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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to shotgunning. I've plenty of experience with pistols and rifles. With cartridges, all one needs to consider is bullet weight, material composition, encasement or lack there of (FMJ, JHP, RNL, etc.) and +P+, but other than that it is pretty straight forward. I love the seemingly limitless capabilities of a 12ga, but my head is now spinning with information overload from all the watching, reading, and research I've been doing while I wait to get my KSG out of CA jail (10 day waiting period).
The primary use for this shotgun will be HD and have been buying a lot of different shell lengths, pellet sizes (including slugs), pellet composition, brands, etc. to test at the range when I have my new baby in hand, but I would love to hear the collective wisdom of this community on what you consider the best loads for HD with a KSG.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I forgot to mention that 10 yards would be the maximum range of engagement and I'm in an apartment, so I'm mostly concerned with a balance between lethal effectiveness (stop the threat) and over-penetration (thin apartment walls).
 

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The question not only covers the KSG but pretty much all 12ga shotguns. At distances up to 10 yards I think #4 buckshot is the way to go. It has enough penetration but not too much. Larger buckshot and slugs can over penetrate and maybe go through walls.

Spend some time on youtube looking at videos of penetration tests. Just bear in mind that 16" of penetration in test gel doesn't mean 16" of penetration in flesh. What I mean is that it's not a 1:1 ratio.

I don't have a KSG, but as I wrote the question isn't shotgun model specific. I have a choke adapter for my KS7 that I have yet to test. It might tighten up the approx' 6" pattern I get with #4 buckshot and if so, that's a good thing. You don't want spread that travels to parts unknown. You want a tight pattern that stays where it should be... in the perp.

Reduced recoil loads are a good thing, as are short shells so that more can be put in the magazine. But whatever you use they must be 100% reliable. There's no such thing as a do over in HD and there can be multiple perps.
 

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I'll second BJK here: #4 buckshot is generally considered the "safe maximum" for apartment type living from the over-penetration standpoint. #1 and #00 both eat walls and other barriers for breakfast and ask for seconds or even thirds before stopping.

It's also the minimum for a lot of folks, because anything past that into the birdshot category you start to run into Cheney territory where a late 70's person taking some birdshot to the face essentially had 'minor injuries' overall. Birdshot can screw you up, but a lot of it can be years later which doesn't help for HD without multiple followup shots.
 

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The "Big Three" in buckshot is #4, #1, and 00.

Ballistically the "best" is #1 because it gives better penetration then #4, but has more shot for wider damage then 00.
Inside 10 yards #4 buck has a lot to offer, but keep in mind that ANY projectile that is an effective defense round almost always will go through a typical interior wall.

The famed "Box O' Truth" has some test results of shotgun ammo on walls.........

- What you always wanted to know... But were unable to test yourself! The Box O' Truth

Some people also question that #4 buck won't penetrate as deeply as needed, especially if the recipient is wearing a thick leather jacket.
Founding member of the Navy SEAL's, Chief James "Patches" Watson described how he used the then Navy standard #4 buckshot in his multiple tours in Vietnam.
When asked if he didn't think the #4 was heavy enough, Watson explained "No one I shot ever complained".
And he shot a LOT of people.

With that said, I just don't trust the mini-shells but can't find any of the Remington Personal Protection Reduced Recoil #4 buckshot loads I'm going to buy as soon as I can find them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Awesome info. I had acquired a few boxes of BB, #1Buckshot, 0B and "Defensive" Slugs. I got a variety of some Birdshot loads too, as small as 7 1/2, but mostly for the range practice. Basically what they had except the very small birdshot. I'll keep an eye out for the #2, #3, & #4 Buckshot and 00B while I'm at it and test some spread patterning for my distance when I finally pick the KSG up (the waiting is the hardest part).
I was wondering if F and FF would have been an option since the .22 & .23 diameter seemed sufficient in high quantities, but this helps to narrow my focus.
I had thought of mini shells helping to maximize round capacity, but won't hold my breath (I haven't been able to find any on the shelves in my stores). I'll still look for them, but I think 2 1/2 and 2/34 will be my priority.
Do you think that "Reduced Recoil" or "Low Recoil" rounds would help mitigate wall penetration but still be as effective? I hear that and think low/reduced effectiveness.
I'll have to look for close range impact on drywall on YouTube, or perhaps Rumble, Full30, or Odysee if they have it.
 

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Be aware that some Kel-Tec shotguns don't work reliably with the mini shells.
Many do, some just aren't to be trusted.
The only way to find out about your gun is to shoot enough shells that you trust it to always function.

Low Recoil or Reduced recoil shells work by reducing the number of pellets, reducing the powder charge, or both.
Most of them work around 1200 feet per second with 8 pellets of 00 and it's effective enough many police departments use low recoil because of smaller cops, both male and female.
Standard buckshot loads have punishing recoil and some cops are reluctant to use it when they should.
They figure that even Reduced Recoil shotgun ammo is still a hell of a lot more powerful and effective than any police pistol.

At typical home defense ranges the Reduced Recoil loads are still plenty effective.
Since the shot is the same size and isn't moving all that much slower, it still sails through interior walls.

Again, any defense ammunition for rifle, pistol, or shotgun is GOING to go through almost any interior wall.

The "Box 0' Truth" has some interior wall tests.

- What you always wanted to know... But were unable to test yourself! The Box O' Truth

As for info on home defense shotguns, take a read of an article I wrote.
This may help decide exactly what options you really need, and what may belong on a range toy.
You have to decide what you really want out of the gun....Real World home defense or a fun gun.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
The Box O' Truth article is helpful, but too limited in its data for my tastes. I am looking to narrow that gap in data between #8 birdshot and 00B. #4B looks more and more like the goldilocks load, but I want more info. I'm going to do my own tests and "try" to record and share data here when I do.

As for info on home defense shotguns, take a read of an article I wrote.
DUUUUUDE! That is such a deep dive. Awesome! Thank you for writing it and directing me there. That answers so many questions; and raises others too, but that's not the point.
Very helpful.
I got the KSG for the right reasons.
  • Compact maneuverability
  • Versatility
  • Ability to quickly change loads (dual tubes)
I'm curious if any 2 1/2 or 2 3/4 shells have mixed loads like the mini shells; and if so, are they practical?
 

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The only mixed standard length loads I know of are the birdshot or turkey Duplex loads.
These are a mix of finer and heavier birdshot.
Other then the mini shells I don't know of a factory duplex of buckshot.

Years ago I had a book on defense shotguns where the author shot buckshot into various interior and exterior walls.
In some cases he cut wall sections out of houses and apartments that were being demolished.
These ranged from modern "paper walls" as in apartments to the old solid plaster and lathe walls in old homes.
His results were that any buckshot load will penetrate any interior wall, and will only be stopped by an exterior wall, and not all of them.
He findings were that to stop a load of buckshot you need a brick or block exterior type wall.

So, if you plan on firing a load of buckshot or heavier birdshot inside an apartment or typical house, you better understand that it's GOING to go through at least one wall and possibly more.
Again, ANY defense round, whether shotgun, rifle, or pistol that will stop a human WILL go through almost any interior wall.

Let us know what your results are.
 

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I'm new to shotgunning. I've plenty of experience with pistols and rifles. With cartridges, all one needs to consider is bullet weight, material composition, encasement or lack there of (FMJ, JHP, RNL, etc.) and +P+, but other than that it is pretty straight forward. I love the seemingly limitless capabilities of a 12ga, but my head is now spinning with information overload from all the watching, reading, and research I've been doing while I wait to get my KSG out of CA jail (10 day waiting period).
The primary use for this shotgun will be HD and have been buying a lot of different shell lengths, pellet sizes (including slugs), pellet composition, brands, etc. to test at the range when I have my new baby in hand, but I would love to hear the collective wisdom of this community on what you consider the best loads for HD with a KSG.
Jack, think seriously about using #4 buck for HD. Check Youtube for videos as someone on this thread also suggested. I'd venture to say that, for many it's replaced 00 buck as the preferred HD round in all but the most rural environs. At 10-15 yds the pattern is very tight (6-8") but you'd need to verify whatever load you select. And it minimizes the risks of over-penetration. Definitely stay away from slugs for HD for the obvious over-penetration issues. I know a lot of folk who have also discontinued using shotguns for HD because they're in states where they can use an AR, especially AR-15 pistols. Consider also that virtually everything will be loud indoors. Using a shotgun indoors which I fortunately have never done except at a couple of indoor ranges, would really create havoc on your hearing abilities and those of anyone else dwelling there without earpro. Get luck, JimyP
 

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Every projectile launched has a lawyer connected to it and one shotgun shell has lots of projectiles. Kill someone in the next apartment and you will be charged and prosecuted. Over penetration through structural walls is one of the reasons it was mentioned somewhere in these threads that the shot column should be as tight as possible. In some circles it's suggested that the "open" pattern of a shotgun means that one only needs to point in the general direction of the target and that may be so in the minds of the people who probably should never have firearms. Those same folks probably think, as a certain moronic politician does, that a SxS shotgun fired into the air will solve the problem. But for best results the pattern should be as tight as possible and that either means close range, a choke used to tighten the pattern (must be tested!), coupled with aiming. Of course the closer the range the cruder the aiming can be. A tight pattern reduces or eliminates putting any shot outside the target whose function it is at the time is to absorb all the pellets and make them safe for others. Basically, to be the pellet catcher. A tight pattern also completely destroys the area it hits and proceeds into.

No load is perfect and things need to be traded off to get other things. I go through this seasonally since Maine has extreme temp' swings through the seasons. A social engagement in the summer where a lightweight garment would be encountered before flesh has the perp now wearing a heavy coat. We just can't take everything into account so we try our best to average things out and live (or not) with the decisions that we make. In the past my cartridges would reflect the changing seasons. But now I just use one load and hope for the best. The best being never having to use it at all, but preparing for the worst.

I think in this thread someone mentioned (in different words) using a bottleneck cartridge rifle. If you're able to test that idea indoors w/o ear protection make sure no one else is home, no pets either, and be prepared to never want to repeat it. But that's where a suppressor comes in. It makes an AR-15 highly usable indoors. The shotgun? Never tried it indoors and I hope I never do. I doubt that my ears will like it any more than the unsuppressed AR-15. Before that happens (the shotgun) there are other weapons that I'd use. Other than a shotgun, the other weapon I strongly suggest to others is a PCC (pistol caliber carbine). They have a lot going for them. They can be suppressed, but even if not, a 16" barrel gives lots of barrel length to get rid of the pressure contained before the bullet uncorks the blast*. Reducing pressure before it hits the atmosphere is a really good idea. Cartridge? 9mm with anti-personnel bullets. The hit probability goes way up with a long gun used correctly from the shoulder, and if required it can reach out to 100 yards. Yeah, I know that'll never be needed until it is. I never thought I'd need that capability for HD until there was a cop killer running around in the back 40 and I had to do chores with a slung AR-15. Somewhere on this forum there is a thread where someone from CA relates how he kept watching rioters in Surf City with his PCC at hand from the road outside his home and he was glad that he had it.

*Boyles Law states that a doubling of the volume results in halving pressure. So assuming a 3" space of highest pressure for a 9mm at 36,000psi, 6" would be 18k, and 12" would be 9k, final pressure would be less than that out of a 16" barrel. Very tolerable for the unprotected eardrums, you might not even feel any pain at all. Of course if everyone has time to put on ear pro' and just sit tight in your homes designated safe room while the cops clear your home that would be best.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
One of the things I liked about the KSG was the dual tube magazines.
Until I find a load that I test and like, I’m planning on running one tube with #4 and the other with single aught buckshot. I want to keep something heavier than #4 in case that proves underpowered for the unknowable situation (leather jacket, drugs, etc), but double aught or slugs sound like they are too dangerous for apartment living. I know that 0B might still be overpowered, but until I can see results of how 0B performs on drywall and masonry at my ranges, I’m going to keep it as a default backup round.
Right now I’ve got Glock 21 with .45ACP defensive Sig rounds for HD and although I’m confident in them stopping any threat, I do worry about missed shots.
I’ve had a Marlin Camp 45 with the same rounds serving as HD for a while, but would feel better with a 12ga load that could fit the situation better.
I almost went with a Mossberg 590A1, but the shorter OAL and second tube of the KSG won out.
Considering that I live in CA and “every projectile has a lawyer attached” I would rather have the Mossberg with wooden furniture so it would look less “evil” in front of a jury, if it ever came to that. Until I have a more spacious home though, I’m going to go with better maneuverability.
 

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Jack, I have no idea of your age, and no need to know. But I had a really good "tactical" (how I dislike that word!) shotgun and the KS7 took it's place for exactly the reasons you state. Too, and here's why I mentioned age, the older I get the more a short firearm works for me. I'm in the process of selling lots of long arms and moving to bullpups, SBRs, and arm braced handguns. They just work better for me at my age.
 
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