Remington HD Ultimate Home Defense Shotshell … birdshot for home defense?

A few days ago Remington announced their line of 12 Gauge HD Ultimate Home Defense Shotshells. What intrigues me is that these shells are not loaded with buckshot, but with bird shot.

Remington Hd Ultimate Home Defense Shotshell

The HD Ultimate Home Defense comes in two loads. The one load contains BB bird shot and the other has a mixture of #2 and #4 sized birdshot. The shot is made from the Remington HD (High density) tungsten alloy.

Both contain 1.25 ounces of shot (547 grain) which is launched at a velocity of 1250 fps. That works out to be 1898 ft/lbs of energy.

Just a few months ago Federal launched a line of self-defense .410 Shotshell, also loaded with bird shot. There was a long discussion on The Firearm Blog about the suitability of these shells for self defense. The consensus was, to borrow an old maxim, that birdshot is for the birds!

The fact that a two major ammunition manufacturers are selling bird shot for self defense makes me wonder if they know something we do not?

The HD ammo is loaded with very hard, but dense, tungsten alloy shot which would give it greater penetration than lead. On the other hand, 00 (“double-ought”) buck shot is .33″ in diameter, much larger than BB birdshot (0.18″) and more than twice the diameter of #2 (0.15″) and #4 shot (.13″). It is almost universally accepted than bigger == better for self defense.

For the sake of those who purchase it, I hope it performs well. Remington and Federal could certainly ease our fears by releasing their test data for public scrutiny.

If any of your want to test the ammo and do a write up for The Firearm Blog, get in touch with me.

UPDATE: I forgot to list the price. Both loads cost $34.99 for a box of 10 rounds.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • AB

    Perhaps what the manufacturers are thinking is that the rounds will be used in an extreme CQB fashion. Ranges of 1 to 10 feet, which is about the only way aside from a neck or direct artery hit, birdshot can really be fatal by my own reckoning.

    Or perhaps they aren’t aiming for a fatal round, but a wounding/maiming round. That runs counter to the standard mindset: never point a gun at something you aren’t ready to kill; but if you give an intruder a freckle pattern with birdshot, he’ll have to go to the doctor sometime. And most docs log all gunshot injuries, Perhaps the blast pattern is distinctive so if the homeowner does shoot a person, the area hospitals and clinics can look for it.

    I think I’ll stick with my standard load out for my home defense shotgun: 4 rounds buckshot up front, 2 rounds deer slugs to finish the job.

  • Dom

    I think what they know is that poor penetration is good for civil liability. Whether its your ass or their own they’re trying to cover, I’m not sure.

  • John K.

    Let’s not forget that there are those who feel that society is somehow to blame for the actions of the poor, disadvantaged soul who *chose* to break into their home and I suppose using a common hunting load, such as 00 buck might rub them the wrong way.

    And like Dom said, these days liability is always a concern. If somebody gets injured as a result of overpenetration, they are likely to go after the guy with the biggest pockets if they want a settlement and in the absence of an insurance company to milk, that’s the manufacturers (both of the gun and the ammo).

  • I’ve seen this stuff for sale at the local Cabela’s and have been quite skeptical.

    It would be nice to see some actual data on this. Compared to say traditional buckshot, low-recoil buckshot, and perhaps traditional birdshot/bb’s so we can see if the tungsten alloy makes any difference.

    Maybe ask Old Painless at the Box O’ Truth.

  • SpudGun

    Because I am a cynical and suspicious sort of dude, this ‘new’ home defense load could just be regular Remington bird shot but with exciting packaging.

    I could be totally wrong (and often am), but this has a whiff of ‘noob’ about it. A lot of people own shotguns and thanks to the media frenzy surrounding crime, many of those same people are keeping their old hunting weapons by the bedside.

    But what kind of shell should they use for deterring nefarious costermongers? I know, they say to themselves, I’ll go into a store and buy something with the words ‘home defense’ on it, the manufacturers wouldn’t lie to me? Would they?

    Having said all that, would I like to be hit by birdshot from 20 feet away – no thank you.

  • The only thought I’d have on this is that I might not be a bad idea for people that live in apartments/townhomes, because it won’t penetrate interior walls like a load of 00 buck would.

  • This may have been discussed on the other thread, but perhaps the idea is with smaller shot you get a tighter pattern, thus it’s like running into a wall of tungsten. What I mean is – a 00 buckshot shell contains 8 pieces of shot, and yes they’re larger than #2 and #4, but when they spread (even at 10 ft) they are more dispersed than the smaller shot.

    I agree with what has been said about civil liability and over-penetration. It would be unfortunate for a piece of shot to go through a wall and injure a neighbor (in an apartment complex) or a family member in the same house/apt.

  • Erni

    I think they choose small shot due to overpenetration issues in urban dwelings. If you use 00 shot you will go through a wall and possibly kill or maim on the other side of the wall. If you use birdshot it should stop by the time it goes through two layers of drywall, or at least minimize hitting unintended targets on the far side of a wall. I have been contemplating using #6 shot for home defense. Why? 3/4 of my “perimeter” is ocupied by people, so over penetration is a huge concern.

  • B Woodman

    This tungsten shot, can you melt it down, same as lead?

    (See Y-Man’s post on turning bird shot into a slug).

    • B, the problem would be that tungsten has a much higher melting point (I think), and a barrel may not be able to handle such a hard slug bouncing down the barrel.

  • Tony

    “The fact that a two major ammunition manufacturers are selling bird shot for self defense makes me wonder if they know something we do not?”

    Since I find it unlikely neither Federal nor Remington has managed to change the laws of physics, I would think the only thing we might have been unaware of that those manufacturers know is how much market there is for such rounds. 🙂 Remember, plenty of people still do not really know what they are talking about and revert to that old standby, “Well I wouldn’t want to get shot with it.” (I wouldn’t want to get a paper cut, but in a life-or-death struggle one of those won’t stop me…)


    “but if you give an intruder a freckle pattern with birdshot, he’ll have to go to the doctor sometime. And most docs log all gunshot injuries, Perhaps the blast pattern is distinctive so if the homeowner does shoot a person, the area hospitals and clinics can look for it.”

    A round that fails to stop the attacker but makes him easier to find later, so the murder of the defender won’t remain an open case? Usually, when such twisted logic is applied, people are stripped of their legal right to self-defense entirely.

  • I have tested bird shot as a defensive load, what you have to realize, unless you live in a castle. Most homes your longest self defense shot is going to be about 7 paces max, in a good deal of homes even closer. The pastern on bird shot at that distance depending on brand, type of barrel etc is a 4-6 inch spread, and obviously tighter at closer ranges. I do not care who you are, try and soak that up and still be willing to fight. You will either be down or trying to get your butt out the door.

    If the person firing knows what they are doing, they will hit the threat with followup shots until there is no longer a threat.

    In a home defense situation most people take up a defensive position if they are smart, like my elderly mother who has been trained to lock her door and get behind her bed, using the bed as a rest, and a barrier, keeping the gun on the door. While she is on the phone with 911.

    Now say what you like, but their is no criminal I know who is going to soak up that bird shot at that range if he comes through that door, he will not keep coming, Further because of her age and build she can get off multiple shots of bird shot pretty quickly and on target.

    People seem to think criminals are like what they see in the movies. The Zombie guy who can soak up multiple rounds of buck and keeps coming. When shots are fired people start moving, either to the ground or away from the muzzle blast.

    In foreign countries where bird shot is all that is available, people kill each other with it often.

    All of that being said do I recommend bird shot? No not if a person is capable of using something else. However in certain applications and with certain persons I would say absolutely. What you have to keep in mind is, there is no THE answer for anything. You do what works for you based on your situation, and use the options that will allow you to do your best in every situation.

    And do not say recoil, and muzzle jump does not matter when you are fighting for your life because it does matter. Control and followup shots can be and are important. You get no better control when your adrenaline is pumping.

    Maybe we will do a video showing what bird shot will do at different distances. I will assure hen you see it at home defense distance, it is more devastating then you might think.

    • Steve, interesting, thanks for the comment.

  • Crabula

    I think it may have something to do with over-penetration. Heavier pellets could go through walls and harm family members. I think that the idea is that these pellets will easily tear through flesh but stop in a couple layers of dry-wall and insulation. It may not cause a whole lot of internal damage but it should still hurt like hell and would most likely cause a fair amount of blood loss.
    It seems like you are relying as much on the psychological impact of being shot as you are on the actual lethality of the round itself. Somewhere between shooting rubber balls and 00 buck.

    So yeah, I think that the idea is to provide reasonably lethal force without having to worry about nailing family members through the walls.

  • Pancho

    I have done some testing with several types of shot for defense and spent some time getting to know my HD Shotgun. Their are a lot of myths about short barreled defensive shotguns. All Shot whether it is #6 or 00 buck hits like a Slug on soft targets under 5 yards. Under 7 yards Bird shot is still very impressive. After 7 yards out to 25 yards Buck Shot seems to have the desired penetration and effect. After 25 yards in most shotguns 00 buck has spread to much to be 100% reliable. I have shot some great Vang Comp gun that extend that range a bit.

    Don’t take my word for it. Get some phone books, some plywood and some card board targets. Shoot the plywood with your trusted 00 buck at different distances and then try those same distances with the bird shot. I know phone books and plywood don’t simulate flesh but for comparison against trusted 00 they can be used. Anyone serious about using a Shotgun should take some time to pattern their gun with at every distance and card board targets are great for that.

    The Shotgun is a great tool and adaptable to any home or property size. Just a note, Bird Shot does go through drywall walls and usually but not always, stops in the opposite wall on the other side of the shot through room. 00 buck will make it through a couple walls but not much more than a bird shot and slugs will come out on the other side of the house. I load my Shotgun with 00 Buck and keep 4 rounds of Brenneke slugs in the Speedfeed stock.

    • Pancho, thanks for your comment.

  • dan

    Have you ever seen what bird shot will do at 10-20 feet? It’s one big jagged hole. I doubt any burgler or other bad guy would survive a blast of tungston at 20 feet.

  • Heavy birdshots are allowed for hunting deer in Denmark. The biggest one allowed here is number 1 ( 4 mm shots)

    I’ve taken deer with it at close range, no problem. At 10 meters it fractured bones and punched into the chest cavity of the deer. any longer range and it looses penetration FAST!

    A deer is smaller than a grown man, but at short ranges and with the large birdshot pellets it’s still not all bad.

  • Me

    About a month ago, I stumbled across this at the local Dick’s Sporting Goods. Kinda perplexed by it, due to the fact that the box didnt supply any data on its effectiveness, that it was bird shot pellets, and the price! Wracking my brain as to the marketing behind it, and all I can come up with is WHY? Why not instead make a home defense load with 00, #1 or even #4 buck in tungsten +whatever metal combo. WOuld seem to make more sense.

  • Ken

    Yes,wound and maim…that will work. That will be one perp who could actually go to the civil suit against you for making him look like the elephant man when you were done bustin bb”s in him. Ill pass…Ill take my 00 buck and hollow points thanks.

  • Trouble is, if it’s not going to go through wallboard, it’s not going to go through bad guys either (birdshot can go through wallboard). Sure I’m not volunteering to get shot by birdshot, it wouldn’t be pleasant. But if the time has come to shoot, then you need to stop… not bluff, not piss off, not hope and pray.

    That all said, before I totally write this stuff off, like I said before I’d like to see some actual data. As Steve mentioned, maybe they know something we don’t… maybe there’s something to the tungsten alloy. It’d be nice to see some data and not just marketing.

  • komrad

    Honestly wouldn’t 00 buck be cheaper than tungsten. If you really live in an area where you are at risk of home invasion, you would probably feel better knowing your gun and ammo has a reputation for being a man stopper rather than being possibly better. This may be a bit off topic, but can you reload shotgun shells with standard steel air gun BBs.

  • Nas

    It’s got to be about over-penetration of walls and doors, considering that most folks shooting in the dark when frightened aren’t very good shots. Drywall is not good cover. I’ve accidentally shot a wad-cutter pellet from an air rifle (.177, 900fps) through a regular house wall. It had about a 45 degree angle of entry with two very clean holes in the drywall. It was pointed in a safe direction, so only the drywall was injured. A single pellet from some 00 buck would have even better penetration, especially the 12ga magnum 00 buck I keep in my home defense guns.

  • Kyle Huff

    I think it depends on your jurisdiction. Are you more likely to be sued by a survivor, or the victim’s estate? Also, how comfortable are you with the idea of actually killing someone.

  • Regolith

    Lead BB is supposed to be about the minimum you can go before it becomes extremely ineffective, so the tungsten BB’s (which should perform just a bit better) might not be too bad, particularly if you’re in an apartment.

    I wouldn’t want to use the #2/#4 stuff, though.

  • I’m going to catch some heat for this, but I’ve done time on both sides of the gun counter, and when I was setting up a customer for home defense, I frequently set them up with game loads for self defense if their residence made that the most logical choice.

    Simpy put, for apartment and condo dwellers and those living in the still-close confines of many suburban communities where stick-built homes are packed closely together, loads like this are the best compromise between fight-stopping power and the danger of over-penetration.

    Perhaps you live along in a rural setting. Great. Enjoy your buckshot, backed by slugs.

    If you have neighbors, however, it is your responsibility not to endanger their lives while attempting to guard your own. These purpose-built rounds are going to be better than the #4-#6 shot I used to recommend. I’m sure many “experts” think that isn’t enough, but I assure you than in the close confines of an in-home shooting where few people will be taking shots longer than 20 feet, lead shot is lethal. This denser load with provide greater penetration for those on the bubble and can extend the lethal range a few yards further out, but I’m not sure it is needed.

    Buckshot and slugs in the burbs is an idea for gun shop commandos, IMHO. If you doubt me, read up on how far both penetrate in sheet rock, and then count the number of layers to your child’s bed, or to your neighbor’s bedroom, because statistics indicate you’re going to miss more often than you hit in such confrontations

    Sure, you might stop a home invasion with Buck and slugs. But by employing such a payload, you’ve become a greater threat to your neighbors and family members than the home invader himself.

  • amos

    One thing to consider: the severity of the wound is proportional to the cube of the number of hits. Each pellet is a “hit”, and multiple pellets greatly increase your chances of hitting something vital.

    That being said, you do need a certain amount of penetration. Anything that will penetrate 12 inches would be pretty lethal.

    I know that a .177 pellet rifle is capable of killing a human (the case I heard of was a child, heart shot) but I would prefer something a bit larger than BB’s for better penetration.

  • SpudGun

    This issue seems to have been pretty well debated. So, show of hands, who is going to throw away their buckshot and buy these instead for home defense?

    Come on, don’t be shy. I know Remington hasn’t released one bit of data or stated exactly how these shells are the optimum load for home defense over say, any other kind of shotgun load, but you don’t need to know all that trivial stuff.

    Look, it comes in a black box with the words ‘Ultimate Home Defense’ written on it, so it must be true. Plus the plastic hulls are all cool and black as well. In a night time, panic situation, having black colored ammo in the dark is good right?

    So don’t go out and buy inexpensive bird shot for home defense, that would be stoopid. Buy this one is made from a tungsten alloy…oooh.

  • bubbaearle

    Someone mentioned earlier that it smelled of “noob” – I think he’s correct. I think they’re capitalizing on market forces to make a quick buck on “noobs” that don’t know any better.

    Has anyone seen prices for this? Cheaper than 00, but more expensive than birdshot?

  • Whatever

    The Army has stopped producing so-called “green” training rounds, because of research showing that the bullets’ main ingredient may be more toxic than previously thought. But that element, tungsten, is also in an array of other ammunition and munitions, as well. Which means all sorts of rockets, missiles, and anti-tank rounds may present an environmental hazard and a health risk.

    Maybe Remington had a lot of Tungsten pellets ready to be used as a lead substitute in hunting loads but is now thinking better of it due to potential environmental concerns. So instead of disposing of the Tungsten pellets, they had their marketing department come up with a solution.

  • Dom

    By the way, here is some data on #4 shot terminal ballistics:

    • Dom, thanks for the link.

  • I have updated the blog post with the price.

  • Given Dom’s ballistics link and extrapolating a bit, well…. these rounds may do something… maybe. Again, it’d be nice to see specific data. If I had access to ballistics gel and such range facilities, I’d be happy to test but alas I don’t.

    Nevertheless, birdshot remains on the low-end for self-defense rounds. It’s better than nothing, but I can’t see making it a first choice. It just doesn’t penetrate deep enough. Yeah maybe the guy might bleed to death, eventually… but you just don’t know the psyche of an attacker. Maybe merely showing them the gun will deter with no shots fired, maybe he’ll need a lot of lead in him before he goes down. You just don’t know. But it’s your life… gamble with it how you wish.

  • Check box of truth. Bird shot is for shooting birds, it simply does not penetrate enough to reliably stop people. They probably think a gimmick might make more than buckshot for $5 for a pack of 5.

  • They should rename it subdivision shot which is what it is probably designed for. Sub-divisions like mine are all over the place and they all have one thing in common; if you let lose with the big guns you risk killing the neighbor. My biggest fear isn’t that a I’ll get hit with a home invasion (I work at home and carry my piece on me at all times) but that the youngin’ across the way will get hit, pull out the AK I saw him buy at the local pawn shop and put 30 through my house.

    I like shotguns, and prefer slugs for self-defense. And I’m not sure why they need to market special self-defense birdshot when you can find #3 buck even for 20ga weirdos like me which I’m more confident won’t go astray, but I don’t see birdshot as so much lead confetti. I know a few guys who load up with “goose shot” when out in the woods for those two legged snakes and when I lived in Jersey and NYC plenty of bodies went to the morgue with a .22 in their dome. If there’s a market sell it, but why aren’t people just buying the cheaper birdshot? There is a bit of blarney here with the marketing, but birdshot is viable for home defense if the shot #2 or #4 is used at close range.

  • dan

    You all seem to be missing the obvious point here. When you are shooting inside your house, how far are you going to be shooting? 15-30′ I bet. Take your gun gun with the modified choke and shoot a load of tungston shot at a 2×8 plank and see what happens to it. I bet it has a big hole in it and lots of damage around the hole.

    Most people don’t have a para-military style shotgun in their house with an open choke. They have a hunting gun with a modified or full choke in it. That choke is going to have the pattern of the tungston shot narrowed down to a very small diameter at house fighting ranges. Tungston is hard than lead, and penetrates deeper than lead. I have no doubt that this a ammo shot out of a hunting shotgun will kill anyone that gets centered with the load.

  • Whatever

    One thing that would make a difference in how effective this would be is exactly what this shot is. If it’s pure Tungsten, then it would be denser than Lead so would probably penetrate farther than a similarly sized Lead pellet (Densities: Tungsten=19 g/cc, Lead=11 g/cc). If it’s a Tungsten alloy, it’s density might not be all that different from Lead, so there’d be little gain in depth of penetration.

  • Tanner

    if you were to shoot someone with either 00 buck or bird shot both will inflict pain and are both potentially lethal loads depending on the area that the person is shot

    since it is intended for home defense chances are that u will be close quarters and in your home when you use either one they might be thinking bird shot wont do as much damage to the inside of your home

  • bill davis

    Because I flew helicopters in the Army and my beady eyes look mean I was chosen to train swat type teams. I’m establishing my bona fides here and that is I don’t have any real life experience in this stuff buy hunt mostly with a bow (once again, no experiene with bird shot).

    We used semi-auto handguns and fully automatic submachine gund and ARs, in hostage and room clearing training. Training was one thing but I often thought a choked shotgun would be better even in hostage situations. Hold 2 inches off an ear vs. tyring to hit the guy in the side of the head of that is all the target you have. I guess either way adrenelin is the culprit that causes 100 rounds shot in a room shootout and no one hit. So, for what it is worth, this is just another tool to use if you would prefer it over the old slug or buck rounds.

    I do like a pump shotgun for home defense because of the cycling sound but there are no guarantees the sound is a deterent either as some of these guys are high or act “stupidly”.

  • Michael

    At very close range – say within seven yards or so, bird shot will create a devastating wound.

    Some of the logic (mentioned previously in this topic) with bird shot for self defense is that if you are shooting the assailant inside your house, the shot is less likely to cause damage to walls, etc.

    Another may be that 00′ buck and slugs will continue to travel through walls, furniture and family members, and right on through to the neighbors house as well.

    Having seen the after effects of a slug accidentally discharged into a wall, I can understand why tungsten bird shot might be the first choice for a home full of spouses, kids, pets, and in laws…. well maybe not in laws. lol

    Personally, I’m partial to low recoil 2 3/4 00′ buck. Its hard to argue with at any distance, and less likely to miss than slugs.

  • Peter

    Shot penetration photos:

    Box o’ Truth:

    Birdshot can be devastating, but remember that an intruder might not oblige you with a clean head-on chest shot. If you have to go through an arm you’ll want more penetration. And you can’t rely on pain — to reliably stop someone you need to penetrate deep enough to break the important bits.

  • Josh J

    this subject is rather funny any bullet can kill bb, pellet or rubber.
    that being said if I shoot I shoot to kill, maybe does not cut it.
    there is a good point to disable an intruder instead of kill as homeowners have been charged with ridiculous crimes for defending themselves.

  • david

    i personally think its a waste of money all they did was slap the words home defense on it so they could charge you more for it. 35$ a box is quite expensive when you could use any 3 inch or bigger shell with number 4 steel shot and get the same effect. really any high velocity duck or goose round with tungston is just as effective and you spend about ten dollars less

  • Gallagher

    Finn Agaard once wrote favorably of lead 6 shot in a 20 ga. youth model for home defense. I couldn’t agree more. Just remember, the minute you pull that trigger you are on your way to court. Bird shot out of a youth shotgun is going to look a lot better to the jury than a slug out of something that looks like an UZI. Sure, everybody’s got three cast iron balls when they are writing notes here, but … real life is usually a lot different. I wouldn’t buy this expensive junk because I’ve got lots of bird shot around. That price is just stupid money! My daughter’s Winchester Ranger Youth 120 will suit just fine for home defense. The bad guys not counting on gettting shot. Period. And that 20 ga. will cut him in half at 20 feet.

  • Dan Vaughn

    I bought the wife a Rem. youth express (20ga) years ago, first round was the bird shot. Them came the buckshot.
    The way the house was laid out, we did not want the buckshot going throug the walls into the kids bedrooms.

  • John B.

    I can only say that 00buck is what I have waiting on an intruder whether home invasion or burgler. I work and struggle to do all the things for my family. I have no sympathy for thugs.Yes 00buck. JB

  • Grey

    Small shot will have less tendency to overpenetrate walls, doors, and trolls. In addition, “winging” a troll may have several desired results:

    1.) A wounded troll may choose to flee the hostile environment.

    2.) A wounded troll that flees the scene may require medical attention/hospitalization. When the police arrive to question the troll and doctors treating him, it should be fairly easy for them to piece things together. How many trolls are showing up at hospitals with expensive, high-end tungsten shot rather than cheap lead…

    3.) A wounded troll may leave more DNA evidence at the scene to further investigation/prosecution.

    4.) A wounded troll may experience some loss of function or immediate and severe impairment of abilities, resulting in the troll being as easier target for follow-up shots.

    To be honest, #4 and #2 shot are nothing to sneeze when there are a couple hundred of them flying downrange. A couple of these followed by 1-2 slugs or buck, just in case things get real ugly, might not be bad.

  • Grey

    Oh, the other thing that I see is for close range, center of mass hits, you should see massive energy transfer, the results of which should be very, very unpleasant.

  • Grey- I think the biggest selling point is that a wounded troll means an assault charge rather than a murder charge in places where police may not respect the castle doctrine. When I lived in CT I loaded 3in turkey shot because it’s goes down easier amongst the more liberal leaning states to say I am a sportsman who used his sporting arm to defend himself than I was ready for that guy and meant to kill him.

    Here in SC I have a deep larder of slugs and buck. If I moved back to the North East I’d stock more politically correct loads.

  • Troy

    I saw a few years ago in Arizona or New Mexico there was a guy or guys shooting people with shotguns and birdshot.Some were 20 gauges some were 12 gauges.Like a weird evil experiment.He/they would pull up to a guy sitting on a bench or walking down the sidewalk and shot him in the belly.I think everyone lived but every one had a huge scar with smaller pellet scars around it and surgical incision scars.The main scar was as big as a saucer-no kidding.They showed 3-4 victims.They were in the hospital for days and weeks-lost intestines.As one victim said when he pulled his shirt up-Quote:He gut busted me.They all stopped and or curled up, begged for help then had hours of surgery.Thats in the belly.From a far lane of the road to a sidewalk bench is-Say 30 feet or so? I Imagine if in shot the chest they wouldnt lose only intestines but pieces of heart and lungs.Or if shot in the face they probably wouldnt have a face. I’ve taken beatings and been in bad accidents(broke bones).I know these guys werent pumped up on dope,just relaxing when they were shot but I DONT think I could do anything even IF I was enraged/drunk/or high with the wounds they showed on TV.Try to look it up on the web.They caught the guy/guys.I think they turned on each other IIRC.

  • Troy

    I just keyworded Serial Shooters. On they tell the story of what happened.I was wrong-they did kill six and wounded 17 people.Also it says they were using a .410. Yes a .410 shotgun.I know they also HAD 12 and 20 guages-guess they just liked the .410. I would definately think BB or #2 & #4 could and would do they trick in MY apartment out of a 12 or 20 gauge.Try to find pics of the victims .410 wounds-awful.I will test these self defense shells out.Please look up these Serial Shooters on -It enlightened me. My heart goes out to the innocent victims and their familes.The shooters need to be….well, I can’t say.It is a messed up world killing people with babies at home for “random recreational violence”.

  • Well, since I use a pistol loaded with Hornady Critical Defense HP’s for home defense, I’m not going to go drop money on this fancy and expensive bird shot from Remington.
    Also, I am very aware that I will be shooting in defense very close to my families bedrooms on the second floor; what am I defending if not my family? Which is why I intend to be shooting down the stairs, towards the 1st floor and that is the technique I practice (with snap caps, my wife doesnt like bullet holes in the carpet) to make sure that if I ever have to do that, I already have it planned out and isnt something I have to “think” about. I know it sounds odd running around your house with a firearm, but I practice shooting proficiency at the range. Back in the day when we used to practice shooting tactics we did so in a mock home, not a “bowling alley” firing range. We would practice in an arena that emulated where we expected to use the training.
    My point is this, no matter what you decide to use for home defense, do yourself, and you family, a favor and spend five minutes walking through a couple of scenarios on how you would actually do it. You’ll note areas that are choke points that will be easy to monitor and defend, areas, especially corners that will be dangerous for you to go around blind and any obstructions in your way. Also if you are barefoot you’ll note anything likely to stub your toe along the way.

    Practice makes perfect. I do it at least once a year, around Jan 1st, which is when I also remember to change the batteries in my smoke detectors.
    My 2 ¢’s

  • soldier medic

    Ok …………. I can’t believe that people have a hard time believing that bird shot will kill someone at close range. Let me humbly tell you the truth. …………….. It will literally tear a hole in a man’s chest. within 15 feet birdshot is devastating. its game over for the bad guy. lets just say that i know this for a fact. GAME FUCKING OVER> trust me.

  • charles222

    In one of Richard Marcinko’s books (where he had the ‘real’ people from his time in the SEALs write little autobiographies), his Vietnam-era pointman (James ‘Patches’ Watson) described the Ithaca 37 he carried….and one of the things he mentioned was a preference for No. 4 birdshot as opposed to OO buck, primarily because of the amount of bird pellets that were in shell-something like 27, IIRC. 27 of anything hitting you at close range is going to mess you up quite badly.

  • 27 pellets sounds more like #4 Buck than #4 Bird in 12ga or am I wrong. Should a 12ga #4 shell have over 100 pellets at least? Or am I pellet count retarded?

  • Wildcat43

    I just tested these out at the range and used a two inch thick, 8 pound high density foam, covered with vinyl upholstery and fastened to a quarter inch plywood backer as a target. From 25 feet away, the pattern disbursement was roughly 4 inches and each BB entered cleanly and completely blew out the back of the target. Massive damage.

    We shot the same target again using bird shot and even though the disbursement was greater, very few of the pellets actually penetrated the vinyl cover.

    Any doubts I had in regards to these shells being good for home defense have been put to rest.

  • 12gaugelarry

    Okay people, time to end the discussion about bird shot for self defense.
    Meth heads keep fighting until they LITERALLY drop dead! They are the closest thing to a zombie you will ever face. Takes 5 or 6 strong males to hold these hop heads down to cuff them-ask the cops. My mom works at a hospital. These guy will tear apart a hospital bed if they are hand cuffed to the rails. They have super human strength while under the influence. Our 5.56 rounds zip right through arab fighters high on amphetamines. They often need 3 shots before falling. They continue to fire back during this time. If you don’t agree with me read the reports from our soldiers about the 223 caliber. Lethality from bird shot or a 22LR means nothing if the bad guy kills you before he bleeds to death. To instantly stop the threat you have to sever spinal cords and break bones. If you can’t risk using buck shot thats one thing but to think bird shot with tungsten gets the job done is wrong. The police and military use OO buck shot. You NEVER hear of someone not having enough to get the job done with OO buck. End of story.

  • Robert

    Wikipedia says tungsten is way denser than lead; tungsten at 19.25 g/cm3 vs. lead at 11.34 g/cm3.
    For their size, tungsten pellets are 1.7 times heavier than a lead pellet (this is a tungsten alloy pellet). This should favor penetration since each pellet weighs more and has less cross-sectional area.
    Perhaps it will penetrate very well at close range and yet remain susceptible to being attenuated by multiple layers of structure.

  • Robert

    … This should favor penetration since each pellet weighs more / has less cross-sectional area than a lead pellet of equivalent weight.

    It sounds like Wildcat43 tested these pretty well. I can accept that the tungsten makes this a very different animal.

  • charles222

    Ahh, yep, just looked it up- #4 buck was what he used.

    But yeah, tungsten is exceptionally dense compared to lead-iirc it’s been used as the material for the penetrator rod in sabot rounds for tanks before.

  • seamus

    my personal solution is simple. i dont always have my stoeger p-350 loaded with 00 (actually i currently have it loaded with bird), but if i were to experience some form of siege by some unsavoury characters, i would be engaging them in a direction that would render the issue of overpenetration largely irrelevant. i dont care what happens to my wall (or even my unfortunately positioned grand piano for that matter) as long as my neighbors are safe, and my enemy dead.

  • Jesse

    This is the whole reason shotguns are the best home defense weapons. because the average home owner is protecting love ones lower penetration equals lesser chance of injuring or killing the ones your trying to protect in the first place!!! And I cant believe there is really any doubt that these shells wouldn’t disable an assailant. let me see anyone take a center mass hit by one of these in close quarters and shrug it off. Besides you’ve got at least 5 shots come on that makes for nothing but a stain on your floor !!

  • CaneFu

    I can’t believe people that live in urban neighborhoods load 12 gauge shotguns with 00 buckshot for home defense – that’s just insane. Sure it will kill an intruder…and your neighbor’s kids as well. You’ll also end up spending the rest of your life in prison for accidentally shooting innocent people.

    Your choice of weapons and ammo for HOME DEFENSE if living in the city shouldn’t be the same as your choice for WAR. There needs to be a balance with what will reliably stop an intruder and protect the innocents from friendly fire….otherwise why not just use a .50 caliber machine gun or bazooka if going purely for maximum killing power?!? You do not get the luxury of allowing for collateral damage like presidents do when bombing foreign countries – even putting just one pellet into your neighbor’s living room wall without actually hitting a person can get you serious prison time.

    Home defense is just as much about keeping yourself out of jail as it is defending your family against a home invader. If you go off to prison for the next 20-30 years for accidentally killing your neighbor with 00 buckshot, you have failed to defend your family even if you nailed the bad guy because your loved ones will lose their husband, father, provider, and home.

    As a retired police officer and current firearms instructor I have witnessed numerous crime scenes and done extensive ballistics testing with various firearms and ammunition. The RESULTS and FACTS are below, NOT conjecture:

    1) 00 buckshot will not only penetrate your home’s walls but your next TWO neighbor’s homes as well in the city.
    2) Most home defense shoots are between 2 and 10 feet and almost NEVER farther than 10 feet. People don’t live in castles and the average house makes for very close shooting.
    3) Firing a 12 gauge shotgun inside a house will likely cause permanent hearing loss for the shooter AND family members. Do you really want to deafen your wife and kids as well yourself?
    4) A 12 gauge shotgun is OVERKILL for home defense – that much power simply isn’t needed.
    5) Insanely aggressive drug addicts fall down like bowling pins when shot in the chest even with small calibers because they are in poor health and their racing heartbeats make them especially susceptible to hydrostatic shock.
    6) Bird-shot at close range from a .410 shotgun is devastating and has PLENTY of penetration to drop anything human and even most larger animals including deer. The advantage of bird-shot is that it will lose momentum after several yards so it doesn’t penetrate your neighbor’s house.
    7) People that accidentally shoot bullets or shotgun pellets into their neighbor’s house usually go to prison, even if they DON’T hit anyone. They also lose lifetime privileges of ever owning or using a firearm again.

    My personal choice for home defense, living in the city, is a .410 pump shotgun, 18″ barrel, with double pistol grips. It is lightweight, short, maneuverable, little recoil, points well, and while loud will not permanently deafen me or my family like a 12 gauge would if fired inside my house. I load it with ordinary #9 bird-shot and am confident it will stop an army of drug-crazed home invaders at close range without endangering my neighbors. Anyone that says you need more than this for home defense simply doesn’t know what they are talking about.

    – Cane
    30+ years law enforcement experience
    Firearms instructor, also responsible for police department ballistics testing
    Lifetime hunter
    Avid self defense enthusiast
    Gun collecting and shooting enthusiast

    • What’s a double pistol grip?

      • CaneFu

        A double pistol grip shotgun is a pistol grip on the forend or slide and also removing the butt-stock and replacing that with a pistol grip. Since my shotgun isn’t intended for long range outdoor shots but strictly up close and personal self defense inside the home at shots of 10 feet or less, there is absolutely no reason to have a full rifle configuration – mine is just a point quickly and shoot setup.

        The total length of my shotgun is only 28 inches, perfectly legal, but easily maneuvers through doorways and around corners. I can point with either the right or left hand leading and shoot with equal accuracy with each at such short distances. The recoil on the .410 is next to nothing so the pistol grips handle it just fine.

        I put together this double pistol configuration more than 25 years ago when you just couldn’t find such a thing in gun stores. I’m glad to see that pictures on the internet of such a setup are now quite common. Traditional full stock configurations on shotguns are fine for hunting and skeet shooting but are simply too long for indoor home defense situations. Like I said earlier, people don’t live in castles anymore and the average home requires a short and maneuverable weapon to be effective.

        Incidentally the ballistics of my .410 shotgun loaded with bird-shot are better than that of a .41 magnum handgun at close range – anyone that says that isn’t a man-stopper is terribly misinformed.

    • Oh, I call them foregrips. My misunderstanding. While I agree with the point that at close range bird shot can be deadly (Hemmingway took 7 1/2 with him on safari to finish off thin skinned game and as defense against Leopards etc) why not a 20 ga or a 16 which is enjoying new found popularity but is mostly available in birdshot?

      I’m also not sure 12 ga with birdhshot is really tat much more dangerous to neighbors than a .410 in terms of wild shooting – more payload but penetration through drywall aren’t so different are they? The oft sited Box of Truth claims they’ve fired 12 ga birdshot through drywall and it was stopped by the paper backing of the second sheet – meaning it wouldn’t have hit anyone in the next room.

      • CaneFu

        “why not a 20 gauge or a 16”

        Because the larger gauge simply isn’t necessary – dead is dead. The idea here is to have all the stopping power you need at close range while limiting over-penetration, noise, and recoil AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. I guarantee that one or two close-range hits from my .410 will stop anything human – remember it has ballistics better than a .41 magnum. I am very familiar with Box of Truth but I have done my own tests and penetration can vary with the type of sheet rock, velocity of shell load, etc. and there is no way to test your neighbors home construction in advance. Check out this video on YouTube…a blast like this from a 12 gauge loaded with bird-shot has a real chance of hitting your neighbors across the street:

        Remember, just one pellet hitting your neighbor’s child will likely result in prison time for you and/or an expensive lawsuit, no matter what the other circumstances were.

        My .410 is also not nearly as noisy as my 12 gauge and I enjoy listening to music and having conversations too much to spend the rest of my life in total deafness just because some moron decided to break into my house.

        Everyone is into overkill this days and I blame movies and TV for that – at the very least the movie hero has to blow body parts off of people to get the job done. Hollywood also shows the police patting the shooter on the back and congratulating him for killing the bad guy – but that isn’t reality. It is just as important to defend yourself from the legal system as it is the bad guy, MAYBE MORE SO. In fact, shoot your neighbors by accident and they will see YOU as the bad guy, not the burglar that broke into your house.

      • Tyrone Jones

        Question: ““why not a 20 gauge or a 16″

        CaneFu Sez: “Because the larger gauge simply isn’t necessary”

        Conclusion: CaneFu does not realize that a 20 or 16 gauge fires a smaller diameter load than a 12 gauge.

        CaneFu Sez: “You’ll also end up spending the rest of your life in prison for accidentally shooting innocent people.”

        Conclusion: False. If you are reasonably defending yourself (and not putting the barrel up against the wall of your neighbor) you will not be spending the rest of you life in prison. If anyone has concerns checking with a lawyer is a good part of home defense planning.

        CaneFu Sez: “30+ years law enforcement experience”

        Conclusion: I’m not sure what that means, but we know what it does not mean based on his comments, he is not a lawyer and most likely has never shot a gun before. If he was in law enforcement he was a file clerk somewhere.

    • Seamus

      This is very informative. I’ve heard so many negative things about the .410, this really puts it in a new light for me. So I take it you are in favor of the Judge and Governor for home defense?

      • CaneFu

        I haven’t done much research into the new Judge and Governor, all I really know is that they are short barrel revolvers that fire a .410 shotgun shell and that doesn’t interest me. While there is no recoil and tolerable noise with my Mossberg .410 pump with an 18″ barrel, a short barrel revolver firing the same shell will be deafening inside and probably have a lot of recoil to deal with also. Maybe for concealed carry away from the home it would be good but I have carried my S&W Model 65 loaded with .38 hollow-points for decades and I doubt I will change now.

        It is true that you will read many comments from the self-proclaimed “experts” posting online that believe only in using the biggest baddest weapon out there to for home defense but they put zero thought into the legal aftermath as soon as they pull the trigger on their bazooka. If you live alone out in the country somewhere with no neighbors for miles then you can use anything you want for home defense – setup a .50 caliber machine gun nest on your roof if you like. But for those of us in the city, even small caliber firearms are pushing the limits of safety for innocent neighbors.

        Imagine YOURSELF in this situation – one night a shotgun blast comes through the wall of your home and maims or even kills one of your children…your inconsiderate neighbor fired at a burglar with his 12 gauge shotgun and missed. Are you going to insist on pressing charges on the thoughtless bastard???

  • CaneFu

    Tyrone Jones:

    Your comments are typical of Internet trolls and you have no idea what you are talking about. I have owned and fired every size shotgun there is from the 10 gauge all the way down to the .410 bore. My recommendations are for those living in the city with close neighbors, a 12 gauge with 00 buckshot is insanity in a crowded urban environment.

    The fact is that is you accidentally shoot your neighbors you are criminally and civilly liable for it no matter how good your intentions were. If you don’t know that then you are terribly misinformed.

    • To be fair civil ad criminal liability laws are different state to state and there are plenty of instances of people shooting in self-defense in cities with 12ga and being fine and plenty of people killing someone accidentally with a .22. I get your point about overkill in an apartment (though not the anger – we’re all friends here) but blasting tungsten .410 rounds in a house is just as dangerous as a 00 buck in a similar situation.

      Hey look, I purchased a .327 (because I’m “eccentric”) but frankly I’m uncomfortable using full powered ammo in it in my sub-division so I stocked .32 mags and even some .32 long hollowpoints (damn neighbors have been feeding foxes – so now I have to carry my gun while gardening or sitting around the backyard in the evening) so I’m with you in theory. But this is a lot of vinegar in an issue that needs more honey if you know what I mean.

      That said – I do in fact love my .410 (survivor) but I also love my 20ga coach gun. I’d never use the coach as a go to for a bump in the night but I don’t begrudge any man or woman their choices. I would probably sue the hell out of someone who accidentally shot me though.

    • Seamus

      I wish I had the ballistic insight to determine for sure what the right answer here is. But you should know, CaneFu, I picked up a .410 and took the 00 buckshot out of my 12 gauge after reading what you posted.

  • JiminSavage

    Can anyone comment on the recoil of this load vs say low recoil 00 buck load? I have never fired it. Thanks.

  • Charles Martel

    Birdshot at short range is pretty devastating.

  • Tom Charters

    I cringe when I read about people buying expensive guns for home and concealed protection. If for some reason you have to shoot someone, no matter who is at fault, the police will take your gun and you will not get it back. My free advice is to buy inexpensive or used equipment in good shape cheaply. You do not want to give up your 2200.00 engraved weapon never to see it again. You can find quality home and self protection in the $200 range. Example CZ612.