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Old January 18, 2012, 06:09 AM   #1
Hat
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12 gauge lead slug effectiveness large game

i decided to try firing a 2"34 inch 12 gauge lead slug at a steel "belt buckle" i made in shop class years ago, i never wore it as for it is about a half inch thick of steel and very heavy, the slug did amazing damage and left an immense crater and bent the whole plate drastically , for reference i had my friend fire his raging bull in .454 casull (bitter foot valley 300gr jacketed hollow point) and by contrast it barley made a dent (last photo) now honest opinions here if a .500 magnum can supposedly take down any large game animal on the planet and only carries at best 50% more energy than .454 casull shouldn't a well placed 12 gauge slug do the trick on anything??
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Old January 18, 2012, 10:52 AM   #2
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I have tried to finish off exactly one fawn mule deer with a 12 guage slug without sucsess so my experence is quite limited. However I study terminal ballistics and have well over 100 spent bullets in my collection taken from game animals so I do have some experence. The 12 guage is known as a great stopping gun on light big game. The one problem many report is the soft foster slugs. These were designed for deer and quite often wont completely penatrate even a small whitetail. There are companies the produce hard cast slugs of great length and weight that dont expand and should be very good on heavy game. As the surface area broadens from expansion, penatration decreases. The soft foster slugs expand quite nicely on small game animals so would assume penatration on bigger game animals would be less than desireable on anything but broadside shots. Again coming from the west where I live there is nill shotgun and slug hunting here.
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Old January 18, 2012, 12:02 PM   #3
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30-30 is right on point -- shooting at a steel plate gives an indication of energy but not penetration in tissue. Conventional slugs must, by necessity, be of soft lead. If they weren't able to deform and pass a full choke you can imagine the consequences (physical and legal). If you're looking for shotgun penetration, consider a rifled barrel and modern sabots. With their soft plastic shoe, the slugs can be much harder than conventional ones. There's also configuration: When comparing bullets to slugs think of a pencil -- if you going to poke something with a pencil are you going to use the point or the eraser?
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Old January 18, 2012, 02:58 PM   #4
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I shoot Brenneke KOs by preference, where slugs are concerned. They're hard lead alloy swaged slugs and can be fired in choked barrels. They make neat cookie cutter holes and penetrate deeply without flattening out and stopping the way soft lead hollow base Foster slugs can do.

For genuine big game, look at some of the heavier Brenneke loads, like the Black Magic, or the Dixie offerings. For more oomph than that, it'll take a large bore rifle with good solid bullets.
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Old January 18, 2012, 05:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
if you going to poke something with a pencil are you going to use the point or the eraser?
My 12 ga rifled barrel uses sabots, they almost always go clean thru the deer, hogs, and one ol cow. I would wager it will kill anything lives on this planet. It is all we could use for deer here, killed many deer with it as do my neighbors.
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Old January 18, 2012, 08:16 PM   #6
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I contend that a well made 12ga shotgun slug such as a Brenneke, is capable of cleanly killing **just about** any animal walking today.

(Any many that are long extinct )
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Old January 18, 2012, 08:22 PM   #7
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markj,

A sabot is the pencil's point. But, if you compare a flattish nosed 12-ga slug (the eraser) with a pointed rifle bullet, the slug may have more energy but the point of impact unit stress is significantly below that of the bullet.
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Old January 18, 2012, 09:11 PM   #8
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Dixie makes an 870 grain hardened slug that you can't shoot out of anything other than a full bore with no choke because it won't deform properly to go through a choke. I would be interested in seeing how that performs as defense round against grizzly, or for hunting bigger game like elk.
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Old January 20, 2012, 07:53 AM   #9
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12 gauge slug made a bigger dent because of its weight not because of velocity. Same reason that a heavy hammer drives a nail deeper with one blow than a lighter hammer.

Slugs have been slaying animals for many decades. The primary disadvantage is heavy recoil, not killing power.

Good hunting to you.
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Old January 20, 2012, 05:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
A sabot is the pencil's point. But, if you compare a flattish nosed 12-ga slug (the eraser) with a pointed rifle bullet, the slug may have more energy but the point of impact unit stress is significantly below that of the bullet.
It would take a heck of a rifle round t oequal the force the 12 ga slug gives. It will penetrate deep due to its weight. pointy has not much to do with it IMHO. and I feel very comfy with my shotgun. I also have a 30-06 well 3 of them, I feel the shotgun is a harder hitter on close up game, longer out the 06 is fine.
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Old January 21, 2012, 12:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
A sabot is the pencil's point. But, if you compare a flattish nosed 12-ga slug (the eraser) with a pointed rifle bullet, the slug may have more energy but the point of impact unit stress is significantly below that of the bullet.
It would take a heck of a rifle round to equal the force the 12 ga slug gives.
Force is a nebulous term and can mean a lot of things, I suppose you mean Kinetic Energy. Let's look at the numbers, from the manufacturers' data on muzzle energy on your 30-06 and a 12-ga:
30-06 Rifle bullet, Federal Power-Shock 180-gr = 2,913 ft.lb.
12-ga Shotgun slug, Benneke K.O. 1-oz = 2,491 ft.lb.
My initial guess was wrong, the bullet has about 17% more energy at the muzzle than the slug.

Now let's look at the kinetic energy in terms of the impact area:
30-06 has a diameter of 0.308" and an area of 0.0745 sq.in., 2,913/0.0745 = 39,100 ft.lb per sq.in.
12-ga has a diameter of 0.729" and an area of 0.417 sq.in., 2,491/0.417 = 5,973 ft.lb per sq.in.
Neglecting the point v. eraser, the bullet's energy per unit area is 555% that of the slug -- I'd say that's significant. Unfortunately, I don't have the data required to do a similar comparison at target distance. Down range, the slug has a mass advantage while the bullet has a drag advantage.

Think of the slug as hitting your target over the head with a brick and the deep penetrating bullet as stabbing him. If he's big and bad (thick skinned) enough, the brick may just make him angry, but the blade will ruin his day. That being said, on this continent, the brick is usually more than enough.
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Old January 21, 2012, 01:16 AM   #12
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Most Alaska guides are carrying a 12 gauge loaded with slugs or a .45-70 for bear defense. That ought to tell you something.
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Old January 22, 2012, 01:09 PM   #13
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Traditional 12ga foster slugs do amazing little damage considering their emense power. They don't expand, don't deform all that much and yet still don't pentrate all that well. You'll get a pass thru on broadside whitetails most but not all the time and they generally punch a neat hole thru what ever it hits but don't trasmit much shock or damage to surrounding tissue.

I've heard better things about the Breneke slugs but over all I'm not overly impressed with traditional foster slugs after a few dozen deer. Being said, they're what I got, what I use, get the job done if I do my part.

LK
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Old January 24, 2012, 03:43 PM   #14
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Kilkenny,something that starts out just under .75" doesn't need much expansion to transfer oodles of energy.

I've a few dozen deer behind me also, and most died humanely and fast within 50 yards of impact.

Some slugs were recovered. They looked like silver dollars, so expansion does occur sometimes.

Forster slug work very well on deer sized game. For hogs, bears and the odd Smilodon I'd go with Rottweil Brenekkes.
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Old January 25, 2012, 09:15 AM   #15
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To put it in other terms, a .40 might make a bigger hole but a .357 will make a deeper one. Its penetration vs expansion and the hardness of the bullet itself
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Old January 25, 2012, 09:52 AM   #16
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I am one who will never short-change the venerable ol' soft lead cheap rifled slugs...

Granted... penetration may be reduced compared to harder slugs or rifle bullets but...

There is no disputing the fact that within' acceptable range, these plumbum blobs weighed in ounces rather than grains carry a massive amount of energy and it is all dumped in the target in a relatively wide spot...

Even with less than stellar penetration, the bone breakage and tissue damage around and behind the impact spot is often enuff to get my kill shot off expediently if needed at all...

Brent
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Old January 25, 2012, 01:46 PM   #17
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There is no disputing the fact that within' acceptable range, these plumbum blobs weighed in ounces rather than grains carry a massive amount of energy and it is all dumped in the target in a relatively wide spot…
Brent, old sage, I gotta dispute your statement because, like many, you're confusing (kinetic) energy with momentum. Because kinetic energy is a function of the velocity squared, many rifle bullets exceed a slug's kinetic energy. With momentum being the product of mass and velocity, the slug will carry more momentum than all but the heavier rifle bullets. I'm not arguing effectiveness of slugs, just trying to get the nomenclature correct.

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Old January 25, 2012, 09:26 PM   #18
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I ain't claiming to have the terms zackly accurate... But what I imply is that even if a slug fails to penetrate... If hit square in a shoulder, the critter ain't walkin' the straight line... While I never had a problem with a slug making blood spill... I have had less than excellent penetration evidence.

But I have shot slugs at deer in my younger less disciplined years... Nothin' says "energy dump" like a hip shot deer who is startled when his own butt passes his front end in full trot... Or a buck deer shoved 4 feet by the slug impact to the shoulder that he runs head on into a tree that is 2 trees off the trail...

Energy, momentum, kinetic or static... Slugs rock the world of the target.

Rifle bullets better perform certain tasks and equally perform others but slugs are brutal "blunt force trauma" at a high rate of speed...

Brent
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Old January 26, 2012, 10:57 PM   #19
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Hmm didn't think this thread would go this far XD but concerning the slugs effectiveness one point that is left out is momentum, a larger object will loose momentum much slower than a smaller object (smaller object less momentum and can't carry its energy as well) or at least that's a theory i have, that .454 casull has around 2,000 foot pounds of energy (or very close for the particular round on the metal plate) and in that case the slug probably only had 2,400 foot pounds and was soft lead, considering that and the massive damage difference between the two it can be safely inferred that energy isn't what caused the huge difference in impact so i vote it was the incredible amount of momentum besides if the slug can't pierce large game than no .454 couldn't either, considering that plate was a relatively fair medium, the tensile strength of bone and muscle doesn't compare to that of steel, even softer steel
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Old January 28, 2012, 07:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsa1115
Most Alaska guides are carrying a 12 gauge loaded with slugs or a .45-70 for bear defense. That ought to tell you something.
This.

In real bear country the 12ga slug is the weapon of choice with experienced hunters, guides and LE.
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Old January 30, 2012, 05:23 PM   #21
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Think of the slug as hitting your target over the head with a brick and the deep penetrating bullet as stabbing him.
Well having killed large deer with both Imust say the damage caused was greater with the slugs. I used a 150 gr 30-06 and of course my winchester 1300 with the rifled barrel. I have also shot deer with a smoothbore (earl years), most went completly thru the deer as did the 30-06 but having a larger face the slug did a lot more damage to the deer. Dont use kinetic energy stuff or scientific explaintions, just my life exp.

I shot a wheel rim with both the slug tore a hole in it the 06? not so much...
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Old January 30, 2012, 08:48 PM   #22
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I shot two deer this year with 12 gauge Federal lead slugs. Hit them both broadside and both went completely through the "Soft area". Both hit at least one lung and clipped the heart. I am new to shotgun hunting and was impressed with the entrance hole. Apparently the Federal lead slugs really expand with little resistance.
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Old January 30, 2012, 11:04 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markj
Quote:
Think of the slug as hitting your target over the head with a brick and the deep penetrating bullet as stabbing him.
Well having killed large deer with both Imust say the damage caused was greater with the slugs. I used a 150 gr 30-06 and of course my winchester 1300 with the rifled barrel. I have also shot deer with a smoothbore (earl years), most went completly thru the deer as did the 30-06 but having a larger face the slug did a lot more damage to the deer. Dont use kinetic energy stuff or scientific explaintions, just my life exp.
Markj, it seems your experience confirms my description: the slug messed it up and the bullet stabbed its way through.
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Old January 31, 2012, 02:19 PM   #24
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Kilkenny,something that starts out just under .75" doesn't need much expansion to transfer oodles of energy.

I've a few dozen deer behind me also, and most died humanely and fast within 50 yards of impact.

Some slugs were recovered. They looked like silver dollars, so expansion does occur sometimes.

Forster slug work very well on deer sized game. For hogs, bears and the odd Smilodon I'd go with Rottweil Brenekkes.
Dave, you're right a foster slug does kill a deer although I've never seen expansion of any sort. But a .75" hole is gonna leave a mark. My issue is with the lack of shock transmitted to the deer. When compared to wound channels of deer shot with centerfire rifles or even handguns for that matter very little tissue disruption occurs to surounding area with a foster slug. Neat hole thru what ever it hits. Good if you're saving meat, bad if shot is even the least bit questionable. IMO, that combined with questionable penetration means the foster slug despite it's large diameter and ooddles of energy is not a very efficient killer compared to the competition. Note, I didn't say it wouldn't get the job done. Been doing for years. But it's not the best despite the numbers.

LK

BTW, IMO it's inefficiencies is also why a good percentage of deer hunting related shootings here in Iowa result with the victim living. It's amazes me how many hunters get shot COM here during the deer season and live.
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Old January 31, 2012, 04:24 PM   #25
Dave McC
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LK, some shots were straight through and through, I doubt much expansion occured though death was swift and humane.

OTOH, I recall one yearling shot quartering in. The Rottweil Brenekke struck at the point of the left shoulder and broke the right hip after, say 2 feet of penetration.Dead in 10 yards and 30 seconds.

IMO, Forster style slugs are adequate for Md Whitetail and similar. Less so for say, Manitoba giants and larger thin skinned prey. There, go to the '06 or Brenekkes....
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