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Rifled Sabot Slugs: Power, Distance and Accuracy

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July 13, 2012

Rifled Sabot Slugs: Power, Distance and Accuracy

By Phil Bourjaily

Earlier this year I shot my first ever 1-inch, 100 yard group with shotgun slugs.* That it took me until 2012 to achieve that feat is more a reflection on my lack of bench shooting skills than the state of the slug shooting art. The slugs and guns we have today are quite accurate.

The gun I shot the 1-inch group with was a Savage 212, a bolt action with Savage’s excellent Accu trigger. The slugs were Remington Copper Solids which are my go-to slugs when I want to shoot a good group out of almost any gun. I had a Bushnell 3x-9x slug scope mounted on the gun.  I didn’t much care for the 212’s plastic detachable box magazine or its general lack of slickness but the gun is very affordable ($606), has the aforementioned great trigger, and it really, really shoots.

As I mentioned previously, the H&R/NEF Ultra Slug Hunter with a heavy barrel is a very accurate slug gun, as is the gun I shoot, an Ithaca Deerslayer III. I can always get Remington slugs to shoot. Winchester XP3s and Hornady SSTs are quite accurate, as are Federal’s new Trophy Copper slugs.

I have had mixed results with rifled choke tubes. When Browning first introduced its BPS slug gun it came in a choice of fully rifled or rifled choke tube smoothbore model. The choke they designed for it was at least five inches long. With it and BRI slugs I shot a 1 7/8” five shot group at 100 yards. That was back in the early 90s and it was a huge deal to shoot a group like that with a slug gun then. As I remember, that gun and choke tube shot  nothing much worse than 2 ½”. On the other hand, shorter rifled tubes have not delivered groups anything at all like that the few times I have shot them.

Shooting sabot slugs out of a smoothbore is a waste of money. You need rifling spin to help the bullet and the sabots separate cleanly and to stabilize the bullet. Some will go where you shoot them with a smoothbore (in my youthful ignorance I shot a deer with a BRI slug out of my smoothbore Auto 5 at 100 yards and killed it instantly) but others will tumble and fly far wide of your aiming point.

However, when you match the right slug to the right gun, the results are very impressive. The North American Slug Shooting Association holds postal matches for shotgun slug shooters. They shoot five-shot, 100 yard groups from a bench and their record group is .787” made with an 870 with a Hastings rifled barrel, Hastings Laser Accurate slugs and, surprisingly, an Aimpoint red dot.

Realistically, you should be thrilled with any gun and slug that groups under 2 ½” at 100 yards with sabot ammunition and there are many that can do it. Maximum responsible range for sabots lies between 125 and 150 yards, although when the XP3 and SST slugs first came out I shot eight-inch groups with both at 200 yards just to see if it could be done. And, on the right day with a good rest, it can be although I would not recommend 200 yard shots at deer. Nevertheless, since sabot slugs and rifled barrels came along we have doubled the accurate, effective range of the shotgun for deer hunting. That is progress.
 
*Because I cannot tell a lie, it was 1-inch plus about 1/128 of an inch.

 

Comments (29)

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Just remember folks, you heard it here first:

"from WA Mtnhunter wrote 23 hours 25 min ago

Pretty soon we will be entertained by the tale of mildot slug guns scopes and dropping deer at unheard of ranges with 10 gauges necked down to .410 bore."

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from HogBlog wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

One of the most common complaints I've heard from hunters here in the CA Condor Zone is that the lead-free slugs don't knock the game down like they should. In almost every instance, a little questioning brought to light the fact that these animals were shot at ranges in excess of 150 yards. That's too far to be shooting slugs, folks... unless you're shooting paper.

Slugs are designed for short-range hunting, which is why they're approved for hunting in places with high human population density. If hunters and the industry insist on getting high-powered rifle performance out of slug guns (and muzzleloaders as well), then they can also count on seeing more and more places restrict the use of firearms for hunting altogether.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Actually some guy down south, I forget who but you can probably Google and find him, has been making his own long range .410 shells for big game for quite some time. I sort of laughed when I hear about this until I looked over his ballistics and results which were at least as effective as utilizing a .45-70, maybe better. I suppose whatever trips your trigger or it takes all kinds LOL...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

The only complaint I have in regards to sabot slugs is that some of them just don't expand. HORNADY'S SSTs is one of them. they will shoot under 2" at 100 yds from my Mossberg slug gun but some of the deer I have shot showed little or no expansion. I once shot a nice buck just before legal shooting hours were up that ran off like it was not even hit. I searched the cornfield for signs that I had hit it. I found a few drops of blood and some hair. I found the deer the next day and the exit wound was very small so the slug just did not expand. I have had simular cases so I think I will use up all of the ssts I have and try something else.
Hey WA, they already have dedicated slugs scopes. I was a little sceptical , but when I saw one in action I was quite impressed . I can't figure why the Major US gun companies have not put out a .410 rifled bore slug gun, with a new saboted round. Lets face it slugs are not very sleek looking and most are heavy to boot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buckshott00 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

For the money nothing beats the Remington Buckhammer sabots I get mine in 12 gauge 3"mag and consistently kept 4" groups with Iron sites on an old Mossberg 500

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buckshott00 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

amended ** @100yds
*** Lead Buckhammers!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buckshott00 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

amended ** @100yds
*** Lead Buckhammers!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I hunted with a fellow in the early 90's who was big into sabot slugs. He patented the sabot and sold it to the military. His name was Bob Sowash and he was out of Alaska. I hunted with one of his slug guns. Have never seen a more accurate shotgun, before or since.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from coachsjike wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

phil,

is there any truth to using a rifled slug out of a rifled barrel? i thought rifled slugs were for use with the smooth bore only? and sabots for use with a rifled bore only.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michigan Gunner wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

For a smooth bore, give Federal "Truball" slugs a try. Their accuracy is just great. They are much better than anything else I have shot. While I haven't tryed them, they may work in rifled barrels too.

MG

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Yep, those copper solids are some good loads, for sure. Wish I would have purchased more when they like
$5 a box with a $2 rebate!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Shooting rifled slugs in a rifled barrel will lead the barrel very quickly. IMHO, it's not worth doing.

If the cost of sabots are too high, Federal has a lead saboted slug that sells for around $7.00 for 5 rounds.

I know a couple of guys shooting them and they are very accurate out of their guns.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Buckhunter - Bob Sowash is the guy who started the sabot revolution. He bought the patent to the BRI sabot slug, which was originally designed as a door and engine-block penetrator for LE, and developed it as an accurate hunting round and eventually sold out to Winchester. He shot (I think) an H&K Benelli with a fixed rifled barrel and was the first to shoot an MOA group with a slug. He took all kinds of big game with that gun, not just deer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I think the important point and Mr Bourjaily indicated is that slugs were originally intended for close range work. I think its great the effective range has been expanded to 100 yards which is a plus for those who live in shotgun only states for deer hunting.
In NC we can use a rifle, or shotgun with either slugs or buckshot. There are a few areas statewide that are limited to shotgun only for deer due to the proximity to developed areas. In some of those areas, a dual purpose shotgun that can utilize slugs or buckshot is optimal. If I am shooting up to 50 yards where the woods are a little open I will use slugs. If I am in a swamp in a tree stand and I can't shoot more than 25 yards in any direction and the deer may appear and disappear quickly, I'll use buckshot. It is interesting that in a wildlife management area near my house (and because it is within town limits) if one uses a shotgun with slugs, one must be at least 8' elevated in a tree stand. If one uses buckshot, one may hunt from the ground. These restrictions apply in the shotgun only areas. There are a few rifle areas, but the requirement for using a rifle is again at least 8' elevated in a tree stand. So far the system works.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

An interesting and related aside involved the use of slugs by law enforcement. We had to qualify with the shotgun with both slugs and buckshot.
Buckshot was used at 15 to 25 yards, while slugs were shot at 25 and 50 yards.
The point of this aside is that it was not difficult to keep all our shots in the 8" chest area with slugs from 25 to 50 yards. This is using smoothbore police cruiser shotguns including Mossberg 500's, Ithaca 37's (ouch), and Remingto 870's, all using standard 1" Foster slugs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

@ Phil Bourjaily,
I want to make sure I am reading your article correctly. Can you shoot saboted slugs out of a smoothbore with a rifled choke? I have some but have never shot them out of my shotgun because they say "rifled barrel only".
I do have a rifled choke but it is not a long as the one you describe. I have shot the Trueballs through it with acceptable accuracy @ 50yds but always wanted to see if the sabots would do better. Thank you for the great series of articles on slugs!
-chuckles

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from vatxhunter wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I use the 12ga Buckhammers and get tennis ball size groups at 100 yards iron sights. love em

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Phil, I thought you would chime in with more information on Bob Sowash. I never knew him directly, just a friend of a friend who came my home to deer hunt for the week.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

JohnR, maybe its not much different, but I've found the Ithaca 37 to be better handling than the Mossberg 500 with everything(mostly deer slugs), but that could be because I have never liked the Mossberg. My only experience with a rifled slug barrel and sabots has been with my father's Beretta Pintail and Lightfield slugs. That combo grouped well and I killed a doe at 120 yards (I measured) with a complete double lung pass through. It's a nice shotgun, but it's certainly not what I've been used to these 37 years. It feels different and I'm not yet at ease with this thing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Chuckles -- check with the choke maker, but I would say yes, you can shoot rifled slugs from a rifled choke. I have, but did not get slugs to shoot well. Your results may differ.

Try both Winchester Rackmasters and Brenneke K.O.s in your smoothbore -- maybe with an IC choke screwed in.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Otter62 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I have been shooting a Marlin Slugmaster with Lightfield 2 3/4" sabots for about 17 yrs. I get great groups when sighting in and those Lightfield hollow points put the deer down like "right now!" I have tried the Hornady SSTs also, Great groups on paper but they don't drop deer with the authority of Lightfield HPs.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Otter62 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Make that 15 yrs. The gun also has a Leupold shotgun scope 1-4x on it. Followed a recommendation on the gun and slugs from a F&S article. Has kept venison in the freezer and on the grill!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Phil
Thank you for the reply. I will check with Carlson and see what they say. I don't shoot slugs enough to invest in a rifled barrel model(right now) but I do believe the best plan is a flexible plan so I wanted to see how my 20ga would shoot them.
Most of the time I use my muzzleloader in the shotgun zone here in MN. I have always thought about picking up one of the Savages and may do so one of these days. Thanks again.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I'll give you 3 thumbs up and a razzmatazzon for you expose` on slugs the past week. I live in Ohio which is a slugs only state and the info will proove to invaluable especially to those who are just beginning to hunt.
Hey, OTTER I have had the same results with ssts and I think I am going back to lightfield slugs so thanks for the headup

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Ah, those good old trailblazing days. I remember the still black and white hunting magazines featuring Bob Sowash and his Benelli Super 90 with E.R. Shaw rifled barrel and BRI sabot slugs. Holes on paper so clean they look like they were made by a puncher.

E.R. Shaw and Hastings were among the early rifled barrel makers. The E.R. Shaw was custom fitted to your gun by E.R. Shaw. The Hastings was the aftermarket barrel for the DIY set.

The High Standard pump was a popular base for a rifled slug shotgun then, because it was, well, inexpensive, and the way the receiver mates with the barrel results in a tight fit. No play, greater accuracy.

Winchester licensing the BRI diabolo (wasp-waisted) sabot slug, then Federal coming out with its own diabolo slug. Remington countering with its 4-petal copper solid. Brenneke introducing slugs specific to rifled barrels (but still looking very similar to its classic smoothbore slug). Then came the Lightfield Hybred, establishing its reputation on the Cadillac (or Ferrari) of rifled slug guns, the Tar-Hunt bolt action. Now we're talking about one-hole groups.

Rifled barrels for the Model 870 with "cantilever" scope mounts. Ithaca rifling its Deerslayer. Browning joining the fray with a rifled shotgun A-bolt. Marlin adapting its goose gun for slug duty.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejirish wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

At the Ohio farm where I have hunted deer for 30+ years, we have a "turkey shoot" the Sunday of deer week using slug guns of all types and slug ammunition. We have had to use micrometers to judge winners in a silver dollar size dot at 50 yards off a bench. It isn't necessarily what your shooting, it's how well you know your gun and where it shoots that wins!

PS: I really appreciate and enjoy your show and column!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from John Sucharski wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

I owned and shot a Savage 3 shot bolt for 10 years or so. I believe it was the 210 when it first came out. After extensive work, had it been cryo treated, bedded, added the rear pillar, installed a custom trigger (before the Accutrigger), and many other crazy modifications ,the gun shot 5/8" center to center groups all day.

Used Winchester Premium Gold sabots which shot the best of anything out at the time. If I owned a rifled slug gun that shot anything less than 1" to 1 1/4" it would have been gone the next day. I built rifled shotguns for years as a gunsmith. I lived in a shotgun county and it was all we had.

So for years we searched for accurate slug guns. The new sabots and rifled barrels changed the slug gun as we know it. If you have a gun that will shoot 4" groups and it's the best you can do Junk it. Try different sabots, if it's a auto loader or pump, pin the barrel. Use it only for slugs and mount the scope to the receiver.

The new bolt action rifled slug guns are capable of minute of angle groups out of the box. With work they can out shoot many rifles !

Most shotgun counties by me were decided long before population was a factor. My particular area has since changed to rifles.

Over the years we shot countless cases of any new sabots as they were developed and the gun and the sabot make a world of difference. Try different sabots and you'll should be able to come up with much better groups

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gritz wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Nobody mentioned the cost of these god forsaken rounds. I bought an 870 a few years back to hunt in a shotgun only area. I got it with a rifled barrel and scope in 20 gauge. Thought it was a handy little gun. Then I went to get some ammo for it and a 5 round box cost 15 dollars. I thought maybe the store just had a really high mark up. I could not believe that this was a real price that real people pay. Then I went online and the cheapest I could find it was 12 dollars from any brand selling Sabot ammo. That is over 2 dollars a round. I can put together lightning fast superbalistic 30-06 ammo for little more than 50 cents a round. This shot gun cost me almost 50 dollars just to get the scope zeroed in at 50 yards (zeroed in being a loose term as it was a 5 inch group. And unfortunately I bought about 4 brands of ammo to see which grouped tighter. They all grouped about the same, but in different parts of the target. Because of the recoil and slow velocity my grip changed POI depending upon the powder and wt. I thought I was going to let my nephew use this gun for his first hunting season but when the time came I couldn't afford to let him practice with it. I will stick to regular old slugs slugs in my Deerslayer thank you very much.
Funny story: 2 months after I purchased this gun the regulations changed to allow rifled hunting in my area so I just use my 06 anyways. Anyone interested in an 870 out there???

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I was over at the range yesterday trying out some lightfield exp slugs. Since I had some bad expiriences with the slugs I was using I decided to switch back to the ones I used years ago. (lightfields) The ohio gun season starts Monday. They work very well for me. one hole group at 50 yds with 5 shots. 100 yds 2 1/2 inches
I have found though, that when buying slugs no matter which one you use always try to buy as many as you can from the same "LOT NUMBER" BECAUSE SOME SLUGS CAN VARY GREATLY FROM LOT TO LOT

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Just remember folks, you heard it here first:

"from WA Mtnhunter wrote 23 hours 25 min ago

Pretty soon we will be entertained by the tale of mildot slug guns scopes and dropping deer at unheard of ranges with 10 gauges necked down to .410 bore."

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from HogBlog wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

One of the most common complaints I've heard from hunters here in the CA Condor Zone is that the lead-free slugs don't knock the game down like they should. In almost every instance, a little questioning brought to light the fact that these animals were shot at ranges in excess of 150 yards. That's too far to be shooting slugs, folks... unless you're shooting paper.

Slugs are designed for short-range hunting, which is why they're approved for hunting in places with high human population density. If hunters and the industry insist on getting high-powered rifle performance out of slug guns (and muzzleloaders as well), then they can also count on seeing more and more places restrict the use of firearms for hunting altogether.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Otter62 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I have been shooting a Marlin Slugmaster with Lightfield 2 3/4" sabots for about 17 yrs. I get great groups when sighting in and those Lightfield hollow points put the deer down like "right now!" I have tried the Hornady SSTs also, Great groups on paper but they don't drop deer with the authority of Lightfield HPs.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

The only complaint I have in regards to sabot slugs is that some of them just don't expand. HORNADY'S SSTs is one of them. they will shoot under 2" at 100 yds from my Mossberg slug gun but some of the deer I have shot showed little or no expansion. I once shot a nice buck just before legal shooting hours were up that ran off like it was not even hit. I searched the cornfield for signs that I had hit it. I found a few drops of blood and some hair. I found the deer the next day and the exit wound was very small so the slug just did not expand. I have had simular cases so I think I will use up all of the ssts I have and try something else.
Hey WA, they already have dedicated slugs scopes. I was a little sceptical , but when I saw one in action I was quite impressed . I can't figure why the Major US gun companies have not put out a .410 rifled bore slug gun, with a new saboted round. Lets face it slugs are not very sleek looking and most are heavy to boot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Shooting rifled slugs in a rifled barrel will lead the barrel very quickly. IMHO, it's not worth doing.

If the cost of sabots are too high, Federal has a lead saboted slug that sells for around $7.00 for 5 rounds.

I know a couple of guys shooting them and they are very accurate out of their guns.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

JohnR, maybe its not much different, but I've found the Ithaca 37 to be better handling than the Mossberg 500 with everything(mostly deer slugs), but that could be because I have never liked the Mossberg. My only experience with a rifled slug barrel and sabots has been with my father's Beretta Pintail and Lightfield slugs. That combo grouped well and I killed a doe at 120 yards (I measured) with a complete double lung pass through. It's a nice shotgun, but it's certainly not what I've been used to these 37 years. It feels different and I'm not yet at ease with this thing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Actually some guy down south, I forget who but you can probably Google and find him, has been making his own long range .410 shells for big game for quite some time. I sort of laughed when I hear about this until I looked over his ballistics and results which were at least as effective as utilizing a .45-70, maybe better. I suppose whatever trips your trigger or it takes all kinds LOL...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buckshott00 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

For the money nothing beats the Remington Buckhammer sabots I get mine in 12 gauge 3"mag and consistently kept 4" groups with Iron sites on an old Mossberg 500

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buckshott00 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

amended ** @100yds
*** Lead Buckhammers!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buckshott00 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

amended ** @100yds
*** Lead Buckhammers!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I hunted with a fellow in the early 90's who was big into sabot slugs. He patented the sabot and sold it to the military. His name was Bob Sowash and he was out of Alaska. I hunted with one of his slug guns. Have never seen a more accurate shotgun, before or since.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from coachsjike wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

phil,

is there any truth to using a rifled slug out of a rifled barrel? i thought rifled slugs were for use with the smooth bore only? and sabots for use with a rifled bore only.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michigan Gunner wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

For a smooth bore, give Federal "Truball" slugs a try. Their accuracy is just great. They are much better than anything else I have shot. While I haven't tryed them, they may work in rifled barrels too.

MG

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Yep, those copper solids are some good loads, for sure. Wish I would have purchased more when they like
$5 a box with a $2 rebate!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Buckhunter - Bob Sowash is the guy who started the sabot revolution. He bought the patent to the BRI sabot slug, which was originally designed as a door and engine-block penetrator for LE, and developed it as an accurate hunting round and eventually sold out to Winchester. He shot (I think) an H&K Benelli with a fixed rifled barrel and was the first to shoot an MOA group with a slug. He took all kinds of big game with that gun, not just deer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I think the important point and Mr Bourjaily indicated is that slugs were originally intended for close range work. I think its great the effective range has been expanded to 100 yards which is a plus for those who live in shotgun only states for deer hunting.
In NC we can use a rifle, or shotgun with either slugs or buckshot. There are a few areas statewide that are limited to shotgun only for deer due to the proximity to developed areas. In some of those areas, a dual purpose shotgun that can utilize slugs or buckshot is optimal. If I am shooting up to 50 yards where the woods are a little open I will use slugs. If I am in a swamp in a tree stand and I can't shoot more than 25 yards in any direction and the deer may appear and disappear quickly, I'll use buckshot. It is interesting that in a wildlife management area near my house (and because it is within town limits) if one uses a shotgun with slugs, one must be at least 8' elevated in a tree stand. If one uses buckshot, one may hunt from the ground. These restrictions apply in the shotgun only areas. There are a few rifle areas, but the requirement for using a rifle is again at least 8' elevated in a tree stand. So far the system works.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

An interesting and related aside involved the use of slugs by law enforcement. We had to qualify with the shotgun with both slugs and buckshot.
Buckshot was used at 15 to 25 yards, while slugs were shot at 25 and 50 yards.
The point of this aside is that it was not difficult to keep all our shots in the 8" chest area with slugs from 25 to 50 yards. This is using smoothbore police cruiser shotguns including Mossberg 500's, Ithaca 37's (ouch), and Remingto 870's, all using standard 1" Foster slugs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

@ Phil Bourjaily,
I want to make sure I am reading your article correctly. Can you shoot saboted slugs out of a smoothbore with a rifled choke? I have some but have never shot them out of my shotgun because they say "rifled barrel only".
I do have a rifled choke but it is not a long as the one you describe. I have shot the Trueballs through it with acceptable accuracy @ 50yds but always wanted to see if the sabots would do better. Thank you for the great series of articles on slugs!
-chuckles

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from vatxhunter wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I use the 12ga Buckhammers and get tennis ball size groups at 100 yards iron sights. love em

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Phil, I thought you would chime in with more information on Bob Sowash. I never knew him directly, just a friend of a friend who came my home to deer hunt for the week.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Chuckles -- check with the choke maker, but I would say yes, you can shoot rifled slugs from a rifled choke. I have, but did not get slugs to shoot well. Your results may differ.

Try both Winchester Rackmasters and Brenneke K.O.s in your smoothbore -- maybe with an IC choke screwed in.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Otter62 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Make that 15 yrs. The gun also has a Leupold shotgun scope 1-4x on it. Followed a recommendation on the gun and slugs from a F&S article. Has kept venison in the freezer and on the grill!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Phil
Thank you for the reply. I will check with Carlson and see what they say. I don't shoot slugs enough to invest in a rifled barrel model(right now) but I do believe the best plan is a flexible plan so I wanted to see how my 20ga would shoot them.
Most of the time I use my muzzleloader in the shotgun zone here in MN. I have always thought about picking up one of the Savages and may do so one of these days. Thanks again.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I'll give you 3 thumbs up and a razzmatazzon for you expose` on slugs the past week. I live in Ohio which is a slugs only state and the info will proove to invaluable especially to those who are just beginning to hunt.
Hey, OTTER I have had the same results with ssts and I think I am going back to lightfield slugs so thanks for the headup

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Ah, those good old trailblazing days. I remember the still black and white hunting magazines featuring Bob Sowash and his Benelli Super 90 with E.R. Shaw rifled barrel and BRI sabot slugs. Holes on paper so clean they look like they were made by a puncher.

E.R. Shaw and Hastings were among the early rifled barrel makers. The E.R. Shaw was custom fitted to your gun by E.R. Shaw. The Hastings was the aftermarket barrel for the DIY set.

The High Standard pump was a popular base for a rifled slug shotgun then, because it was, well, inexpensive, and the way the receiver mates with the barrel results in a tight fit. No play, greater accuracy.

Winchester licensing the BRI diabolo (wasp-waisted) sabot slug, then Federal coming out with its own diabolo slug. Remington countering with its 4-petal copper solid. Brenneke introducing slugs specific to rifled barrels (but still looking very similar to its classic smoothbore slug). Then came the Lightfield Hybred, establishing its reputation on the Cadillac (or Ferrari) of rifled slug guns, the Tar-Hunt bolt action. Now we're talking about one-hole groups.

Rifled barrels for the Model 870 with "cantilever" scope mounts. Ithaca rifling its Deerslayer. Browning joining the fray with a rifled shotgun A-bolt. Marlin adapting its goose gun for slug duty.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejirish wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

At the Ohio farm where I have hunted deer for 30+ years, we have a "turkey shoot" the Sunday of deer week using slug guns of all types and slug ammunition. We have had to use micrometers to judge winners in a silver dollar size dot at 50 yards off a bench. It isn't necessarily what your shooting, it's how well you know your gun and where it shoots that wins!

PS: I really appreciate and enjoy your show and column!!

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from John Sucharski wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

I owned and shot a Savage 3 shot bolt for 10 years or so. I believe it was the 210 when it first came out. After extensive work, had it been cryo treated, bedded, added the rear pillar, installed a custom trigger (before the Accutrigger), and many other crazy modifications ,the gun shot 5/8" center to center groups all day.

Used Winchester Premium Gold sabots which shot the best of anything out at the time. If I owned a rifled slug gun that shot anything less than 1" to 1 1/4" it would have been gone the next day. I built rifled shotguns for years as a gunsmith. I lived in a shotgun county and it was all we had.

So for years we searched for accurate slug guns. The new sabots and rifled barrels changed the slug gun as we know it. If you have a gun that will shoot 4" groups and it's the best you can do Junk it. Try different sabots, if it's a auto loader or pump, pin the barrel. Use it only for slugs and mount the scope to the receiver.

The new bolt action rifled slug guns are capable of minute of angle groups out of the box. With work they can out shoot many rifles !

Most shotgun counties by me were decided long before population was a factor. My particular area has since changed to rifles.

Over the years we shot countless cases of any new sabots as they were developed and the gun and the sabot make a world of difference. Try different sabots and you'll should be able to come up with much better groups

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from Gritz wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Nobody mentioned the cost of these god forsaken rounds. I bought an 870 a few years back to hunt in a shotgun only area. I got it with a rifled barrel and scope in 20 gauge. Thought it was a handy little gun. Then I went to get some ammo for it and a 5 round box cost 15 dollars. I thought maybe the store just had a really high mark up. I could not believe that this was a real price that real people pay. Then I went online and the cheapest I could find it was 12 dollars from any brand selling Sabot ammo. That is over 2 dollars a round. I can put together lightning fast superbalistic 30-06 ammo for little more than 50 cents a round. This shot gun cost me almost 50 dollars just to get the scope zeroed in at 50 yards (zeroed in being a loose term as it was a 5 inch group. And unfortunately I bought about 4 brands of ammo to see which grouped tighter. They all grouped about the same, but in different parts of the target. Because of the recoil and slow velocity my grip changed POI depending upon the powder and wt. I thought I was going to let my nephew use this gun for his first hunting season but when the time came I couldn't afford to let him practice with it. I will stick to regular old slugs slugs in my Deerslayer thank you very much.
Funny story: 2 months after I purchased this gun the regulations changed to allow rifled hunting in my area so I just use my 06 anyways. Anyone interested in an 870 out there???

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I was over at the range yesterday trying out some lightfield exp slugs. Since I had some bad expiriences with the slugs I was using I decided to switch back to the ones I used years ago. (lightfields) The ohio gun season starts Monday. They work very well for me. one hole group at 50 yds with 5 shots. 100 yds 2 1/2 inches
I have found though, that when buying slugs no matter which one you use always try to buy as many as you can from the same "LOT NUMBER" BECAUSE SOME SLUGS CAN VARY GREATLY FROM LOT TO LOT

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