Ammo choice for HD 20 gauge? [Archive] - Glock Talk


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02-22-2010, 01:38
I picked up a like-new 870 compact (youth model) in 20 gauge for a great price from a guy on my MI gun owners forum. It had too much kick for his son for bird hunting.

I think I made the right choice. It's small, easier to maneuver and shoulder for me and the girlfriend, and holds an adequate amount of shells (4). It's got the wood grips and stock, which I like in case I have to go to court and they try and present my shotgun as some sinister weapon tricked out with extras by some gun nut (which they obviously can't say).

I've decided to go with #3 buckshot to load it with based on this: and other research.

Question is- what brand, and should I go with a plated pellet load or not? I'm not interested in any more penitration, as the standard lead seems to do the job without blowing through a wall too bad- at least not as bad as the pistol calibers (I must admit I was shocked by that). Does the coated stuff offer anything more tactically than the standard stuff? Will it increase penitration?


02-22-2010, 01:57
There's some 20 gauge home defense info here.

I've found when shopping for 20 gauge ammo it's not always easy to find exactly what you are looking for. I figure at close range (defensive range) just about any buckshot will give somebody a bad day.

Dr. J Frame
02-22-2010, 11:39
Does the coated stuff offer anything more tactically than the standard stuff? Will it increase penetration?

It's supposed to allow the lead pellet to maintain it's 'roundness'. This would keep the pellet from slightly flattening on impact and supposedly allow more penetration and the increased ability to damage bone/tissue.
and holds an adequate amount of shells (4).
4+1, yes. I bought the same 870 youth and really like the compactness. Mine is a laminated stock version carried by Gander Mountain. VERY, VERY accurate with Brenneke K.O. 3/4oz slugs. Just by sighting down the rib/bead you can consistency hit 9" paper plates at 50yds with the supplied factory modified choke installed.

I ordered a case of 2 3/4" #3 buck but haven't had time to work much with it. Working on the road in Chicago right now.

02-22-2010, 14:43
I'm off to buy some shells today. I'll probably buy some birdshot too and maybe some slugs just to have around...

Thanks for the info on the slugs Dr. J.

Any other suggestions anyone?

02-22-2010, 16:01
I also have a 20 gauge shotgun for HD.

I have it loaded with Federal 3inch #2 Buck.

02-22-2010, 16:30
I've shot 15 to 20 rounds of Remington 2 3/4" #3 buckshot out of my newly acquired Remington 870 Youth with a modified choke.

This load in my shotgun very closely adheres to the "1" of spread for every yard" of distance rule - at least out to 15 yards.

Patterns are very uniform. I'm satified with this load, and it's one of the most readily available around here.

Quick aside: I acquired this gun to replace a 7 shot 870 12 gauge that weighed about 50 pounds fully loaded (felt like it anyway). This 870 youth is an absolute joy to handle. Recoil with full power loads is about the same between the 12 and the 20 so people shouldn't expect a decline in recoil, but handling qualities improve substantially.

02-22-2010, 20:06
I load my wife's HD 20 gauge with #2 usually have to order it by mail i think from sportsman's guide, or ammunition to go,etc... 3" #2 buckshot.

02-22-2010, 20:36
Thanks guys,

I went to the gun store today and picked up a box of Federal #3 buck and a box of Federal slugs just to have around. The 870's loaded up with four rounds in the magazine and is sitting in the corner of the bedside closet, should the need arise. I did notice you cant rack the slide without the slide lever unless the trigger is decocked. Glad I familiarized myself with it... You'd think they'd mention that in the instruction manual, for those of us not familiar with shotguns :shocked:. I'd hate to have the GF have to use it and not be able to operate it.:faint:

02-23-2010, 14:11
The plating for self defense is IMO a bad idea. You want the pellets to flatten out and cause more damage, and the penetration will be just fine without the plating, if you use #3 or #2 buck

I would get a magazine extension..

Get both of you out to train with it ASAP

02-23-2010, 15:02
20 ga. will get the job done. Excellent gun you chose to let
your lady learn on also. Buy the most economical birdshot or
what is the cheapest on sale and go out and both of you load,
cycle, and shoot and learn your weapon. Learn how to load it,
then unload it, cycle shells, learn the safety and shoot.
Learn every function so that you can do it without having to
stop and think about it, so that it comes natural.
Above all be safe.
For HD I would use regular or low recoil buck, I like the bigger
buck myself. Slugs, I always keep them on hand 20 and 12.

02-25-2010, 18:55
I bought my GF one of those 870 express youth model 20 gauges. Actually she picked it up in the store and wouldn't put it down, so I had to buy it or leave her there. While she can shoot my 12 gauges, she loves her gun. The Remington #3 buck makes nice patterns at up to 15yds, and probably longer, we just haven't tested it that far. The recoil is very manageable.

03-02-2010, 07:37
I set up a 20GA M870 for my wife. It has an 18.5-inch barrel, Choate mag tube extension and TacStar 4-shot sidesaddle. Her first (3) rounds are #6 birdshot. Remaining rounds are #3 buckshot.