Shotgun Stopping Power. Or Not.

Here’s an X-ray of a resident of the United Kingdom, where there is no gun violence because handguns are banned and shotguns are tightly regulated. [More gruesome image after the jump.] “In December 2007, two men brandishing sawn-off shotguns opened fire on Mr Clarke when he answered the door of his home in Fairways, Consett, County Durham,” the reports. “The steel or lead pellets entered his back, head and neck. He still managed to flee and only escaped possible death when a neighbour pulled him to safety inside their own home . . .

Eight months after the attack, which is alleged to have stemmed from a row with his former girlfriend, five men were charged with conspiring to murder him. But their trial collapsed when police methods, including raids on the defendants’ solicitor Paul Donoghue’s home and reading files, were called into question.

So, no rough justice and no justice.

And a cautionary note to those who would defend their castle with anything less than double-ought buck or a speciality home defense round. Just sayin’.


  1. avatar Derek says:

    What size shot is that?

  2. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    Boy, you really have a lot of freckles… Yep, if that had been buckshot, it would be all over. Lucky for him that England has such strict gun laws and low violence-so this never really happened.

  3. avatar William says:

    This shotgun is a result of the gunshow wormhole – where just anyone can teleport in, buy a gun and teleport out.

  4. avatar Rabbi says:

    I have had numerous people say to me that they use birdshot in their home defense shotgun because it won’t penetrate drywall. While that is true, it won’t penetrate perpetrators either.

    1. avatar Buuurr says:

      Yeah, I have had this conversation before. There are some folks out there that claim in close quarters bird shot is as good as 00 buck. Not true, as seen here.

      1. avatar Rudy says:

        Not for an ad sake, but if memory serves, Box of truth in its earlier days has tested birdshot against drywall.

  5. avatar Daniel Zimmerman says:

    From the size and number on the x-ray, it looks like the attackers loaded up with birdshot. Probably #7.5 or #8. Sawing the gun off resulted in more spread, too. This looks like the pattern you’d expect from a full length barrel (improved cylinder) at about 25 yards.

    Fortunately for Mr. Clarke, the attackers’ target loads were a good choice for breaking clays, not for a two-legged target.

    1. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

      Just as an FYI
      Barrel length has absolutely NOTHING to do with the spread of the shot. A “32 barrel with cylinder bore will spread the same as a 2” barrel with a cylinder bore.

      This isn’t my opinion, but a fact.

      1. avatar Buuurr says:

        No, it isn’t fact. The shell has to be at least fully in for it to be true. 3″ shell + 2″ barrell = shot gone wild.

        1. avatar Derek says:

          Doesn’t the ATF measure the length of a shotgun barrel from where the largest shell that the shotgun is chambered for stops? So a 2″ barrel would be 5″ of pipe.

        2. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

          Touche I suppose, but you know what was being said 🙂

          Yes…If you are measuring a shotgun – a 2″ barrel would actually be somewhat of a bomb.

          2″ was in reference to a .410 derringer or Judge/etc as pistol barrel lengths are measured differently.

        3. avatar Buuurr says:

          Ah. Spot on then.

  6. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    You want me to put a little Neosporin on that bud?

    1. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

      You might need some Proactiv for this skin condition…

  7. avatar Fletcher Marlow says:

    Wonder if he can get through the airport like that?

  8. avatar Chase says:

    I can see people beheaded, but there is something about bunch of little holes on peoples skin that makes me feel all anxious after looking at it… anyone else the same?

    1. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

      Not as long as it’s not me!

    2. avatar Cretique says:

      Maybe you’re suffering from Trypophobia…

  9. avatar David Brown says:

    Looks like they shot a load of measles at him.

  10. avatar Bob H says:

    And I thought all those commercials about the pain and embrassment of psoriasis were just marketing.

  11. avatar Jay Dunn says:

    Using birdshot for home defense is not out of the question, just depends on how big a home you happen to have. It takes about ten feet for the shot to leave the shot cup no matter what barrel length or choke. At normal household distances the charge will arrive as a 1-3″ ball of pellets–easily fatal.

    Having said that, I keep my Mossberg 500 loaded with Federal oo-buck.


    1. avatar Buuurr says:

      Nah, birdshot is asking for all kinds of charges and it isn’t going to get the job done 99% of the time. Buckshot on the other hand has a first shot first kill potential for any brand.

      Anyone who has been duck or fowl hunting knows what I am talking about. The pellets are not designed to go in deep. They are designed to stop the birds flight by twitching out it’s muscles and maybe getting the occasional pellet to the head. Not ideal for humans by any means.

      #1 shot on the other hand has been argued to be more effective then 00 buck or 000 buck.

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    Okay, birdshot wouldn’t be my top choice for shooting anything except birds, clay or otherwise. Still, a load of it in a BG’s face would have a strong deterrent effect, wouldn’t it?

    1. avatar Buuurr says:

      It would, Ralph. But I don’t think deterrent effect constitutes self defense. Prison methinks.

  13. avatar RAN says:

    The dailymail article quotes Mr Clarke, who was shot, as saying ‘I have lost everything. I have been told that all the pellets lodged inside me will take 25 years off my life.’
    So why would having been shot by so many pellet take 25 years off of his life? I could understand if they were lead pellets that perhaps not getting them all out would result in lead poisoning. But any other reason?

    1. avatar Buuurr says:

      I would say it isn’t because of lead in the shot but the chemicals in the charge that are now seeping through many, many wounds into his body.

  14. avatar Wes S. says:

    OK, while small birdshot might not be the best choice, what about Hevi-Shot’s T-shot (35 .20 caliber pellets) home defense loading? Might that be a decent alternative, at least for the first shot, in situations where overpenetration is a concern?

    I myself live in an apartment, so this is a worry of mine.

    1. avatar Buuurr says:

      Slug loaded after buck. If you are worried about penetration get some Hexolit slugs

  15. avatar BLAMMO says:

    Let’s see, … the doctor numbers every pellet on the X-ray and removes them in that order. Then, takes one last pic to be sure. That must be how you get them all.

  16. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    Sounds like I need to get some sheetrock and go to the swamp with some 00 buck, 00 reduced recoil buck, 1 buck-if I can find it, and some flechettes.

    1. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

      Remington also has a Disentegrator frangible 00 buck. I just ordered some to give it a whirl.

      1. avatar Buuurr says:

        Awesome. I’d like to know how it goes, Cujo. I am bound for Oregon so I will be having some ‘tests’ as well. 😉

    2. avatar Buuurr says:

      I did some more reading on these tests, Cujo. Seems #4 and #1 buckshot will penetrate 6 sheets of drywall. In those same tests the guy stated that 9 mm, .45 ACP, and M-193 out of an AR all penetrated all 12 boards. The 00 Buck penetrated 8 boards, but was stopped by the 9th. A slug goes through all 12 boards.

      The kicker is that birdshot WILL go through 2 sheets of drywall and stick in the third. That’s any interior wall in the average home. So the benefit of using birdshot in the penetration instance would seem to be non-existent (according to these tests). So why chance it at all?

      A fact that I have come to live with is: if you want to stop an attacker effectively you will have to learn to use your weapon in such a way so as to not have the rounds that do go ‘out’ not go out anywhere ‘bad’.

      1. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

        True. That’s why I prefer the powerful, but fewer pellets, of the 00 buck. I’ve seen what it will do in real life, and think for ultimate close range-12 ga buckshot is king. I’m gonna try and document some tests, I’ve just ordered 00 buck frangible, 00 buck reduced recoil, 00 buck regular, #1 buck, #4 buck, flechette loads and #2 steel-all 2 3/4. Time for some fun.

      2. avatar Ralph says:

        Very interesting, Buuurr. Since I’m not going to use a shotty for home defense, what are the odds of a solid center mass hit from a .40 cal. hollowpoint overpenetrating the BG and passing through sheetrock with lethal potential? My neighbor would like to know. 🙂

        1. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

          Sounds like I need to add a couple of canned hams and some denim or leather to the mix.

        2. avatar Buuurr says:

          I don’t know, Ralph. I haven’t looked up .40. I would say with hollows they would have the same potential or more than buckshot to go through the center mass. But I don’t know for sure. I guess it would depend on if the buckshot was plated or tear away shot.

        3. avatar Bob H says:

          You could always try this site: There is an amazing amount of info squirreled away here.

  17. avatar Harry Gause says:

    Use a “cut shell”. Using a knife, score the shotgun shell slightly less than halfway up and slightly overlap the score (cut) by maybe 4mm. Be sure to do it below the plastic pusher in the shell. This will keep smaller shot closer together at short to mid ranges. Google “cut shotgun shell” for a better idea of what I am trying to convey here.

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