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“You Don’t Need To Aim A Shotgun” Says The Moron

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“You Don’t Need To Aim A Shotgun” Says The Moron

Otherwise sane and intelligent people repeat this comment without ever questioning it. They’re laughably, demonstrably wrong.

When the topic of using shotguns for home-defense roles around, I repeatedly hear the same comment from gun store commandos and Internet know-it-alls.

“You don’t need to aim a shotgun. You just point it towards the bad guy and pull the trigger.”

Otherwise sane and intelligent people repeat this comment without ever questioning it. They’re laughably, demonstrably wrong.

Through some weird a quirk of fate, esteemed gun writer Tamara Keel and I just happened to be disproving that falsehood several states away from one another yesterday at the same time while working on two very different projects.

First, from Tam:

So, I decided to pattern some buckshot from my gauge yesterday. Keep this test in mind the next time you hear someone rambling on about how you don’t have to aim a shotgun because it spreads shot all over the place.

All these targets were shot at 30 feet, about the longest distance you could expect in an indoor residential setting, using a Remington 870 with the factory 20″ cylinder-bore barrel.

Go read her article, and look, really look, at the pictures of the resulting patterns. The widest spread of any load she fired was just seven inches.

Hundreds of miles away in North Carolina, I was doing my first round of load testing for a series of articles I’m working on. Like Tam, I’m shooting 00 buckshot loads, but for very different reasons we’ll discuss later.

I’m using Winchester’s common 9-pellet 00 buckshot (XB1200) as my “control” round. It’s representative of generations of buckshot with a simple wadding and basic pellets made of relatively soft lead. It’s “old tech,” like Winchester Silvertips are in hollowpoint handgun rounds.

By the way, I’m using a Mossberg 590A1 with a factory 18.5″ barrel and cylinder-bore as my test platform.

Unless you live in a relatively large home, your hypothetical across-the-room shot from a barricaded position is going to probably be about 15 feet or less. Both of the loads I tested at this distance created a “pattern”—if you can call a ragged hole a pattern—barely larger than the bore of the shotgun itself.

Some of you have larger rooms or hallways, and might need to take a shot from a distance of roughly 7 yards/21 feet.

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