Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Round-Up

Interestingly enough, a local man was attacked by 3 coyotes...he fought them off with a flashlight. As much as I like flashlights, I think there are better anti-coyote strategies.
“So I took my flashlight and hit it over the side of the head to get it to let go. As soon as I got it to let go then another one went to lunge at me. All I really thought to do was swing and knock it to get it from jumping at me again,” Dickehage said. “Picture closing your eyes and having the three figures, you can barely see them, and all you could do is keep your hands up and just make sure that they weren’t going for the face … You feel the initial impact, and as soon as you felt it, then you could react and go to shove, but, I mean, after that … all I could try doing was make sure I was moving backwards.”
Of course the first recommendation is carry dog/bear spray.

Let me relate an incident that happened to our hapless beagle Alf 2 weeks ago. A neighborhood dog she'd always been friendly with grabbed one of her big, floppy ears and wouldn't let go (both dogs were on leash). The woman walking the other dog pulled out her dog spray and promptly sprayed her own dog directly in the eyes, splattering Alf. Net result? Same as always...nothing. My Sweetie hit the dog twice on its head with her fist until it turned loose. Alf got stitches, my neighbor got fined and my Sweetie got dog spray off Alf all over the steering wheel of my Honda Element.

Spray, either dog, bear or people, seems to work great if the dog, bear or person is sitting around having an adult beverage watching television. I think blood chemistry and, for lack of a better word, the psychology of the animal/human are the primary factors in spray performance. A person or a bear or a coyote in full attack mode will not necessarily respond the way we might hope when popped with spray. I've done sims in a "gas environment" (where afterwards I ended up throwing away all the clothes I was wearing at the time) and I've been sprayed with various flavors in one of my other lives as a journalist who specialized in covering urban riots. As a journalist, I just worked through sucked, but my head didn't explode. Interestingly enough, the gas worked best in the sims, where I knew it was coming and dreaded the heck out of it...once again, a lot of it is in your head.

This is another one of those "you pays your money; you takes your chances" situation (and we deal with it this upcoming season in THE BEST DEFENSE). We don't have a big coyote problem up high...there's just not enough food in the high alpine niche to support a pack. Typically, I'll see a few coyotes during the fall and winter and I always offer them the deal: be gone or be dead.

I would tend to err on the side of caution with coyotes...they are not afraid of us and they are very efficient pack hunters. I realize there's some controversy on this choice, but IMHO this is where the .410 pistol comes into its own. I have a Bond Arms derringer and a Taurus Judge in .410 and I think they are world-class coyote guns at the ranges we're talking about here. This is not hunting coyotes; this is protecting oneself against coyotes...different beasty.

[BTW...Alf the Wonder Beagle has taken this hellish year in stride, even though she's now 11 years old. She had major surgery and was attacked twice, both times requiring stitches, and has bounced back quickly each time. The dog's a tank!]

UPDATE: Paul Markel of STUDENT OF THE GUN has had excellent results with OC spray against both people and animals...he heartily recommends carrying spray as a "bridge" between handheld and lethal force.

Here's an excellent article on the balance of speed and accuracy from Jeff Gonzales at Trident Concepts:
Your effort to achieve balance between these two factors is the ultimate goal. The relationship between shooter, weapon and environment are constantly being challenged, but kept in check through speed and accuracy. Most shooting scenarios have a limited amount of time to respond, so speed is often the primary goal. The mistake that happens is when we are compelled to act quickly, we can sometimes emphasize speed over accuracy and actually end up missing the goal of the task entirely. You have to resist the urge to go so fast that you compromise your accuracy, this is probably the hardest skill to develop.
Read the whole thing!

Finally, from The Firearm Report, An Average Joe's Guide to 3-Gun:

The Gear: The first thing you’re going to need to know is that you’re going to have to buy a lot of stuff, and pretty much everything you buy you will immediately throw away or sell. “That holster looks like it will work” will instantly become “This holster will never work!” You can try to live by the mantra “Buy once, cry once,” but it doesn’t work that way in 3-Gun. Even if you tried to “buy once” two things would happen: you would spend upwards of a year researching everything you need to get started, and then once you figured it out you would wait another year for your custom pistol, rifle, and shotgun to be ready. So if you want to save money buying only once, bad news – you’re two years away from shooting your first match. It’s better to take inventory of what you have, and then borrow the rest.


JohninMd.(too late?!??) said...

Hope Alf is doing well. In the .410, what size shot if meant mainly for Coyotes? OO, or birdshot? (IIRC, bird shot size choice is limited in .410...)

Ursavus Elemensis said...

Good Lord, Michael, you have a lot of problems with dogs! I firmly insist on the rule of "keep your hands and all other things off my dog." That includes that you keep your dog away from me and my dog at all times under all conditions, including the condition that in other circumstances we are friends and neighbors. I don't care if you are my mother; you keep you and your dog away from my dog. I follow that rule. I insist on that rule. I back up that rule.

Ursavus Elemensis said...

That last comment about my rule ("I don't care if you are my mother; you keep you and your dog away from my dog.") was not directed personally at Michael Bane. You and I don't live anywhere near each other. It is a rule that I insist on, however for folks who do live near me. When I am out with my dog, keep away. Keep far away.

Greg Tag said...


I am dubious about the effectiveness of Judge/Governor type firearms, used to fire .410 caliber shotshell.

If you use buckshot, you get three 000 shot in 1/2 oz. The pattern dispersion from the pistols rifled bore will quickly render the swarm ineffective.

Ok, what about 7-1/2 shot? The shot charge is small - 1/2 ounce. If you use 7-1/2 shot, at 350/ounce you have a load of 175 pellets, delivered at circa 800 feet per second from a 3" revolver barrel. As long as the shot charge is packed together ( for the first 3-5 feet from the muzzle, it acts like a single projectile, essentially a slow moving, semi-fluid 219 grain bullet. It will make a large single hole in any impact.

The rub is, as the shot charge proceeds down range, it unpacks. It disperses into 175 individual low mass projectiles, and each individual projectile rapidly loses its ability to penetrate deeply. What is deadly to a thin-skinned, fragile, lightly boned quail is likely merely to be annoying to a coyote at 5 yards, unless you blind the critter.

Center mass hits will not be effective on a coyote, as the pellet cloud must penetrate thick fur, skin, a layer of fat, then muscle, then rib bones before it reaches anything important. If it does reach something important, the individual pellet will have run out of steam and cannot be relied on to penetrate deep enough to kill quickly, if at all.

On top of that, the Judge ( Model 4510TKR - 2-1/2" chamber , 3" barrel) and similar are rifled, twist is 1:12, so the pellet swarm is spun at 48,000 RPM. Guess what happens to the pattern- it disperses quickly.

Talking to people who have bought the Judge here in Texas, the Judge with shot has been found effective by garden tractor riders in the suburbs - I know at least 5 people who have used them effectively on copperheads from their seat on the tractor, max range about 15 feet. Beyond that, the pattern becomes patchy; it loses effectiveness.

Far better , if you have a Judge, is to load with .45 Colt. That will deal with any coyote ever born, at any range you care to engage.

The Box 'o Truth has not one, but two, tests of the Judge. The conclusion they reach is load with the pistol bullet unless you are shooting snakes at close range.



PhilaBOR said...

Which begs the question: why bother with a Judge at all? Get a dedicated .45 Colt revolver...or a semi firing .45 slugs - they make semi's that shoot .45 don't they? Or a 9. Or a .40. .380 was good enough for the governor of Texas. I don't get the whole Judge thing. And it's UGLY.

kmitch200 said...

The pattern dispersion from the pistols rifled bore will quickly render the swarm ineffective

While I don't own a .410 revo, at the end of my dog's leash I would think this is a non-issue. Especially after I yank my dog close to me.

What is deadly to quail is likely merely to be annoying to a coyote at 5 yards

Annoyed, scared, deciding "this ain't worth it", I'll take any of the above.
If it stops it's actions I'm good.
I'm not looking for a kill per se, I'm looking for an exit.

Michael Bane said...

Here's my problem, guys. I have done extensive tests on the Judge with buckshot and dedicated rounds like the PDX-1, in ballistic gel, penetration through various media and patterning. We showed those results on SHOOTING GALLERY. Based on those results, I have complete faith in the Judge (or Bond Derringer) with Federal #000 and Winchester PDX-1s. As far as the buckshot quickly dispersing, we were able to routinely put 3-4 of the pellets onto a 40-yard pepper popper at GUNSITE. My understanding from Gordon Bond at Bond Derringers is that the .410 #000 was recently used in a close-range self-defense shooting, with the aggressor DRT.

As i have said repeatedly, the .410 pistols are a limited use tool (as are, in fact, most tools), but within those limits they are fiercely effective.

I DO NOT recommend using shot loads for personal defense or defense against animals. In fact, I specifically recommend Federal #000 buck or the Winchester PDXs.

I had an interesting conversation when I was out in Arizona last week...the question was more or less about reconciling Internet test results. My response was something to the effect that I didn't much care. Your results may indeed vary, and I trust my results and the results of a handful of other people. "Proof" is a very specific implies a repeatable test that answers all possible questions and objections. What we in Gun World do is set up an arbitrary set of standards and measure our various tools against those standards. Robert Heinlein once noted, "As Shaw pointed out, the customs of our tribe are not the laws of the universe..." (I think he used the full G. B. Shaw quote in GLORY ROAD).

I've never really understood the venom that some guns seem to generate...this is ALL a "you pays your money, you takes your chances" set of decisions. If you absolutely positively hate the idea of a .410 pistol, by all means don't get one!

An AK-47, now THAT'S ugly! LOL!


Michael Bane said...

Just for the heck of it, read this piece in THE ECONOMIST on problems with real scientific studies and their replication:


Greg Tag said...


I did not intend to create controversy. I admire your work and read your posts daily.

Trying to more fully understand:

1) I am a bit confused:

A 2-1/2" .410 can only fit three 000 pellets in the payload.

How is it possible to regularly hit a pepper-popper at 40 yards?

Am I misunderstanding something?

Using a 12g load of 9 - 000 buckshot ( 2-3/4")from a Remington 870, fired at 25 yards ( state-mandated distance) indoors while conducting Texas Level III Security Officer shotgun qualification, we will usually see no more than 3-4 pellet hits on a B-27 target per round fired. I have never shot a B-27 at 40 yards but cannot believe that the hit probability would be very high - perhaps 1 or 2 pellets in the scoring area. Even with a modified or full choke, the normal pellet dispersion would provide abysmally low hit probability,.

This is another way of saying that Buckshot would not be my load choice in a Judge past about 10 yards, or even in a full sized shotgun past 20 yards or so.

2) As for my comments on the utility of birdshot in a Judge, I cited anecdote, but the reports I have received have been consistent and have agreed with the research performed and illustrated at Box 'o Truth ( which is available for all the world to see)

3) My academic training is in engineering; I have a pretty good idea how to approach rigorous ballistics testing, and have done a fair amount.

4)You and I are in agreement about birdshot, and I agree with you about the PDX-1 projectiles. They are admittedly much better than either birdshot or buckshot - they are higher mass and less subject to dispersion when spun by rifling. I think they are likely the only multiple projectile load that is useful at any significant range.

4) The Economist rarely gets economics right, being mired in the typical Euro-Brit " leashed /state controlled capitalism" model. Certainly it would not be my go-to publication for engineering, scientific method or analytical statistics advice.

5) I like the Judge. I am just cognizant of its shortcomings. Its utility with shot is much reduced by the legal requirement to have a rifled barrel.

Lastly - perhaps my earlier comments were intemperate or poorly phrased. I apologize if I have offended.

As for the Judge - I could not in good conscience, as a consultant or an instructor, recommend a Judge with shot as a primary weapon except under unusual circumstances. That being said I would certainly never suggest a free citizen should not carry whatever firearm they believe is best for their specific situation.



Michael Bane said...

Greg...I'm the one who should be sorry! I meant no offense and you in no way offended me!!! The new buckshot designed for the .410 pistols has 4 #000 pellets (Rem and Federal) for 2 1/2 inches shells, 5 #000 pellets for 3 inch (Federal). I carry 5-pellet Federal in the Bond derringer and 4 pellet Federal in the Judge.

My experience with 12 gauge buckshot has not been the same as yours. During my GUNSITE 260 shotgun class years back, I found both Hornady TAP and Federal Tactical LE would deliver 80% and many times 100% of the #00 pellets into the A-Zone at 25 yards from an 870 Vang Comp. We even tried some hold-offs on hostage targets at 25 yards...not than anyone would do that in the real world, but it did work.

We also used the buckshot at 50 yards putting all pellets on target, the majority in the A-zone. That has been my experience at numerous other events. Most recently, at the Heavy Metal 3-Gun World Championships I shot Wolf #00, which I've never specifically patterned, out of my Benelli Nova pump with a full choke on a bunch of 30-50 yard pepper poppers. It certainly appeared to me to me (and to the spectators) that the poppers were taking a full load of buckshot.

You're absolutely right about THE ECONOMIST (although, oddly enough, they reviewed OVER THE EDGE Back in the Back did the WSJ, which led me to believe that if I ever wrote a book on economics I could get it reviewed in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED)...I only included that article to show how even within the scientific community there is a huge and endless controversy as to the nature of "proof."

Again, we come to "you pays your money..." etc. Again, I meant no diss to you or your experience!


Unknown said...


I see a possible source for our disparate experiences:

The buckshot loads used in our shotgun training and qualification is plain old mil-spec 5 to a plain brown cardboard box Olin Winchester ammo. Un- buffered, soft lead, just 9 round balls in a wad.

This is fired out of IC choked riot guns.

You, on the other hand, are using a high-speed low drag gun firing high speed , low drag ammo.

Your results are now much more plausible to me.

Interesting discussion this has been.



Alien said...

Michael - RE: shotgun/#00 and pattern density- I noticed you specifically mentioned your full choke Benelli. I don't know what choke your Vang barrel has, but I'll wager it's not cylinder bore. I've long wanted a full choke factory option from Remington on the 870P and Mossberg on the 590s; most shotguns of those configurations are cylinder bore, and every 18-20" cylinder bore shotgun I've used or tested with #00 buck displays substantial pattern spread beyond about 18-20 yards, enough that I don't trust their effectiveness beyond that distance. Personal defense shotguns are aimed, not pointed like trap/skeet guns, and usually (or should) carry sights to aid in that aiming, so a tight pattern from a full choke would not be a handicap. As your experience in 3-gun demonstrates, full chokes put shot on target out to what many would deem too far for a shotgun.

As for the Judge, it's a rifled .45 caliber bore; #000 shot is .36 caliber. I've never slugged a Judge, but I wouldn't be surprised to find land diameter around .442" which is only about .08" larger than #000. That's close enough that #000 shot may be getting some "guiding" benefit from the lands.
That said, every test I've seen using rifled shotgun barrels with small diameter shot produces a donut pattern at some distance, varying with individual barrels and shot size, and and I would expect the Judge to be no different when using small diameter shot. At what distance that would occur with the Judge, I have no idea, as there are too many variables.

(Which leads to wondering about some sort of uniform standard for testing these kinds of things.)

The proverb "use what works best for you" applies, and if it's a Judge, fine with me. If one's bear spray comes in a .44 caliber container, that's fine, too.

Anonymous said...

Come on now boys. If you're man enough then all you need for protection is a trusty gladius and pilum. Dang, ain't no man nor beast is coming close to you when you are decked out with classic Roman defenses !

Anonymous said...

I once dumped most of a can of LE grade OC on a dog that was attacking mine. I know I hit because the OC had orange dye and it was a white dog. No effect. Still carry it but do not rely on it. Animal control office of my acquaintance allowed as his go to weapon was an ASP. Don't even have to hit. Just hold it out and dog bites it and hurts itself.

Charlie Foxtrot said...

My experience with OC spray used in a dog attack: My two GSDs & I were surprised by a Pit Bull attacking from behind. I employed the gun-store grade OC, and hit it in the face, blinding it. However, the bastard kept attacking - abet much less effectively. After a couple of size 12 kicks to the head, the idiot owner finally chased it away.

We got off lucky: a small bite to my female's hind leg, and I pulled my arm and shoulder keeping my dogs leashed in.

I do believe the OC made the difference in the fight, but it wasn't nearly as effective as I had hoped.