Why Slug Barrels Are Horrible Choice For Home Defense Shotguns.

Demolition Ranch does a lot of fun and interesting stuff with firearms, and once again doesn’t disappoint with it’s newest video.

Rifled Shotgun Barrel For Ultimate CQB*

The theory being tested is a simple one: will a rifled slug barrel on a shotgun spin the shot column in the barrel, causing it to spread out much faster that it would from a conventional smooth-bore shotgun barrel?

The test was to fire a singe round of 7 1/2 bird shot and a singe round of 9-pellet 00 buckshot out of a rifled barrel and a conventional barrel at the same distance, and compare the results.

The distance is never explicitly stated and camera lens can make distance estimation a risky business, but I’ll estimate the distance is what you would encounter in a long hallway or large living room, about 20-30 feet.

He started out with the conventional barrel. While I watched the video several times, I never heard him say if the barrel was choked, and if so, what choke was used.

7 1/2 birdshot from a conventional shotgun barrel.

The load of 7 1/2 from the conventional barrel created a total spread of about 9″, with the majority of the lead dust appearing to cluster in about 6″. This might create a psychological stop in an intruder, but it almost certainly will not penetrate to vital organs to force a physical stop from either a central nervous system hit or rapid blood loss. Many people have survived such wounds to center mass and even the head.

00 Buckshot from a conventional barrel.

The load of 00 buckshot from a conventional barrel was clustered tightly in 4″-5″, and if the shot was well aimed (and yes, you must aim a shotgun in home defense), would cause significant deep-penetrating wounds that would likely force a physical stop.

In contrast, the rifled barrel turned out some pretty wild results.

7 1/2 birdshot from a rifled barrel.

The column of 7 1/2 shot spread the shot so thinly that it completely covered the width of the door and appears to have gone around it as well. If you fired a cartridge down the hallway with a decently aimed shot you’d almost certainly hit what you aimed at, but the peppering of shot isn’t going to do much more than surprise your target, or perhaps maybe blind him if you’re lucky enough to put a pellet in the eye.

00 buckshot from a rifled barrel.

The 00 buckshot saw similar massive pattern expansion.

But what does it all mean?

Demolition Ranch seems to think that the massive pattern spread created by using a rifled barrel with shot loads is a good thing, as it creates a very wide shot pattern in a relatively short distance. Well, that’s certainly one theory.

I’d point out that such a wide pattern ensures that the shot is widely dispersed, and that much of it will likely miss.

Look at the two 00 buckshot patterns again, and image that a defender was aiming at the head of drugged up-home invader coming down the hall, and  the defender broke the shot cleanly, with the barrel pointing precisely at the center of the home invader’s head.

With the conventional shotgun barrel at that distance, the 4″-5″ cluster of 9 .330″ pellets is going to destroy most of the face and forward portion of the brain. It may be possible for a human being to survive such a wound (and people have), but odds are that even the most drugged-up and violent aggressor would be taken out of the fight quickly.

With the rifled barrel at that distance, the massive spread all but ensures that most of the pellets will miss the target completely, flying to the left and right and above. One or two .330″ pellets on target may still stop the fight… but it seems just as likely that the shot will throw a wide enough pattern that the buckshot bypasses the attacker entirely. It’s worth noting that the missing buckshot pellets pose a lethal threat to family members at the other end of the house, and/or nearby dwellings.

A wide spread for the sake of a wide spread sure seems like a bad idea to us, as it all but assures that a significant portion of the pellets are going to miss. We’d much rather have full control of the shot column, concentrating the payload to deliver the maximum amount of damage to a specific vital area.
* Bearing Arms is going to start transitioning to linking Full30 videos instead of YouTube as much as possible, as Full30 gives a greater share of revenue to the content creators. They put in the work to entertain us, and deserve to benefit from their hard work.