The power of the internet is terrific. I knew right away that I’d get several “Birdshot if for little birds” and “look at the Box of Truth” comments when I posted about shotguns.
Guys, a couple things. The Box of Truth is fun and interesting, the name itself implies fact. The real truth though, is that The Box of Truth is just a couple guys that have fun shooting stuff, seeing how much sheetrock or bottles of water it penetrates, that’s as “scientific” and “Truthful” as it gets. That X caliber fired out of Y weapon penetrated Z amount of objects when fired from B distance is as far as it gets regarding facts. Everything else is pure speculation by the authors.
Example, and this is straight out of the Box of truth:
“First, I shot it with my M-17 S&W, .22 LR HP. It penetrated 6 sheets and bounced off the seventh sheet. (FerFAL edit: True)
That would be the equivalent of 3 interior walls. (FerFAL edit :False)
And that's only a .22 pistol.”
Wrong. It only means that a specific gun firing a specific type of 22LR penetrated 6 sheets of sheetrock. That’s it. The equivalent of 3 interior walls is a grotesque simplification and it’s the readers fault if he assumes these are facts. In my case “interior walls” are made of ceramic brick and mortar. 22LR will barely scratch it. 38 Special 158 gr Winchester whitebox soft points out of a 3” barrel revolver will penetrate one side but stay inside the hollow ceramic brick, not exiting through the other side. Yes, I know that for a fact in my particular interior walls. “That’s not true! The BOT says it will go through at least 3 walls and…” The guys from the Box of Truth shoot stuff and that’s it. I don’t like when they make generalizations such as the one mentioned above because they give people the wrong idea. It would be more serious in my opinion if they stuck to the facts alone and leave the assumptions of how much real walls it would penetrate or how it would do against people to people that do such research.
It gets even worse when they start speculating about how calibers will perform against humans. Birdshot is for little birds? Right. And 375H&H is for Elephants yet it will kill a human just as well. Wait, don’t even say it. Before you write a reply I have another little fact for you: 223 is a VARMINT caliber, for ground squirrels, gophers and crows (isn’t that a “little bird?”) yet 223 (5,56mm) is used all over the world as an standard infantry caliber. It not even legal for big game hunting in many parts of the world. Think about it. Its not considered legal for hunting unarmed 100 pound mammals in my country, yet it is used by the military world wide.
When it comes to “birdshot”, the truth is that a 12ga shotshell packs a LOT of energy. Even an ordinary 2 ¾” 12ga packs around 3200 J. of muzzle Energy . No idea what that means right, you BOT lovers? :-) So as to begin to grasp the notion of how much that is, a 45 ACP Hardball that made the 1911 famous as a good stopper has 470 J and that’s enough to create hydrostatic shock. (in case you’re stuck in the 60’s and think Hydrostatic shock is a “myth”, read up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock)
So give of take the silly “birdshot” packs at least 6 times as much power as 45 ACP.
Now, its is true that this holds true at very close range. Given that the average range of engagement is 6-7 yards, it is VERY safe to say that at indoor ranges as long as you do your part (hit where it matters) that “birdshot” will to its part.
I remember a friend of mine from school. She was about 10 years old, petite little thing, and during a camping/hunting trip with her dad, her dad shot her with his birdshot thinking she was an intruder. The range must have been considerable because the pellets spread along half her leg and this was a hunting shotgun. The scar left was gruesome but she did survive. Birdshot will not penetrate enough for defensive purposes after 15-20 meters (depends on shotgun, load and choke). At 6 yards? This girl would have lost her leg, ripped off her body.
Don’t take everything you see on the net as absolute truth written in stone, even if its called “The Box of Truth”. I’ve read that website for years and greatly enjoy it and I’ll keep reading it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a couple retired guys shooting stuff and having fun. They do sometimes makes inaccurate generalizations but that’s the readers fault, its up to you do read, research and come to your own conclusions.
Myself, I’ll take the word of the guy that shot a significant number of bad guys with that round and saw the outcomes of countless gunfights over the assumptions of people just shooting sheetrock.
I take what I already know about the round, do a bit of research and then make my own conclusions.
My conclusion is that at 6 yards or less, that “birdshot” will put the bad guy down if you hit him in the torso/head, but as always, I also expect to need a quick follow up shot. At two or three yards, there will be little difference between birdshot, buckshot, and slug. Why even consider birdshot? Because at very close range it will still work just as well, but it has two advantages: 1) Less penetration in indoor sheetrock walls 2) Less chances of serious ricochet wounds. If you have sheetrock walls, buckshot will go through and is more likely to seriously injure people on the other side. If you have solid walls it may change trajectory back towards you or towards innocent people. That’s why in training you use birdshot. These aren’t a concern for you? Go straight for buckshot. I’m simply explaining why some people have a shell of birdshot as their first load, based on their circumstances and locations. But please, don’t repeat inaccurate statements such as birdshot is just for little birds. Its as inaccurate as saying that 223 is just for ground squirrels.
Edited to add: I found this, also in the Box of Truth. This is downright negligent:
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3_2.htm"In fact, tests have shown that even #4 Buckshot lacks the necessary penetration to reach the vital organs. Only 0 Buck, 00 Buck, and 000 Buck penetrate enough to reach the vital organs."
Unless you plan to shoot some morbidly fat circus freak, #4 buckshot will reach vital organs and will most likely kill you. In fact, this is the load of choice the instructor I mentioned earlier keeps ready for home defense.