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Discussion Starter #1
Today I just order a 870 Express Tactical with XS Ghost Rings. Very excited.

It's sole purpose (other than some range fun) is home defense.

It seems that the debate about what load to use for HD in a shotgun is as varied and heated as the handgun caliber debates. Birdshot, Buckshot, slugs, etc etc etc. It's enough to make your head swim for someone new to shotguns.

For those that keep a 12g loaded for HD, what do you have it loaded with?
 

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I keep mine loaded with turkey loads 17/8 oz 4 shot for first two shots & PDX1 for the rest. Thats loading PDX1 first then two turkey loads.
 

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00Buck only. Bird shot is too light, and slugs can easily penetrate walls etc. This is very highly debated but this is what I chose for my HD setup.
 

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Turkey loads...they pattern nice with a tactical shotgun without going through a bunch of walls like slugs.
 

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I load Federal Reduced Recoil 00 buckshot. If I wanted a tighter pattern, at the cost of more recoil, I'd load Hornady 00 buckshot.
 

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About any 6 or 7 1/2 shot. Whatever is laying around really. At any home range, a pattern that small of about anything that weighs an ounce is going to do some damage.
 

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One time I had to shoot a dog with a number 7 1/2 shot shell. I hit it right below the shoulder from less than 20 feet. This dog weighed about 75-80 pounds and it didn't even knock him over or anything. He ran away and I saw him a two days later walking gingerly but very much alive. That is when I knew I would never use bird shot for self defense. I load my shotgun with 00 buck.
 

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I keep my shortie 870 loaded with 5 ea. #4 up front, and 2 ea. #00 in the back.

HD gun only. If I get all the way back to the #00, then I'm in a war and I probably should have reached for the AR15 instead.
 

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One time I had to shoot a dog with a number 7 1/2 shot shell. I hit it right below the shoulder from less than 20 feet. This dog weighed about 75-80 pounds and it didn't even knock him over or anything. He ran away and I saw him a two days later walking gingerly but very much alive. That is when I knew I would never use bird shot for self defense. I load my shotgun with 00 buck.
LOL sounds like a miss to me. One time my Uncle shot a deer at about 60 or 70 yards he was just trying to scare off because they were eatting his garden killed it he thought the bird shot would just sting it a little at that range.
 

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LOL sounds like a miss to me. One time my Uncle shot a deer at about 60 or 70 yards he was just trying to scare off because they were eatting his garden killed it he thought the bird shot would just sting it a little at that range.
Now that you mention it I know of a guy who shot a horse with a 20 gauge bird shot and killed it. I don't remember how far away he was though. I guess all it takes is one pellet through the heart.

I hit that dog though because he left a trail of blood across my patio. I shot him because he had been attacking my very peaceful dog at night.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So far my research has led me to think I'll have the first round or two either #1 or 00 Buck (Like the Federal Low Recoil mentioned above) followed by PDX1s which is 3 pellets of 00 Buck and a 1oz Rifled Slug.

I'm getting a side saddle which I'll load up with 3 each of the above. Maybe 1 bird shot in the saddle too if there was a critter or some other reason to want it; I'd probably put that one in the saddle upside down as to not confuse it with the good stuff). I'll probably have a break out bag/sling full of shells close by to grab if necessary. I realize that part is edging on 'mall ninja' status but why not.

Keep the comments coming on what you use. It's interesting to see the variations.
 

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00 buck x 8
 

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Part of our home plan of action is to stay in our bedroom. We will not go looking for the intruder. She keeps her Glock 26 on her night stand. I keep my Glock 30 on mine. They are to be used until we can get to the 870. The position we will take in our master bath will give us cover and a clear shot to the bedroom door at approximately 15 feet. It is loaded with 6-#8 birdshot shells. I feel very comfortable shooting an intruder at 15 feet with this load. If it is not fatal, it will certainly severely incapacitate. Our #1 self defense goal is to make ourselves safe, not take human life. I also have a box each of #4 buck, 9mm & 45 ACP in the closet just in case. We keep our cell phones & sure fire flashlights on our respective night stands. Our early warning system is named Tulip. She is a mixed breed that we rescued.
 

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It all depends on your living conditions. I live in an apartment, I can hear my neighbors shower, can hear one guy talking on his ham radio, etc.

I use #4 Birdshot - not because I like its effectiveness, just because of the thin walls. If I lived in a real house, certainly it would be some form of buckshot, probably also #4 Buckshot, due to the number of pellets.

I set up a peice of plywood and shot it with both #7.5 bird, and #4 bird. They are very different. The 7.5 was stuck in the facing and could be rubbed out with a fingernail. The 4 had penetrated 3 plys, about 3/8 inch. I would not trust anything smaller than the #4 even at in house range.

At less than 10 feet, either one willl blow a ragged hole
 

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for a pump, the low recoil 00 can't be beat. if you have a gas auto, then full power 00 high brass loads. or, if you have a recoil auto like a benelli/HK, then the low recoil rounds work just fine
 
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