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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why shotguns suck against zombies.

It's that time of year, so despite being an old and tired discussion, I'm going to go ahead and talk about killing zombies.

First off, I need to define what the hell I mean when I say zombie.  When I think of zombies, I think the classic Romero style, shambling, stupid, shoot-them-in-the-head style of zombie.  A good, wholesome zombie, fun for the whole family.  Those things in "28 Decades Later", or whatever the newest one is, don't count.  Zombies aren't fast or have super powers, aside from being dead, but not dead.

So we have a slow dumb target, who has issues with stairs, and whose thought process doesn't go much beyond "gar, hungry... nead meat..." much like you're average starving hippie.  The only way to surely stop the threat is to remove the head or destroy the brain (again, much like a starving hippie...)  I have noticed over the years that the average novice zombie hunter will voice his choice of a 12 gauge shotgun of some sort.  Thanks to Hollywood, most non-gunnies tend to think of the shotgun as a magic wand that you just need to point towards your target and shoot.  "With that much lead, you're sure to hit something!"  While the shotgun is a fantastic weapon for the living, most of my dear readers are gunnies, and know that shotguns are possibly the hardest tactical weapon to truly master.

Another misconception, and usually the fall back for the shotty's defender after pointing out that buckshot is less than ideal for the walking dead, is that you can always load it up with slugs and go for the good ol' headshot.  Here's the thing.  My beloved Mossberg 930, an easy shooting gas operated semi, with a relatively large capacity, maxes out with 11 rounds total (assuming you know how to float one on the lifter.)  Plus, even a "low recoiling" gas operated shotty ported to hell and back like mine, still bucks like a pissed off stallion with a standard 1oz. slug load, not to mention that even with rifled slugs the accuracy is less than fantastic, especially since the bulk of shotguns in the world have very simple sighting systems.

Now, does all this mean the ol' shotty should be left out of the zombie bag all together?  No.  For one thing, if the outbreak lasts for any extended amount of time, 12 gauge shotgun rounds are probably the second easiest ammunition type to scrounge for right after the .22lr.  Just avoid the birdshot unless you're stuck in a Hitchcock film.  Another thing to bear in mind is that the shotgun is a devistating weapon against the regular people.  If the outbreak lasts long enough to shut down a significant area with multiple groups of survivors, those other groups may be far from friendly.


James said...

IMO, the shotgun makes up for its lack of ammo capacity and range with firepower, the ability to be continuously topped off, lack of any magazines to lose, and ammo versatility.

The range limitation isn't even a big one, I've shot at 100 yards standing unsupported and landed 90% hits on a torso target with slugs (some holdover required.) That was with irons, my shotgun wears an EOTech now.

Fred said...

But torso shots don't stop a zombie! Not to mention the ammo can be quite bulky. A handful of 12ga rounds take up as much space as a 30 round AR mag...

(Primarily playing Devil's Advocate here... ;) )

James said...

I wouldn't downplay the use of buckshot. Keep in mind that each 54 grain piece of 00 buck has ballistic properties comparable to .380. When you're aiming head-ish at 25 yards, the spread is going to be approximately 25 inches depending on choke and barrel length. You've got a better chance of hitting grey matter than you would with a rifle at that point.

There is much to be said for high-mag-cap rifles in a theoretical zombie invasion, however. Best to have both: rifle in the hands and a shotgun in an over-the-shoulder scabbard. :D

Fred said...

I've always prefered teh AR platform for my zombie slaying needs, low recoil, accurate, and high ammo capacity.

I do need a shorty pump with a scabbard though...