Reduced loads for 12ga slugs?


February 1, 2013, 10:19 PM
Well, can it be done?

I saw a guy selling a slug mold today and though it might be fun to brew up some mellow, 800fps slug loads for 50 yard plinking. I have a cheap Winchester pump shotgun that sits unused next to my Beretta semi-auto and thought this might be a good way to get some fun out of it.

Anybody here experiment with low-velocity slugs loads in 12ga?

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February 2, 2013, 12:26 AM
I'm loading to say 1060 ft/sec in 12ga using cast Lyman sabot slugs (525g nominal, 505g actual) and WSF powder. Look at the published velocities for ammo mfgr "tactical/reduced recoil" slug loadings as guidelines for floor velocities.

Since standard slug velocities for that projectile are say 1480 ft/sec, that's a big reduction.

If you go too low you're going to get squib/blooper firings in shotgun, which could then create a bore obstruction for the next shot - very bad news.

I used the Lee Loadall II Charge Table data to guide my experiments
(1.25 oz payload, 3.25 dram equiv loading data).

February 2, 2013, 03:17 AM
Yes, it can- with good results.

I use the lee 7/8th oz slug.

I've used a .31, a .144 and a .155 bushing of unique- they were all VERY soft.

My current load is a .134 bushing of HS-6- and its still more tame than a factory slug- but way faster than 800 fps !

Only "downside" if you will of reduced loads with slugs is they may not give you the pressure you need to have them cycle your semi-auto, if you ever bot 'em mixed up.

I too use the loadall charge tables.

Do you cast your own slugs ? OR have a source for 'em ?

What kind of reloading press ?

I'm heavy into experimental shotgun loading- and would love to bounce any of my notes around if you need 'em !

February 2, 2013, 03:44 AM
df, 2/2/13

I've been experimenting with pre-cast and self-cast slugs for about the last two years and have had my share of successes and failures. First of all take a look at the Ballistic Products website, They have a wealth of supplies for self-loading slugs and have precast slugs for purchase. Also take a look at the shotgun subforum of and All have good info on shotgun slug shooting and if you use the search feature you can get your particular question answered. I use my slug-gun for pig hunting at short ranges (less than 50 yards). After a lot of experimentation and failures I went for a fullbore slug mold from, a 770 grain thumper after replacing my smoothbore barrel on my Rem. 870 with a rifled barrel. It is accurate and works well. Good luck.

best wishes- oldandslow

February 3, 2013, 08:10 AM
Thanks for the replies so far. Much appreciated.

I don't currently reload shotshells so some of this info is over my head. I do, however, have access to shotshell equipment and casting gear and somebody to show me how it all works. Lucky me.

Another question: since these hypothetical loads are to be used in a pump-action only, how low (velocity) can one go? I want to shoot lots of these, so reducing recoil is the main goal.

thanks again

February 3, 2013, 06:15 PM
The big problem with reduced velocity load in 12 ga shotguns is the low pressures. Powders don't like it when you get below 9,000 psi. Typically, you look in the books for 9500-11500 psi. When you drop down to 7/8 or 3/4 oz loads, it's tough to get the pressures up to the 9000 psi mark. At low pressures, you get unburned powder, erratic pressures and velocities and a "whoosh" sound rather than a "pop".

Consider keeping the slugs up at 1 ounce and look for loads using the fastest powders possible such as Clays, Red Dot or Extra Lite. With a heavier load, you will be able to get a lower velocity while keeping the pressures up.

Look at Hickock45's YouTube video where he shoots smoothbore slugs to 230 yards.

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