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Thread: 3 1/2" Shotgun round for home defense?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    3 1/2" Shotgun round for home defense?

    I wanted to ask my question here because I trust the experience you all have. So... I've got a good "shotgun house" where I can stand at my bedroom door and I've got a clear shot at all 3 doorways to the outside. I have a Benelli Supernova that can accept 3 1/2" shells. I liked the idea of dumping 18 00 pellets into a bad guy with one pull of the trigger. So I keep 3 in the tube and 1 in the chamber anytime I'm not hunting or practicing with it.

    I wasn't worried about penetrating drywall and killing one of my two boys sleeping in their bedroom because up until 3 months ago they slept in bed with my wife and I. No people downrange from the bedroom. But we had a baby girl 3 months ago and the boys now sleep in a downrange bedroom. I occasionally sleep with the boys; in which case that would have my wife and daughter downrange possibly depending on where the bad guy was. I feel I'd be more comfortable with No. 1 now instead of 00 shot. I've heard that No. 1 has a low likelihood of penetrating drywall.

    Ideally I'd like to stick with 3 1/2" shells. But I don't want to put my boys at risk. From the bedroom to the mudroom door at the far end of the house it is about 50'. To each of the other doors it is about 12' from the bedroom. What would you recommend I keep in the shotgun for home defence?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Too much gun.
    Start over, use 2 3/4" shell with 7 1/2 bird shot.
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master



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    Some people really like these.

    http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/...2-gauge-shells

    Personally I would not use anything over 2 3/4" for home defense.

    4B is what I use.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 03-10-2017 at 06:09 PM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I would rather have a 2 3/4 inch that is more controllable for followup shots. Your patterns should be tight at those distances. If you miss, 18 pellets is still a miss. If recoil causes you to take longer to recover, you might not get a second shot. At one time I could fire five 00 buck on five targets in under 2 seconds. A little rusty at the moment but a few warmups on the range and I still could.

  5. #5
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    I'm in the 2 3/4 camp as well.....if you can't kill it at 'inside the house' range with 2 3/4 #4s or #6s.....it can't be killed. My 0.02.
    "Do not follow where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Ralph Waldo Emerson


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  6. #6
    Boolit Master Skipper's Avatar
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    I am not an old fart. I am a nefarious curmudgeon; an old fart with an extensive vocabulary and a really bad attitude.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master



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    Shotgun shot penetration has two very different phases. The one most people think about is the individual pellet penetration, however, at close range penetration needs to be viewed as an almost solid mass. When I was a kid I won a case of off brand trap loads. In those days cases were still 500 rounds not the 250 flats of today. They didn't pattern very well and shooting them would cost me 2 or 3 birds per 25 rounds so they got burned up on things like cutting down trees with them. At close range an 1 1/8 oz trap load goes through fairly large trees. The larger the payload the further it takes to become individual pellets. Once it does smaller shot penetrates poorly.

    While I have never tried it I would guess that a 2 1/4 oz 3 1/2" 12 would give Hollywood type effects at 30 feet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skipper View Post
    http://www.theboxotruth.com/the-box-o-truth-3-the-shotgun-meets-the-box-o-truth/
    Enjoyed the read about actual testing, however, the following quote pegs my BS meter.

    A friend of AR15.com sends this:
    “I saw a gunshot victim, about 5′ 10″ and 200 lbs, taken to the operating room with a shotgun wound to the chest. He was shot at a range of six feet at a distance of just over the pectoralis muscle. He was sitting on his front porch and walked to the ambulance. We explored the chest after x-rays were taken. The ER doc had said ‘buckshot’ wound, but this was obviously not accurate.
    It was # 6 shot. There was a crater in the skin over an inch in diameter. When the shot hit the level of the ribs, it spread out about five inches. There was ONE pellet that had passed between the ribs and entered the pericardium, but not damaged the heart at all. As you say, ‘use birdshot for little birds.'”


    I have killed deer injured by cars with 4, 6 and 7 1/2 with a twelve gauge. Drove a wrecker as a kid. Distances where point blank to maybe 25 or 30 feet. At six feet you blew a hole out the opposite side.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 03-10-2017 at 06:11 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    2 3/4" Steel #1,#3 1 1/16oz. 1600fps Speed kills!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Uncle Jimbo's Avatar
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    I would use the 2 3/4" spreader load with #4 buck in it.Great for close range, don't have to be right on aimed to get the job done. And #4 buck is big enough to get the job done, and small enough to not carry through most walls with enough energy to do much damage coming out.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    2-3/4" #4s; 00B in the butt cuff. In case it gets seriouser. 3-1/2" buckshot if a cattle stampede comes through.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I'm in the 2-3/4" #4 buck shot crowd. More pellets than OOB and more than sufficient at close range.

    My wife works in the ER and I've seen too many pics of people peppered with birdshot that got away.
    Life is so much better with dogs!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Mine is loaded with 2 3/4 7.5's. In theory it is just me and my wife.

    Still don't want anything exiting the house or creating problems for someone else.

    2 3/4 will do the job and then some. Don't believe me, go buy a whole chicken. Stick it in a pants leg, hang it at 15 yards and let it have one round of 2 3/4 7.5's.

    Then come back here and tell me you can't stick your fist in that hole.

    Thats all you need and then some.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by labradigger1 View Post
    My wife works in the ER and I've seen too many pics of people peppered with birdshot that got away.
    I think this would be a good thing.
    Too many questions and legal ramifications with killing someone.
    However, if killing them seems prudent, shoot them in the throat, but they die hard and bleed a lot when they are shot in the throat.
    Shoot'em, let them run off and let the cops pick'em up at the hospital.
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

    I am a sovereign individual, accountable
    only to God and my own conscience.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Blood Trail's Avatar
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    If I pick 7.5's out of dove, then I'm not sure I wanna rely on that as a man-stopper. In most states, it's worse to wound someone than to kill. If I have to make that decision to drop the hammer, it's life or death.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Unless you want to demolish your house, I'd stick with 2 3/4" loads and lead buckshot, heavier kicking shells will make it difficult to get off more shots.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Mytmousemalibu's Avatar
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    My home defense 12ga is ripe full of 0000 buck, specifically the Hevi-shot brand Hevi-Duty load. If things get really bad the last 3rds are Brenneke Special Forces Magnum slugs which are absolutely devastating no matter what they hit.
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    This innocent till proven guilty is more like a fantasy as time goes on. I don't know about you folks, but I for 1 am getting mighty tired of having to prove I'm innocent just because of what someone else thinks....

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    Theoretically just hearing the klack-klack and looking down the bore ought to be enough to get them going the other way. But maybe I am giving the bad guys too much credit for having brains. And if you have a round in the chamber already then they won't hear that noise which maybe is not good.
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  18. #18
    I'm surprised to see so many people advocating for bird shot here. Stick to #4 buck at least.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    Another vote for 2 3/4...but low recoil buckshot. I took a course at Frontsight and asked the instructor. He worked on a diplomatic protection detail and that was he recommended. I believe some LEO's are also using low recoil to get more rapid follow up shots.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Chambers View Post
    Unless you want to demolish your house, I'd stick with 2 3/4" loads and lead buckshot, heavier kicking shells will make it difficult to get off more shots.
    Haha! Yeah, I'd rather not blow the end of my house off. I'll go ahead and take everybody's advice and stay away from 3 1/2" shells.

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