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For quite some time I have been using a 9mm or .45 acp as my nightstand gun, but as in most cases a handgun is used to enable you to get to your long gun. In my case it would depend on the level of the threat so I keep a loaded AR and a 12 gauge shotgun in my unlocked safe nearby when I'm sleeping. Many people rely on a shotgun for home defense and surely a good argument can be made for its effectiveness in that circumstance. A big plus is that it's less likely to over penetrate and hit a neighbor's home. That's not a huge factor for me as my closest neighbor is about 500 yards away, but I still load my cylinder bore 12 gauge shotgun with #4 or #1 buckshot. Any in home encounter, in my case at least, is likely to be 7-10 yards or less. For those of you that choose to depend on a 12 gauge, what ammo do you load it with and why did you choose that type?
 
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I personally use 3" steel BB. I feel it's a good middle ground between buckshot and your lighter birdshot. (I live in an apartment complex so buck is not a good option for me). If you pattern steel, you'll find it spreads quicker than lead. The shot doesn't deform. The pellets actually bounce off each other. That's just what I want for my personal defense shotty. I've seen it used on meat targets and it performs outstanding, very good penetration and destruction. Steel is also lighter than lead so you'll find the manufacturers usually increase the velocity of the overall payload to achieve equal energy. One thing to consider, and it might not be an issue for home defense but don't shoot steel through any choke tighter than mod. That is unless you want to turn your shotty into a lamp stand. All this being said I don't think you can go wrong with just about any shotgun ammo.
 

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I'm in for the comments. I bought a Maverick 88 Field/Security combo for this purpose, but it mostly rides shotgun in the safe. I bought some slugs and 00 Buckshot to run it and test for function after it's acquisition but it hasn't gotten out since.
 

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2/3" #1 Buck.

The 20 ball Federal is preferred but most years (I replace it annually) I end up going with the 16 ball from Winchester or Remington- depending on which one I can find.

Why?

Because my 1100 patterns #1 Buck better than any of the other buckshot loads I tested.

Yeah, I tested the shotgun to see what it shot best with at the distances I expected to use it.
 

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Well, slugs are out for sure....I've never really played around with it, my dad told me he used 00 buckshot in the Marines for MP duty and that's what I've used since I bought my first shotgun, probably 10 years ago. I do have a lot of slugs, but I'll probably never even come close to shooting them all up.
 

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4 Buck 2 3/4" Federal Premium Personal Defense Shotshell with Flight Control wad.

Loaded into Mossberg 500. I have the combo unit and it currently resides in this configuration and is easily accessible.

 

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Saiga-12 with a box type magazine full of 2 3/4" #4 buckshot, and many other full magazines of 000 buckshot behind that. My closest neighbor (my brother) is 300 yards away.

The Sheriff's office, unless in the area by chance, are 28 miles away and the SP are about 24 miles away. There is no local police force in our town. There's more of a chance that an En-Con officer may be in the area, but last time I called them to report some poaching it was 2 hours before they arrived.
 

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2/3" #1 Buck.

The 20 ball Federal is preferred but most years (I replace it annually) I end up going with the 16 ball from Winchester or Remington- depending on which one I can find.

Why?

Because my 1100 patterns #1 Buck better than any of the other buckshot loads I tested.

Yeah, I tested the shotgun to see what it shot best with at the distances I expected to use it.
I keep a shorty loaded with #4 Buck beside the bed and in the shop. On the pattern issue, I wonder how many folks have ever patterned their shotguns - instead just assuming they all are the same ? Bet very few. When I did my 870, I was surprised at the result - VERY narrow, tall vertical pattern.
 

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I keep a shorty loaded with #4 Buck beside the bed and in the shop. On the pattern issue, I wonder how many folks have ever patterned their shotguns - instead just assuming they all are the same ? Bet very few. When I did my 870, I was surprised at the result - VERY narrow, tall vertical pattern.
I patterned mine with several options and decided the Flight Control Wad i use was my best choice. Not sure if I have pictures, if I do I will post.
 

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Let me just drop this in here...From Suarez International

FIVE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE THE SHOTGUN

The first one was so controversial I wanted to keep it going. We showed that the reasons the shotgun fell from prominence were simply silly fashion choices which have driven the world of weapons since I can recall, and the reality that smaller and weaker people have been brought into the uniformed world for the last twenty years. So here are my five reasons why you should purposely choose the shotgun over other weapons.

1). If your reality-based expectation of conflict is inside of twenty five yards, like most confrontations in the urban world are, then the shotgun is well inside it's niche. No private citizen gunfight, or even a non-SWAT police gunfight, is going to go much beyond a few rounds in the real world. How do we know this? Because we stay on top of actual events versus movies. Moreover, inside that distance interval the shotgun is easier to hit the threat with, and more likely to kill that threat, or at least incapacitate it, even with a peripheral hit. More on that momentarily.

2). If you want to utterly destroy a threat, conclusively and completely, even with a less than perfect shot, the shotgun should be your choice. We spoke with a few medical professionals that have seen more firearm injuries than most of the readers here. Head shots are largely, with few exceptions, fatal. Torso shots with pistols, if attended in time, are survivable. Rifle wounds less so, nut many are still survivable. They hate treating shotgun wounds as shotguns destroy flesh and are far less survivable than other gunshot wounds. So in short, due to its nature, a head shot with a shotgun is easier to achieve than with other weapons, and if all that can be obtained due to events is a peripheral hit, the damage that hit delivers will often be sufficient to stop the threat.

3). If you are physically strong and can wield the modern battle axe, you should select the shotgun. The shotgun is not for the frail. Much can be done to make it less demanding physically such as the selection of a semi auto over the pump action (a trade off), porting the barrel, selecting reduced recoil ammo, or dropping from 12 ga to 20 ga. But it is still a physically demanding weapon not suggested for those lacking physicality. But if you are more spartan than dad-bod, the shotgun will give you options other weapons will not.

4). If your reality-based expectation of conflict includes reduced light, multiple adversaries, or the potential for rapidly changing dynamic circumstances where the time interval may not allow the use of traditional marksmanship principles, the shotgun is for you. The naturally expanding pattern is an asset of the weapon and should not be changed. All modern ammunition will yield a much tighter pattern as it is. And yet that natural spread will allow you to get a hit on target that would likely be impossible under the same circumstances if you were using a rifle or SMG. The real world is rarely as stable and predictable as the shooting range.

5). If you don't give a rat's patoot what the tattooed youtube hero shooting 100 rounds through a used car says you should have - If you are unfortunate enough to live in a state that ignores the rights of man - or if you simply want the deadliest efficiency possible for the real (not theoretical) problem at hand, you may want to grab a shotgun.
 

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4 Buck 2 3/4" Federal Premium Personal Defense Shotshell with Flight Control wad.

Loaded into Mossberg 500. I have the combo unit and it currently resides in this configuration and is easily accessible.

^^^ That's pretty much the exact configuration I have my Mav 88 in. I keep it in a bedside scabbard. I do have a Streamlight attached to it for unwanted late night bipedal visitors.
 
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For quite some time I have been using a 9mm or .45 acp as my nightstand gun, but as in most cases a handgun is used to enable you to get to your long gun. In my case it would depend on the level of the threat so I keep a loaded AR and a 12 gauge shotgun in my unlocked safe nearby when I'm sleeping. Many people rely on a shotgun for home defense and surely a good argument can be made for its effectiveness in that circumstance. A big plus is that it's less likely to over penetrate and hit a neighbor's home. That's not a huge factor for me as my closest neighbor is about 500 yards away, but I still load my cylinder bore 12 gauge shotgun with #4 or #1 buckshot. Any in home encounter, in my case at least, is likely to be 7-10 yards or less. For those of you that choose to depend on a 12 gauge, what ammo do you load it with and why did you choose that type?
exactly what you are using my friend!
IF # 1 or #4 buck shot doesn't stop a human being then just drop to your knees and pray for devine intervention.
now when I work at my volunteer Road block duty where i shoot cars, trucks and buses I go with 00 or 000 Buck.
but for breathing things the #1 and #4 makes sense to me, plus it makes more holes that blood comes out of than 00-000 Buckshot.
 
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I agree with the choice of a shotgun but mine is a 20-gauge Winchester Defender pump that has resided in the corner of our bedroom, next to the night stand for about 30 years. Right now it is loaded with RIO #1 buck (9 pellets). It works well on 4-footed nighttime critters as well.

I wonder how many people have actually fired a 12-gauge inside a home? I did a long time ago inside a mock-up that a friend had created. Without hearing protection my ears rang for about 3 days and 3 foot of flame came out of the barrel. That'll hurt your night vision. It wasn't a pleasant experience and was never repeated.
 

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I keep a shorty loaded with #4 Buck beside the bed and in the shop. On the pattern issue, I wonder how many folks have ever patterned their shotguns - instead just assuming they all are the same ? Bet very few. When I did my 870, I was surprised at the result - VERY narrow, tall vertical pattern.
INDEED!
the old wives tale and assumption that you can't miss with a shotgun is just that!
they don't spread at closer range near as much as TV says!--LOL
 

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I keep #4 ,# 3 loaded up and ready to go in my 12 and 20 gauge defense shotguns here at home, mainly due to a couple other homes being close to mine. Both shotguns also have some #1 or # 2 ready to go as backup.

When i head out to camp , where the closest house is 1/2 a mile or more it's buck or #1 on tap , with slugs available on the shotguns(have seen bears tracks there before). Also when i go out to camp, i add a sling which gives me about 20+ rounds as backup.
 

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I went with 2 3/4 because it meant 1 more round in the tube than 3 inch. The 3 inch also has an higher recoil, so that translates into slower recovery and follow up shots. Since I'm using a semi auto instead of a pump, all I'm waiting on is for the front sight to call back onto target.

Number 1 Buck is .30". Winchester and Remington's versions are 16 lead balls- all of which my 1100 can keep in the black of a Hoppe's 100 yard rifle target at the max indoor range I will face with the Cylinder bore choke tube in place. The Federal #1 Buck is 20 plated .30" round ball and the pattern is only slightly larger but has 25% more projectiles. If I can find it, I buy 3 boxes of it.
 

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I also live in the country, but my over-penetration concern is my own house - drywall. I have a Stoeger Coach Gun. Cylindar and Improved, left and right respenctively. #4 Left, 2 aught Right. That should get me to my AR or .45.
 

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I have 12 gauge and it's loaded with 00 buck. I know it will work, yes over penetration may be an issue.... but it's what I have here and can find without ordering.
I hit the local sporting goods stores around the beginning of deer season. One of them will always have some #1Buck, the only question is which manufacturer.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I agree with the choice of a shotgun but mine is a 20-gauge Winchester Defender pump that has resided in the corner of our bedroom, next to the night stand for about 30 years. Right now it is loaded with RIO #1 buck (9 pellets). It works well on 4-footed nighttime critters as well.

I wonder how many people have actually fired a 12-gauge inside a home? I did a long time ago inside a mock-up that a friend had created. Without hearing protection my ears rang for about 3 days and 3 foot of flame came out of the barrel. That'll hurt your night vision. It wasn't a pleasant experience and was never repeated.
Just imagine what it would be like from the other end of the barrel.
 
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