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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    College Station, Texas, USA
    Posts
    54

    Default Birdshot effectiveness

    This was posted on another forum. Interesting first-hand experience.

    "... I was the unfortunate recipient of 49 pellets from a 12 gauge shotgun , high brass No. 6's at about 30 yards this fall in a hunting accident.

    "Here are my thoughts about so called birdshot. I was hit in the face, neck, arm and torso with about 1/3 or so in the face/neck area. I was wearing an L.L. Bean cordura jacket and some very light fleece underneath, shooting glasses or I might not be posting now as I was hit so hard on the glasses that they left me with black eyes,.

    "I was standing up behind some thick cane looking for the bunch of pheasants that I heard get up with my mouth open and looking up. The shot hit me like breaking glass and I ended up on my knees. I felt a hard slap to the face and was bleeding profusely as 4-5 pellets entered my nortrils and a few in the mouth. I first felt at the blood rushing from my face and then thought to unload my shotgun and call for help.

    "The truck wasn't far and we got back to it and I got some paper towells to stop the bleeding. Everything ended up O.K.

    "Driving to the hospital, I felt some numbness in my left arm/hand. I saw a wound in between my left thumb and forefinger and thought that was the cause.

    "When we got to the hospital and they took off my clothes I was surprised to find the majority of hits were to my left arm and torso, areas I had no idea were hit. The nerve problem came from an area in the middle of my forearm.

    "The point of this is that the pellets that hit me in the forehead, teeth and other bones caused an immediate reaction as it knocked me down. I didn't feel the meat hits, so to speak. Funny thing is, I never required any pain medication and never had any discomfort from those arm/torso shots or any others other than the nerve sensation which went away after a couple of weeks.

    "I guess the point of this post, other than to encourage all of you to wear shooting glasses ALL THE TIME when shooting, is to suggest that what we've heard all along about stopping power has much to do with shot placement, but it also reinforces the idea of using enough gun.

    "In the condition I found myself in I would have been fully capable of responding with return fire and who knows what else, had I the disposition. I was taken to a hospital for treatment, but released a day and a half later with minor wounds.

    "So, if you're thinking about a shotgun for self defense, unless you have real issues with wall penetration, etc., my advice is to get something heavier than 12 gauge high brass #6's. But if your range is 5-10 yards I'd hate to think of what that could do to you."


    Gene.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    5,407
    I had a friend/coworker take about a dozen birdshot pellets to the lower face and neck in a back yard one time. Lots of blood, but little physical damage. I don't recall if the shooter distance was ever determined.
    "Many men are able, most aren't willing"
    J.B. Books

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Chattanooga TN
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    3,514
    There are alot of stories of guys who were shot with birdshot and not "stopped".Now I'm certainly not saying I'd enjoy a helping of #6s in the throat at 5 paces, but for me and my house, We'll stick with buckshot for repelling borders!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Secret City
    Posts
    6,202
    Quote Originally Posted by marcclarke
    I don't know where this myth of birdshot not penetrating interior walls comes from. My firsthand experiments do not support it. Even at 21" birdshot of all sizes fired from my 18" barrel went right through both sides of the simulated indoor wall.
    21 FEET or 21 INCHES? At 21 feet (7yds) #6 and smaller birdshot won't reliably peneterate a rabbit or squirrel.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Beyond The Wall
    Posts
    47,743
    Buckshot rules!
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    NWFL
    Posts
    234
    Quote Originally Posted by grimel
    21 FEET or 21 INCHES? At 21 feet (7yds) #6 and smaller birdshot won't reliably peneterate a rabbit or squirrel.
    I do not know what rabbits or squirrel you hunt but #6 is the recommended shot size for such game where I live, and works quite well.

    I use a shotgun on the farm all the time and can tell you that a rabbit is DRT with #6 and most pellets pass through. Which makes cleaning easier. Range on the tree rats is generally much greater than 21 feet probably closer to 20 to 25 yards.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Socialist Canada
    Posts
    2,724
    Quote Originally Posted by marcclarke
    In my firsthand experiments, birdshot of all pellet sizes cruises through one layer of drywall, through the 4" airspace, and out through the far layer of drywall with little or no expansion of the pattern.

    I don't know where this myth of birdshot not penetrating interior walls comes from. My firsthand experiments do not support it. Even at 21" birdshot of all sizes fired from my 18" barrel went right through both sides of the simulated indoor wall.

    In fairness, I have not seen tests using calibrated ballistic gelatin postioned behind the wall and I did not perform such tests.

    Even when birdshot strikes in an unexpanded cluster, it only penetrates 4" to a maximum of 6", IIRC. This is not deep enough penetration to reliably stop an attacker. The IWBA's minimum penetration specification is 13", IIRC.
    The dry wall will deflect shot on an angle, not straight on. After building an addition this summer i took a couple sheets into the woods and set them up. I used 1/2 drywall and 20', firing as if in a hall and an intruder was standing next to the wall. Most skipped off and the rest imbedded themsleves in the sheet. That was with buck shot.
    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself.
    - John Stuart Mill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    2,217
    At seven yards or less, I think an ounce is an ounce whether it be birdshot, buckshot or slug. Aim at the target! Hit center of mass!
    Yea, though I walk through the valley, in the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for I graduated from Suarez International's Ultimate Combat Skills Course.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    444
    Quote Originally Posted by grimel
    21 FEET or 21 INCHES? At 21 feet (7yds) #6 and smaller birdshot won't reliably penetrate a rabbit or squirrel.
    Oh, my goodness, what a horrible typo. I meant 21 feet (we measured with a measuring tape). I have edited and corrected my original post. Thank you for catching this and bringing it to my attention! Much appreciated.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Secret City
    Posts
    6,202
    Quote Originally Posted by Jcord
    I do not know what rabbits or squirrel you hunt but #6 is the recommended shot size for such game where I live, and works quite well.

    I use a shotgun on the farm all the time and can tell you that a rabbit is DRT with #6 and most pellets pass through. Which makes cleaning easier. Range on the tree rats is generally much greater than 21 feet probably closer to 20 to 25 yards.
    They are DRT, but, it still leaves pellets inside. Most of the pellets are missing the rabbit/squirell. Next time you shoot one, count the holes and pellets. You might be suprized. That's why I went to #5. I'd use #4 for squirells if my shotgun patterned it worth a flip.

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