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Old April 18, 2014, 03:56 PM   #1
mukjp22m
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Shotgun paper plate accuracy 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards?

I have been researching long-range shotgun setups for a long time. In all the Internet research I'd done, it looked like 200 yards was a tough shot to make, and nobody speaks of 300 yards. Yet, then I'd see a Youtube video here and there showing a Foster slug hitting a gong at 300 yards.

So, why can't a sabot slug through a rifled barrel do such a thing at will? My guess was that it was deemed impossible because it is so difficult to guess how far it will drop. And even if you know, it is really hard to judge how high to aim at long distances. Throw in the extreme expense and recoil involved in shooting such rounds, and people probably rightfully give up quickly when not putting anything on paper.

I had to find out for myself, so I recently purchased an 870 Express with an HD barrel for just over $300. I then bought a Mossberg rifled barrel which fits the 870. This setup is nothing terribly impressive or expensive. Again, reading online, you'd think you need a highly expensive Savage bolt-action shotgun with a non-removable slug barrel to have a prayer at 200 yards. Also, based on my online research, the slow twist rate of an 870 Remington or Mossberg rifled barrel (1:35 and 1:36) means it is best suited for heavier, slower slugs. This was confusing to me, because the same people online will tell you that a slow twist Remington 700 in .223 (1:12 twist) can only handle lightweight, high-velocity rounds, maybe 40-55 grain. That makes more sense to me than the opposite. Low and behold, after taking the 870 to the 75-yard indoor range, I found that the high-velocity rounds were grouping much better than the heavier rounds. At that distance, the Hornady SST slugs at 2,000 fps were grouping about 1 inch.

That was an expensive experiment, and so was stocking up on the Hornady slugs for a trip to the outdoor range. Fortunately, they are relatively cheap ($13/box) compared to other slugs, which is surprising as Hornady is a top-tier manufacturer.

Anyway, being that compensating for drop seems to be the main hangup for shooting something at long range that people thing you can't shoot at long range, I bought a Nikon Shotgun Hunter 2-7x32 BDC scope. Well, that was the ticket. BDC. That Ballistic Drop Compensator is absolutely the ticket. Lots of scopes have markings like this, but Nikon is the only one I know about which has an online tool that can tell you exactly which markings to use on any bullet from any manufacturer on any of their BDC scopes. Further, you can tell it the target distance and the zero. It seems a little complicated, but if you have half a brain and the patience to understand the tool, the BDC is unreal, at least for a shotgun. Crystal clear, lots of eye-relief, and super easy to use. I sighted the gun in at about +2 inches at 100 yards. It was grouping around 2" at that distance, or 2 MOA. So what happens at 2 or 300 yards? Does the bullet tumble? If not, then it should still be at 2 MOA, right? So, I used my markings for a Hornady SSt slug sighted at 125 yards (+2 at 100 = 125 zero for this load), and poof, 4-inch groups at 200 yards (2 MOA). Mind you, I repeated this again and again. I shot 30 slugs today, which set me back almost $90. But hey, I really was interested in this.

After nailing the target repeatedly at 200 yards, I thought I'd try something for the hell of it. The berm at this place sits 340 yards out, and according to my cheat sheet that I printed from Nikon's Spot On website, that corresponded to the lowest marking on my scope almost exactly. So, I shot left of the target, holding that marking. Bam, a puff of dirt (big one) on the berm, right where I was aiming it. BTW, it took years of shooting to be able to recover from a shotgun slug recoil fast enough to observe the puff of dirt that quickly, especially through a scope. So, I had to take the time to set up a target at 300 yards. I shot three slugs, using my cheat sheet, and the picture speaks for itself. I realize it's not THAT amazing, compared to a rifle. But, I bet there are a LOT of people who think it's ridiculous to make a shot that long with a shotgun, especially a relatively cheap shotgun. Well, this looks like a 5" group to me. At that distance it is still just supersonic and delivers around 850 pounds of energy. I thought this was pretty cool, so hopefully you enjoyed the read.
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Old April 18, 2014, 04:02 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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I'm not surprised. My uncle's Browning Gold has repeatedly put two Remington Accu-tip 3" magnum slugs within 2" at 200 yards. He's never shot more than 2 but shoots 2 every year at 200 just to be sure he's still on. Always about 2 feet low (IIRC) sighted 1.5" high at 100 and 2" apart.
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Old April 18, 2014, 05:46 PM   #3
JD0x0
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I don't think the drop is the hard part as long as you have some sort of elevation adjustment. I mean, a few weeks ago someone broke the longest air rifle shot at over 600yards IIRC. The projectile was an 87 grain .257 cal bullet that was launched at subsonic speeds, around 1000fps

Drop is predictable. Wind isn't as predictable. That and the relatively low BC's of slugs, probably makes wind the bigger culprit. The 300 grain SST, has a G1 BC of .200
Compare this to their 147 grain 9mm XTP which has a BC of .212 which is a pistol bullet.
In a 10mph crosswind, that SST has over a foot of wind drift at 200 yards, and over 2 FEET (28.67'') of drift at 300 yards. I think that's where your problems hitting will come from.
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Old April 18, 2014, 05:58 PM   #4
dbc3
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Nice group. Im not surprised either. My 1100 with a rifled barrel shooting same hornadys in 2 3/4 inch performs just as good. I shoot open sights so a group as tight as yours is nearly impossible but i can smack a 12 inch plate at 200 yds pretty dead center. Off a bench of course. The ballistics are right on the box so mine shoots flat out to 150 yds then drops 6 inches at 200. Never tried any further.
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Old April 18, 2014, 08:54 PM   #5
mukjp22m
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Yeah, the BC on that SST is .202. I thought 9mm rounds were well below that BC. The SST is quite aerodynamic, for a slug. It's only in flight for .6 seconds at 300 yards. I don't know if BC tells you everything about wind drift, does it? I haven't studied wind drift much. Today, I completely ignored the wind, even though it was noticeable and blowing enough to make it annoying to try to staple my targets up. I would estimate is was blowing 5-10 mph, and I never noticed anything with bullet movement. Not sure.
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Old April 18, 2014, 09:21 PM   #6
JD0x0
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Quote:
I thought 9mm rounds were well below that BC
Most lighter bullets are, but when you get into the heavy 147 grain bullets, they usually tend to hover around .17-.2 depending on the shape. The Hornady 147 gr XTP and 147 grain round nose claim .212, the boat tail (which is not typical of pistol rounds in general) likely helps the BC but even Sierra claims a G1 BC of .18 @ 1000fps and below, for their 125 grain FMJ. (They don't make 147's apparently)
Don't know what Magtech uses but they also claim a G1 BC of .201 for their 'Full Metal Jacket Flat'
http://www.magtechammunition.com/sto...00102itemList=
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Old April 20, 2014, 07:36 AM   #7
outdoorsman62
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Light fields are great slugs
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Old April 20, 2014, 11:56 AM   #8
big al hunter
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Quote:
. Also,based on my online research, the slow twist rate of an 870 Remington or Mossberg rifled barrel (1:35 and 1:36) means it is best suited for heavier, slower slugs. This was confusing to me, because the same people online will tell you that a slow twist Remington 700 in .223 (1:12 twist) can only handle lightweight, high-velocity rounds, maybe 40-55 grain. That makes more sense to me than the opposite.
The rate of twist that will stabilize a given projectile is based on the length of the bullet in relation to its diameter. A .223 bullet that weighs 55 grains is much longer than its diameter. A 12 ga foster slug is close to the same length as it's diameter. The longer a bullet is compared to it's diameter, the faster the twist must be to stabilize it.
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Old April 21, 2014, 12:47 AM   #9
Doc TH
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Look at Hitchcock 45's you tube video on shooting slugs from his Benelli with iron sights at 200 yds +.
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Old April 22, 2014, 09:41 PM   #10
mukjp22m
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Interesting, Big Al. That makes sense for the 223. As for the 12 gauge, the Hornady is 300 grain, which is the lightest I know of. Unless the diameter is abnormally small compared to other sabot slugs (I don't THINK so, but I'm not sure), then it is probably a shorter projectile and therefore doesn't need a fast twist. Probably true, since it performed so well in this barrel.
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Old April 23, 2014, 10:56 PM   #11
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The Hornady slug is actually a pistol bullet. 45 caliber 300 gr. I believe if you compare the Hornady slug to a foster type rifled slug, they are fairly proportional to one another.
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Old April 26, 2014, 05:22 AM   #12
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Slugs and accuracy

I have not been able to shoot my slug gun at more than 100 yards. That being said, based on the results at 100 and extrapolating, fairly good grouping at 200 yards should be no problem.
This photo is a three shot group at 100..., end of the day, I had only three shells left. The gun was not sighted for 100 yards...but for 50. So...there is a flier and the two together. I have not gone back and tried again. I do feel that the together shots are the true group for this load and gun.
The load is derived from Hubel's "Shotgun from Hell" series.

The shell:

The gun is an old Mossberg 695 slug gun.
Perhaps later this Spring I will get an opportunity to shoot at 200 yards.
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