OK I’m at critical mass on this nonsense. First let’s show some exhibits, those who are sensitive to ballistics may want to look away…and hell I’ll put up the page break for the sqeemish:
(Jeff does a great job, and is a super nice guy, but that “Birdshot will Rathole them!” line got me shrieking.
And of course there are the anti-gunners who are currently pitching shotguns as a means to attempt to leaver away our handguns and rifles.
First I am but a midget standing atop the shoulders of giants. Box O Truth did good work with this before. Also for those who are curious what “Gauge” actually means, the wikipedia article is a good one.
Now let’s talk projectiles, I found this awesome chart for shot sizes.
Here’s the bottom line, shotgun ballistics SUCK, and the only reason why shotguns are as awesome and effective as they are is because they make up for suck with VOLUME of fire. I’ve often compared shotguns to Sub-Machineguns in NFA debates, and I stand by that. Each shotgun pellet acts individually against your target, and the only cumulative effect comes from sustaining multiple wounds.
Let’s look at my social shotgun loads. I use plain-Jayne Remington #00 12 gauge 2.75″ loads. With shotgun shells I really don’t see the point going high-dollar. Just get a well-made shell with the appropriate shot, and you’ll be doing as well as anything else. The #1 reason why I use this stuff is I had like 4 boxes get SOAKED in my flood. I simply set the wet boxes on a shelf and let them dry, and a few months later I shot them. They all shot perfectly.
But let’s look at the ballistics of my #00 load each round is between what we’d call .32 caliber, and 9mm pistol bullets, but given that the shot pellets are spherical and not bullet shape they’re VERY light, my math says about 55 grains. According to the box they’re traveling around 1300 FPS. When talking about individual projectiles its hard to find a gun that shoots something close to that, most pistol bullets weigh more and are traveling MUCH slower, and rifle rounds are totally above this in power level. Closest I can find is Corbon PowR-Ball .32 load., a little slower, but about the same, but that’s also an expanding cartridge.
Frankly I don’t like those PowR-Ball loads just because the bullets are SO light, I worry about bullets being deflected or behaving erratically in terminals ballistics.
My concerns are the EXACT same for the #00 load….but when one of those pellets goes flying, he’s going with 8 of his friends.
The chances of a single 55 grain “bullet” doing enough damage to stop an attacker is pretty minor. Multiply that by 9, and we’re starting to look at some good odds.
But this swings both ways. How about your “rathole” load? The probability of a single pellet of birdshot doing a stopping shot is VERY small. Multiply that by the huge numbers of pellets and you’re almost multiplying by zero. The super small pellets simply can’t penetrate your target deep enough to get to vital organs, and if one happens to get there it isn’t large enough to poke a worrisome hole in it.
Yeah birdshot won’t penetrate walls or doors, but if it can’t punch thought that stuff, its not going to hurt your attacker.
Bottom line ALL defensive loads worth their salt WILL over-penetrate internal walls, so always be sure of your target and what lies beyond it!