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Posted: 2/17/2006 9:40:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2006 9:46:13 AM EDT by Old_Painless]
I have had several friends write me to ask, "My wife doesn't like the recoil of a 12 gauge. How about a 20 Gauge for home defense?"

Well, let's see what we can determine.

We will use the Waterbox O' Truth to measure penetration. According to a recognized expert, DocGKR, "Be aware that water generally reveals the maximum upset which can occur to a projectile in soft tissue -your actual result in living tissue may be somewhat less. You can also use the water testing to get a rough estimate of bullet penetration depth in soft tissue--bullets penetrate approximately 1.6 to 2 times as much in water as in soft tissue."

Here's the set-up.



We have a layer of denim over a layer of terrycloth to simulate semi-heavy clothing. The water jugs are touching the back of the cloth.

We will use my old double barreled 20 Gauge shotgun and my Mossberg Maverick 12 Gauge to do the tests. We will shoot from an across-the-room distance of about 15 feet.



First, a round of 20 Gauge #8 birdshot.



It tore a nasty hole in the cloth.



But it only penetrated one jug of water...



...and barely made a hole in the second.



This means that it only penetrated about 6 inches of water, or the equivalent of about 3 inches of flesh. Not enough to be an effective Stopper.

How about the 12 Gauge with #8 birdshot?



Having a short barrel and no choke, it made a much bigger pattern, but also only penetrated one jug.



Not good enough for dependable Stopping.

Let's try Buckshot. I was able to find some 20 Gauge Buckshot, some Winchester #3 Buck, with 20 pellets.



I was very surprised that it penetrated into the forth jug!



That's equivalent to over 12 inches of penetration into flesh. More than enough, according to experts. Who'd a thunk it?

Let's try the 12 Gauge with Remington 00 Buckshot.



Sure tore up the jugs!

It penetrated 4 jugs. Here's a picture of the 00 Buck compared to the #3 Buck.



Okay, how about a Rifled Slug in the 20 Gauge? I got some Remington Slugger, 20 Gauge, 5/8 Ounce, Hollow Point Rifled Slugs.

My first shot was a little low and the hydrostatic shock blew the bottom out of the Waterbox.



What a mess!

We tried again and centered the Slug in the jugs better. It only penetrated a couple of jugs and the Slug came all to pieces.



Not very satisfactory performance.

Let's try the 12 Gauge Rifled Slug, a Federal Power-Shok 1 Ounce HPRS.



How's that for blowing up some jugs?

It penetrated 5 jugs and blew them to pieces.



Here's the Slug and it's wad, recovered from the fifth jug.




Lessons Learned:

1. As we have shown time and time again, birdshot is for little birds, not for bad guys. It makes a nasty, shallow wound, but is not a good "Stopper".

2. I was surprised by the penetration of the #3 Buckshot in the 20 gauge. It performed much better than I would have expected. I would not be too quick to discount Buckshot in a 20 Gauge for home defense.

3. 00 Buck in the 12 Gauge was excellent.

4. The Slug in the 20 did not perform very well. For some reason, it broke up into small pieces.

5. Once again, the 12 Gauge Slug amazes us. It was devastating! Penetration was 5 jugs or almost 30 inches. That is equivalent to almost 15 inches of penetration of flesh.

Lots of dead water jugs left. A fine day of shooting.

And, shooting stuff is fun!

(Thanks to Tman for the photo help.)
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:44:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2006 9:45:27 AM EDT by w4klr]
CAn you do some 000 buck?

I'll add this to my bookmarks

I honestly have a bookmark file labeled Box O' Truth
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:46:14 AM EDT
Another informative post, thanks O_P!
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:47:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2006 9:52:26 AM EDT by crazyhorse705]
ty op for doing this for us. i im'd you only a week and half ago about doing this you are so quick.

so since i plan on reloading for the 20 gauge shotgun me got some new ideas. there is also a number 2 buck load for the 20 gauge.

so if the number 3 buck would do that much damage i can only imagine what the number 2 buck would do.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:48:00 AM EDT
The best threads on arfcom!
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:48:44 AM EDT
Bravo! Another winner! Thanks!
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:49:04 AM EDT
Awesome, as always.

Is your website still going?
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:49:08 AM EDT
That birdshot will give you a heart attack.

Thanks O_P
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:50:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TheFreepster:
The best threads on arfcom!



Many thanks.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:50:44 AM EDT
thanks OP
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:50:51 AM EDT
Did the pants TELL you they where going to move?
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:51:41 AM EDT
How about rabbit or T shot?
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:52:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
Awesome, as always.

Is your website still going?



You betcah!

www.theboxotruth.com/index.htm

Go take a look sometimes.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:53:25 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:54:40 AM EDT
"I shot you in the face, you at least wouldnt be able to see"


Inside Joke
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:55:14 AM EDT
Great post OP.

How was the recoil difference between the two?

I only own 12 guages so I have no expierence with other shotgun calibers.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:56:00 AM EDT
How many jugs spontaneously exploded when you racked the slide chambering a 12 ga. shell ? j/k


Great post, thanks
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:56:13 AM EDT
cool stuff.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:57:18 AM EDT
well atleast now i dont feel undergunned when i use a 20 gauge for home defense use.

bad shoulder got to be careful with recoil.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:59:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2006 10:00:18 AM EDT by woodbutcher223308]
Was thinking of a 20, for my wife. She hates the 12.

Thanks to you and TMan.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:00:49 AM EDT
Awesome.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:01:18 AM EDT
As a life long shotgunner, I'd like to throw out this out for consideration.

I have heard several people tell me that their 12ga kicks too hard and that they wanted to find a lighter 20ga.

Be careful with this, as we all know heavier guns soak up more recoil.
My wife is a little woman (5'4" 115#) and she won't touch my 20ga BPS Upland Special.
She will, however, shoot clays all day with a 12ga 870.

The worst beating I ever took was from a Franchi AL-48 in 20ga....It carried like a feather and kicked like a mule
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:01:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2006 11:16:36 AM EDT by Old_Painless]

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
Great post OP.

How was the recoil difference between the two?

I only own 12 guages so I have no expierence with other shotgun calibers.



Thanks.

The 20 Gauge is certainly less punishing regarding recoil.

It makes a fine little quail gun.

Not my first choice for home defense, but with the right loads, it would seem to be capable of doing the job.

Of course, you never get something for nothing. Less recoil means less power delivered to the target.

And, as Clint says, "I never met a man that was in a gun fight and wished he had a smaller gun. Ever."
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:04:18 AM EDT
Your 20 gauge wasn't as effective because it wasn't a pump, you couldn't pump it and cause the water jugs to explode in fear.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:05:07 AM EDT
Excellent as always Old_Painless!
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:06:11 AM EDT
Awesome. That is the exact load Mrs Goon uses. Can't wait 'till she sees this.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:06:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ASUsax:
Your 20 gauge wasn't as effective because it wasn't a pump, you couldn't pump it and cause the water jugs to explode in fear.



I pumped the 12 gauge several times.

Tman felt a little dizzy, but managed to keep from fainting.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:07:46 AM EDT
Awesome!
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:07:46 AM EDT
As an aside, a Gentleman in my class last night was talking about how shotguns were better for penetration, and they wouldn't go through walls.

He changed his tune after I directed him to the Box 'O Truth website. (Predictably, he's a smart guy & a Mechanical Engineer, he knows good data when he sees it.)

Made me educating him much easier, thanks, O_P!
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:09:04 AM EDT
So....

If you had to load your 12 gauge for home defense, would you choose 00 Buck or Slugs?
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:09:56 AM EDT
thanks for the work as always op


Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:10:14 AM EDT
One question, did you only fire one 20 ga. slug? I'm surprised it broke up like that. You would think it would have pretty solid hitting power. I'm wondering if the break up of the round was a fluke, or a bad slug design, or what.

I'm sure that with the right slug design, a 20 ga slug would be devestating. The Velocity and mass is there.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:10:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
So....

If you had to load your 12 gauge for home defense, would you choose 00 Buck or Slugs?



Well, I can tell you that I presently have mine loaded with 3 inch Magnum, 00, Plated, Remington Premier Buckshot.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:12:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
So....

If you had to load your 12 gauge for home defense, would you choose 00 Buck or Slugs?



Do you want 8-9 .33" holes, or one 3/4" hole?

Personally, I'd load buck.

(I think 00 is .33... Just off the top of my head, could be wrong.)
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:12:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2006 10:13:14 AM EDT by Old_Painless]

Originally Posted By ASUsax:
One question, did you only fire one 20 ga. slug? I'm surprised it broke up like that. You would think it would have pretty solid hitting power. I'm wondering if the break up of the round was a fluke, or a bad slug design, or what.

I'm sure that with the right slug design, a 20 ga slug would be devestating. The Velocity and mass is there.



We shot 2 of the 20 Gauge Slugs.

The first one blew the bottom out of the Waterbox, due to my aiming too low. It broke up badly. The second one centered the jugs just fine, but also broke up badly.

Like you, I expected more.

But I just report what I see.....not what I "think".

Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:13:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
So....

If you had to load your 12 gauge for home defense, would you choose 00 Buck or Slugs?



Well, I can tell you that I presently have mine loaded with 3 inch Magnum, 00, Plated, Remington Premier Buckshot.



Holy 3-inch Magnums, Batman!

I guess old_Painless doesn't agree with the 'reduced recoil' theory.

Hell, niether do I, but I stock 2-3/4" magnums.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:15:15 AM EDT
Awesome! Thanks OP!
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:17:43 AM EDT

(Thanks to Tman for the photo help.)




We all look forward to your posts, always educational and enlightening. Fact, over fiction!

Oh, and kudos to your camera man. He too does and excellent job capturing 'the truth'!
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:18:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TheFreepster:
The best threads on arfcom!



Without a doubt....no one else's are even close. It's great when Yoda takes time out to teach us real life stuff.

Great job, O_P!

HH

Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:19:12 AM EDT
The box o' truth is even painted.

You, sir, are a true professional!
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:20:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ASUsax:

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
So....

If you had to load your 12 gauge for home defense, would you choose 00 Buck or Slugs?



Well, I can tell you that I presently have mine loaded with 3 inch Magnum, 00, Plated, Remington Premier Buckshot.



Holy 3-inch Magnums, Batman!

I guess old_Painless doesn't agree with the 'reduced recoil' theory.

Hell, niether do I, but I stock 2-3/4" magnums.



000 Buck here in my 12Gauge.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:21:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2006 10:22:34 AM EDT by ASUsax]

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:

Originally Posted By ASUsax:
One question, did you only fire one 20 ga. slug? I'm surprised it broke up like that. You would think it would have pretty solid hitting power. I'm wondering if the break up of the round was a fluke, or a bad slug design, or what.

I'm sure that with the right slug design, a 20 ga slug would be devestating. The Velocity and mass is there.



We shot 2 of the 20 Gauge Slugs.

The first one blew the bottom out of the Waterbox, due to my aiming too low. It broke up badly. The second one centered the jugs just fine, but also broke up badly.

Like you, I expected more.

But I just report what I see.....not what I "think".




Bad slug design then, I'd say.

Just putting up some quick figures, Federal's (I know you used Remington, but Federal's what I found on Google) 20 ga slug is 3/4 oz (~330 grains) and moving at 1600 FPS. It's also going to be ~.614" across. Just a solid block of lead ought to do the job pretty well there. The Remington HP slug you used broke up, which means it was probably expanding too fast. That could be due to the water, or bad design (my pick).

I think that with a good slug design, 20 ga slugs would be an awfully good stopper. The next question is, of course, what's a good slug? That we don't know yet.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:21:41 AM EDT
Great, as always, Brother O_P!
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:22:22 AM EDT
Yessir, them water jugs are FUBAR now! Good post as always, Thx. Don
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:22:52 AM EDT
Again thanks.

How about a 28 gauge
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:23:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
So....

If you had to load your 12 gauge for home defense, would you choose 00 Buck or Slugs?



Well, I can tell you that I presently have mine loaded with 3 inch Magnum, 00, Plated, Remington Premier Buckshot.



Painless: FWIW I have taken several deer with that same load. Very devastating to the vitals (all of them!). All shots have been made between 30yrds to 45yrds and all the deer dropped without taking more than one step. I always look forward to your posts, thank you.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:25:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Chaingun:
Again thanks.

How about a 28 gauge



Ah, the Dick Cheney HD load.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:28:32 AM EDT
Great post! When the "birdshot as a defensive load" discussions come up (and they will, it never ends) I'll have yet another link for reference. To me, this confirms what I always thought was common sense. Sure enough though, somebody is using birdshot on their shottie while not hunting quail, will read this and say "Ya, but..."

I was a little suprised by the slug results. As always, it's not what you "know" or think, it what's you observe.

Nice job, as always.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:28:36 AM EDT
Awesome as usual Old_Painless, I love the BOX O' TRUTH!

O_P FOR PRESIDENT
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:29:15 AM EDT
What about 3 1/2 inch turkey loads?
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:30:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rpd_fire:
What about 3 1/2 inch turkey loads?




Those are for zombie turkies.
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