#4 Lead Shot Explained

Not to be confused with the almost double diameter pellets in the #4 buck, the #4 shot is marketed as turkey hunting ammunition, though people can use it for various other applications. Varmint control, target shooting, home defense and hunting birds of all shapes and sizes can easily be handled effectively with #4 lead shot. Lead shot is preferred over steel when hunting because it’s superior ballistically and its tendency to penetrate deeper, leading to easier kills.

Home Defense

Typically, your average gun owner will load their home defense shotgun with buckshot. 00 Buck seems to be the most commonly talked about but it can depend on tradition, what you’ve been taught and your personal feelings on the matter. Some will put the first shell in their shotgun using something like the #4 shot to be used first followed by heavier loads later, such as #1 buck.  The idea is that at close range, the #4 shot will pack a huge punch, while not blasting through multiple walls.  Larger shot sizes are usually kept handy in case longer shots are needed.  However, this is really up to you so use something that you’re comfortable with and know.  One of the more recent uses of #4 shot in the home defense arena is found in revolvers like the Taurus Judge, which can use #4 shot .410 ammo as an effective personal and home defense cartridge.Brass Cartridge Case

Hunting Use

By far the most common animals hunted with #4 shot are turkey, phesant and geese. The #4 lead is one of the best shot sizes you’ll ever find for medium to large game birds. Lead flies very well and can keep a tight pattern for quite a long range, making it ideal for large birds in flight as well as runners. Patterning your firearms at the range is essential to be an effective bird hunter because until you know your weapon personally, it can be a little questionable at what range you won’t hit, how to adjust the choke and what shell length is going to give you the most bang for your buck.

You will need to do a little research on the area you’re going to hunt in to make sure lead is allowed. Some areas have banned it outright due to potential land and groundwater contamination. On your own property, it’s your call of course but you might want to read up on lead and issues with it just to be informed.

The #4 shot is actually a very good ammo type for varmint control and if you have a large plot of land that tends to attract unwanted visitors like rabbits, squirrels and other small varmint/game species, this will definitely get the job done right.