Birdshot for Home Defense?


Birdshot for Home Defense?

In this video, gun guru Paul Harrell takes a look at the use of birdshot in shotguns for home defense. Having already determined that scatterguns don’t suck for home defense, he concentrates this time on the use of small pellets for defending your home against enemies.

We’ve all heard the claims that bird shot is the best thing ever for home defense, because it will hit bad guys hard and probably won’t penetrate interior walls if you miss your target. But are those claims accurate? After all, most of the people making those claims are simply repeating something they’ve heard or read, and they really have no clue. Paul does some shooting to explore those claims.

Is birdshot a viable option with which to load your home-defense shotgun?

Penetration tests show that light loads of small shot penetrate considerably less than hotter loads containing larger pellets (naturally), while buckshot penetrates much more than either. This could be called a foregone conclusion, but it can be helpful to see it demonstrated.

So birdshot definitely penetrates less than buckshot or centerfire rifle/handgun ammo. But how effective is it in actually stopping a threat?

So what is a good way to test whether or not, at close-range, birdshot can give you the desired effect on the intended target?

Probably the only real definitive test would be if you got a large animal, like a deer, and then somehow got it to smoke meth, and then took it out and shot it with a shotgun.


Instead, he builds test targets using pork, pork ribs, and beef hearts, and shoots them with both a 28-gauge and a 12-gauge from 5 yards.

The results may surprise you.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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