Smooth or Rifled Slug barrel?


December 9, 2003, 11:27 PM
I have a smooth slug barrel for an 870 and an 11-87, with rifle sights. My question is, what is the benefit and/or drawback to getting a rifled barrel? I'm sure it's a little longer distance with the rifled barrel, but with a smaller projectile (sabot). At what distance can you use a rifled barrel? Smooth barrel?

Wouldn't the slugs from a smooth bore (larger slug) hit harder than the smaller sabots?

What are the pros and cons of each? Which do you prefer?


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December 9, 2003, 11:45 PM
Using Lightfield sabots, my Hastings cantilevered barrels consistently group 2" or better at 100 yards. With the 12 gauge BPS, I can get 2" out to 125 yards.

With my smooth bore rifle sight barrels, I get @4" at 50 yards.

I like the sabots, they kill deer just fine.

December 10, 2003, 01:54 AM

Is 4" at 50 yards what you can usually expect from a smoothbore barrel? If that's the case, I can sure see the advantage of the rifled barrels.


Dave McCracken
December 10, 2003, 05:50 AM
Sabots in rifled barrels are oft wondrously accurate.

Bore sized slugs like Forsters and Brennekes have shorter blood trails, better recovery rates and are accurate enough.

My two slug shooters stack the best slug tested under 5" edge to edge at 100 yards. The one with the rifled choke tube may slide in under 4" center to center. Peep sights, good trigger and bench techniques help.

The average harvested whitetail is hit within 45 yards of the shooter. If your shot opps run on the long side, maybe a sabot and fully rifled barrel with scope is a good idea.

Where I hunt is pretty thick, shot opps run short, and my equipment works for this as well as doubling for "Serious" use.


December 10, 2003, 06:28 AM
is the speed of the round

the older type slugs (Remington Sluggers, etc) come out like a pumpkin ball and drop reletively fast. Accuracy can be anywhere from really good to miserable. Shots typically limited to 50 yards as above. Still, I've killed maybe 20 deer with them.

Sabots & rifled....about the same as a .45-70 in terms of ballistics. I hit a moving coyote at 130 yards a few years ago. I have the rifled barrel on my 870 and it's fantastic. I used to use a muzzleloader for extra range, but the shotgun surpases muzzleloader ballistics and gives 5 shots. With the 1,900 fps shells, shots approaching 200 yards might be possible.

December 10, 2003, 11:34 AM
Where can you buy hastings barrels? Are they more accurate than Remington rifled barrels?


December 10, 2003, 12:10 PM
Can bird/buck shot be used in a shotgun equipped with a rifled barrel?

I'm really new to shotguns and would like to set up my dad's old 20g Mossberg 500c for hunting deer in the southeast and using if for home defense.

So far, I know I need to replace the super-long barrel with something shorter, in the 18" range for moving through brush down here, and get better sights. A removeable flashlight mount (maybe quick2see) is also something to look for.

Any help would be most appreciated.

December 10, 2003, 03:08 PM
Can bird/buck shot be used in a shotgun equipped with a rifled barrel?
You can shoot them in a rifled barrel, but the pattern will be horrible. By that, I don't mean "open" similar to a cylinder bore, but horrible as in "an unpredictable pattern with many holes in it". It won't hit where you point, basically.

That's why smooth bores with sights are made-they allow short range deer hunters to use both slugs and buckshot fairly effectively out of the same shotgun.

M. Jager
December 10, 2003, 04:30 PM
If you plan on not shooting past 75 yards are so there is really no advantage to shooting a rifled barrel and sabot slugs. Past 75 yards sabots have a big advantage.

Don't worry about the effectiveness of sabot slugs on deer. While the first sabots on the market (Win BRI, the origenal coppersolids, ect) left alot to be desired in terms of performance, the newer sabots are a new horse altogether. We've shot upwards of 15 deer with the barnes expander sabot loaded by federal and I personally feel they hit alot harder than any foster slug I have seen. My buddy shot a deer last weekend with the platinum tip slugs loaded by Winchester, they are very impressive as well.
Only downfall of sabots is $$$$, not worth it if your shots are close.

December 11, 2003, 06:41 AM
I have multiple barrels for my 870. They swap in less than a minute. Extremely easy. I have a B&L scope in a saddle mount that goes over the receiver. Also mounts in a minute or two.

Hastings barrels are extremely expensive. My Remington works great YMMV

December 11, 2003, 10:45 AM
If you have a mossberg, remember that Mossberg also makes slug barrels of both rifled and cylinder bore variety. They even make one for a Remington 870.


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