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Old 12-28-2005, 04:24 AM
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Slug-Gunner Slug-Gunner is offline
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Exclamation Shooting Slug-Guns and Sabots/Slugs

After posting this as a reply in another thread I thought it was thorough enough to warrent its own thread and discussion.

There is a VERY GOOD REASON for trying out different brands and types of slugs/sabots in a rifled slug gun. A lot of it depends on the velocity of the slugs you are shooting and how you hold the gun when trying to "Zero" it or see where it "groups".

For reasons that will be explained later, all "Zero" with slug-guns should be done at 50 yards max. "Test Shots" should be done at other ranges to confirm POI at those ranges you expect to shoot at - up to 150 yards with some slug-guns.

VELOCITY and its effect on POI:

How does velocity affect the POI when shooting slugs? The main reason is because there is a difference in how either subsonic (below approximately 1200 fps) and supersonic (above 1600 fps) slugs leave the barrel and are affected by the recoil of the gun. Transonic ammo is usually considered between 1200-1500 fps and refers to ammo that leaves the barrel at supersonic speeds but is subsonic at approx 100 yardsj.

SUPERSONIC SABOTS will often shoot to a lower POI than TRANSONIC/SUBSONIC SLUGS below aprox 1400 fps. The reason for this is as follows.

A SABOT slug, like the Winchester Supreme Partition Gold and many of the other top-of-the-line premium sabots have a m.v. of 1900-2000 fps and are SUPERSONIC - THIS MEANS THEY HAVE LEFT THE BARREL OF THE GUN BEFORE THE AFFECTS OF RECOIL CAN AFFECT THEM. Thus, they have already left the barrel of the gun before muzzle climb from recoil can affect their flight and POI.

TRANSONIC and SUBSONIC SABOTS/SLUGS below 1400 fps can be affected by recoil or muzzle climb since they are still in the barrel as this occurs. Thus they will often impact to a higher POI than SUPERSONIC SABOTS will. This brings another factor into getting your TRANSONIC and SUBSONIC SABOTS/SLUGS to group effectively for you.... HOW THE FOREND OF THE GUN IS HELD OR SUPPORTED.


This is EXTREMELY CRITICAL when using SLUG/SABOT ammo below 1400 fps when you are "ZEROING" the gun.

If you simply rest the forend of a slug gun on a sandbag or front rest when using ammo rated below 1400 fps and DON'T GRIP the forend firmly with your hand, the RECOIL will cause the barrel of the gun to CLIMB UPWARD WHILE THE PROJECTILE IS STILL IN THE BARREL. The effect is then that the slug/bullet will STRIKE THE TARGET HIGH.

SLUGS/SABOTS that are rated above 1600 fps are not affected by recoil as much, or not under most range conditions.


Any time you are shooting a shotgun, especially when you are "zeroing" or checking for "group", you should grip the forend with your normal "hunting/shooting" grip that you use in the stand or field. You can use a sandbag or rest at the range, but grip the gun and then rest the back of your hand on the sandbag or rest (or use your grip to firmly hold it onto the front of the rest).

When zeroing a gun off of a rest, pull the butt of the gun back into your shoulder with your right hand. With your left hand, pull down and back on the forend at a 45-degree angle to the bench, and hold this constant pressure through the shot.

NOTE: See Tar-Hunt info at end of thread for more info.

By using this method I can consistently shoot my Ithaca Deerslayer Featherlight Slug Gun (with the fully-rifled barrel screwed into and pinned to the receiver) into 1-2" groups at 100 yards and average 3" or less at 150 yards.

To INSURE YOU ARE CAPABLE of shooting good groups when hunting later, you should always finish a range session by shooting the gun at the same ranges using as close as possible to normal shooting grip as possible. If using a sandbag, only support your forearm against the front sandbag or behind your rear elbow to stabilize your shooting position. By doing this you will find that you WILL NOT miss as many deer as you have in the past. This is a GOOD IDEA to do no matter what the type of gun/rifle you are using for hunting.... it will also help you to understand that not all hunters are capable of being as accurate as the gun is.

Failing to use a consistent "grip" on the forearm of a "Slug Gun" when zeroing, is the MAIN REASON that many slug-gun hunters find themselves MISSING their target when shooting under field/hunting conditions.... their POI is NOT THE SAME as when they "zeroed".


There is another major factor that affects the accuracy of shooting slugs/sabots. That is the effect that any crosswind or quartering wind can have on the POI of the projectile at even ranges as short as 50 yards.
A 10 mph crosswind can cause a 6-8" drift at 100 yards.

Info From TAR-HUNT Data Base:

Go to the Tar-Hunt website for more info on shooting and zeroing a slug-gun more accurately.
Be sure to read:

* Overview
* Equipment Selection (4 parts)
--- Slug Gun Selection
--- Ammo Selection
--- Optics Selection
--- Shooting Equipment
* Shooting Off A Rest
* Zeroing Your Gun
* Flag Placement


Q: Do you have any quick hints that I can use to improve my slug shooting ability off a rest?

A: Position your rest both underneath the forend and the butt of your gun's stock. Do not just rest the forend of your gun's stock, and never substitute a folded up coat, truck hood, etc. for a solid gun rest and expect to be able to accurately zero (sight-in) your gun.

When zeroing a gun off of a rest, pull the butt of the gun back into your shoulder with your right hand. With your left hand, pull down and back on the forend at a 45-degree angle to the bench, and hold this constant pressure through the shot.

Inconsistencies from shot to shot in the angled pressure with your left hand will represent approximately 60% of your overall group size. Wind is also a significant negative factor when attempting to shoot small groups. Learn to read the wind!

Tar-Hunt Slug-Guns are custom built slug-guns that are often capable of consistent accuracy out to 200 yards. They are not for the average hunter since their prices range from about $1400-$3000 for their best guns. They also do "custom converversions" on Remington 870 series shotguns for sabot shooting.

The Tar-Hunt web site has exceptional information on using and shooting slug-guns more accurately. They are also proponents of Lightfield ammo/slugs since that is all they use. If you want more info on Lightfield slugs for use in your slug-gun, visit their website. Check the ballistics and trajectory charts on their website for their ammo - they are very exceptional at a fair price. They are experts in this field since their livlihood and reputation depend on it.

DISCLAIMER: I am not associated with Tar-Hunt in any way.... I only use their website as an information source because of the excellent knowledge and expertise in extracting the most accuracy possible from a slug-gun.

Last edited by Slug-Gunner; 12-28-2005 at 09:54 PM. Reason: Improve/Expand Information
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Old 12-28-2005, 09:47 AM
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scshep2002 scshep2002 is offline
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Location: Tifton Ga
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WOW Great info!!!! Never thought about that
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