December 1, 2003, 01:04 AM
Will a modified choke barrel deform/compress a 12ga slug or is it okay for slugs?
December 1, 2003, 01:09 AM
Sabot slugs: Not really
Most other type of slugs shoot best from IC choke but they should be safe even in Full or Modified Cylinder bores.
December 1, 2003, 05:45 AM
A modern shotgun will handle slugs. Whether or not they'll be accurate cannot be predicted. Try some and see.
Stay away for the sabots for a smoothbore.This is Forster and Brenekke country.
December 5, 2003, 01:28 PM
Before switching to a fully rifled Hastings Paradox and sabot slugs, I used a factory 30-inch barrel with modified choke on my 870 Wingmaster.
Slugs were always Federal Classic rifled slugs. I used the 1 1/4 3-inch mags and they were complete overkill, but were accurate.
I later used the Federal Classic 2 3/4 in 1 ounce. Killed deer just fine. Most of my shots were within 50 yards.
In nearly all cases, sabot slugs are for fully rifled barres. Rifled slugs are for smooth barrels.
Here is an article from the Sioux City Journal outdoors section a few years back.
Fine tune that shotgun before deer season
By Mike Koehler
Journal staff writer
There still is time to transform that bird-blasting scattergun into an accurate deer slayer.
Rifled barrels and optics options can turn a shotgun into an effective medium range deer hunting weapon.
The key to a successful deer hunting season is preseason preparation. Many hunters simply pick up a few boxes of slugs a couple of days before the season, blast away at some pumpkins or improvised target and call it good. While this may work, there is a better way -- slug gun accuracy.
A few years ago I upgraded my Remington 870 Wingmaster Magnum from a 30-inch smooth-bore pheasant and duck workhorse into a serious deer hunting tool. I started with a Hastings Paradox 24-inch fully rifled barrel with a cantilever scope mount. This type of scope mount allows the removal of the barrel and it will stay sighted in. This is a big plus when shooting expensive sabot slugs.
I then installed a Tasco World Class 1.75x to 5x shotgun scope. The low power setting should be used while walking because the wide field of view is better for running deer. But when a buck is a ways out, I can increase the power to pick a better shot. Newer red-dot scopes or the Bushnell Holosight area also an option, but they do rely on batteries. Those new fiber-optic turkey sights will also help smooth-bore slug hunters aim their barrel on a deer.
After experimenting over the last four seasons with different sabot slugs, I now use the Federal Barnes Expander copper sabot slug. It is accurate, hits hard and expands rapidly. Barnes developed the slug, and Federal provided a way to deliver it on target. The slug is packed in a plastic wad that catches the rifling in the barrel and then opens and falls away in flight. The spinning slug then travels toward its target.
Last year's 230 pound plus southeast Minnesota buck went 15 yards and was dead on his feet as I shot him facing me about 30 yards way through extremely thick cover in a deep ravine. I recovered the slug in the pelvis of the deer. It had gone through the front of the chest, took out a major artery, a lung, the liver and then went along the skin and curved back into the pelvis. See the included photo for the massive mushroom effect of the slug.
The ammunition manufacturers offer ballistics tables to figure the amount of drop, but remember, that was their gun and sometimes they use a 30-inch rifled barrel.
I have taken numerous deer with a smooth-bore slug gun and it worked just fine. My first deer was a running doe that was more than 100 yards away. As I lobbed slugs, my father called out where they were hitting in a few inches of snow. He could see the dirt from the field on the white snow at the site of impact. The last slug hit the doe broadside in the chest and it went down quickly.
Traditional slugs are absolutely devastating within 50 yards. However, they are lose their energy quickly because they are not very efficient in flight.
A few years later, dad and another partner drove an unsuspecting buck toward me in a snow-covered cornfield. It was back home in southeastern Minnesota at the point of a triangular field where two wooded ravines meet. The deer came so close I had to make an antler sign on my head and pointed to my dad to stop as snow fell off the corn stalks in a line straight toward me.
I shot a very nice six-point corn-fed buck at about three yards off the end of the 30-inch barrel with a Federal Classic 3-inch mag 1.25 ounce powerhouse. The deer didn't know what hit it until it was blown two rows farther into the field by the massive impact of the 3-inch mag slug. My shoulder was sore too.
Federal Classic 2 3/4-inch slugs were chosen for this test because 3-inchers are overkill. A two- and three-quarter inch slug 12-gauge slug works just fine on deer. The trick is to know where it hits at different ranges so you can adjust for drop on a deer in the field.
At the range
A few weeks ago, I went up the new shooting range in Oyens with Nate Tullis, a Journal copy editor. Let's get something straight -- shooting slugs from a rest in a T-shirt is not exactly fun. I'd rather do this with my .223 single shot varmint rifle. Slugs really kick, and my recoil pad is minimal. The soreness took a few days to go away. I used a sand bag to rest the gun but no rear rest for the stock.
I started out with the 2 3/4-inch Federal classics at 50 yards. The first two shots were a little low but about two inches apart underneath the bull's eye and the third one was about five inches lower than the other two. This six-inch group (center of holes) with a plain vent ribbed barrel would be more than enough to drop a deer at 50 yards. Shots can be taken at longer ranges but you must put in the range time to determine how much they drop at 100 yards out of your shotgun.
After walking off the beating from the Classics, I swapped barrels and put one Federal Barnes Expander down range. It was three inches high as I sighted it in to be one inch high at 100 yards last year. This was a mistake because my deer last year was only 30 yards away and I had to compensate. Without making any windage adjustments, I cranked the scope down about six to eight clicks and put one slug about an inch to the right of center. Without making any other adjustments, I shot again and placed the slug about a third inch higher and shared a hole with the other slug. That's right folks, shared holes with two slugs. This means you can pick the heart on your buck and place a slug into it at 50 yards and beyond. The combination of sabot slugs and a rifled barrel has allowed me to shoot good three-shot groups of just over three inches at 100 yards in the past.
The next target produced a nice two-inch group at 50 yards with no other scope adjustments made and one called pulled shot. No excuses here, I pulled the shot after getting beat up by the slugs.
When the weather cools down, I head back out to the range in a nice thick jacket and set up a target at 75 yards to zero the scope. This will mean shots of a few inches low at 100 yards and a tad high at 50 yards.
There is plenty of time to turn that bird gun into an accurate deer slayer. Those bolt-action slug shotguns made by Savage, Mossberg and Browning are also an option if you must have extreme accuracy with sabot slugs out of a rifled barrel.
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