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Did I get the right ammo for my 870

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Old 01-12-2013, 08:42 PM   #1
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Did I get the right ammo for my 870

Geeze, I'm such a newbie that it's getting to be embarrassing. I apologize for all the questions but I don't have anyone near me to ask. Anyway I decided to purchase some ammo for my soon to come home Remington 870 Express Synthetic. I went back to the store where I purchased the 870 but unfortunately didn't run into the same sales person. I told the sales guy behind the counter that I wanted to purchase ammo for use at the range as well as home protection. For the range he suggested 2 3/4" Federal Target Load 12 Gauge. The specs are : 12 Gauge, 3DRAM EQ. 1 1/18 OZ. Shot 8 Shot

For the home protection he recommended Remington Express Buckshot
12 Gauge, 2 3/4", DRAM EQ 3 3/4, 00BK 9 Pellets.

Are both of these types of 12 Gauge ammo correct for the 870 Express? I'm still trying to figure out what ammo should and should not be used in my 870.

I purchased both as I want to get a feel for the different types of 12 Gauge ammo.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:02 AM   #2
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OO buck will go threw house drywalls where #8's won't . Personal I like #6 for the house and if it go threw a dry walls it won't have much poop on coming out the other side . Now if lived in apartment or I have love ones in next room #8 is my choice .

Last edited by tx gun runner; 01-13-2013 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:27 AM   #3
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In my opinion, birdshot makes a lot of sense for home defense.

I keep my home-defense 12 gauge loaded with two #4 birdshot rounds followed by 00 buck. Birdshot is much less likely to penetrate thin interior walls and kill innocent people on the other side, and has lower recoil than buckshot for faster follow-up shots.

If you lived in a solid house with a lot of land around, I would definitely choose buckshot instead).

The stopping power of birdshot should not be under-estimated: at ranges out to thirty feet or so, birdshot is virtually a solid column of lead. Choose any #4 or BB high brass lead hunting load. A friend recommened the Federal "Classic Lead Hi-Brass" #4 birdshot (HI26-4) and Winchester "Super-X" #4 high brass birdshot (X12-4), but there is little difference between the various choices.

Buy whichever you please. If you're a bird hunter, use your favorite hunting shells as long as they are #6 or larger

Last edited by Bustah_c; 01-13-2013 at 07:28 AM. Reason: edited for spelling birdshot wrong, sheesh !
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:54 AM   #4
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You can use ANY 2 3/4" or 3" 12 gauge shell in your Express, but you cannot use 3 1/2" 12 gauge shells.

As for the best ammo choice for home defense, that is a matter of opinion. I'm with the others in being wary of buckshot in a house or, especially, an apartment. Buckshot can fly through plaster walls and still be lethal coming out the other side. You need to carefully assess your situation before using buckshot. Bird shot, though, in the confines of a house or apartment can be every bit as lethal, but be less likely to kill someone on the other side of the wall.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:59 AM   #5
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Yep, buckshot is VERY dangerous for use in residential settings. I recall a shoot-out between the police and a bad guy several years ago. One police officer was killed by "friendly fire". He took a head shot with just ONE "00" buckshot projectile....80 yards away from the officer who fired it! That was 80 YARDS....and it still had enough kinetic energy to inflict a mortal wound!

Most exterior AND interior walls of residences are relatively thin, and so are hollow-core doors. Solid doors would slow down the projectiles of "00" buck, but they would still push through them.

#6, #7 1/2 and #8 birdshot will do just fine in 99.5% of all residences.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Desert Dawg View Post
Yep, buckshot is VERY dangerous for use in residential settings. I recall a shoot-out between the police and a bad guy several years ago. One police officer was killed by "friendly fire". He took a head shot with just ONE "00" buckshot projectile....80 yards away from the officer who fired it! That was 80 YARDS....and it still had enough kinetic energy to inflict a mortal wound!

Most exterior AND interior walls of residences are relatively thin, and so are hollow-core doors. Solid doors would slow down the projectiles of "00" buck, but they would still push through them.

#6, #7 1/2 and #8 birdshot will do just fine in 99.5% of all residences.
I agree that birdshot would be best inside a residence. Back in the 70's I hunted coyotes with 00 Buck and it is deadly.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:22 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the info. I'm glad you guys told me that 00 buck can be leathel in a house or apartment. The last thing I need to to use 00 buck and have it go through my wall and hit my family or neighbor.

I'll see if I can get some bird shot. If not will the target shot do?
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rojasj View Post
Thanks for all the info. I'm glad you guys told me that 00 buck can be leathel in a house or apartment. The last thing I need to to use 00 buck and have it go through my wall and hit my family or neighbor.

I'll see if I can get some bird shot. If not will the target shot do?
Yes, target shot is bird shot. Trap loads are # 7 1/2 or 8 bird shot and that will do for close in work. Myself, I'd probably opt for something a touch larger, though, say #6, #5 or even #4s. Those are commonly called pheasant loads. Skeet loads are usually #9 bird shot, but that's getting mighty small for self-defense work.

Last edited by north country gal; 01-17-2013 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:43 PM   #9
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If you are interested here is a link to Gunblast you tube channel's review of home defense shotgun ammunition. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gq3RVvL9ZjU
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:56 PM   #10
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I've heard of people loading three 00 Buck then two birdshot. That way your first two rounds are birdshot.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:38 PM   #11
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I've heard about that as well. I wonder if anyone around here has birdshot left. Do I simply ask for "12 gauge birdshot"?
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:52 PM   #12
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I've heard about that as well. I wonder if anyone around here has birdshot left. Do I simply ask for "12 gauge birdshot"?
Yes but make sure its 3" or shorter. You will need to decide on shot size. I would recommend size 6 or larger which means a smaller number.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:37 AM   #13
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Check this out:

http://www.dto.com/hunting/article/542

Typically shotgun ammo is called shells or shotshells.

You will also find that we don't always agree so never one to be afraid to go against the current I think the clerks selection of self defense shells to use is fine. With 9 pellets to a shell it is 00 buck and will do the job. To me the first duty of defense ammo is to stop the threat and the over penetration issue is secondary. If you make the over penetration primary then you put yourself and hence your whole family at risk. If you go down are they armed and ready to pick up the fight. I doubt it and you have ticked off perps. Birdshot will work at close range but will it penetrate to a vital? The FBI says no:

http://www.ar15.com/content/page.html?id=176

Will #8's discourage a perp if he gets a face full, probably but if I am in a SD situation I don't want discouraged I want down and out of the fight.

My wife is the only other person in my home and she has standing instructions to hit the floor during a home invasion. She is not a gun person but has no problem with me owning, carrying, and defending. I use a handgun with heavy bullets. Will they overpenetrate, absolutely but then again maybe my only shot at the perp shooting at me will be thru the sheetrock walls. I'll take that shot.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:17 AM   #14
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Good information Terry. Another thing to concider is where you live. I might change my load for the circumstances. If I lived in an apartment I might want birdshot but living in a house with only two people I might choose buck.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:30 AM   #15
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I've heard of people loading three 00 Buck then two birdshot. That way your first two rounds are birdshot.

Exactly what I do.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:31 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by rojasj View Post
Geeze, I'm such a newbie that it's getting to be embarrassing. I apologize for all the questions but I don't have anyone near me to ask. Anyway I decided to purchase some ammo for my soon to come home Remington 870 Express Synthetic. I went back to the store where I purchased the 870 but unfortunately didn't run into the same sales person. I told the sales guy behind the counter that I wanted to purchase ammo for use at the range as well as home protection. For the range he suggested 2 3/4" Federal Target Load 12 Gauge. The specs are : 12 Gauge, 3DRAM EQ. 1 1/18 OZ. Shot 8 Shot

For the home protection he recommended Remington Express Buckshot
12 Gauge, 2 3/4", DRAM EQ 3 3/4, 00BK 9 Pellets.

Are both of these types of 12 Gauge ammo correct for the 870 Express? I'm still trying to figure out what ammo should and should not be used in my 870.

I purchased both as I want to get a feel for the different types of 12 Gauge ammo.

Great gun. Did you get the Magnum? Mine will only shoot up to a 3'.
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:04 PM   #17
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Great gun. Did you get the Magnum? Mine will only shoot up to a 3'.
Mine will only shoot 3" shells as well, but that's enough kick for me.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:45 PM   #18
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Hi good folks,

After re-reading this thread I should have mentioned my living conditions first.

I live in a suburban neighborhood that is rather dense since we are 15 minutes west of Manhattan. All the property lots here are 50 x 100 and the livable space of my house is 1200 square feet (we haven't finished the basement and attic yet). I measured the rooms in my house and the largest is the living room which is 20 x 12 feet. All the other rooms are about 10 x 12 or 10 x 11 feet. The way my house is designed we don't have a long hall way to shoot down, so any self defense situation with the shotgun would be at a distance of 20 feet or less (thirty feet if it occurs in the basement or the attic).

Based on the above info would my 7 1/2 or 8 2 3/4 inch target load send any intruder to meet his maker on the first shot? From what I have read in NJ you are better off killing an intruder with one shot than taking a chance on letting him live and testifying against you. So will my target load vaporize his time on earth at these distances?
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:13 AM   #19
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Vaporize as in Mr. Spock vaporizing a Klingon with a phaser? Well, no.

Stopping an attacker? I'd say, yes. At that distance, shot size is probably irrelevant, UNLESS there were obstructions between you and the attacker, as in heavy furniture, a bed, an interior door and so on. That's where I would much prefer to have buckshot, but that's easy for me to say because I don't have to worry about sending a load of buckshot though a window and dousing my neighbors. In your situation, I'd personally opt for something bait larger than 7 1/2, though, just in case. Doesn't have to be 00 buck, but, say #4 buck or even a good goose load of steel BBs, or 2s.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:11 PM   #20
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Hi north country gal,

Yup your right, 00 would go right through a window and into my neighbors house. I'm buying the 7 /1/2 and 8 loads because around here I can't get my hands on #4. Can steel BB's be shot through my 870 express without damaging the barrel or any other part of the shotgun?

I was about to hit the submit button on a online order of #4 but when I read the shipping disclaimer I decided not to go through with the order. The disclaimer stated that once the order is released to thr shipper it becomes my responsibility. Which means if the Fedex / UPS person decides to drop the shells and they do fire in his face it's my responsibility. That killed the order for me.
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