Shotgun Slugs Video Transcription:

Doc:
Welcome to The Breakdown, to another episode of The Breakdown with Keegin and I. Today, we’re going to discuss shotgun slugs.

Keegin:
Yes. We get a lot of questions on shotgun slugs. Illinois is obviously a shotgun state. Most people still use a shotgun for deer hunting.

Rifled slugs and sabot slugs, there’s a major delineation between ammunition there, and also barrels that shoot them. So, your rifle barrels shoot a sabot slug. Those are going to be these varieties over here, your rifle, or your smooth board barrels, rather, shoot a rifled slug. These lead slugs go down the barrel. There’s nothing in between the lead and the barrel, but there’s small rifling on the slug that actually impedes the spin on it. With the sabot slugs, you’re actually shooting them out of a fully rifled barrel, almost like a rifle, and the plastic sabot almost behaves like a wad or a shotgun wood, except it impedes a spin on the sabot.

Doc:
You can see on this one in particular, this is a federal 20 gauge with no tip on it. You can see this sabot inside of there. That, as Keegin just said, engages a rifling in a rifle barrel.

Keegin:
Yeah. A good reason to shoot sabot slugs, generally they’re lighter mass because they’re a slightly smaller diameter to make up for that sabot, so you get a little higher velocity out of them, a little flatter trajectory. 20 gauge, especially in a sabot nowadays with modern loadings, it’s like a whole new thing than grandpa’s old 870 12 gauge slug gun.

Doc:
Oh, quite the difference. Yes.

Keegin:
But of course.

Doc:
I believe it’s, what? 1,600 on the rifled ones and about 2,000 feet per second on a sabot.

Keegin:
Yeah, generally. Rifled slugs, a little bit more versatility, obviously going through a smooth barrel. So, even if you’ve got a longer barrel with a modified choke or a cylinder choke, you can still use a regular lead slug or a rifled slug. Still a lot of tactical and police use also. Because of that versatility, you don’t have to have a specialized gun or barrel for those slugs.

Doc:
It’s an awfully large piece of lead that comes out the end of the barrel, and quite a ballistic coefficient when it hits its target.

Keegin:
Yeah. A lot of smack down power. With that being said, your lead slugs or your rifled slugs are going to follow up a barrel much quicker than standard shot shells. If you’re shooting game loads or something like that, you may have to scrub it a little bit. But if you’re really pounding some slugs down range, that lead’s going to build up much faster.

The key point on the sabot slugs as well is the sabot, the plastic, it’ll leave some plastic in the boar, in the barrel of the rifling, and not a lot of shots before that’ll start to impede your accuracy on some of these newer guns. Myself, I’ve cleaned a lot of slug barrels on guns that the first two or three seasons, they shot pretty well, and then that fourth season and not getting cleaned, nobody can know where it hits, so that’ll make a big difference, is cleaning out that plastic with a good specific plastic solvent.

Doc:
Yeah. The plastic solvent is key on these. Again, the sabot portion is a part that engages the rifling as it’s going down the barrel. It controls the revolution on the round as it’s going out. There are so many things that are crucial about that sabot. Even to the point where we’ve used the phrase before, some slug guns don’t like certain ammunition, it’s not the actual projectile in there at all. It’s the sabot that controls how it engages the rifling. Another issue on sabot slugs in particular, we now have an event of a lot of bold action shotguns for deer hunting. On there, a lot of times it’ll say two and three quarter or three inch cartridges will be used in those firearms.

Doc:
A slight problem, and please don’t think it’s a major problem unless you’re shooting at very long distance, but if you use a three inch, it chambers in the chamber 100% where a two-and-three-quarter has a slight gap. What that does is as the projectile leaves the shell, there’s a little bit of hop when it starts to engage the rifling. What that does, it decreases your downrange accuracy slightly. The Savage, for example, makes a wonderful, bold action slug gun. We always recommend a three inch if you can use that. If you can’t, don’t be afraid to use a two-and-three-quarter. They still work quite well, but you will notice your pattern will be a little wider, we’ll say out past the 150 yard mark. These rounds definitely have enough ballistic coefficient where it will cleanly and ethically take the animal between 150 yards and 200 yards. But be wary just slightly, again, with the two-and-three-quarter, your accuracy will be a little impaired.

Keegin:
That’s a very good point. Another thing about the sabot slugs that’s even more and more popular is we still see newer slugs coming out, hollow points and ballistic tips. A lot of these are copper jacketed or even nickel jacketed. Sometimes they have a ballistic tip, the Hornady here in particular.

Doc:
Yeah.

Keegin:
SST.

Doc:
They have a wonderful acrylic tip in here that causes the expansion of the round that goes downrange, or this federal one does not. So, in flight, according to Hornady, Remington is another one that does it with the AccuTips. They will have a little better stability in flight on their way to the target. It truly is noticeable, but again, at longer distance. If you’re in shorter distance, don’t be afraid of something like this. That’ll work wonderful.

Keegin:
Yeah. The more sophisticated ammunition for the more sophisticated guns, you got to figure if you’re the kind of guy that takes shots at deer at 100 yards, 150 yards, or even consistently maybe close to that, you might really want to consider a sabot gun. I almost always recommend you look at a 20, even if you decide on the 12. A lot of people are afraid that 20 doesn’t have enough knockdown power. I think that’s nonsense. It’s a very efficient round.

Doc:
Well, the neat thing about the 20s, thanks for bringing that up, the 20 is actually a 45 caliber slug traveling downrange.

Keegin:
Yeah.

Doc:
So, remember in the old days, 45-70 was a great Buffalo round at quite a lengthy distance.

Keegin:
Absolutely.

Doc:
This doesn’t have the powder of a 45-70 or bigger rifle cartridge, but it’s got a very similar projectile that will definitely do wonderful, ethical taking of your animal downrange.

Keegin:
Or if you’re the kind of guy, you’re a little bit more like me and you like your Remington 8-70s or your Mossberg 500s and you don’t want to change or buy a specific or a particular barrel, then you can buy yourself up some rifled slugs and maybe flip up the old iron Buckhorn sites on your barrel and get them sighted in that way, too. If you’re going to be shooting deer at 40, 50 yards or something like that, these are entirely adequate.

Doc:
Oh, very much so. Yes. It’ll definitely get you some venison for the freezer.

Keegin:
Yeah. Especially if an individual was just trying to deer hunt maybe for the first time, or like I said, didn’t want to set up an entirely different gun, if you’re already a foul hunter or maybe a bird hunter or something, you can screw in the right choke and sling a big old slug downrange. If nothing else, they’re a lot of fun to shoot too.

Doc:
That they are. They’re a little heavy on the shoulder.

Keegin:
Yeah.

Doc:
Especially with the 12 gauge because of the size of the lead projectile that’s in there. So, you will feel a bit of a thump on those, but nonetheless, they will do an excellent job for you.

Keegin:
Yeah. This unit here, that’s a 546 grain slug. That’s a lot of smack down going 1,300 feet a second.

Doc:
Yeah. Slightly under 100 yards or 40, 50 yards.

Keegin:
Right.

Doc:
My God, that would do an excellent job.

Keegin:
Yeah, as opposed to a 250 grain slug going about 2,200, 2100, that’s going to be a lot flatter flying slug too. So, your drop, you know what I mean? Your scope adjustment, it’s not going to be nearly as much at those ranges. Again, if we’re talking 50 yards, a lot of those variables may not apply as much, and years ago, from my understanding, nobody ever took a shot at a deer 200 yards away. But with the advent of these newer 20 gauge slugs, it’s pretty common anymore.

Doc:
Yeah. The 20 or the 12 gauge sabot slugs will take a deer out to 200 yards very, very cleanly.

Keegin:
Yeah.

Doc:
They’ve even developed shotgun scopes for your slug gun that have the ballistic coefficient in there, ballistic compensator in there for different distances. So, if you sighted slightly in at 100 yards over your main cross here, you can very efficiently shoot out to 200 yards by using the dropdown compensator in the cross ears of the scope.

Keegin:
Yeah. One more thing about the rifled slugs, like Doc was mentioning with the freeboard between the two-and-three-quarter inch and three inch, the rifled slugs, that’s not nearly as big of a variable. Obviously still makes a little bit of a difference, but you’re forcing cone inside of your barrel does a really good job of directing those slugs right down where they need to go.

Doc:
Yeah. The only time you really have to be slightly concerned about three inch versus two-and-three-quarter are in the bold action slug guns. Those are the ones that become a little finicky. Again, it’s at distance. You’re not going to notice at any 100 yard distance anything like that. Again, if you notice a slug gun starting to walk a pattern to throw a flyer, first thing we always recommend, Keegin and I are staunch on this, get a great plastic cleaner. Get that solvent soaking in those riflings, use a good brush, and then patch it out.

Keegin:
And be patient, because it takes quite a while on some of them.

Doc:
The plastic dissolves at a very slow rate, so you have to be very patient with it, soak the barrel down really good, and literally use a copper brush, help work it out of the rifling. We always have that available here at Smokin Gun Worx, whether it’s the cleaning solvent, the brushes, the cleaning oils that you use afterwards, we have a full line of products here to help you out.

Keegin:
Yeah. The pro shop plastic and copper dissolver in particular, I’ve let a barrel soak overnight with that stuff in an 8-70 barrel, and the next day, whatever sabots you’re shooting, you get that color of goop out of the end of their barrel. So, in this case, it was blue. Yeah. I mean, if you’re not prepared for that, then you might not ever think of that. If you’re a rifle shooter or a handgun shooter, that’s pretty, pretty different from that universe.

Doc:
Oh, very. Yes. One thing that it is common to is muzzle loaders. A lot of the high end muzzle loaders, they’re in a plastic sabot container as well to engage a rifling, just as the shotgun slugs do. In fact, a lot of that technology is what helped develop these sabot slugs. So, the technology has been around quite awhile, starting with the muzzle loaders, entering the shotgun arena not that long ago, but long enough where they’ve really developed a great ammunition and a shotgun combination.

Keegin:
Yeah. Yeah. The classic idea of your 50 or 54 caliber muzzle loaders, maybe you want a little bit smaller projectile, more wide.

Doc:
Yeah.

Keegin:
Maybe you want a little higher velocity. The sabots are a good way to do that with an existing gun to get it maybe 41, 45 caliber, and a much higher velocity. We see that still to this day. Like I said, though, if you want your 546 hammer, 546 grain hammer at 40 yards, then maybe you don’t need a rifle barrel. But if you like to take those shots at 150 or 200 yards-

Doc:
Then that’s your ammunition, your combination.

Keegin:
Yep, precisely.

Doc:
Well, thanks for joining us on The Breakdown series here. Keegin and I really enjoy these. It allows us to really let loose our knowledge on what’s going on in the ammunition world and firearm world. Next time, join us again. We’re going to be talking handgun ammo, and, well, I hope to see you next time. Thank you.

Keegin:
Thanks, guys.

Doc:
Come on in and see us at Smokin Gun Worx, 8785 North Baileyville Road, or give us a call at (815) 938-3006.