slugs through choke


March 1, 2011, 10:16 PM
I recently bought my first shotgun, an 870. I first assumed that shooting a slug through a choke would be a very bad idea. My 870 came with a mod choke, so I did some searches, and everyone seems to say that it's fine to shoot a slug through that choke.

Still unsure, I opened up a shell and took out the slug. I then removed the choke and slowly slid the slug through it, starting at the threaded end. Predictably, the slug got stuck once the tube constricted, so I had to push it back out through the threaded side.

Are you of the opinion that, despite my little experiment, it is still 100% safe and not harmful to the shotgun/choke tube to fire a slug? Would the lead slug compress and lengthen in order to fit through the choke?

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March 1, 2011, 10:20 PM
yep... its safe.

the choke will swage down the slug as it goes through.

March 1, 2011, 10:22 PM
I generally use IC chokes. Do it all the time in both my mossy 50@ and my cva optima elite. Yes, the lead compresses. Hell, try to push a .308 round through a .308 win... Aint gonna go easy. How else are they going to get 12k psi out of your shotgun?

March 1, 2011, 10:24 PM
I use Remington Super Sluggers. They're designed to run through any chokes, even full. I shoot them out of my Mossberg 500 with a 30" full choke barrel and can hit 10" circles at 100 yards with just the bead sight. Kicks like a mule, though.

Jeff F
March 1, 2011, 10:56 PM
I shoot them through a modified tube in my 870. Mine patterns buckshot the best with the modified tube and slugs do fine out to 50-75 yards. If your just shooting slugs, foster or sabot I suggest trying one of the rifled choke tubes in your 870.

March 2, 2011, 08:07 PM
Suggest you don't use the following in anything other than i.c.: Lyman sabot slugs, BRI sabot slugs (they break in the middle going through full choke.
Most other slugs are vastly undersize and the choke don't mean nothing....Brennekes are designed with tall ribs to center them in the choke and swage down while going through. Federal Truballs are the best I've found so far but am having some really good results with Nobel Strike slugs also.

March 3, 2011, 01:13 AM
Another slug designed for smoothbores less restrictive chokes are the US-S
slugs by ECU in Greece. In modern smooth barrels, not paper thin,
they shoot as accurate at 50-70yds as slugs/sabots made for rifled
barrels. They make 570gr, 700gr, 900 gr. The base stays on untill
impact, but petals discard like on a sabot. In picture the ones
with green base.All 12ga slug/sabots in picture, some of what
we've tested at high speeds.Ed

March 3, 2011, 05:31 PM
Forster type rifled slugs were invented in the 1930's.
At that point in time, an awful lot of shotguns were Full choke with very thin muzzles, like the Winchester Model 97 & Model 12..

The slugs did no damage to those guns, so there is no possible way they will hurt a modern steel-shot rated Remington 870!

As has already been stated, they are soft lead and will conform to the barrel & choke, no matter what degree of choke it is.

Those "rifling" vanes on the slugs is to give excess lead a place to go if it has too.
They have nothing to do with spinning the slug to stabilize it!


March 4, 2011, 12:35 AM
great, thanks for calming my fears guys! :-D

March 4, 2011, 08:40 PM
The Foster style slugs cannot possibly harm any choke other than possibly a vastly undersized turkey choke as they mike way, way under any common full choke barrel out there for a particular gauge. Shooting Fosters would be like tossing a ping pong ball down a piece of drain pipe (I'm exxagerating, here) but a lifetime of playing with slugs (I have several moulds and have tried most Foster, sabot, and "brenneke types out there) showed me that shooting a Foster type would leave various lead smears in various non-concentric or sequential on the inside of the barrel as they bounced their way down.
That said, there are barrels that shoot them quite well. Some way beyond what one would believe if you didn't see it. Right now I'm having very good luck with the 12 and 20 Lyman sabot slugs in several rifled barrels and one skeet barrel.
If I had to shoot an unrifled barrel and use Foster style slugs, the best out there today from the factory is the Federal Tru Ball.

March 4, 2011, 09:09 PM
My experience with the foster type slugs is that a modified choke gives the best accuracy.

March 5, 2011, 12:27 AM
Hollow Foster slugs expand to bore diameter, they don't "bounce their way down". :)
Expand as necessary on firing & traveling through the barrel, swage down as necessary on passing through the choke.


March 5, 2011, 02:15 AM
A couple hundred of the cheap Winchester 1oz "rifled" slugs went through my full-choked Rem 870 before I thought to change the choke. No discernible damage to anything, choke or barrel or shotgun. With just a front fiber optic bead, they all flew into ~4" at 100yds-- I'm sure I could do better if I had a scope mounted. It actually makes me wonder which choke gives the best accuracy for them "rifled" slugs, though I haven't shot too many since I bought my '06...

March 5, 2011, 12:55 PM
Beg to differ on the Fosters "expanding as necessary". They are not minies and the hollow base is not exposed to the expanding gasses as that of a minie ball. As loaded, Fosters have at least a 1/2" felt and a couple of hard card wads below the base cavity specifically to protect the hollow base. One problem in the earlier years was unbalance due to wads beng blown into the cavity. The skirts are so thin that they would likely blow out if they were exposed to the gasses. We've seen this on some of the thin walled minies. The original intent of the hollow base was for them to fly point forward much as a shuttlecock. The rifling does not cause them to spin, either. It was to provide some compressible area to get through the tighter chokes.
If they did expand to fit the bore, why did Federal have to invent the truball wad to, as they say, "keep them centered in the bore?"

March 5, 2011, 03:15 PM
Slug shells differ in composition. In cutting down three just now, a 12-gauge Winchester had a card wad resting against the slug's skirt. A 20-gauge Remington and a .410 Remington both had large quantities of grex between the slug and the wad.

No direct exposure in them to the burning gasses, but pressure's still exerted against the soft skirt, and some deformation/expansion is to be expected.

Card wads were the same diameters as the slugs.

If an undersized slug and (by extension) an undersized wad actually did "rattle down the bore" without expansion, you'd be seeing a sizable loss of efficiency/velocity due to blowby as gases bypassed the slug because of a poor seal with the barrel's walls.

Foster slugs can also vary in wall configuration. The 12-gauge Winchester slug has angled walls for more of a tapered conical shape than a straight-walled profile. Without expansion, I can see this one wobbling a bit through the bore.

The two Remington slugs with grex filling their cavities are more of a straightwalled configuration.

In the past, when working with a .410 shotgun, I dissected two different brand slugs & found two different slug diameters, both of which were well under the cylinder bore diameter of the gun.
Without at least SOME expansion, both would have been grossly inefficient in bore travel. Wads can play a part, but...

In the case of the Remington 20 & .410 slugs just cut open, I'd suspect the grex being forced into the slug cavities by the wad card pushing along behind would perform something of a similar function to expanding gases in a Minie ball.
With direct-contact wads, pressure from behind the wad forcing it hard against the slug skirt would have some effect on the soft lead; it doesn't take much energy to begin to compress the base of such a slug, and when you do that you're as likely to get outward expansion as inward collapse.

In a cylinder bore "choke", if there was no expansion, accuracy would also be highly variable, since there'd be no way to consistently ensure that the position of successive slugs would be centered on exiting. One might be "bouncing" off the left wall on exit, the next might be bouncing off the right wall on exiting, and so on.

And, I'm aware the rifling isn't there to create projectile spin. :)

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