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Casting and Loading Shotgun Slugs

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by mleeber, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. mleeber

    mleeber Active Member

    With the price of lead going nuts I have started collecting wheel weights and other lead items. The gun club has purchased a Litteton shot maker and I have access to it so that I can make shot. My shotgun activity will primarily be 3-Gun although I may thow in an occasional Dove or Quail hunt. I have yet to shoot a 3-gun match but have built an 1100 to compete with. So now...I am investigating the cheapest way to produce 12GA slug rounds. I see that both Lee and Lyman make Foster molds and Lyman makes a Sabot mold. I am going to shoot whatever I load out of a 20" Remington 1100 Special Field with a Briley Modified (blue) screw in choke that extends the barrel length about an inch. My questions are:
    1 Which is better for a smooth bore barrel, the Foster or the Sabot?
    2 How will a slug react when going thru the choke?
    3 I am loading 7/8oz shot loads and have good results on the trap field (and it conserves lead), is a 7/8oz slug acceptable or should I go with the 1oz?
    4 My shot loads are loaded with Clays, I would ideally like to be able to find a load using the same powder for slugs.

    I would really appreciate some guidance here, I am an accomplished metalic reloader but am new to the scattergun stuff. I have a MEC Sizemaster and have had good success loading shot but I really don't want to waste time loading slugs if they are not going to be accurate enough to compete with in a 3-gun course of fire.

  2. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    I cast both the Lee key slug and the Lyman sabot. Of the two for your uses, I would defineteley go with the lee 7/8 ouncer. It kicks less, and in your game, fast follow up shots are a must. The Lyman weighs almost 1 3/16th ounces, as such it will kick a lot harder.

    Actually the lee is a type of sabot, it goes inside a plastic shot cup, the shot cup acting like a sabot. Also they can be fold crimped, a roll crimp is no longer necessary. Actually a roll crimp can only be put on a new shell, a once fired folded crimp shell will not take a roll crimp.

    I don't know if clays is usable for the lee slugs. The molds come with loading data, I've lost mine so that's no help. As for accuracy, what kind of ranges are you going to be shooting at?

    A better choke to use would be an improved cyl. The mod choke would be okay, just not ideal.
  3. mleeber

    mleeber Active Member

    Thanks Snuffy!
    Typical slug targets are 35-70 yards out. I think 70 is rare but it depends on how bad a week the Match Director had. As far as the alloy, are wheel weights OK? Also, I just read some posts that suggest a disc between the wad and the slug to keep the wad from becoming part of the slug and causing accuracy problems, have you seen this?

    I may pick up an IC choke just to be safe, heck as much fun as I am having with my 20" 1100 on the trap and skeet fields I may invest in another and leave this one set up for birds and bird games and equip the other for 3-gun.
  4. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    Also, I just read some posts that suggest a disc between the wad and the slug to keep the wad from becoming part of the slug and causing accuracy problems, have you seen this?



    Mark, not necessary. As you can see, the lee "KEY" slug has a rib that traverses the hollow cavity. This helps do 3 things, it reinforces the skirt, it prevents the wad from cramming up into the hollow cavity and it bites into the base of the wad to to help with rotation IF you are using them in a rifled barrel. This requires the inside base of the wad to be flat, most are.

    Those in my pic are made of wheel weights. They will work just fine for your application. If you were using them for hunting and desire some expansion, then they should be made of pure lead. The powder I used in those was WW 540 same as HS-6. I never targeted them seriously, just a project to keep myself interested. I have my slug gun back from a 5 year borrow to a friend. I am getting it ready for this years hunt, I may be stuck in a slug zone this year.

    I would think they would hold a 6 inch group at 70 yds, with carefully made loads. I have some of those left, I may take it along tomorrow to see just how they shoot.
  5. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    double tap
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2007
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Well-Known Member

    Since the Lee slug is 7/8oz you could just place it in the wad instead of 7/8oz of shot, and use the same everything else. Is this correct? I’ve been toying with the same idea, I was thinking about just a round ball as you can’t tell the shape from just a hole in paper.
  7. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    Well no. The slug is a solid, it will respond to pressure as a solid. A shot charge responds more like a liquid. This results in different pressure being generated. Take a look at the load data I found on Lee's site.


    You'll see that most of the powders listed are on the slow side of the burn rate for shotgun loading. The velocities listed are also much higher than a typical trap/target load. Some field loads may approach those kind of velocities, but they would also use slower powders.

    Messing around with "this should work" in reloading is like it should work to jump off a building with an umbrella. You are in unexplored territory, substituting a slug for a shot charge. Know that if you try it, you're on your own, it's your shotgun and your face. I'm ugly enough without having to have a Michael Jackson nose to install every morning!:what::uhoh:
  8. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    I think that you'll be disappointed with the accuracy of the Lee slugs.
    I was.

    I have the 1oz slug mould. It doesn't work well at all with w/w metal. The wheel weight metal shrinks when cooled much less than pure lead, so, it is very difficult to get the slug from the mould. I've found that you have to cast them VERY hot, and when you do get them out, it frequently leaves a bit of metal in the mould where a portion of the center partition is pulled off getting the slug from the mold. Weight then varys a bit.

    As for accuracy, I found that a light load of Clays performed much better than the HS-6/Win540 data supplied with the mold. IIRC, about 17.0gr of Clays under a Win AA-12 wad gave best accuracy. Velocity is ~1,200fps which is about like a "Managed recoil" or "Reduced recoil" load.

    Accuracy was poor at ~10" at 25yds. POI-POA was a problem as it was a LOT different than factory produced slugs which also vary drammatically from one Mfg. to another Mfg. (ie: Remington vs. Federal vs. Winchester vs. PMC).

    I just order my slugs factory loaded from either MidwayUSA or GTdistributers on my LE account. The Managed Recoil/Reduced recoil Remington 1oz slugs are immensly more accurate (2-3" at 50yds) so are worth the extra expense.

    Buckshot is an entirely different matter altogether. I cast my own buckshot and have loads that give at or near 100% patterns at 40yds. 000-buck in the 12ga (.350" for a .36cal M/L; and #1 in the 20ga. (Thats correct!, .310" dia. with 10 pellets in a 1oz. 2.75" 20ga hull). I use LongShot powder and Rem. SP12 or SP20 wads with the "fins" cut off leaving the cushion-driver and buffer the shot with a self developed "proprietary" buffer. (you would'nt believe me if I told you what it is !!!). The 20ga load works better than factory 12ga buckshot and there is no comparison to/for the 12ga loads.
  9. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    The 7/8 mold I have works quite well. I can use it with pure lead, or WW metal, the slugs drop free quite easily. Now, that isn't always the case with lee molds. I'm having fits with a new .458 mold right now, it's been replaced once by lee, the replacement is no better than the original, in fact it's worse!

    I can't speak to the ultimate accuracy of the lee slugs, I just thought it would be a neat winter project once. Also a SHTF fall-back for hunting with a shotgun.

    My slug gun is a 870 with a chopped 28 inch mod, vent rib BBL. The choke was cut off behind it to produce a true cylinder bore. It's scoped with a tasco 4X on weaver one piece base and weaver rings. The two front screws of the base screw through into the barrel extension, to make it act like a solid mount barrel.

    It is very accurate with most slugs, but prefers the now discontinued activ slugs. I haven't hunted with it since they went away, so I'd have to start over finding what it likes now.

    I tried the AQ finned slug,(aquilla), on a fluke, it's strictly a handloading proposition.

    The initial load was a very promising 2 inch group @ 50 yds. But at $15.79 + shipping, they aren't something I'd shoot at steel plates.

    Darnit, I've drifted off-topic again, must be time for another cup o" joe!
  10. jmorris

    jmorris Well-Known Member

    FWIW The data that gooseg supplied is in line with the data off of http://data.hodgdon.com/shotshell_load.asp they show AA huls clays powder with a 1oz load and waa12 wads to be between 15.2 - 18.4 grains.
  11. Ranger J

    Ranger J Well-Known Member

    As several years ago I moved from Illinois to Missouri the old slug gun doesn't get the workout that it used to. I load my home-cast 100% lead Lee 1oz slugs and find that the accuracy out of both my Remington with the rifled choke and my Mossberg with the full rifled barrel are equal to factory loaded foster type slugs in these two guns.

  12. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the input Ranger J. I have a rifled choke tube so I may take another look at the Lee Keydrive slugs.

    I may also try to slightly alter the slotted core-pin to get it to better release the slugs. Lee makes specific mention in their data/info supplied with the slug and specifically state to use pure lead, which is VERY hard to find and expensive when you do... +$1 a pound for the last I got.
  13. TEDDY

    TEDDY Well-Known Member

    lee slug

    GOOSE:I just about ruined my 1 oz lee trying to get the slug off.called lee and they told me it was the ww srinking on the pin.I am going to have a solid one made.----:uhoh:----:confused:----:banghead:
  14. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member


    Go here for instructions for the slug mold. Click on slug mold 12 ga, fifth from the bottom. It's a PDF file, but read it or print it out. On the third page at the bottom it tells what to do about the slug sticking to the core pin.

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