ought has the best reputation. You should not consider the smaller sizes.”

    Again, the author’s lack of experience with buckshot loads is evident. Talk to some of the guys in some South Eastern states where the only legal load ( you read that right ) for deer hunting is buckshot, most of the time #1 buck is the clear favorite.

    Test after test has been preformed with various buckshot loads for pattern, penetration, and lethality, #1 buck is the best combination of the three at extended ranges. Even at 50 yds and hitting heavy bone, #1 buck will give complete penetration on deer sized game.

    Part of equation that makes #1 buck the better performer is physical dimensions of a 12ga shell and the buckshot pellets themselves. The #1 buck stacks better inside the shell with fewer gaps, and deforms less giving better patterns and extending range. The 3 extra pellets in a standard 2 3/4″ load help in that regard also.

    Buffered, copper plated, hard #1 buck will make a believer out of those that pick up a couple boxes and test them for themselves.

    It likely wouldn’t matter if using a shotgun for home defense, but for that I would use lead #2 birdshot in full power loads with the CYL bore.

    If that don’t start enough arguments, we can move on to shotgun slugs.

  17. IDEALLY…..every honest, legal American should arm their home, themselves and see to it the family members become proficient. Then the next robbery, kidnapping, rape attempt, illegal LEO raid, or Islamist can die on the spot. What I want to know is why people wound murderers, rapists, Islamists. The point is if they are meaning to kill, maim, rape the innocent they should never breath air again. Screw the arrest and trial.

  18. Isn’t that the Shame of it?.–my father lost stuff too because others took what didn’t belong to them. You have to have a will so that you have a recourse later. In the old days; people didn’t in there everyday mode consider those things until it’s too late.

  19. Ya’ know, I’ve always had a warm spot in my heart over a .410. Probably because at 14 I shot my first pheasant and my first deer with my Uncle’s sweet little Remington pump. He knew I loved that little shotgun, and promised it to me when he died, but, alas, his dipshit son-in-law scarfed it up after he passed away, along with a WW2 set of German binocs that were also promised to me. I was away overseas in the Navy at the time, and when I got home I heard he lost them both to the local pawn shop. Aaaaargh.
    Anyway, now I have an old H&R single shot that I decimate red squirrels with, and a new Mossberg pump I haven’t even shot yet.
    I bought a 3″ .410 Judge right after they came out, but it just beat my wrist up to shoot it, so I traded it for a 21/2″ model and I love it. One MUST be fully aware that its designed for 7-10 yards maximum with the .410 PDX loads I use for self defense. Surprisingly, I’ve shot some nice 25 yard 3 and 4-inch groups with the .45 Colt rounds which actually have a milder recoil to me than some of the the normal .410 shells.

  20. My 2 self defense shotguns have always been loaded with 3″ Magnum Goose Loads #2 pellets. They are loaded in 3 pellet loads first ,then, 2 2.75 slug Loads. Sometimes I Subsitute a couple 12 ga. White flair loads for the Slug loads.

  21. For what its worth, I once talked to an old FBI armorer who told me that the preferred load for shotguns used by them in 12 gauges was #2 shot because it was proven to ball up enough in drywall to usually be non-lethal if it went through a bedroom wall or two, and not kill innocent people in the next room or even next door.
    By the way, I don’t think the PDX has buckshot or slugs. Doesn’t it have copper plated discs and #4 shot? I have 3 of those and two .45 Long Colt rounds as the load in my “Judge”.

    1. 12ga PDX has a segmented slug and a slug and buck round. That .410 load is a nasty little bugger.Turns a light gun into a short range thumper
      Mossberg is selling a lot of 500s in .410 to old guys.With the Win PDX it is nasty with light recoil .

  22. Under a Heightened threat the old Adrenilin kicks in and you don’t notice pain until after the fact when you calm down. On my facebook page it says Calm Down and Zero In.

  23. Are we talking Pump Guns or Auto-loaders? Get a Auto-loader with 2.75 cart..Recoil moderately light.. I have a 18″ Pump S & W Riot gun in 12 Ga. 3″ Mags I fired. Used to saw off Yucca Trees in Desert yrs. ago. Young and Stupid?. Fired it from the Hip once and almost Fractured my hip even though I was Young then.

  24. Winchester PDX slug with 3 buck shot or Nobel Sport multi defense buck and ball bridge the gap of short and long range.Have not fired the PDX .But the N.S. buck and ball was impressive .A .65 ball followed by 6 #1 buck moving 1300fps. The buck in close the ball farther out. The PDX is 1oz slug with 3 buck shot.

  25. Bob: Jeff, our gunsmith at the Norco Armory at Norco CA was the first to advise us to use the lighter target loads and even that wasn’t enough in the 12 ga.It beat up my wife and sent me to the chiropractor. For fun shooting he was right about the 20 ga as being better for older handicapped adults.

  26. Hank

    Good choice. I am starting to feel my age a little but it is all good.

    I practice with lighter loads and keep my hand in with the heavy stuff.

    Best regards

  27. The older you get the more recoil becomes an issue especially if you’re arthritic. My wife and I have graduated to 20 ga semi autos to enjoy trap shooting but for household protection it’s still a short barrel 12 ga pump with a tube full of 00 buck. My thinking is, (and I hope I’m right), that in the worst case scenario a load of buck shot will stop and intruder and not kill my next door neighbor in his house.

  28. Its easy to make shaped charges, for instance, @ home. Just need the raw components and suitable container. A stainless steel Thermos bottle works guite well if you hammer the open end into a cone or pointed shape.

  29. A few years ago I did a report for Police Magazine and shot up a lot of cars. Engine blocks stop everything. The pistols just leave a lead smear, the .308 rifle leaves a pock mark. The .50 BMG would be useful. A few special munitions will penetrate two car doors in the case of the slug.
    Basic physics apply. A half ounce chunk of any type of metal isnt going to penetrate a monolithic structure weighing several hundred pounds.

    1. Interesting subject. In this case I’m sure you’re right, but “basic physics” is tricky. Velocity counts too, as in the case of a meteorite weighing less than a n ounce penetrating incredibly thick objects. The .50 BMG round might be capable of penetrating a monolithic structure, yet still only weighs a couple ounces or so. And too, the shock from a .50 can probably crack or shatter a cast iron engine block. I’m not educated enough about all this. I was taught tho to disable vehicles by placing a thermite grenade on the engine block, or if we had them, shape charges that only weighed 4-5 ounces. Two different processes involving heat rather than shock. In my younger days tho, my Dad swore I was better at disabling cars than both.

  30. The more I think about it, I think you’re probably right, as I think it would likely crack the block or crank. Penetration would be moot. I’ve always stood in awe at the power of any shotgun slug. I once shot a huge old swamp doe with a .410 slug, and she dropped on the spot. Weighed out at over 230 pounds. Even the jerky was tougher than Japanese trigonometry tho.

  31. Try this. It doesn’t matter if Magnum or standard shotgun load. Determine where the end of base of wad ends just above the powder charge. Take a Ice Pick and perforate the case all the way around with fine ice pick holes just enough to make it like the perforations on where you tear off your checks from the pad. Load it, fire it. On firing the case it will seperate where the perforations are and that package will start downrange. Enertia forward will cause the case and wad to fall away as the shot moves on downrange not spreading out yet as if it just left the barrell. Of course, when calculating powder charges, primers, type and brand of case and high or low base shells you must take into account of shot weight + wad + shell casing. Its possible to double your range before the pattern opens up quite a way down range. 30/40 yrds. I’ve done before on Straight away Trap shoots. Works great on those high flying Geese and where you cant sneak up close enough to set up your blind or sneak your way through the water, reeds and etc.. Even 50 yards are possible with a mag load like in, say a Bennelli Magnum gun or of that persuasion. Should be and is a Great defense Load too at extended ranges–A true Street Sweeper if need be down the block and around the corner. Don’t try this with Steel Shot, as I did these and this and other before the birth of Steel Shot. Otherwise your on your own. Dont Try This At Home

  32. @Larry,
    Took a look at the DDupleks website and the DDupleks Defense site and there are several vid in their gallery section.

  33. @Larry,
    The one time I tryed it was on a V6 block. Just the block, no guts in it, so was likly not the best test, but was a thru an thru then when shot thru the cylinder walls. I suspect your correct that it would likely not go thru all the way with pistons, crank, or more heavier wall etc in the way. However I still think given what I saw its an engine stopper. I don’t know if there is vid or not but I think their web site has some vid on it of the Monolite.. I got the AP20 with Bear protection in mind originally and then found their Mono and Hexe rounds which is what I carry now. Sorry for the misdirect, but I do like this line of shotgun ammo and get a bit excited when describing it.

  34. In one side and out the other of a car engine? Sounds unlikely to me unless you’re talking about the oil pan maybe. Any You-tube videos showing this happening? Awesome shell tho.

  35. Buck shot is effective but limited in some aspects. As a general choice its fine. Buck and Ball is a short to medinum range improvment depending on manufacture. Slugs, sabots, and “punkinballs” can be and are indeed effective but again I think that much depends on intended use and ones choice of manufacture. Then there’s what ones shooting it out of . . smooth bore or rifled?? For a very long time I always felt that there was a lot of blank spaces in the shotgun shell line up. That the choices were limited to just a few types/styles of projectiles as noted here and in Bob Campbell’s blog.
    Some years ago many of the blank spaces in this lineup were corrected by a company called “DDupluks”. They specialized in shotgun munitions for most of the blank spaces. My faveroits are their Monolite32, Hexolite32 and AP20. They also make some fragabile rounds and non-leathal rounds as well, the Kavair26. They also produce a remarkable target round, called Super Steel.
    If one lives in Big Bear country and relies on a shotgun the Mono or Hexo are excellent. They may also provide extended latitude if considered for a tactical enviroment. The AP20 will stop a truck or car, it will go in thru one died of a engine and out the other when fired from 20 meters. The Kavair26 is a fragabile round made up of birdshot in t brittle plastic matrix. This round has a number of pissible applications. Its worth a look if one is interested and certenly provides additional options to the traditional loads that are available.
    I’m also a big fan of the Remengtion 870 and Mossberg 500 pump platforms. If your looking for a smaller platform, already have one or the other of these platforms and don’t want to spend an arm and a let buying a production Bullpup shotgun …. I’d suggest you take a look at the company “Bullpup Unlimited” stock kits. These kits are a game changer on a number of levels. Again, worth a look.
    Bob, I always look forward to your blogs! They always have good information and leave the door open for comment.

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