More and more slug states in the Midwest and East have legalized the use of straight wall rifles during deer season in recent years. Straight-walled cartridges, such as the .350 Legend and .45/70, give Whitetail Hunters superior accuracy at shorter ranges, making them safer to shoot than centerfire rifles in densely populated areas. But the stolen and midge slug (pronounced “sai po”) is far from timeless. Countless hunters in the middle of this country take smooth-bore shotguns and rifles every fall, hoping to punch these short-range projectiles.
Both slugs and plugs are ideal for distances hunters aim to kill whitetails—usually within 150 yards—in shotgun cases only. Its lethality has been well documented after decades of successful use in deer forests. But there is still a long-running debate among slug hunters: which projectile is best suited for killing whitetail? Over the years, editors have been outdoor life Shoot a variety of slugs and clogs off the bench and in the field and know the capabilities of each load. If you are trying to determine the perfect round for your hunting style, here are the facts for shooting vs. shotgun slugs.
The difference between slugs with slugs and graves
Hunters who use deer hunting rifles—either by preference or authorization—can choose between smoothbore bore that uses grooved slugs (also known as Foster-style) or rifled bore for sabotage loads. The slug slug has small helical grooves cut into the base of the projectile, but the slug does not have a defined rate of distortion like a centerfire.
There is some conjecture as to whether the feathers in a shredded ingot cause the projectile to spin at all. So, I spoke to longtime advocate writer Dave Henderson, who has decades of slug shooting experience and a wealth of knowledge after 55 years working interviewing some of the country’s leading ballistics experts. He has also written a book, Shotgunning for Deer: Guns, Loads, and Techniques for the Modern HunterAnd the Which details innovations in alloy technology.
“Slug slugs have no rate of evolution,” Henderson says. “Slugs cross the fixed barrel and come out this way. There are photos from one of the manufacturers in my book that clearly show that the rifling on the slug wears smoothly in the barrel and the slug never rotates. The accuracy of the slug comes from the heavy design in the nose, giving it a “rock in a sock” or [badminton] Feather flight advantage.
The bits are also there to allow the slug to pass through the choke tube safely. If the grooves are not in place, there will be more friction between the barrel and the bearing, which can cause a significant decrease in performance or possibly lead to failure. The advantage with jammed slugs, of course, is that you don’t have to buy a special pistol barrel. You can use one hunting rifle to hunt deer, birds and other small game.
“Slug slugs can be fired in smooth casks or shredded kegs, with no advantage in either,” Henderson says. “The slug type slug skates through the rifling into the barrel and comes out the way it is a smooth bore.”
Barrels with clog-style rifles typically have wrap rates that can range from 1:18 to 1:36. For example, the popular Ithaca Deer Slayer III and Savage 220 have a cylindrical rotation of 1:24 (that’s a full rotation of the slug every 24 inches). But the Savage 212 has a deviation of 1:35. Interestingly, former shooting editor Jim Carmichael found no statistical difference in accuracy between using a 1:28 and 1:32 pistol barrel in our 2008 slug rifle test (more on this later).
“It’s the tribal slug that takes advantage of — actually actually requires — bore guns,” Henderson says. “The rifling catches the polymer sleeve(s) on the slug, giving stability to the projectile while it is in the barrel. In most cases the scab is discarded after exiting the bore.” —JG
choke gun tubes
Shells can also be fired through a smooth bore with a pistol choke. Purchasing a grooved choke tube is a cost effective way to use the clutches in a smooth bore without the expense of an entirely new barrel. Domes are streamlined, plastic-coated bullets much like a birdshot that is loaded into a charge. When the projectile is fired, the slug remains in the plastic sleeve and rotates under the barrel until the projectile leaves the muzzle. At this point, the sleeve detaches from the slug, and the projectile continues to rotate as it moves downward. The clogs often have a polymer head and a semi-caliber, which translates to .50 in 12-gauge guns. By comparison, standard smoothbore slugs are between 72 and 75 caliber. -evening
The dome versus the slug track
Most 12-gauge slugs weigh either 1 or 1 ounce. The clogs weigh less than an ounce, or 437.5 grains, and can range from 250 to 376 grains. They both hit hard enough to anchor any Whitetail at a reasonable distance. But you will see a more sustained speed from the ugly slugs. Projectiles continue to travel at higher speeds for a longer time due to the aerodynamics of the projectile.
To confirm this, all you need to do is look at the track of two 3-inch charges—Federal TruBall grooved slug and Federal Trophy Copper sabot—with a zero from 100 yards. The physical composition of the projectiles is completely different, which significantly affects their performance. The TruBall has a weight of 438 grains and a muzzle velocity of 1,700 fps. Trophy Copper is lighter (300 grains) and leaves the muzzle 300 fps faster, at 2,000 fps. In the table below, you’ll see that the TruBall trajectory dissipates more quickly than Trophy Copper when both payloads are fired to 200 yards under the same conditions. —JG
Alloy Shotgun vs. Sabot: Which Load Provides Better Accuracy?
A few years ago, during a long-range session, I shot the Federal TruBall slug 2-inch 1-ounce open sight Benelli M2 and Winchester 2¾-inch 375-grain dual clutch slug from Browning A-Bolt. At shorter ranges (up to 75 yards), there wasn’t much difference between the accuracy of the slug and sabot. But when I started shooting for 100 yards and beyond, the grenade outperformed.
During my day at the range, I didn’t shoot a slug through the smooth, speculum bore, which could have contributed to the inaccuracy. But I’ve done it many other times and found that slug rifles simply wouldn’t work at a distance like a clog case. For example, the Federal 12-gauge TruBall slug weighs 437.5 grains, compared to the 375-grain Winchester Dual Bond sabot. The TruBall slug also has a muzzle velocity of 1,300 fps compared to the 1,800 fps in the Winchester. Slower, heavier projectiles will fall faster and have a less effective range than slightly lighter projectiles, but much faster. -evening
Jim Carmichael’s rifle test
Miller’s results were confirmed by ballistic data she collected from the Carmichael test published in the October 2008 issue of OL. With the help of Randy Fritz, who makes incredibly accurate Tar-Hunt slug rifles, Carmichael tested 27 shotgun and grenade slugs, firing more than 1,000 rounds from a 50-pound remote-operated alloy pistol designed by Fritz. Carmichael’s test protocol called for five three-shot groups of each load up to 100 yards, although he did fire a few five-shot groups to confirm loading consistency and equipment accuracy.
The table below details the best 20 and 12 gauge groupsets from the four manufacturers — Federal, Remington, Winchester and Lightfield — included in the test. Most of the loads Carmichael fired were grenades, but he shot two slugs from Winchester as well. You can see from the data that saboteur groups were more compact than their rifled counterparts. —JG
Should you use a 2¾-inch or 3-inch alloy?
Most of my experience has been with slugs—rifles and vandals—with 12-inch, 2¾ and 3-inch widths. My opinion is that 2¾ inches is enough to kill deer, and a 3-inch load simply generates more recoil with a slight amount of increased velocity. I did a chronograph for Winchester’s Elite 3-inch Dual Bond sabot and found the muzzle velocity boost on a Browning A-Bolt to be only 50 fps faster than a 2¾ inch wide of the same weight. Sure, velocities can fluctuate for a variety of reasons, including the physical composition of the bullet, elevation and weather conditions, but I’ve never found an extra quarter of an inch to make a noticeable difference. -evening
20 . Spot Alloy
When I was working in Illinois, a deer-only hunting rifle state, I noticed that many white-tailed hunters chose 20-gauge rifles. So, I was curious about the capabilities of the 20 gauge scope and asked Hornady’s Seth Swerczek about it.
“I think 20-gauge captain loads are popular because of their low recoil,” says Swerczek. “Both 12- and 20-gauge Sabot alloy loads provide outright performance out to 200 yards, so you’re not really giving up any effective range by choosing a 20-gauge.”
The 200-yard shot with Hornady’s 20-inch SST may be pushing the limits of this load’s effectiveness, especially if the placement of the shot is not accurate. But a 250-grain slug can kill a deer at 150 yards. According to Hornady’s ballistics chart, the SST has a velocity of 1,331 fps and 983 ft/lbs. of energy at that distance. Dial your shot back to 100 yards and it produces the same 1200 ft/lb load. of energy.
What helped sell me in my twenties, apart from the perceived reduced recoil, was an opportunity to hog the hog with a Winchester M1300 slotted-barrel pump several years ago. The longest shot I’ve ever shot was close to 100 yards, and the longest shot I’ve seen of anyone else connected—with the same setup—was just over 120 yards. At 100 yards, those 20-caliber slugs seem to have hit hard. side by side comparison). Regardless, the end results on the 200-pound pigs, which were much harder to take down than the whitetail, were astounding. -evening
read the following: 15 Best Hunting Rifles For Deer Hunting
Choose a slug or a clog based on the fishing method
Which option you choose – slug or pistol – will be subjective based on your hunting needs. At 75 yards and in (with the occasional poke to 100 yards), the slug carries its own slug compared to the slug. But if you have any chance of getting a shot over 100 yards, the grenade is clearly a better choice in terms of accuracy and trajectory.
I asked Swerczek who sells best, Hornady’s SST sabot loads or the traditional American white-tailed slug. He emphasized that domes are more popular. This is not surprising since most hunters are interested in getting the maximum possible distance from their firearm. But also, a grenade capable of firing at 50 to 75 yards can be the difference between killing a target buck and watching helplessly as it slips out of sight on the last day of the shooting season. —JG and PM