Slugging it Out: What to Feed Your Rifled Shotgun
Slug Week continues. Today’s topic: hybrid slugs, a category comprised of Lightfield Hybreds, Winchester Rackmasters, various Brenneke* offerings and Remington...
Slug Week continues. Today’s topic: hybrid slugs, a category comprised of Lightfield Hybreds, Winchester Rackmasters, various Brenneke* offerings and Remington Buckhammers. These slugs are all fullbore slugs with attached wads designed to shoot well in rifled barrels.
Idduckhunter asked about Rackmasters, which look like an old-style Foster slug with a wad attached to it. The year they came out, Winchester had a bunch of them at the pre-SHOT Show shooting day along with scoped Browning Gold rifled slug guns sitting in Lead Sleds. There were wooden frames set up at 100 yards with a variety of things to shoot on them: hanging bowling pins and plastic water bottles and some golf balls underneath them. I loaded a Rackmaster into one of the guns, put the crosshairs on a golf ball and pulled the trigger. The ball disappeared so fast I can’t tell you if I hooked it or sliced it, but I bet it went a long way. That is incredibly impressive accuracy (with a little luck mixed in) from a shotgun slug.
While most guns and attached wad slugs don’t deliver consistent minute-of-golf-ball accuracy, Remington’s Buckhammers will reliably put five shots into a little over three inches at 100 yards from a rifled barrel, as will Lightfield Lites, in my experience. The deer in the picture fell to a 20 gauge Buckhammer at 80 yards fired by my younger son, John, then a high school freshman. (The gun is an H&R Ultra Slug Hunter topped with a Bushnell Elite 3200 1.5x-4.5x scope. The Ultra Slug Hunter is a very accurate, very cheap slug gun.)
The 20 gauge Buckhammer slug weighs a full ounce, and this deer did not go far. Once you move past foster slugs into hybrids and sabots, 20s are enough for deer and lighter and less punishing to shoot than 12s. If I were buying a rifled deer gun today it would be a 20 gauge. Not everyone agrees. I once asked Randy Fritz, maker of Tar-Hunt slug guns and consultant for Lightfield, why he felt the need to offer a 3-inch, 1 3/8 ounce slug fullbore attached wad slug at 1900 fps (they have since added a 3 ½-inch slug). He said: “In some parts of the east, you may have a hunter every 70 yards. If your deer runs at all after you hit it, three more people will shoot at it and two will fight you for it. You want a slug that stops deer in their tracks.”
I can’t argue with that. Friday: sabots.
*Brennekes have been around almost as long as the print edition of Field & Stream (1898 vs. 1895). In Europe, “Brenneke” is synomous with “slug” the way “Kleenex” stands for “tissue” here. Ry Guy, they have been imported under the Rottweil name in the past. Now the website is brennekeusa.com