|June 8, 2000, 08:37 AM||#1|
Staff In Memoriam
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Every year I get asked to "Take a look" at someone's shotgun, because they aren't getting any kind of accuracy with slugs. Quite often, the problems are repetitious.
First, many folks either aren't the shotists they think they are, or they have unrealistic expectations of how good their pet shotgun SHOULD be shooting. A good rule of thumb here is to find out what distance you and yours can keep all the shots in a 4 inch group at the bench,and make that your max distance. Hail Mary shots hurt us all.
And if the truth be told, many folks have to deal with the F-word when it comes to slugs.
That F word is FLINCH, not what you're thinking. A 7 lb shotgun firing a 1 1/4 oz slug generates roughly the same amount of free recoil as a 9 lb 375 H&H Mag using the 275 gr load.While we don't like to admit it, a light shotgun, heavy load and less than great form can hurt.BTW, an 870 with a slug bbl and rifle sights can come in as light as 6 lbs,10 oz, IME.
Even I, with lots of experience, approach benchtesting slugs with trepidation. I weigh my shotgun down with as much lead as I can get into the stock, use an external recoil pad,(nicknamed the Wonderbra) and take an anti-inflammatory first.
Here's the most common reasons, other than pilot error, for slugs not hitting the right Zip Code......
On repeaters, slop between the bbl and receiver tends to be the culprit. Grab your weapon by the grip with your shooting hand, grab the bbl and try to move it. If it moves, tighten it up.
My 870s work best with the mag tube nut tightened ONE click past hand tight. A set of padded channellocks is the tool. Other makes, like Mossberg,might require a shim of card stock, foil or so on to take all the slop out. Do NOT overtighten. And clean from the muzzle carefully, dismounting can send you back to square one.
Tar Hunt makes really accurate slug guns,and one option package they offer consists of pinning the bbl on pumps and sutos so it CAN'T shift. This tightening I described does the same thing,temporarily.
As for other shotguns using slugs....
Bolt actions make good slug guns when properly set up.In large part, anything that makes a rifle shoot better will work on a BA. That includes glass bedding, trigger work(Not a bad idea for any slug gun) etc.
Doubles rarely shoot one group w/ both bbls. Unless you're very lucky or quite rich, I'd use that Parker,Fox, or Smith on birds and clays.
Single shots work well with slugs, usually. One tip that can help is to glass bed the forearm full length. In effect this can stiffen the bbl and shrink groups.
Also,this is a good time to get all this taken care of. If there's a problem, you've time to rectify,and if a smith is needed, he doesn't have the workload he will a week before the season. Get your shotgun ready now, and take a few shots just prior to the season to check.
A coupla things....
First, if you use a scope, get a quality one. Cheap scopes/mounts are egregious, and will not take the pounding. Saddle mounts I've tried rarely will stay in zero for more than 5-10 shots.
Second, a dedicated slug gun makes sense, even on a limited budget one can set up something that'll work well. The Combo gun has its points, but switching bbls back and forth doesn't aid consistency.
Third, all slugs are effective when inserted correctly. Any deer you hit will not be able to tell if you used a 2 3/4 or 3 inch load. Most 3 inchers are more expensive, kick harder,and oft are less accurate than the older 2 3/4" jobs.
Fourth, most slug bbls have a sight radius little longer than a handgun. A peep sight is well worth trying. Currently here at Casa McC, there's 6 shoulder arms capable of use for deer hunting. 5 have peep sights, and my freezer can vouch for their effectiveness.
Hope this helps, and if there's anything I haven't covered, sing out and I'll give it a shot...