A modern shotgun slug is a heavy lead or copper-covered lead projectile, with or without a plastic tip, that may have pre-cut rifling and that is intended for use in a shotgun and often used for hunting large game. The first effective modern shotgun slug was introduced by Wilhelm Brenneke inand his design remains in use today. Most shotgun slugs are designed to be fired through a choked smoothbore barrel ; they must be self-stabilizing in the absence of rifling.
Earlier types of slugs were also used in 4 bore guns intended for hunting dangerous African game in the 19th Century. Such 4 bore guns were produced in both rifled and non-rifled versions. Similarly, modern shotguns have been produced with rifled barrels, or rifled choke tubes, and slugs designed to be fired from them use spin stabilization.
As these specialized shotguns are far more accurate than a smoothbore gun, they also usually have a mount for an optical sight, such as a scope. Many of these slugs are saboted sub-caliber projectiles, resulting in greatly improved external ballistics performance.
Some less lethal shotgun ammunition is available in the form of slugs made of low-density material, such as rubber. See shotgun specialty ammunition for more information. A shotgun slug is typically far more massive than a rifle bullet. One common. Shotgun slugs are used to provide rifle-like performance, but not range, from a shotgun, by firing a single large projectile rather than a large number of smaller ones.
In many populated areas, hunters are restricted to shotguns even for medium to large game, such as deer, due to concerns about the range of modern rifle bullets. In such cases a slug will provide a longer range than a load of buckshotwhich traditionally was used at ranges up to approximately 25 yards Less lethal slugs are often used as the main ammunition for police riot shotguns.
This allows the officer the ability to use the shotgun as a reasonable substitute for a rifle at medium ranges. The shotgun allows the operator to quickly eject a chambered buckshot cartridge and replace it with a less-lethal cartridge such as a bean bag roundinstead of being required to unload the magazine as with most rifles or handguns, allowing the officer to adapt to changing situations in switching between lethal or a less lethal ammunition for the same firearm.
The mass of a shotgun slug projectile is always kept under the mass limit of the maximum recommended SAAMI pressure limited shot loads in any given shotgun shell load design. The internal pressure of the shotshell load will actually be slightly higher than the equivalent mass slug projectile load, due to an increased resistance that occurs from a phenomenon known as shot setback.
Slightly heavier slugs have been manufactured and sold, and are safe, being held within SAAMI limits, but are rarely used as they generate more recoil than most shooters will accept. Shotgun slugs 12 gauge achieve typical velocities of approximately fps for 1-oz.
In contrast, a. However, a shotgun slug sheds velocity more quickly than a spitzer bullet fired in a rifle. At yards, a shotgun slug will have slowed significantly, whereas a spitzer bullet will still retain much of the velocity that it had at 25 yards.
Shotgun slugs thus are best suited for uses over shorter ranges than rifle bullets. However, for hunting in built-up populated areas, shotgun slugs are considerably safer than rifles, with maximum ranges typically under yards, in comparison to maximum ranges of over 3. The earliest shotgun slugs were just lead balls, of just under the bore diameter, allowing them to pass through the barrel. Often called "pumpkin balls", "punkin balls", or "pumpkin nuts", these slugs had very poor accuracy and were only effective at very close range, where they could be relied on to hit the target in a vital area.
In essence, they enabled a shotgun to become the equivalent of a musket. Later types of slugs, such as the Brenneke design, use a weight-based design and fins to provide spin stability together with the ability to easily compress and pass through a choked barrel. These can be fired through a smoothbore barrel with reasonable accuracy, and significantly extend the effective range of a shotgun slug.
The latest improvement is the saboted slug fired from a rifled shotgun barrel. The saboted slug and rifled barrel combination provides even greater accuracy than the rifled slugs, and the slugs themselves are more aerodynamic, providing more range and a flatter trajectory. The Brenneke slug was developed by the German gun and ammunition designer Wilhelm Brenneke — in The first shotgun "slugs" were probably round, lead "pumpkin balls.
Unfortunately, the accuracy of a lead ball fired from a smooth bore barrel is pretty sad. Hitting the target is problematical and precise bullet placement is nearly impossible except at very close range. Also, a lead ball has a very poor sectional density SDand consequently poor penetration. There had to be a better way. The answer, of course, was the rifled barrel. Imparting spin to a projectile to stabilize its flight was a quantum improvement in accuracy.
Rifled barrels also made possible the conical bullet, and later the familiar spitzer pointed bullets used by most hunters today. But demand remained for some sort of solid projectile that could be fired from a smoothbore gun and used on medium game like deer.
Some one-gun families did not own, and could not afford to buy, a rifle. What was needed was an improvement on the lead ball, both in terms of accuracy and penetration. The eventual solution to this problem was the Foster "rifled" slug. This is a short, blunt lead bullet that is solid in front and hollow in the rear, analogous to a badminton bird. And, like a shuttlecock, it is its weight forward balance that allows the Foster slug to fly through the air to its target with reasonable accuracy.
Compared to lead balls, this was a big improvement in both accuracy and SD. Heavy external "rifling" was cast into these Foster type slugs, allegedly to allow the air they flew through to impart a slow spin that would help stabilize the slug. Like most something for nothing schemes, the rifling proved ineffective, but it did provide some space for some compression if the slug had to squeeze through a tight choke.
The name "rifled slug" stuck and is still in widespread use today. Rifled slugs are offered by most of the major ammunition makers in a variety of shotgun gauges, including 12, 16, 20, and. They used to be made under bore diameter to allow safe passage through any degree of choke, from full to cylinder. Cylinder bore guns are usually recommended for shooting slugs, but in some cases a full or modified choke barrel will give better accuracy with the undersize slugs.
This may not always hold true these days, however, as Remington advertises that their "Slugger" rifled slugs are made oversize for better sealing against the barrel wall and superior accuracy. Compared to rifle bullets, whose diameter is held to very strict tolerances, Foster type slugs are made to rather haphazard dimensions that vary from one manufacturer to another.
The use of slugs is best confined to single barrel shotguns, either single shot or repeaters. Double guns tend to crossfire with slugs due to the regulation of the barrels.
An occasional example will do better, and some do worse. Their effective deer hunting range is limted by their accuracy, but the slug itself is dangerous to other hunters at far greater distances, an important point to keep in mind. Compared to practically any big game rifle bullet, rifled slugs are not very accurate. They are a short range yard or less proposition at best.
The ballistic coefficient BC and sectional density of rifled slugs is pretty pitiful.Five years ago I began hunting deer almost exclusively with gauge shotgun slugs. Although centerfire rifles are legal arms where I live, the woods where I hunted were typically incredibly thick, limiting visibility to 50 yards or less.
Any shot taken at a game animal in such an environment would likely be at very close range and would have to be taken fairly quickly. Not only is the fast-handling nature of a shotgun useful while hunting in thick brush, but the massive, game-dropping tissue trauma produced by a. Being an avid handloader, I soon began researching the options available for constructing my own custom slug loads at home.
After a great deal of trial and error, I determined that I could easily manufacture my own slug loads without investing in more than an inexpensive shotshell reloading press, powder measuring equipment, and some components.
I even found that some of my best slug loads incorporated the exact same type of fold crimp used to close a typical trap load and that there was no need to make use of specialized roll crimping tools.
Above: The tools and materials needed to handload shotgun slugs. Safety note: Unlike metallic cartridge handloading where a certain degree of substitution of components is acceptable, load data must be followed to the letter when handloading shotshells.
My research indicates that such seemingly minor substations can result in dangerous pressure spikes upon firing.
Perhaps the most economical way to shoot a lot of slugs is to start from scratch and cast slugs from one of the molds manufactured by Lyman or Lee.
These slugs are designed to use a standard trap wad as a carrier and to sit inside a common trap hull. While they are technically designed for use in rifled barrels, I have had exceptional results firing them through smooth bores. Most loads can be closed with a standard fold crimp. If using previously fired shotshell hulls, first inspect each one for defects or signs of excessive wear. Additionally, primer pockets should be cleaned and the mouth of the hull flared open to allow wads and slugs to by easily placed inside the hull.
If factory new, primed hulls are being used, this step may be skipped. Using the priming station of the reloading press, insert a primer into the hull. Using a powder scale and trickler or a quality powder measuredole out the appropriate amount of powder and charge the hull. Assembling a good slug load has more in common with assembling a rifle round than it does with making a trap load. Factory loaded examples of plumbata slugs include numerous offerings from Brenekke such as the tried and true K.
Loading these slugs is an incredibly simple process. Once the appropriate hull has been prepared, primed and charged in accordance with reputable load data, firmly seat the slug atop the powder and crimp closed with a fold or roll crimp depending on which crimp type is specified by the load data.
Some recipes may call for additional gas seals or filler wads to be added prior to seating the slug, but numerous recipes exist that require only a charged hull, the one piece slug, and a basic fold crimp. Such loads can be very accurate. Foster slugs are hollow-based, lead slugs that are common in such inexpensive factory loads as the Remington Slugger.
The design dates back to the s and was a vast improvement over the round ball shotgun slug loads that were previously common among shotgun wielding big game hunters.
The do-it-yourselfer can manufacture his or her own Foster slug loads either by casting them from a mold made by Lyman, or by purchasing pre-made slugs from a retailer such as Ballistic Products.
While most Foster slug loads call for a roll crimp, there are a number of Foster loads that can be closed with a fold crimp. While the loading procedure for foster slugs is similar to that of the sabot slugs and plumbata slugs outlined above, Foster loads typically incorporate multiple wad components including plastic gas seals as well as fiber and cardboard spacer wads.
Above: A 1-ounce Lyman Foster slug atop its gas seal and spacer wads. I have found that the hull mouth can be widened slightly by inserting a powder funnel and rotating the hull a dozen or turns.
Care should be taken not to use too much force and damage the hull. Saving money by handloading slugs is fine exercise but ultimately useless if the final product does not yield reasonably accurate groups. The five-shot, 50 yard group was yielded by handloaded DGS slugs fired though my Benelli Nova with ghost ring sights. While shotguns do tend to be a bit particular when it comes to what slugs they will shoot accurately, with a little bit of experimentation, the handloader can produce loads that will yield exceptional accuracy.
What follows is a basic guide to assembling shotgun slug loads at home. Tools and materials required Reputable load data Single stage shotshell reloading press Powder scale and trickler Slugs, powder, primers, hulls, gas seals, and wads as specified by load data Above: The tools and materials needed to handload shotgun slugs.These rifling grooves were mostly cosmetic, as they did not really impart much spin to the slug at all as it went through the barrel.
A recent video was done that shows that the rifled slugs do indeed have some rotation, but it is very little and probably does not actually do much regarding accuracy. The manufacturers of the slugs could not know for sure what choke would be used by the customer, so they put these grooves on the slugs to allow them to swedge through any normal choke. Some other types of rifled slugs, like Brenneke slugs, have a solid slug with a lighter-weight base that was attached to the slug.
This method worked in the same manner. But with the advent of rifled slug barrels, manufacturers developed a sabot type slug. A sabot slug has a solid slug encased in a removable sabot that will be spun by the rifling in the barrel and then separate from the slug after it leaves the barrel.
2 3/4" Slugs
The slug will continue on without the sabot and continue to spin for stabilization. This results in much more accuracy for the shooter of the sabot slugs. But our question today is: Can these sabot slugs be effectively shot through a smooth bore shotgun?
First, we will shoot some sabot slugs through a rifled barrel. My friend Vern has a Remington with a rifled barrel and a scope. We will be shooting at 50 yards today. Some folks use these shotguns for much longer shots, but this is a more reasonable range for best accuracy.
That adds up quickly and I imagine not too many folks are willing to do a lot of target practice with them. But notice this. Not as good as the Remington in this rifle, but remember that rifled shotgun barrels have preferences for certain brands of shells. Looks like about an 8 inch group these are marked with trianglesalmost as good as the rifled barrel.
A bead-only sight, which is very common on shotgun barrels, is not conducive to precision marksmanship. I honestly believe I could have shrunk these groups in the smooth bore, if I had rifle sights or a scope.
They were actually found behind the target, indicating that they stayed on the slugs all the way to the target at 50 yards. I told him it might deposit lead in the rifling, but he said we could clean it up when we got home. Small group or big group? I have a 20ga. The barrel is smooth bore with mod choke. I feel this is a very good shell. Never tried any sabot slugs. That is what I was interested in finding out. I would like to have seen the Lyman gr. I, myself, shoot these out of a smoothbore, and have shot figure 8 two shot holes pretty consistantly at 30 yards.
I will be doing longer range testing when the weather breaks. Thanks again for your extremely well done articles. Thanks a lot for this very useful step-by-step explanation. I was just about to buy some sabot slugs for a smooth bore shooting and your article has saved me tons of money.
As long as a rifled barrel shotguns are forbidden here in Russia, we usually use smoothbore barrels with a regular full bore slugs for a cylinder bore and subcaliber slugs can be called a kind of a sabot ones for barrels with chokes. My best result with these both types is a 2 inch group in 55 yards 50 meters with a bench rest and iron sights through my Fabarm XLR 12 ga.A shotgun also known as a scattergun,  or historically as a fowling piece is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shotor a solid projectile called a slug.
Shotguns come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 5. A shotgun was originally a smoothbore firearm, which means that the inside of the barrel is not rifled but later rifled shotgun barrels and slugs become available. Preceding smoothbore firearms, such as the musketwere widely used by armies in the 18th century.
The direct ancestor to the shotgun, the blunderbusswas also used in a similar variety of roles from self-defense to riot control. It was often used by cavalry troops because of its generally shorter length and ease of use, as well as by coachmen for its substantial power. In the 19th century, however, these weapons were largely replaced on the battlefield with breechloading rifled firearms, which were more accurate over longer ranges.
The military value of shotguns was rediscovered in the First World Warwhen American forces used gauge pump action shotguns in close-quarters trench fighting to great effect. Since then, it has been used in a variety of roles in civilianlaw enforcementand military applications. The shot pellets from a shotgun spread upon leaving the barrel, and the power of the burning charge is divided among the pellets, which means that the energy of any one ball of shot is fairly low.
In a hunting context, this makes shotguns useful primarily for hunting birds and other small game. However, in a military or law enforcement context, the large number of projectiles makes the shotgun useful as a close quarters combat weapon or a defensive weapon. Militants or insurgents may use shotguns in asymmetric engagementsas shotguns are commonly owned civilian weapons in many countries. Shotguns are also used for target shooting sports such as skeettrapand sporting clays.
These involve shooting clay disks, known as clay pigeonsthrown in various ways. Shotguns come in a wide variety of forms, from very small up to massive punt gunsand in nearly every type of firearm operating mechanism. The common characteristics that make a shotgun unique center on the requirements of firing shot. These features are the features typical of a shotgun shellnamely a relatively short, wide cartridge, with straight walls, and operating at a relatively low pressure.
Ammunition for shotguns is referred to in the US as shotgun shells, shotshells, or just shells when it is not likely to be confused with artillery shells. The term cartridges is standard usage in the United Kingdom. The shot is usually fired from a smoothbore barrel; another configuration is the rifled slug barrelwhich fires more accurate solitary projectiles. The typical use of a shotgun is against small and fast moving targets, often while in the air.
The spreading of the shot allows the user to point the shotgun close to the target, rather than having to aim precisely as in the case of a single projectile. The disadvantages of shot are limited range and limited penetration of the shot, which is why shotguns are used at short ranges, and typically against smaller targets. Larger shot sizes, up to the extreme case of the single projectile slug load, result in increased penetration, but at the expense of fewer projectiles and lower probability of hitting the target.
Aside from the most common use against small, fast moving targets, the shotgun has several advantages when used against still targets. First, it has enormous stopping power at short range, more than nearly all handguns and many rifles.
Though many believe the shotgun is a great firearm for inexperienced shooters, the truth is, at close range, the spread of shot is not very large at all, and competency in aiming is still required.Take the proven performance of our super-accurate patented bullet and transform your favorite rifled barrel slug gun into a firearm that outperforms some centerfire rifles.
Find a Retailer. On impact, the Flex Tip initiates expansion at all velocities.
I needed an accurate slug for, and even yard shots on Whitetailed deer. I took a couple boxes of 20 gauge sst slugs to our local range and the slugs touched each other on a two shot group…. Gain a deep knowledge of ballistic science and access our improved ballistic calculator.
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True shock and awe contained in this shellI love it. I bought these Truball slugs based on reviews I had previously read.