Herter’s Select Defense Double Round Ball Shotgun Ammo
Russ Chastain 03.05.19
We all know that in order to be effective, a home defense round must have balls. Er, wait. My mistake. Turns out, we’re just taking a look at Herter’s Select Defense Double Round Ball 12 gauge shotgun shells, which contain not one but two lead sixty-five-caliber round balls inside.
Yeah, that’s right.
In the video below, Paul Harrell tests some of these impressive loads in typical PH fashion, first shooting at a paper silhouette target to compare buckshot to slugs at 25 and 50 yards, demonstrating that at longer range (for most home defense scenarios, 50 yards is huge) a slug gives you a much better chance of hitting your intended target than buckshot. But what about the double ball ammo?
At 50 yards, the DRB shells don’t group worth a hoot from his smoothbore shotgun, and they hit considerably lower than his point of aim, unlike the buckshot and slugs he fired.
At 25 yards — still pretty far for home defense — the group tightens up and all five hits are in center mass of the silhouette target. Each pair o’ balls tearing a single (though sometimes oblong) hole in the target. That would most definitely “leave a mark” on your foe, but why even fire two projectiles if they’re only going to punch one hole?
Paul then seemingly departs from the land of logic and tries a full-choked shotgun at 50 yards in an attempt to get the two balls to separate during flight. What the? Aren’t full chokes meant to keep shotgun projectiles closer together? The theory seems to be that the full choke would slightly delay the plastic shot cup at the gun’s muzzle, allowing the pairs of round balls to carry on without it and thus separate during flight. Yeah, no.
Next, a comparison of velocity. The Herter’s DRB ammo clocks an average of 912 fps, while a typical one-ounce rifles slug moves at 1487. That’s a huge difference, but both were about as effective at busting up concrete blocks.
Moving on to “the patented meat target,” we get some surprising results. The DRB ammo, although much slower than the slug, fully penetrated the entire setup, including the fleece blankets intended to catch the bullets. The slug, however, stops at the first blanket — after grenading the daylights out of the “simulated lung tissue.”
My takeaway? Herter’s Select Defense Double Round Ball 12 gauge is a gimmick, and not a really desirable home defense round, especially for those concerned about overpenetration. Nobody wants to shoot a bad guy and later find more casualties caused by projectile(s) in the next room — or next door.
Check out the video and let us know what you think.