Sabot slugs vs. Rifled slugs


November 10, 2013, 08:01 PM
What are everyones thoughts/opinions on this subject? I've been using rifled slugs for the past two years now. Last year it was brenneke K.O. slugs, but I can't seem to find them this year, so it has been Win Super X foster slugs. Both shoot right to the beads of my 20" field barrel on my Mossberg 500. I do have a rifled barrel for the shotgun as well, I've had it since 1994. However seeing as how a person has to dang near take a second mortgage out on their home just to afford sabot ammo I haven't used it in a long time.

The last couple of years I haven't felt disadvantged in the least with the smooth bore. My shots have been 50yd and under as I hunt some heavily forreseted areas. I also like having the versatility of the smooth bore as I can shoot bird shot, buckshot, or slugs from the same barrel. So what are the thoughts of the memebers here on this subject?

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November 10, 2013, 08:33 PM
Sabots through a rifled barrel will increase the accuracy and range of your gun. I dont think there is much debate there. Whether or not buying a rifled barrel is worth the cost would depend on your situation, in my opinion. I think the first thing I'd do to upgrade the shootability of a shotgun with slugs would be to add either rifle sights or a scope mount. I guess there are guys that say they can shoot just as well with just the bead, but I think most shooters would benefit from a more precise sight picture. If I was deer hunting a big corn field and limited to a shotgun, I'd be tempted to justify the sabot/rifled barrel route. If, however, as you mention, you'll be inside of 50 yards.... the deer wont know the difference as long as you do your part.

November 11, 2013, 12:38 PM
I like smoothbore slugs. I don't have to change barrels, and if anything needs killing outside of 100 yards, i own rifles.

BEing able to switch from buckshot to slug on the fly is invaluable for social work. For hunting at or inside 100 yards...deer won't care.

November 11, 2013, 03:24 PM
That is the my current take to meanmustard. Plus I really love Brenneke slugs which IMHO out class any sabot out there. I just really like the versatility that the smooth bore offers. It is also nice that the 20" field barrel I purchased last year shoots slugs right to the beads.

November 11, 2013, 05:46 PM
In spite of some "experts" telling me of the horrors of leading, I shoot both Brennekes and Nobel Strike slugs from my rifled barrels. A letter from Brenneke years ago encouraged me to try it. Work great. Groups almost as good as the four buck each slugs. Federal tru balls also shoot well.
Never had any luck with Fosters from rifled barrels. Lyman sabot slugs and plastic wads work well.
I figure I have cast, loaded, and fired 2500 Lyman fosters, Lee "key drive", and Lyman sabot slogs in 12 and 20 gauge since the sixties. I had an original Ithaca deerslayer that shot fosters well, an auto5 that shot Brennekes almost like a rifle, and a few other smooth bore and rifled shotguns.
What I have learned is that they all seem to have a preference for one or two specific loads. Also that about 25 shots per session is about all my nearly seventy year old shoulder will take from the bench these days.

November 11, 2013, 06:30 PM
Have you considered loading your own? BPI offers a number of slugs that can go down a rifled or smooth barrel. I've had great results with the Guilandi Dangerous Game Slug they sell.

I've also had good results with home cast Lyman sabots from both a smooth bore and through a rifled choke tube. The sabot for them is just a AA or similar wad depending upon your recipe.

November 11, 2013, 09:25 PM
I have been giving some consideration on the Thug Slug offering.

November 12, 2013, 07:34 AM
Sluggers are good, and they've grouped well enough (2 moa) at 100 that I'm using my shotgun for deer when our season opens this Saturday. This is obviously benched accuracy, with an optic, with cool down time for the barrel AND my shoulder. I figure, why not get the most use out of my tactical/HD shotgun if it groups this well?

I must say, however, that I'm dually impressed with Federal Tru Ball slugs. They're just so hard for me to find locally. If I could, thatd be my go to slug, and at $4.99 wherever they CAN be found, what's not to like?

November 12, 2013, 07:56 AM
Federal TruBall's are all over the place here in Ohio.

November 12, 2013, 08:25 AM
Federal TruBall's are all over the place here in Ohio.
Count yourself lucky.

If I can't get them $4.99 within nominal driving range, I'm not paying consumer commodity shipping. Not when 15 Sluggers are $12 at Walmart. But, like I said, Tru Balls are the poo.

November 12, 2013, 01:18 PM
I've just run 30 rds of Remington Slugger 20 ga forster slugs through my 1100 and while the barrel leading was easy enough to remove, there's a very tenacious, silver powder residue that is a real biotch to clean from the gas cylinder area... any advice?

Thanks in advance.

November 12, 2013, 02:08 PM
My experience, growing up in a shotgun only area and now having returned is that slugs and buck are hard to find outside these areas. I use to have to take slugs BACK from MI to have them in ID/CO/NM etc. And truthfully, I had rifles and wanted to use rifles in those areas. I've had a deerslayer since the mid 70's. Smoothbore 12 ga. Nice gun. I got caught in the inline/muzzle loader/sabot spree feeling sorry for myself with a side lock round ball only front stuffer, and only smoothbore shotguns. Finally updated/augmented the shotgun to a Mossberg 500 combo w cantilever rifled barrel. Now I can go poor like everybody else at 3 to 5 bucks a pop!. I resisted this for almost 20 years but the waterfowl/steel shot issue more drove the "new shotgun" then the rifled barrel.

Now that I've used the rifled '500 since 2010, I can't say I needed it for deer. The Deerslayer still does fine, as do foster slugs. That 500 with Hornady SST's is a hammer to 200 yards, and I get expansion still at 200 on a water filled milk jug. No deer that far yet. It is very accurate. Likely more accurate than most Rem 141's in 35 Rem at 100 yards and holding it's own at 200. So, if my hunting were all done on paper, that rifled barrel and sabot slugs would be a great improvement. Since its still in the woods and fields of Michigan, not so much.

November 12, 2013, 02:40 PM
On whitetails and slugs. I think the foster slug is good for whitetails. Monster whtietails and Mulies, maybe not. Even in 12 ga you get to shot angles that don't exit when not a picture book broadside. A brenneke is a lot more slug. Hollowpointing fosters I think has turned out to be the worst idea ever. You don't need a 3/4 in hunk to expand further. They tend to turn into rings or broken rings/slabs of lead with no "backing" (also know as section density) and stop penetrating. I think a non hollowpointed foster is a better foster than a hollowpointed one for whitetails on a greater number of shot angles. My opinion of this is from 25 years of deer check stations and hearing lots of hunters stories of distance, angle and load, going back to just after the HP Fosters were offered.

Stories on other slug designs gathered from the same sources: The BRI slug (especially in the slower loadings once WIN started offering it) lack stopping power and "drill through" without showing a sign of a hit by the deer. The deer run a long way. No idea if the newer (10+ years?) ones with a HP change this. Sabot slugs: approach 30-30/35 Rem trajectory but less effective killers than 12 ga fosters. This is especially true as some designs, despite hype (like Win since leaving the "300gn HP/45-70 bullet in a sabot) show NO expansion in gel tests, milk jugs or does. Remington copper solids and Federals with Barnes had great results but the Fed/Barnes are now out of production. Hornady SST's (300gn Flex Tips) are either Thor's hammer or drilling through with no expansion; but mostly Thor's hammer. Guys along the MI/OH and MI/IN line seem to be in love with Hastings and Remington Buckhammers. Hastings went under, and Remington stopped the Buckhammers (likely due to a patent infringement issue).

On Brenneke KO's. I still have some, loaded in a white tube/semi visible shell that are a FOSTER design. I got them 20 years ago, and they were sold for much of the 90's. These were great shooting FOSTER slugs, loaded in the US when the original style still were imported.

November 12, 2013, 02:40 PM
Sabots are a waste within 100 yards.

They have better trajectory and ballistic coefficient and will be better beyond that, but are still going to be low velocity rifles with a rainbow trajectory that keeps you within 300 yards, and likely much less for humane hunting where you don't get lots of time to dial in the range.
The foster and brenneke slugs do more damage within their range and you only really benefit from sabots at longer ranges

Spin stabilized sabots designed for a relatively uniform rifled bore diameter are going to certainly be better than typical foster slugs made undersized to fit through chokes of various diameters which get deformed on firing and then rely on drag stabilization over the deformed slug to be accurate.

If you wanted to make the most of a smoothbore you would use slugs that are actually the bore diameter. But few places sell slugs that would destroy a gun if put through a more constrictive choke and play it safe by making them undersized.
That is why ironically you often get slightly better accuracy from a mild choke than no choke, when no choke would be most accurate with a full bore diameter projectile.

If you can use a bead to shoot then you are probably within a range that a sabot would be a waste.

November 12, 2013, 03:27 PM
Final thoughts on shotguns and slugs from personal use only. I've had two Ithica deerslayers. One the normal Model 37 pump with 20 in barrel (there was also a 24 in) and the other a Model 66 singleshot (it had a lever like a "cowboy rifle" and straight grip stock. 22 in smoothbore barrel). Both deerslayer had a special bored barrel according to Ithica for a tighter fit (this is full length from forcing cone to muzzle, NOT a "choke").
With foster slugs, Winchester 1 oz take the accuracy prize. This was literally true back in the 70's and 80s, but with the exact same guns, Remington sluggers in both 7/8ths oz and 1 oz seem to be as good over the last 15 years.

Fosters and smoothbores seem to run into a "wall" at 75 yards. Groups go to pot past 75 yards. Up to 75 yards or there bouts, groups are directly, arithmetically proportional. Past 75 yards they increase with the square of the distance.

A Mossberg 500 cantilever barrel with Hornady SST's and a 2.5 X Scope shoots like a bolt gun at 100 yards. Kills about the same as a foster slug. It is the solution for old eyes and irons.

Front bead sights. With a .410 bolt and Winchester slugs, I could keep them on the shell box (2.5in x 2.5in) to 50 yards. Everyone. Every time. I solved farther energy or ethical issues by the Model 37 12 gauge...

Handloaded Lyman cast fosters. Unique makes a great practice slug load. Nothing roll crimps like a paper case. I'd grab every paper Federal Champion case I could scrounge solely for 12 ga Foster slug reloads. Paper cases roll crimp like butter compared to plastic but are good for only 2 reloads.

You have one geezers lifetime accumulated slug and shotgun knowledge. Use it well.

November 12, 2013, 06:13 PM
I jumped into shooting sabots in '89 when Mossberg was the first major manufacturer to offer a cantilever rifled barrel. Put a first gen Aimpoint 1000 on it, and shot pre-Winchester BRI 12 gauge sabots. Even then they were expensive. The buck I shot that year is still one of my favorite stalks.

Now I shoot a 20 gauge 870 rifled cantilever, and roll my own sabots with .44 and .45 caliber pistol bullets, cheap Clay Buster wads, and inexpensive MMP sabots made for .58 and .54 caliber muzzleloaders which I paper-patch to bring the diameter up to my barrel's bore dimensions. My practice ammo (cast lead wad cutters) is about 40 cents a shot, and my hunting ammo (with premium jacketed bullets big fan of Hornady XTPs) runs about 60 cents.

Performance is basically identical to a modern .45-70 rifle. And since I load my own, I also shoot a lot of subsonic plinking ammo that barley kicks at all. It's actually less expensive than loading .45 ACP, since I can get shotgun hulls for nothing, the MMP sabots are only like 10 cents each, and the Clay Buster wade is 5 cents (IIRC) in bulk. I don't need the expensive brass case.

They're kinda tedious to load, and I'm still experimenting with techniques, but it's been a lot of fun and I have the time to dink around with it.

November 12, 2013, 06:20 PM
I bagged my first deer back in 1993 with a Win Hi Impact BRI sabot, at the shot she dropped. I know that is but only one example but it did fine for me that day. The last time I used the rifled barrel i was sick of lugging my 7mm Mangelum around. I used the Win Platinum Tip slug, I ended up taking a nice spike horn at 70yd. At the shot the deer hit the snow so fast that I thought I missed him. So I know that the sabots are effective. Anymore though I don't just don't think they are worth the what they cost. Especially not when I figured out that my average shot so far on deer have been right around 55 yards.

I do agree with you though artee about the foster slugs. I think they are fine for deer under most circumstances. However given the option I'd take a Brenneke over the run of the mill foster slug any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Unfortunatley though they have been hard to come by as of late.

Zoogster, anymore all slugs as sold by the big three are full bore. They can be used safely in guns choked IC to full, folks were doing it for years. However usually the best results are had with either cylinder bore or IC chokes.

November 12, 2013, 06:34 PM
On my Mossberg 500, I have a 28" single bead barrel for flying things. I have a 24" cantilever barrel with screw in chokes for turkey and slugs. Xtrafull choke for turkey and rifled choke for slugs. I have only used cheap Super-X slugs in it, but it cut my groups in half.

I went from that 28", smoothbore, fixed modified choke, single bead, shooting 8 inch groups at 75 yards to 24" cantilever, rifled choke, red dot, shooting 3 inch groups.

November 12, 2013, 08:35 PM
I did some slug shooting today. Most of the slug guns I have had were not pie plate accurate beyond 50 yards, rifled or sabot. But today I tested a 1187 with a rifled slug barrel. With Winchester foster slugs and sabot slugs it easily in an inch at 25 yards for about 15 rounds.
With Federal Sabot the poi was 2inches higher and did not group as well. Federal fosters were between the two groups. The conclusion is that some rifled barrels with some slugs are pretty accurate, 4 MOA at 100 yards.

November 13, 2013, 05:39 AM
I'm very interested to see how Ddupleks slugs perform on a large game animal. I really can't imagine anything getting hit with one and getting back up.

November 14, 2013, 12:52 PM
I'm very interested to see how Ddupleks slugs perform on a large game animal. I really can't imagine anything getting hit with one and getting back up.
Who makes these?

November 14, 2013, 05:30 PM
I like my sabots, my Mossberg shoots the Hornady's very well, I can hold it to a smidge over 2" at a hundred from most field positions. I've got a compact 2.5power scope on it, it feels about perfect to me. All things considered it's not punishing to shoot. I Generally pick up the slugs through the year when I see em on sale, about 10 bucks a box. To me it's pretty practical to be able to put the cross hairs on target and be able to hit it.

November 14, 2013, 06:17 PM

every deer I've shot has been with these

November 14, 2013, 10:17 PM
Who makes these?

Not sure you can get them anymore, as they are foreign and Eric Holder may have decided they aren't sporting. I know the 410 ones were banned because of the 410 handguns available (would be considered armor piercing).

November 14, 2013, 10:35 PM
I started using my 20" Ithaca model 87 in 1988. I tried a variety of slugs and settled for 2 3/4" BRI sabots ( before Win bought them out). These had no hollow point and I made the longest shot ever at 95 paces. Can't remember why I switched but it was probably accuracy as the solids seem to run the best in my gun.

I've tried these over the years. (

I now use Rem copper solids and have for quite a few years.
Year in & out I get these 100 yd 2 shot groups (cost). (

November 15, 2013, 07:43 AM

Not sure you can get them anymore, as they are foreign and Eric Holder may have decided they aren't sporting. I know the 410 ones were banned because of the 410 handguns available (would be considered armor piercing).
Thanks for the info.

November 15, 2013, 09:17 AM
Ddupleks are still being imported from Latvia by Century Arms. Century has 200 round minimum order on ammo so I haven't yet been able to stock up.

November 15, 2013, 10:26 AM
Ddupleks are still being imported from Latvia by Century Arms. Century has 200 round minimum order on ammo so I haven't yet been able to stock up.
Also good info.

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