Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Defensive Shotgun Ammo

As I've said before, ammo selection is mostly the preference of the shooter. I know people who keep their home defense shotguns loaded with 000, 00, #1, #2, #4, #6 and #7.5 or some combination of those. These are all fine choices depending on your application, and I am not going to try and sway my readers into adopting my preference over your own. I just won't do that.

What I will do, however, is tell you about an alternative round that is almost perfectly suited to home defense.

Enter the Aguila Minishell.

Aguila loads these funny looking little 1 3/4" 12ga rounds with a variety of different shot choices ranging from slugs to bird shot. I like the buckshot loading (#1 and #4 shot together in the same shell) for home defense, but the slugs are awfully tempting.

I know, you're thinking "An inch and three quarter shell...for home defense? If I need it in the first place, I want a 1-shot stop, so I'll stick with full power loads."

Ok, maybe you aren't thinking that, but let me play the part of the salesman for a minute. Take the slugs - these loads launch a 3/4oz. piece of lead at 1250fps at the muzzle. Lets break that down. Aguila doesn't help by giving me metric units, but I can manage.
Muzzle Energy - E=MV2/450400
So basically, we plug in 1250fps for muzzle velocity, approx 330gr for bullet weight, and caluculate it out.
Meh. I hate math. I could just plug it in here, instead. Much easier. The point is, with these slugs we should be getting better that 1300ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle - plenty enough knockdown power, right?

The better news is that these loads really shine indoors. They are less likely to penetrate multiple walls and strike a bystander, and they have a lower likelihood of penetrating your assailant to destroy whatever lies just beyond.

But my favorite part - shell capacity.

My Benelli Nova Tactical model (18"bbl) will normally hold 4 rounds without a magazine extension. With one in the pipe, this gives me a total 5 rounds of 2.75" shotshells. With the little Minishells, I can stuff 7 of them in the mag and one in the pipe, nearly doubling my effective firepower.

I know, I know - most home invasions or defensive situations require less than 2 rounds total before they're over. So why really care about stuffing 14 shells into a 20" Mossberg or 13 into an 18.5" Remington?

I dunno. They're just cool.

The shell elevator on my Mossberg chokes occasionally - the shell is short enough that it will hang down through the skeletonized section of the elevator, preventing the breech from closing. I would definately test them before considering them for a tactical application.

And should I add that they can be fired from a 12ga flare gun? No, I better not tell you that. DO NOT ATTEMPT AT HOME!

If you decide you want to try some (Ammo Day, anyone?) I order mine from Cascade.