Foster Slug Range?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by JCooperfan1911, May 26, 2021.

  1. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Let me say upfront this is not a hunting question. If the following makes you uncomfortable or you don’t agree with what I am about to say, move on please.

    I am wondering what is the actual effective range of the typical cylinder bored police/military style shotgun, equipped with rifle or ghost ring sights, on a man-sized target and firing Foster style slugs such as the various Remington/Federal/Winchester/Hornady etc. Law-Enforcement “tactical” slugs or standard foster deer slugs (which typically differ little from the LE stuff minus the packaging).

    I’ve read some say 50, others say well over 100. What is your experience on thoughts on the matter? I am asking only for “gee whiz” knowledge and not because I ever plan on firing at a threat at that distance (I certainly do not) but am simply curious about the ballistic potential of such weapons used in the official capacity of LEOs and the military, as I find the topic interesting.
     
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  2. DocRock

    DocRock member

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    Range is a function of the ability to consistently place the slug within a 6” diameter circle. That will depend on the shotgun it is fired from. I have a 20 ga H&R Tracker II (rifled barrel) that will put Rio Star slugs into a 6” circle out to 125 yards consistently. In my Benelli Nova smoothbore Choked IC, max is 75 yards. From my Stevens 520 cyl bore, 50 yards. But with Brenekke slugs, the Stevens will reach out to 75 yards.

    So, 50 yards should be feasible. But you need to find the slug that will work in your shotgun and test for repeatability.
     
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  3. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    I'm no xpert but my mid 70s Wingmaster 2 3/4" with 18" smooth barrel w/rifle sights will do 100yd groups around 3-4". I think the reason is the 2 3/4" chamber fits the ammo with minimal slug jump. The Federal Truball seem the best but the Rem and Win are good. Hit old 5 gallon metal paint/ driveway sealer can lids pretty easy at 200 once I got the hold over from the bench. I,d say thats about a fat guys size. Havent done that in years because slugs hurt a lot now. Also I picked up a H&R Pardner Pump Protector maybe 10 years ago. Yes that the name for the 18" barrel model. Just a bead but the receiver is square, not rounded so it makes it easier to aim. My son and I had no problem keeping hits on 6" paper plate at 50yds offhand. I did 3 and 3. He did the rest. I think it would do better off a bench but It,s loaded with 00 now next to the bed now. Thats why I bought it.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
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  4. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    I am not a professional slug hunter by any means. When I do it is usually foster slugs out of smooth bore, off the rack shotgun that I can shoot accurately enough to hunt with. 100 yards is about the best I can do when shooting supported from a tree branch, bag etc. A little bit less if shooting freehand and iron sights. Would rather use a rifle.

    For military use, there is just no reason to use slugs in a shotgun. The military has more useful weapons than slugs in a smooth bore. The only ammo I ever saw used in the military was 9 pellet 00 buck in 2 3/4in shell. Even with those, the application is limited out of a 14" barrel. Door breaching is the main purpose as well as an extra weapon to let civilian contractors or interpreters use.
     
  5. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy member

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    I could hit a deers kill are reliably a 70 yards with a 28 inch barrel and imp.cyl. choke.
    Never tried it with a 18 inch barrel.
     
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  6. Dirtybob

    Dirtybob Member

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    My 28" barrel smoothbore 12 ga. H&R (IC choke) typically shoots fosters in an 8" circle at 100 yds. from a rest with vent rib mounted fiber optic sights.
    Tried a hastings rifled choke once but it made no observable difference in groupings. FWIW it groups as well as my friends mossberg 500 with a scope/rifled barrel and using sabots...

    My 20" barrel smoothbore 12 ga. RIA (cyl choke) loses accuracy fast after 50 yards because the slugs are tumbling (haven't found any slugs that gun likes yet).
     
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  7. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    I don,t know anyone that had good accuracy with the typical long barrel and tighter choke. This was shotgun only area. I started with my gramps Win M12 28" FC 16ga. You have to poke a deer in the ribs to hit them. But the thread is about short barrel defensive shotguns. Many are really better than most people think. But I'll add my son has the Mossberg 500 with 26" rifled barrel with the scope mount attached. With Hornady 300grn sabots it does 2" 3 shot groups at 100yds. We were shocked but thats what it does. With the ballistics and trajectory its good out to 250yds for deer size game!
     
  8. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    If by effective range you mean likely to hit a 18" or so target, then realistically maybe 150 would be max. The slugs certainly may go farther but they aren't very aerodynamic and shed velocity quickly. They will destabilize when dropping below speed of sound so any great accuracy someone may have experienced at say 50 to 100 yards will fall off. I've shot a good number of slugs over the years. There is a definite observable difference around 125 yards compared to 75 using standard foster slugs.
     
  9. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Almost all of my shotgun experience was on the street - and every potential target had two legs... We never had any fancy shotguns - just standard four shot riot guns with simple bead sights. At the range I was able to put a foster slug in a standard 10" paper plate at 25 meters just about every time and had some confidence that I could do that at 50 meters - but never tried it...

    Hunting with slugs is a completely different game and I'll defer to anyone that actually does hunt with slugs. For close quarters performance on the street I had great confidence in 00 buck rounds (standard 2 3/4 rounds) at 15 meters - the slugs were reserved for barricaded or well covered possibilities... Happy to report that I only fired a single shot in earnest over a 22 year period.... For me a shotgun was a one shot fight ender - and very very serious persuader since for a cop the best outcome is not a single shot fired if at all possible, no matter how bad the situation....
     
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  10. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I'm going to say that a smoothbore of 20-26inches will shoot minute of paper plate at 50 yds with the fosters that it likes. Mine always shot the cheap Remington brand better than the revered brenneke.
    Improvements can be made in sights that will help.
    My smoothbore 1100 with a saddle mount scope made a pretty good deer gun out to 100yds back in the day.

    After that its rifled barrels and sabots for real accuracy.

    To the original question, I think you're likely to get your 50yds easy enough with a sighted smoothbore. Maybe even 70 or 80yds. After that you're on your own!
     
  11. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    About the only time I use them is in 3 gun. A full size pepper popper at 100 yds with just a bead sight is the furthest I have had to use them (rifled slugs/modified choke). Not a difficult shot but also a pretty large target.

    4983EC0A-163A-4776-9CF8-276BAFFCA6FD.jpeg
     
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  12. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I have shot a lot of slugs and seen many more shot through smooth bores and agree with Mr. Farmers assessment.
    In over 4 decades of stories about smooth bore shotguns that shoot 3 inch 100 yard groups, I have never seen it done on paper.
     
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  13. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    Huh?
     
  14. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    OP asked what slug use in the military and LEO would be. In the military, next to none. We used shotguns to breach doors and as an extra weapon to have on hand for civilian contractors or interpreters.
     
  15. Chevelle SS

    Chevelle SS Member

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    My limit for around 100% hits on an 8" plate is about 40 yards with my Beretta 1301. I have gotten hits out to 80 yards with it.
     
  16. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Thank you. I’ll be testing them myself but wanted a baseline. Seems the accuracy and range from most users/guns is well under 100 yards.
     
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  17. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    I don’t know why but that strikes me as odd.
     
  18. mokin

    mokin Member

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    Great plan. See what your gun likes. It's been a while since I tried a bunch of different loads but I can consistently hit a popper size target as described by jmorris out to 100 yards with my 18 inch smoothbore Winchester with a bead sight and improved cylinder choke. I usually don't shoot it more than 50 yards at much smaller targets during matches though. One lasting lesson is that I didn't notice any benefit to magnum loads. Just as well stay away from those.
     
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  19. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I will shoot the Win Ranger 1oz Fosters at 50 on NRA B-27 targets on occasion and will score telling hits on those rather large silhouettes. But move them 15-20+ yds beyond that and for me it's a crapshoot.

    Stay safe.
     
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  20. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    I had a neighbor who was retired from Federal Cartridge and gave me a big bucket of foster slugs ranging from old paper case to relatively modern plastic. He worked in testing and I guess they were overruns of sorts. I had over 100, and spent a lot of time lobbing them at various targets just for fun around Grandpa's farm. As I remember, using a bird barrel and bead sight, I was able to reliably hit a 5 gallon oil can or tire rim at 100 yards without correction for wind or elevation (they naturally hit a bit high at short range). Firing them farther out, to 200 or more paces, once the wind and elevation were found, hits were relatively reliable, from 50 to 75 percent depending on conditions.
     
  21. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Part of the problem with smoothbore shotgun accuracy has nothing to do with the barrel, or the slugs. Its the sights. Most that I have seen are best suited for 50yd shooting. At 100yds they will cover the target, and the target stand.
     
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  22. 9x56MS

    9x56MS Member

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    Using foster style slugs in a 20 gauge Ithica deerslayer I took 4 bucks between 50-90 yards one was right at 90 yards. At 75 yards I could keep my shots all within a 4” circle. With my 12 gauge deerslayer it was about the same. I did take a deer at 96 yards with the 12 gauge but honestly it was a lot of luck as I was aiming for his chest and hit him in the neck. I tried to keep shots 75 and under. Any deer 50 yards and closer was dead deer walking.
     
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  23. Leon tP

    Leon tP Member

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    ...
    "I am wondering what is the actual effective range of the typical cylinder bored police/military style shotgun, equipped with rifle or ghost ring sights, on a man-sized target and firing Foster style slugs such as the various Remington/Federal/Winchester/Hornady etc."
    ...
    "... I am asking only for “gee whiz” knowledge and not because I ever plan on firing at a threat at that distance..."

    Since you said this is a Gee Whiz, I'm just wondering... Kind of question, I thought I might have some fun with it. You did say it was for fun, right?
    I figured Remington Slugger is a pretty common slug folks have in their inventory somewhere, so I chose the 1 oz variety at 1560 fps to examine in this hypothetical.

    Using their own data as a starting point.
    Foster Slugs.jpg
    This picture is just the side of a box of Remington Sluggers (2_3/4" variety). Using their data (1560 fps, 1.5" offset, 50 yard zero and a BC of 0.075 from their website), I went to the JBM website and plugged in the numbers. I also figured it was a nice day, 80 degrees, 25% relative humidity and 1000 foot elevation. Here's what I got back.
    Foster Traj1.jpeg
    Foster Traj2.jpeg

    I ran the data out to 250 yards, figured that would give a decent picture of what's going on. From the data, you can see that it's still moving along at a good clip even at 250 yards (769 fps and 575 ft-lbs). So accuracy will be the limiting factor and that's gonna be for you to decide. What are you and your rig capable of?

    On a sidenote, if someone says you can't hit a target at 250 yards... Well, a holdover of about 6' feet over the target will sure put you in the neighborhood! :rofl:
     

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  24. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    On another note, I did find one embedded in my Grandfather's garage wall (no, not one of the ones I shot). It was known to have been fired at a deer near the South end of the 80 acre parcel that the house was on the edge of, so somewhere just shy of 1/2 mile. The shot was fired at a low angle on relatively level ground, so must have skipped a few times and still remained stable, as it was embedded through the carsiding into the plank sheathing to a depth of aprox. 1" point first. I wouldn't want to be hit by that.

    Based on my informal testing posted above, I would feel quite confident on a full sized torso silhouette of a relatively center mass hit to 100 yards plus a little bit. Would need more testing to find my maximum effective range, and I know the terminal effects are there as I've seen them reliably kill deer to 150 if the hit was good. I'd feel pretty dangerous to 200 with a rifle sighted smooth bore and fosters, but much less confident of a first shot, center mass hit, especially if windy. I think the terminal ballistics line up well with somewhere between a .75 round ball and the .68 Minie bullet which was a known killer at much longer ranges.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
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  25. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Have you any sighting recommendations for slugs at 100?
     
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