20 gauge: is this good for personal defense?

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Re: 20 gauge: is this good for personal defense?

Post by 111t » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:30 am

My wife inherited her moms 20 gauge bolt gun... It's really not ideal as a defensive weapon around the house. She likes target shooting with it. It would be a good turkey gun. I keep a few of the 3" federal #2 buckshot rounds on hand mostly in case of hostile coyote encounters out at the property. I'm sure that round would work just fine as a defensive round. The main thing I don't like about it is that it is expensive. The mossberg has rifle sights so that's a plus, the long barrel is a minus for maneuverability, but a plus for velocity if you're, say sitting still on the bed pointing the gun at the closed bedroom door. The fixed full choke is also a minus at hd range... But that's what the rifle sights are for.

Even a 20 gauge has plenty of power for defense. A shotgun is designed to shoot shot, birdshot specifically, with enough power to kill a bird down range. The total power of the shell is divided among the projectiles. With many tiny pellets each pellet must have enough power to be effective on a bird. That is the design philosophy behind a modern shotgun. Replace the many tiny pellets with a few big ones, and you divide similar power fewer ways. You get more power per pellet. Obviously a slug is the ultimate expression of this idea. In a defensive situation slugs are problematic in general because they over penetrate. Also, you trade the small 'fudge factor' you get with the pattern spread of the shot. Buckshot is the solution to both of these issues.

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Last edited by 111t on Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 20 gauge: is this good for personal defense?

Post by Browning 35 » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:56 am

For side saddles won't those Esstac shotgun cards work with a 20 Ga.?

Butt cuffs exist for 20 Ga. though, so at least there's some spare ammo on the gun.

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Re: 20 gauge: is this good for personal defense?

Post by Dirty Bob » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:51 am

You may want to consider 2-3/4" instead of 3" shells for home defense. The recoil difference is significant in many guns. The diameter of the 20 ga. round makes large pellets difficult to "stack" in the shell, making 00 and other large pellets impractical. If you want big pellets, the buckshot shells for .410 bore use 000 buckshot. There's a stack of them in the shell, but they flatten out when the gun is fired, arriving at the target looking like thick disks.

I'm very happy with #3 buckshot in 20 ga. The pellets are big enough to penetrate at home defense distances. If I had to shoot longer distances outdoors, I'd go with slugs.

BTW: if you think 20 ga. is expensive, take a look at .410 bore! At least you can sometimes find bulk packs of 12ga. or 20ga. buckshot now and then. To be able to afford shooting the .410, I was forced to learn to reload the cartridge.

If recoil is a problem, you could go with a double 20ga. with Short Lane inserts in the chambers. They're inexpensive, made of steel, and work well. I was surprised that the ballistics of the .410 shells is unaffected by going down a 20ga. barrel. A pair of 3-inch .410 buckshot would give you 5 pellets/shell with very little recoil. I shot a 10-yard .410 pattern the other day in which all 5 pellets were in a tight little group. YMMV. Every shotgun barrel is a law unto itself.

The inserts will eject when the gun's opened, so you'd want to have 20ga. shells for your reloads if more shots are needed.

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Re: 20 gauge: is this good for personal defense?

Post by I_Hate_George_Lucas » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:13 am

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Yup! So does 20ga work on killing bad fuckers. Slug or #4 Buck will put a damper on some asshat fuckwad deciding to pay a house visit in which he wasn't invited to.
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Re: 20 gauge: is this good for personal defense?

Post by Dooms » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:51 am

Just picked up a Remington 20ga youth gun not that long ago. I could see it being a great home defense gun. It's lighter and more compact than the 12ga guns, thanks to the smaller frame and shorter length of pull. For the same reason, it's easily handled by shorter stature people. Its got screw in chokes, so you can adjust the pattern if need be. The furniture is a laminate and the metal is coated with some kind of parkerizing, so I'm thinking it should stand up pretty well to weather and general abuse. It's also got a nice recoil pad. Brand new it was right around $300.

On the downside, it only holds 4+1 of 2 3/4" buck. A +1 or +2 extension would definitely be worth considering. Barrel is also a little long at 21", but it's manageable.

Recoil with 2 3/4" #3 buck is a little lighter than my 18" 12ga with 00 buck, but it's still stout.

All in all, I could see it being a great home defense gun. I saw that they make a 18.5" rifled slug barrel for it too, which I'd like to pick up. It would be interesting to see how it does with sabot slugs and a nice low power scope or red dot.

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