Ammo for rifled barrel vs smooth barrel


September 25, 2004, 11:32 PM
Before today, I only owned a handgun and a rifle.

Today I bought 2 shotguns!

I got a 12 gauge Mossberg 500 with a 24" rifled barrel at the local Walmart for $199. Later in the day I also picked myself up a 20 gauge Remington 870 Express with a 20" rifled barrel from Gander Mountain for $299. BOTH have a rifled barrel.

So while I'm at the Walmart making my first purchase, I pickup a pack of shotgun shells for the Mossy 12 I bought. I got a pack of Remington Buckhammer 12 gauge 2-3/4" 1.25oz lead slugs. On the side of these I notice it says "Caution: These shells must not be used in guns having Damascus or twist barrels." ... I don't know what that means.

Later in the day when I make the purchase of the 870 20 gauge, the sales guy starts to tell me that I have to use "Sabot" slugs if I have a rifled barrel or I run the risk of the barrel exploding! :| I went along with what he said and purchased some Lightfield Hybred Exp 20 Gauge 2-3/4" 7/8oz slugs for my new 870.

After my purchases, I call up my local gun nut friend and he proceeds to tell me that any old slugs will do just fine as long as the gauge and length are correct for my barrel. He seemed to think the rifling didn't matter as long as I was using a slug. My local gun nut buddy told me though that if I want to shoot any sort of "shot" that I should get a smooth barrel for each and only use my current rifled barrels for slug shooting.

I'm writing here because I have no clue who is right... I'm new to shotguns and I don't want to blow my face off or hurt my new guns either!

Can someone please fill me in on what kind of rounds can safely and effectivly be used in a rifled barrel vs a smooth barrel?

If this is a duplicate post I appologize, I did do a search first.

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September 26, 2004, 12:44 AM
Your rifled barrels were designed to shoot sabot slugs only.

While I don't believe there is a danger of blowing the guns up by using a standard type slug or shot rounds, the rifled barrel is not made to use anything but the sabot slugs.

The twist steel/damascus reference relates to early firearms made around the turn of the last century . No modern firearms uses this type of barrel construction.

For bird shot or standard (foster style) slugs you will need to have smooth bore barrels.

September 26, 2004, 01:07 AM
Okay thanks. I guess I shouldn't use the 12 gauge slugs I already bought then? I'll head out tomorrow and look for some 12 gauge sabots and just use sabots with these barrels from now on then.

I wish my owners manuals, or product boxes or SOMETHING would have told me I have to use this "sabot" ammo. I've been all through everything for both gun and neither said anything about it.

Anyway... I'm going to need to get some smooth bore barrels.

September 26, 2004, 01:11 AM
You could also try the Rottweil Brenneke rifled slugs - these are designated for both smoothbore and rifled barrels. They may or may not give you good accuracy (rifled barrels are as bad as .22's when it comes to ammo "pickiness"), but they should be safe enough to shoot.

Certainly, if you want to fire birdshot or buckshot, you'll need a smoothbore barrel to do it.

September 26, 2004, 01:55 AM
Hmm... interestingly enough I looked at the box again for the Remington slugs that I mentioned in my post above. They are NOT sabots ... but I found small print on the top of the box saying "These slugs are designed for optimum performance in fully rifled barrels and in barrels with rifled choke tubes."

So I guess it doesn't have to be a sabot then?

That's how this has been the whole way along, just about the time I think I got it figured out, I get thrown for a loop.

September 26, 2004, 05:05 AM
Hello again !

You made me go look at my stash of Remington forster type slugs which I have in 12 and 20 ga. The ones I have do not carry that reference on the box.

So - perhaps Remington has since re-designed there slugs for rifled barrels. Perhaps they put out a non-foster type slug seperate from the sabot rounds that I am not aware of - which is very possible .

In either case the rifled barrel was intended to shoot rounds that did not have their own rifling built into the slug design. The standard smooth bore slug has a rifled skirt that when expanded into the smooth bore helps the slug spin . (foster type)

The sabot round has the plastic case around the slug - it is this case that grabs the rifling in the rifled barrel to creat the spin.

September 26, 2004, 07:30 AM
The "rifling" on the slug does not spin the slug, it's their for other reasons . It's there to compensate for different barrel dimensions so a tight barrel doesn't split.You may use slugs or sabot slugs in the barrels ,they're designed for it. The difference is ballistics ,velocity, sectional density,weight. You can even shoot shot out of a rifled barrel however the shot column is spinning an gives a wide poor pattern. Check different slugs for accuracy and pick the one that's most accurate.

September 26, 2004, 02:08 PM
Qoute: "Mossberg® 12 gauge fully rifled barrels have a 1 in 36" right-hand twist Intent on providing the ultimate in slug shooting accuracy and after extensive testing of barrels and ammunition, Mossberg® began producing "fully rifled" shotgun barrels in concert with distributing newly engineered "Sabot" style slug ammunition. Shortly thereafter, the major ammunition manufacturers began producing their own "Sabot" style slugs specifically for the rifled barrels, while scope manufacturers designed optics to withstand the recoil of a shotgun. A combination of innovative products from within the firearms industry was the dramatic response to shooters' demands for long range shotgun accuracy. The results were dramatic, taking the average bushel basket group at 50 yards, to 3" groups at 100 yards.. Complimenting features like improved rifle-style sights, integral scope bases and Dual-Comb® stocks were developed specifically for the new slug guns. While Sabot-style slugs perform best in fully rifled barrels, traditional Rifled Slugs have also improved immensely, and are recommended for smooth bore barrels."

Maybe the above information off the Mossberg site will help clarify the issue.

The question as to what ammunition rifled slug barrels are designed to shoot is fairly clearly answered in their statement. Because you can fire foster style slugs & or shot in these barrels without blowing them up is a moot point. They are designed to shoot sabot slugs .

The foster type rifled slug recommended for smooth bore use is rifled to both help stablize the slug in flight and compensate for different chokes to allow less deformation of the slug when fired in fuller choked barrels. Although this type slug depends on a heavy front section to stabelize it (like a badminten projectile) the reason why they are rifled instead of straight fluted is an attempt to get whatever spin they can in the smoothbore barrel.

September 26, 2004, 02:14 PM
You can even shoot shot out of a rifled barrel however the shot column is spinning an gives a wide poor pattern.

Doesn't the rifling also shear off chunks of the soft lead of which the shot is composed, which accumulates until it is basically a "smoothbore" and must be cleaned?

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