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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking at how to beef up my home defense and I am considering the purchase of another rifle as well as a shotgun. However, I don't know what caliber or gauge I should look at. What I would like to have in the house are weapons that carry the most common calibers, since if things should turn for the worst in the world, I would like to be able to find ammo easily, if you understand what I mean.

So, what is probably the most common caliber for rifles, and gauge for shotguns? Thanks for your answers in advance.
 

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I'd say as far as shotgun, go with a short barrel (18") pump action 12 gauge. Many after market add-ons are available like light mounts, etc. A shotgun is a great home defense firearm as your aim doesn't have to be perfect.

I agree with rpddsmith that the .223 /5.56 is a very popular caliber. The Ruger Mini-14 as well as AR type rifles use this caliber. Great varmint gun. May overpenetrate walls for indoor home defense.

If the world goes wacko (you mean it isn't?) you may want a .22lr as well to get some quick and easy squirrel and other small game. Fun and cheap plinking as well.
 

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Good topic.
A few things to consider to start off with. Overpenetration, excessive muzzle blast, and recoil are to be considered.

There are pistol or revolver cartridge carbines and rifles out there for home defense. Most of these are on the used market that are to be recommended. Ruger's P9C or 40 use

Ruger pistol magazines and are 9mm. and .40S&W in caliber. The velocity boost from the longer barrel can be about 100- 200 feet per second over ordinary handgun velocities.

Low recoil, quicker recovery between shots, low muzzle flash, and low noise that could be disorienting in a fight.

There are Winchester 94s (used) and Marlin 1894s in revolver cartridges that would have pretty much the same benefits in use as the pistol cartridge carbines would. These are lever action rifles and have tube magazines that cartridges are loaded one at a time thorugh a loading gate.

In all these carbine type rifles, it is recommended that middleweight bullets be used as a minimum. Rate of twist in the rifling is the reason why. Heavier bullets can be used. This has to do with accuracy and bullet stabilility in flight.

There are other brands out there as well.

Recommend that if a rifle is going to be used in and around the house that it be in .223 Remington or of the 5.56 military caliber.

These bullets will not normally overpenetrate as much as pistol or revolver bullets will under most circumstances. Ruger Mini-14 or the Kel-tec SU16 can be had for those on a budget. Handy to operate in enclosed quarters are one of their fortes.Relaibility of these are high. Mine is. Mini-14 that is.

Otherwise the AR15 clones are next up. These are pricey, but reliable. Armalite AR180Bs are similar to the AR15s as far as magazines are concerned, but are cheaper than most AR15 clones. This includes other manufacturers as well. Manual of arms is easy to learn.

Soft nose ammo in .223 would be advised. Probably between 55 to 62 grains. Do not use military ammo with the steel penetrator in it.

Shotgun time. Let it be said that one has to aim a shotgun to hit the intended target. Pray and spray tactics, for moral,ethical,and liability reasons, should not be used. Aimed accurate fire is what is needed.

Also, it has been said that just racking the slide will cause a felon to freeze or give up. It does happen, but do not assume the bad guy is going to do the rational thing and give up. Thinking in a rational manner is not what criminals do in the first place. So do not assume the criminal is going to use common sense. Especially vicious ones. They have no moral values or conscience to worry them. How do you know what the other guy or gal is thinking? Can't.

That said there are 12 gauge and 20 gauge pumps or double barreled guns that would work.Semi-autos can be finicky about ammo type or having enough gas pressure to work the action reliably.

There are tactical ammos in slug and buckshot that are reduced pressure loads as well as recoil. These are so marked by the ammo manufacturers.
12 or 20 gauges with standard pressure or magnum defense ammo will or can kick as much as .300 Winchester Magnum rifle or more. Brutal would be a good discription for most of these. That's why the recommendation for lower pressured ammo.
Targets are not going to be impressed by how much foot pounds of energy they are being hit by, much less will they notice. Thus the use of reduced pressure tactical ammo.

Regular tactical slugs or 000, or 00 sized buckshot are normally used for defense scenarios. Slugs actually have a better chance to stop someone over buckshot.
Also less projectiles to count on or have to account for after the shooting is over. Stray or errant projectiles have to be accounted for.

Buck shot may not penetrate deep enough for quick incapacitation as will most slugs.
Actual real world results have shown slugs to stay more in the body than had previously been thought.

Conventional wisdom and Urban Legend are full of fallacies as how to ,or what to use during a defense shooting.Especially where shotguns come into play. For example, birdshot may be recommended for close in. There's a grain of truth that it can be fatal or cause raggedy and nasty wounds. Very close in it can under some circumstances. If the fight takes place over longer range than very close in, the birdshot will not penetrate far enough into the target to incapacitate them.



A Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 with the slug or police barrel of 18 to 24 inches could be used inside a dwelling. Again, this depends on budget and what fits you.

If others in the dwelling are possibly using this for defense the 20 gauge may be the way to go.

Quicker recovery time shot for shot, less recoil over the 12 gauge, handier to use inside enclosed quarters all give the 20 gauge a decided advantage. There is not anything lost or little lost for going to a 20 gauge. 20 gauge slugs are used by those who are recoil sensitive for hunting deer where shotguns are mandatory.
Why not have a more user friendly shotgun than a 12 gauge?

A few years back there was an officer involved shooting where the perp had a 20 gauge with slugs. Rifled sights were on the shotgun the perp had. The involved officer,using a handgun, did win with better shooting than his opponent.

One of the things the officer observed was the quickness of return fire the officer was receiving. Since shot to shot recovery for shotguns is supposed to take some time versus handguns, the officer said he almost got himself shot because he figured the perp was taking more time to get back on target. When slugs started whizzing past the officer, then it became nearly fatally apparent retrun fire was coming back at an unheard of rate. Why this was so did not come until after the fight.
Had that been a 12 gauge with normal slug loads the officer would have had more time to respond between the shots safely. Assuming nearly got the officer killed.

So there is a precendent for all this.

Double barreled guns only have two shots, but cannot be discounted. Quicker second shots can be had with the double barreled gun over the pump or semi-auto under most conditions.

Having a secondary sidearm would be adviseable if a double barreled shotgun is being relied on. While reloading can be fast with practice there is a precedent for possible need for a handgun to back up any long gun.

All the above has been thoroughly documented in police,tactical,and miltary journals. There are exceptions to all this or other things that may not have been covered.

Do what you will, but realize there are consequences for one's actions.

Pierce, I figure you will do the right things at the right time.

Just giving things that need to be considered.

Other calibers in rifles may be too under powered or overpowered for inside defense scenarios. Only the .30 caliber M1 carbine might be another choice with soft nosed ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I want to thank you all for your input. It has all been very helpful and especially what Qwiks has written!

I am leaning towards an AR15 because it seems to be quite versitile. I can use it close quarter, or for long shots. A 12 guage would be good for back up along with my .45. I am also thinking about adding a .357 to my home defense if for anything else that it can also shoot .38 rounds making it a nice gun to have around, too.
 

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Unlike a ccw your home defense rifle/shotgun remains at home while you are away. You want to make sure it is secured before you leave the house. Otherwise, you could come home and find the felon has possession and you are staring at the wrong end!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Good advice oldscot! That is one reason I have a gun safe.
 

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I agree the staples are AK and AR calibers and a 12 gauge for shotguns. But a 20 gauge is not joke and a 30.06 for perimeter shots outside of the house is a good option too. Heck, I'd even take a 30/30 lever action. But inside my house it'll be the handgun that I'm carrying at the time as I work my way to the 20" 12 gauge.
 

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First ensure that all your doors and windows are as secure as possible. Outside (movement sesitive) lights are a good idea. Keep bushes well trimmed.
My local P.D. has an officer who will come to your home and go through a check-list with you. See whether your local Dept, has a similar program.
Security starts outside the building.
 

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In addition to my PT145 I have a Mossberg Model 500 12 ga. with interchangeable long and short barrels. I use hollow point rifled slugs (Winchester) for both target and home defense (never had to use it in home defense yet..thank God). The shorter 18" barrel is recommended for inside the home. I use the 24" barrel for target because the 18" packs a huge wallop on recoil. The first few times I shot it without a shoulder pad I came home from the range with bruises. Of course, that was after pumping 30 shells through it!

The Mossberg is pump action and will hold up to 5 shells with a sixth in the chamber. It sells for under $300 and is a lot of gun for the money. I'm sure whatever you settle on will suit your needs. Best of luck. We're all brothers in arms!
 

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Qwiks draw just about covered it. Ditto what he said.
 

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I would suggest some trapshooting with your home defense shotgun along with fixed target shooting. While being accurate is important, the ability to draw a bead on a moving target is also very important in a home defense situation where the perpetrator is not going to be standing stone still.
 

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Rabid_Dog said:
I'd say as far as shotgun, go with a short barrel (18") pump action 12 gauge. Many after market add-ons are available like light mounts, etc. A shotgun is a great home defense firearm as your aim doesn't have to be perfect.

I agree with rpddsmith that the .223 /5.56 is a very popular caliber. The Ruger Mini-14 as well as AR type rifles use this caliber. Great varmint gun. May overpenetrate walls for indoor home defense.

If the world goes wacko (you mean it isn't?) you may want a .22lr as well to get some quick and easy squirrel and other small game. Fun and cheap plinking as well.
Gotta watch them squirrels, here in Denver it has been reported that they have found many squirrels carrying the plague :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Drewbacca said:
I would suggest some trapshooting with your home defense shotgun along with fixed target shooting. While being accurate is important, the ability to draw a bead on a moving target is also very important in a home defense situation where the perpetrator is not going to be standing stone still.
Yep. I believe it is an absolute must for gun users to train shooting at moving targets with all their guns. Knowing how to anticipate movement and leading into the target can only come through practice, practice, then more practice.

Thanks for all the good input, folks! You have given me excellent information, and I am sure others are benefitting from the answers, too.
 
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