Friday, November 21, 2008

Shotgun Ammo - Slugs

The use of slugs in your shotgun for home defense is generally not a good practice, as this may endanger the safety of your neighbors. The use of # 00 buck shot is usually a better choice. While not a good choice for home defense, slugs can be an excellent choice for hunting depending upon your local and state laws regarding hunting with shotguns. The first thing you will need to do is determine if your shotgun barrel is rifled or if it is a smooth bore.

If your shotgun is not rifled, you will need to shoot bore-size lead slugs, not any of the newly designed sabot types. This limits you to either the Foster type, which are short, hollow based slugs that usually have "rifling" grooves swaged on the sides. These grooves simply reduce the resistance to help the slug pass through a tight choke without damaging your shotgun. The thin skirt of the hollow base also helps them go through a tight choke. The other type of slug you can use in smooth bores is the Brenneke design, which includes the Lightfield brand. These have the wad attached to the slug, and the wad goes along as a part of the slug to keep it flying straight.

The Brenneke type slugs are much more dependable in taking larger game than the Foster type. But you will have to try several different brands of both types in order to find out which kind are the most accurate from your shotgun. Most shotguns differ quite a bit in this regard, so testing several different types of slugs is necessary if you want the best possible performance from your shotgun.

Unfortunately, you would think that any 12 gauge slug would knock down anything that it hits. This is not true the majority of the time. You still have to place a shotgun slug just as carefully as any rifle bullet. Otherwise you won’t be taking any meat home from your hunting trip!

If your shotgun does have rifling, you can use the same type of slugs that you can shoot from a smooth bore and the sabot type. The sabot types have to be spun by rifling to achieve enough stability to fly straight and stay on target.

The problem with the larger, heavier lead slugs in rifled barrels is that they will lead up the bore. Leading will ruin your accuracy. With the sabot style slugs, you get about the same performance you would get from a lower velocity rifle such as a .45/70 shooting bullets of similar weights and velocities.

You can read a more comprehensive review of shotgun slugs here:

You will also need to check the laws governing the use of slugs for hunting purposes, as well as the maximum capacity for your shotgun’s magazine in your particular area or state. In most instances you will need to install a plug in your magazine tube if your shell capacity is in excess of a 5 shot maximum.

Additional comments by any readers out there that have more extensive knowledge of using slugs in shotguns would be most appreciated. This will help others to gain a proper knowledge for using slugs in their shotguns. Thanks.

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

I remember reading an article year's ago in soldier of fortune about using a .45,loaded as normal,with a .410 shotgun wad,then cutting piano wire to length and installed. I believe they were called "fletchette's". They tested them on drywall,if it went sideway's,it would barely go thru,but if it hit straight,it went clean thru! Another nice load for home defense!

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous

You don't want to take out the neighbors when confronting an intruder. I actually think #4 buckshot is actually better for home defense than 00 or 000 buck.


gott_cha said...

I use 00 and #4 for home defense as a norm,...but im leaning towards some slugs to use at body armor....I know it wont penetrate but the blunt force trauma should keep him down long enough to allow for regaining control of the AO with out using lethal force

riverwalker said...

To: gott_cha

Depending on your type of shotgun slugs could be a viable option in that circumstance.


theotherryan said...

I keep the shotgun loaded with buckshot and slugs in the butt stock shotshell holder. I figure if a home defense situation goes bad enough to use all 7 shots in the gun then being able to go through stuff might be a plus. Never really worried about long range ballistics much.

You do have a great point that slugs do not replace rifles. That being said someone who doesn't have a rifle would want to keep more slugs around then someone with a rifle.

riverwalker said...

To: the otherryan

Agreed. If you don't have a rifle that would probably be the only real time you should need slugs, except in the body armor thing mentioned by gott_cha. Easier to just get a cheap hunting rifle.


Shy Wolf said...

Body armor -verses- 12 gauge slug...OOPS: sorry, didn't mean to really smash your chest to splinters! I just wanted to kill you. Or, in such situation, aim for the hips and make them immobile zombies.
I wonder: would a 12 gauge slug smash the chest or would the vest act similar to a shield and disperse the force enough to dissipate it?
Thanks for the food for thought.
:) Shy

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