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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an incident yesterday, that has prompted me to start carrying a long gun in the car. I went out to the safe this morning and found a well worn, but still servicable H&R Topper M48 in 16-gauge. I'm thinking of shortening the 26" barrel to around 18.5" and loading it with #1 buckshot and keeping buckshot and 4/5 oz. slugs handy.

Does anyone have experience with 16-gauge as a defense chambering? Is #1 buck effective enough? I'm pretty confident the slug will be potent, but I'm not sure about the buckshot loads.

Thanks for your help,


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720 Posts
Rob, first chance you get after you modify the barrel, fire some shots at self defense distance into the side of a large (note..large) cardboard box. Load the box with some pieces of cardboard, sheetrock, crumpled up newspaper between layers of cardboard and sheetrock, anything else that's sorta soft. Always big empty boxes in dumpsters around here.
Note the pattern on the side of the box then look inside to see what damage the shot made.

I'd forget the slugs and just do the buckshot.

You can then turn the box to the side and shoot it again. Maybe at a different distance.
Not really a certified method of test, but you can't do gelatin or a wetpack with a shotgun unless you're only a few feet away.
Another test just for fun, shoot a gallon jug of water and see what happens.

And please let us know the results.


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1,132 Posts
Hi Rob.

Check out the thread on coach guns on this post. A respondent posted a website that constructed some tests with #3 buck in a 20-gauge similar to what og recommends. fwiw an outfit called the "international wound ballistics assn" claims that #1 buck from a 12-gauge should be a potent load with a bit less penetration than the fight-stoppers 00 and 000 buck. Is that H&R just a single-shot? If so, you might have to add some kind of ammo cuff for the stock. If you can afford it, some snap caps for loading practice couldn't hurt.

best --d.

PS: I keep my 12-gauge 870 stoked with #1buck.
PPS: Ah, here it is. PB posted this back in December I guess:

I am personally a great fan of #1 Buck, the shootee will never notice the difference between it and 00 or 000 but the neighbors or the guy going down the street will probably be glad for it as it will not penetrate hard barriers as well as the bigger loadings. I also would nix the slugs especially in a single shot.

The 16 should perform well for you but shells in the heavier loadings are not that common as 12 & 20 gauge are.
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