School me on Shotgun Slugs

School me on Shotgun Slugs

This is a discussion on School me on Shotgun Slugs within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am new to shotguns and I just purchased a Mossberg 500a. I was looking at slugs the other day and had some questions. What ...

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Thread: School me on Shotgun Slugs

  1. #1
    Member Array MelloYello's Avatar
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    School me on Shotgun Slugs

    I am new to shotguns and I just purchased a Mossberg 500a. I was looking at slugs the other day and had some questions.

    What is the difference between a rifled slug and a sabot slug? Which works better? Does it matter if I have a smooth bore or a rifled bore?

    Anything else that I should know about slugs?

    Thanks guys


  2. #2
    JD
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    It does matter.

    Rifled slugs are for smooth bore barrels, as there is no rifling, you need a rifled slug to get spin.

    Sabot slugs are used in rifled slug barrels.

    As for which is better, I don't think there's much of a difference in effect. IIRC a sabot slug/rifled barrel combo is more accurate as the sabot projectile has better properties for travel. But I'm not much of a shotgun expert so don't quote me on that.

  3. #3
    Member Array OhShoot's Avatar
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    Rifled slugs are much cheaper than sabots, too.

    Assuming self defense purposes, the cheapest rifled 1 oz. slugs will do nicely out to 50 yards or so at actual aim point; they start dropping after that, up to about 5" at 100 yards.

    Of course, "50 yards" and "self-defense" aren't exactly simpatico.

    - OS

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    One thing I have noticed is that most shotguns have different POI with slugs and even different ammo ,so you need to find out how your shotgun patterns slugs at different ranges and most of your shots will be within 25 yards or less.Same thing with buckshot try a couple different brands and see which one patterns better in your gun I've seen some slugs out of a smoothbore shotgun at 25 yards and aiming COM miss the whole B27 silhouette
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Your Mossberg is probably smooth bore like my 870. You'd want the rifled slugs in this case. I've been experimenting this week. Went to the range twice to shoot my shotgun. I had gotten several boxes of Winchester 2 3/4", 1oz 'Forster' slugs for $4 per box. Well, let me tell ya..........they did list the velocity right on the box as hi-vel and 1700 fps. That alone is making me think twice about shooting the Remington 3" loads I'd bought! Anyway...my 870 puts the slugs on target the same as the 00 buckshot in 2 3/4". I had also bought two 25 round boxes of the Remington #2 steel shot which in my book is simply devastating on targets. Buy yourself a variety, and try them out, then you'll know what you want to keep in your HD shotgun. There are also plenty of 'low recoil' 2 3/4" loads on the market for the 12ga shotguns in buckshot and slugs. I have some Hornady 00 buck low recoil and some Winchester Ranger low recoil slug loads for mine. I haven't tried those yet. BTW....my 18" barrel 870 is cylinder bore, not sure what model 500 you have.

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Rcher's Avatar
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    Smooth bore = rifled slug

    Rifled barrel = Sabot slug
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  7. #7
    Member Array OhShoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod View Post
    ...I have some Hornady 00 buck low recoil and some Winchester Ranger low recoil slug loads for mine.
    Have a couple of different brands of "low" or "managed" recoil slugs and 00 buck. Can tell you, they are all MORE than adequate destruction-wise.

    - OS

  8. #8
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    What is the difference between a rifled slug and a sabot slug? Which works better? Does it matter if I have a smooth bore or a rifled bore?

    Anything else that I should know about slugs?
    The rifled slug is usually 1 OZ. It is devastating on deer. Most slugs will impact 9-10 inches low at 100 yards. The rifled slug has helical ridges molded into it to impart spin and increase stability when shot through the typical smoothbore barrel.

    The sabot slug is usally a .50 caliber slug which is encapsulated in a two piece plastic sabot that peels away shortly after the slug leaves the barrel. Since the slug is lighter in weight, it travels faster and therefore is flatter shooting. Using a rifled barrel that is sighted in for 50 yards, will usually see only 2-3 inches low at 100 yards.

    Of course there are many variables, length of barrel, twist of rifling, no rifling, sight picture and others that make a difference.

    The saboted slugs,although smaller, are also devastating on deer.

    Although saboted slugs are meant to be shot through rifled barrels,some smoothbores shoot them very well.Some dont though, so like any other load, the loads need to be tested with YOUR shotgun.

    One other thing about slugs. They usually penetrate very well. I have yet to see a thin skinned creature actually stop one.
    They will peirce a car door, water heater, refrigerator, stove, wall and a lot of other things that will stop a lot of other bullets.
    As such, one needs to be very carefull where they are shot into.
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    Member Array Randy's Avatar
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    The common rifled slug is actually called a Foster slug, named after the inventor, Karl Foster.

    These slugs actually do not spin. If you think about the construction of it, the "rifling" in the soft lead does not interact with the barrel in any way that would cause a spin to be imparted. The "rifling" is present (think of it as areas with metal removed - swaged) so the slug will safely pass through a choke.

    The slug is constructed and performs much like a shuttlecock. It is stabilized by having the center of mass very near the front end and air drag present on the rear. Take one of these apart sometime and look at how the slug is designed.

    Randy

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    Yeah, I read that on Wikipedia too.

    Some time ago,there was a high speed super slo mo video posted that showed a Forster slug shot through a smooth bore 870 and it was clearly spinning.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    sabot = rifled barrel.

    rifled slug = smoothbore.

    Either = dead perp. Really dead. A 12-ga. slug is as close to the Hammer of Thor as defensive rounds get.

    Risk = penetrate like oil well drill bits.
    "...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."


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  12. #12
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randytulsa2 View Post
    . A 12-ga. slug is as close to the Hammer of Thor as defensive rounds get.
    I like that saying. I like it a lot!

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the wikipedia reference. I hadn't seen that before.

    Randy

  14. #14
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    Anytime.

    Your use of words is remarkably similar to the definition rendered by Wikipedia,escpecially in reference to the word "shuttlecock",a word that is very rarely used in todays conversation.

    Pure Coincidence, I'm sure.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  15. #15
    Member Array Randy's Avatar
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    Ahh... I see. I had originally compared it to a "birdie" as in badmitten then realized I wasn't sure how to spell badmitten and, instead of looking that up, shuttlecock came to mind. (Of course, now I had to go look it up and it is actually spelled "badminton".)

    I first learned about this in a LE shotgun instructor development course about 10 years ago. I, like a lot of others, had just always accepted the apparent purpose of the "rifling" on these things and even that the term "rifling" in this context was correct. After that class, and a little bit of thought, it seemed pretty apparent that there's just no way the smooth barrel can "bite" into the projectile as happens with conventional rifling, nor can the soft lead "bite" into the harder barrel.

    The spin was supposed to come from air drag across the helical ridges but it didn't work well. The term stuck though.

    Randy

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