View Full Version : When to use slugs?

February 11, 2002, 01:21 AM
I'm completely new to shotguns and admit to knowing next to nothing about the subject. I've spent the last few weeks reading through the posts in the shotgun section reading about different guns and what loads are good for what situations. The only common thing I see about slugs is "definite no-no for home defense due to penetration issues." Ok, that's perfectly understandble. But it got me wondering: what situations would demand a slug load instead of a buckshot load?



February 11, 2002, 01:36 AM
When a black bear EATS one of your grandfathers dogs. That's when I used a slug "for real". It did a good job too. Other than that, I use then for fun at the range. I shoot them out of my 870 Marine Magnum... it's surprising the accuracy you can get out of a 18 inch non-rifled barrel. :D

*edited for crappy spelling*

Dave McC
February 11, 2002, 06:18 AM
For me, deer hunting is the primary reason there's a few hundred slugs here at Casa McC, with upheavals a distant second place.

Usually half of my winter meat comes via slugs.

February 11, 2002, 01:44 PM
For the casual user, slugs are for paper punching at the range, and hunting deer and other medium game. Those whose geography or lifestyle make them prone to encounter large, rather nasty mammals often carry them as a repellant against such beasts.
Law Enforcement and folks serious about personal defense use them to extend the reach and accuracy of the shotgun to beyond the effective range of buckshot loads, or where the situation dictates that more penetration is required. Punching through auto glass/bodies, and removing door locks or hinges are two that come to mind.

I could also see slugs being selected, if no rifle were immediately available, to deal with individuals who might be wearing soft body armor. Although some vests are rated to defeat the slugs, the crushing trauma caused by rifled slugs can still kill or disable the wearer.

February 11, 2002, 03:30 PM
When it absolutely, positively has to be dead.

February 14, 2002, 06:43 PM
Slugs can extend the range of your shotgun out to 100 yards.

Buckshot is commonly considered 'good-enough" from point-blank out to 25-30 yards. Beyond that range, slugs may be a better option because of the dispersal of most buckshot loads.

February 14, 2002, 08:59 PM
shot some slugs for the first time today at the range.

i had been shooting my vz-24 8mm, then switched to the 12 gauge. ough!!!!!!!!! hurt like hell. i'm a pretty good sized guy (6'3" 205) and they made me feel like a runt.

call me a sissy if you must, but shooting slugs aren't something i am looking forward to again. matter af fact, after i shoot the other 15 pack, i don't plan on shooting any again.

did i mention hot much they hurt :o

February 14, 2002, 09:41 PM
From a tactical perspective, slugs are the only choice when you need a precise hit at extended ranges. With rifle sights or ghost rings, a rifled slug is a surprisingly accurate projectile.

Example: during a 3-Gun Match, the CoF involved three overlapping IPSC targets. The outside targets were designated "hostages," and we had to engage the bad guy without hitting the good guys. A single slug through CoM wasn't a problem at 25 yards.

Slugs also penetrate hard cover very well, which is a two-edged sword. You may well hit the baddie, but a slug can continue on downrange with enough energy to really ruin someone else's day.

February 15, 2002, 09:50 AM
Use slugs when all you've got is a shotgun and you wish you had a rifle.

For defensive purposes, within 25-40 yards (depending upon how your gun patterns), use 00 buck. Beyond that, use slugs. That said, it would be a pretty unusual situation to be defending yourself at a distance in excess of 40 yards.


February 15, 2002, 10:07 AM
definite no-no for home defense due to penetration issues

I don't think that's the issue as much as practicality. Unless you have a REALLY big house...pretty much everything you launch from a shotgun is a slug. Now, if you have some acreage to defend, a few slugs in the tube might not be a bad idea.

February 17, 2002, 08:06 PM
I like slugs, usually Remington ones, in my Mossberg 590 shotgun for defense. I keep them in the stock and load with 0 buck, keeping the slugs in case I need extended range.

I have used slugs to hunt hogs and deer, but have only taken hogs with them. They just knock 'em dead.

February 18, 2002, 10:56 AM
Anyone know a website where I can view some ballistics charts that show different 12ga slugs?

February 23, 2002, 10:28 PM
I suggest trying the various loads your interested in at the range on paper at various ranges to see what you can do with your shotgun with specific loads.

Max range with buckshot or birdshot depends on gun and how it patterns a specific load. It also depends ono what you consider a useable pattern. Personally for buckshot, when more than one or two pellets, with OO buck, are outside 8" of the aiming point I feel that I have reached the max range for buckshot. With buckshot you don't get good pattern density when the pattern opens up to any real size. Because you don't have enough pellets.

IMHO for home defense loading mag tube with buck or large birdshot, with a butt cuff or sidesaddle holding slugs will cover anything one needs to worrying about in general. If you need more you probably need an assault or battle rifle.

Shot will work fine at normal gunfighting distances of <7 yards buckshot should work fine out of almost every shotgun to at least 15 yards. Slugs will work out to 35+ yards [100 yards for some I know, but based on what I have seen on the range with people shooting off of a rest with no pressure 50 yards is way to far for most to shoot a slug if they have to worry about where it stops under time pressure and stress]
Stinger: What kind of gun and slugs where you using? Regular 2.75" slugs shouldn't be that painful. Does you gun fit correctly for slugs? What hurt?

George Helser
February 24, 2002, 02:11 AM

I know what you mean about punishing recoil from slugs.
I use a slip on Pachmayr recoil pad on my Benellis and it helps a lot!

In sunny Arizona

Dave McC
February 24, 2002, 08:46 AM
Stinger, there's old threads in the Archives about painless slug testing. A few brief bullets here.

Use a wearable recoil pad like the PAST.

Use a top quality pad on the stock also.

Use good bench form, including sitting up straight so the shotgun's not kicking into the top of the joint of your shoulder.

Add as much weight to the shotgun as feasible. Here's where a Side Saddle, extended mag, and/or butt cuff shine.A few trash hulls filled with shot and crimped tightly will fit in the stock bolt hole, others can go in the magazine in FRONT of the follower.

My HD 870 has all the bellsnwhistles, running about 9 1/2 lbs loaded. WHAT kick?...

February 25, 2002, 01:24 AM
For home defense almost never. For bear defense they are a must. If your a police offier forced to use a shot gun they provide better barrier penetration than buck, greater range and for when you need to place a shot(hostage situation).