Letter Re: Advice of Shotgun Shells and Shot Sizes

I’m a strong fan of shotguns. Until recently, I was quite happy with whatever load was around the house stacked in the [shotgun magazine] tube for home defense. However, last year I was referred to The Box of Truth web site.The scary part is the comments on bird shot at the bottom:
“I saw a gunshot victim, about 5′ 10” and 200 lbs, taken to the operating room with a shotgun wound to the chest. He was shot at a range of six feet at a distance of just over the pectoralis muscle. He was sitting on his front porch and walked to the ambulance. We explored the chest after x-rays were taken. The ER doc had said ‘buckshot’ wound, but this was obviously not accurate. It was # 6 [bird] shot. There was a crater in the skin over an inch in diameter. When the shot hit the level of the ribs, it spread out about five inches. There was ONE pellet that had passed between the ribs and entered the pericardium, but not damaged the heart at all…”
There are other comments on the page, and several comparisons of shotguns to other weapons. Quoting an acquaintance of mine, “A 12 gauge pump is basically a Swiss Army Gun.”
I keep both slugs (for the truly appalling ballistic energy–3500 to 5000 foot-pounds) and 00 buck on the gun and in it. The arms locker has #7 and #4 [bird] shot for survival hunting, with additional buckshot. Deer can be more easily taken with a rifle, and if SHTF that’s what I’ll use. – Michael Z. Williamson