View Full Version : Aguila mini shells for home defense ??? hunting ???

Magnum Wheel Man
June 25, 2008, 08:59 AM
so... I have a IAC Chinese lever action 12 ga that I've been playing with this summer... it is sensitive to hull length, & it's currently getting a windage adjustable front bead, & elevation adjustable ghost ring rear sight

( for right now, I'm trying to see what it can do with grouping slugs )... every once in a while I get a hull that will not extract correctly, & some of the power / pressures of the modern slugs must be close to what the antique replica action can handle,as it gets "stiff" on a few loads...

so I started looking at factory shorter 12 ga slugs & buck shotloads, & came across the Aguila's...


I'm wondering if

a) the gun will function / feed the shorter shells

b) if it will increase the capacity by one or 2 rounds

c) if the slugs carry enough power to still hunt deer out to 50-75 yards ???

d) your guys thoughts of the buck shot loads & a handy lever action for home defense ( provided the gun either feeds the shorter shells, or could be tweaked to feed them reliably ???

heres a pic of the gun ( in stock form )


June 25, 2008, 11:56 AM
I have used both the mini-slug and mini-shot shells from Aguila. They function just fine in my pumpgun...if I do my part to ensure proper cycling (fast and deliberate pumping). They are a blast and I highly recommend them as they are great fun for the wife and kids (very low recoil). Because of the low recoil, they are an invalubale teaching asset when it comes to recoil-sensitive students of the shotgun.

I have ONLY ever used them for fun on the range. I would NEVER consider them for SD/HD.

June 25, 2008, 12:10 PM
can you give some more info on the gun? barrell legnth etc...
I think i need one!

Magnum Wheel Man
June 25, 2008, 12:16 PM
here you go...




Denny Hansen
June 25, 2008, 05:37 PM
I've tried the mini-shells in half a dozen shotguns, and had only so-so reliability in one (a Mossberg 500.)

Since they were introduced to give greater capacity in a magazine tube-fed gun due to the shorter length, and the shells in the IAC load straight down, you gain nothing from using them since the diameter of the shell is the same as standard shells.


June 25, 2008, 05:39 PM
HMMM, 500 bucks for the repro vs $1800 for a 120 y/o original.......I'm having trouble deciding........:)
hey wheel man,
can you send me a pic of the lacing on the lever?

Magnum Wheel Man
June 26, 2008, 06:12 AM
the shells in the IAC load straight down, you gain nothing from using them since the diameter of the shell is the same as standard shells.


the lever actions... ( mine ) is tube magazine fed... hold like 6 shells total... might be able to get one more in there, since they are shorter ???

"T"... I could zoom an existing pic, but mine is currently at my buddys place getting the sights installed, so unless he finishes it this week, I won't be able to get a pic of just the laces...

June 26, 2008, 10:16 AM
I have used the Aquila mini shells with 7 1/2 shot for cowboy action falling plates and never had a problem out of my 18" barreled win 97. The best thing was that I could load 9 of them in tube.

The only way to know if they will function in the 87 repro is to try them. I haven't tried them in mine.

Denny - I'm not sure I understand how the process of loading them into the mag tube effects the capacity of the tube. Yes, you do load the magazine through the action but the shells are end to end in the tube.

Denny Hansen
June 28, 2008, 08:45 PM

You're absolutley right. I have one sitting beside my desk and had a brain lapse.

Note to self: never post after runnning a roto-tiller and seeding a 1/2 acre into grass all day.;)


Magnum Wheel Man
July 1, 2008, 06:45 AM
"T"... here are the pics of the laces on the lever... I'll also include a couple pics of the sights... the front is on a dove tail, that is wider than the sight base ( yet ), so it can be drifted into position, then ground down to conform to the base...

the laces are attached to a leather wrap, that looks similar to a pony tail hair do dad...:D & this is how it came from the factory...



Magnum Wheel Man
July 1, 2008, 06:50 AM
the front adjustable bead... I may decide to replace the bead with either a fiber optic, or a tritium bead, but keep the custom adjustable base...


rear height adjustable ghost ring... you can see the wider dove tail on the front sight in this pic... the gun seemed to shoot several inches off to the side consistantly a 25 yards, with both slug loads I tried before adding the sights, so we decided the adjustable bead would get me on point of aim with the slugs... I want to try the Aquilas 1st, before adjusting the bead, & fitting the dove tail...


July 2, 2008, 02:09 PM
I like Aguila Mini-Slugs for my 1300 Defender - 11 rounds with a .72 dia 385gr soft lead slug @ 1250 FPS. The flat meplate punches clean wadcutter holes in the black past 25 yards. They would lay the smack DOWN on any bad guy

They're an excellent home-defense choice for double-barrel shotguns and 1300s, but arguably not for hunting due to their low ballistic coefficient and poor sectional density. Perhaps they may be useful for close range, rough brush deer and pig hunting


Magnum Wheel Man
July 2, 2008, 03:03 PM
COLT... thanks for the pics... I'm ordering some today, to try in the lever gun... even if it takes a little tweaking to get fully functional, if the Aguilas are as good as I suspect, I may "adjust" it permanently to dedicate the gun to the Minis...

I'm also considering buying a couple 100 all brass 12 ga. shells, & reloading my own, & I may cut them down to duplicate the minis, if I can get function at that length to 100%

BTW... is the handgun case in those pics a 45 ACP ???

July 2, 2008, 03:43 PM
sorry--yep, that's a .45 ACP 230gr Winchester Ranger T cartridge used for size comparison

I shoulda bought a bunch of all-brass shotshells before this ridiculous price increase :rolleyes:

ps - i was gonna order more Mini-Shells from here: http://www.coledistributing.com/MM054.ASP?cat=New+Production+Ammo&i=&pageno=31&start=11
$8.50 per twenty rounds..

Magnum Wheel Man
July 3, 2008, 07:13 AM
thanks for the link on the minis...

BTW... Midway has the brass hulls on sale right now... ( though probably still twice as much as they were a year ago :rolleyes: )

July 5, 2008, 10:36 PM
Magnum - I ran a test and have some "good news/bad news" about the minishells.

First the good news- TEN of them will fit in the mag tube.

Now the bad news - The action will need to be "tweaked" to get it to function properly with the minshells. It double feeds them in stock configuration and then won't chamber. The action closes with the 2 shells lying on the lifter then jams. I didn't have time to play with it anymore than that and try to diagnose the reason or find a fix.

Good luck with it and let us know if you find a fix.


Magnum Wheel Man
July 7, 2008, 06:22 AM
I ran some old Federal 2&3/4" - 7/8 ounce slugs through mine this weekend... still having trouble getting them to eject ( seems like the hulls are too long )... I'd had that problem before with folded crimp shells... these were roll crimp, & still got stuck during eject...

my 2 test boxes of minis should be here today or tomorrow

then to try to get the new adjustable sights adjusted the 7/8 ounce slugs were shooting 4" left & 8" low with the new sights... before I adjust them ( which I expect I'll have to do ), I want to try both the minis, & a one ounce slug, then adjust the sights as close as possible... either for the minis, or to work the best with all the slugs ( depending on what my groups with the 3 look like )

I'm hoping that since mine seems to be sensitive to shell length, that it "might" work with out too much tweaking with the minis...

... I think I posted a link for the guy that does action tuning, earlier in this thread... he is the guy that actually went to China as part of the design process, so he's very familiar with the shot gun, & claims to be able to fix alot of it's quirks... I have spoke to him about my ejection problem, & he claims he can fix that... but the cost of an action tune is almost what I paid for the shot gun, I have not talked to him about the minis, as they were an after thought... but I'll probably let my local "smithy" buddy look at it 1st, & if he doesn't think he can fix it, to work with the minis, I'll give the other guy a call...

July 7, 2008, 09:00 AM
If you are going to have an 87 worked on Coyote Cap is the man to do the job. He was instrumental in getting the Chinese copies to market and has a huge following in the Cowboy Action community. I have one of his Winchester 97 "race guns" and the modifications and adjustments are spot on. His work is pricey but, you do get good value for the money.


July 7, 2008, 07:17 PM
Quote: "I'm also considering buying a couple 100 all brass 12 ga. shells, & reloading my own, & I may cut them down to duplicate the minis, if I can get function at that length to 100%".

First, you don't need my advice, because internet advice is usually worth the paper it is printed on (yes, that's a joke).

However...cutting down regular shells to a smaller size could be a dangerous practice that can leave you with "proof load" pressures even though the report, recoil, and accuracy don't seem to indicate problems. You may not know about a pressure problem until the receiver of your shotgun decides to spontaneously detonate. You can measure case expansion, primer flattening, and other symptoms of pressure, but at the point of firing, firing cut-down shells makes you into your own proof house. The results could be perfectly safe and under 10,000 psi, or they could be 15,000 psi gunwreckers.

Please, if you decide to reconfigure a shell, find a lab and send them five shells to pressure test. We don't want to lose a fellow shooter to injury or worse.

Magnum Wheel Man
July 8, 2008, 10:56 AM
got 2 boxes of Aquila mini slugs here today... hope to try them out this weekend... if not before...

man... they really are "mini"... I could see getting 10 in that short tube...

hope the gun works, or can "reasonable easily" be made to work with them...:D

Magnum Wheel Man
July 9, 2008, 08:41 AM
so shooting the minis... ( one at a time :mad: ) was very pleasant in the lever gun, but they would not feed at all, pulling 1.5 shells from the tube at a time... would also not work if one was set on the lift fork :(...

I'll do some group & penitration tests this weekend, & if I think I can live with the power level, I'll look at what if anything can be done to make them feed through the action

...If I can live with the power & penitration level of the minis, I don't have a problem permanently altering the gun, to make it a dedicated mini shooter, provided it's possible to do so, with out effecting the reliability of the action... 10 rounds in the tube, would make it a formidable home defense gun, or a great short distance youth or wifes deer gun ( provided there is enough power there for 25-30 yard shots at deer ??? )... I'm trying to talk MRS MAGNUM into deer hunting this fall, & she has no interest in shoot a "normal" slug gun... if this doesn't pan out, she may be using a Contender handgun in 30-30 which is also legal in this zone...

Magnum Wheel Man
July 15, 2008, 11:06 AM
hmmm... what a difference in point of impact between 7/8oz Aguila & Federal slugs, & one oz Remington & Federal slugs...

2 days later, & my shoulder still feels it... 20 slugs off the bench, in about a 1/2 hour on Sunday evening...

1st off, everything seemed to group well ( between brand & weight of slug ), with the Remington & Federal 1 oz slugs being pretty close together... but talk about extreme spreads... with the adjustable sights corrected for windage, & not adjusted for elevation ( they all grouped reasonably close as far as windage goes )... the Aguilas were like 8" high of point of aim, the Federal 7/8 oz almost point of aim, the Federal 1 oz hit 14" low, with the Remington 1 oz hitting 16" low of point of aim all at 25 yards... the adjustable rear sight would not adjust enough with the raised adjustable front bead to bring the point of impact to point of aim, without some modification...

... however I was able to dial in both 7/8 oz slugs... & thought the minis did a fine job, penitrating & exiting the new steel drum I used for a target backer... blowing larger than I'm used to, holes thru the drum... I'm confident the mini's would do a fine job on deer at 25 yards...

my next time out, I'll take the target out to 50 yards... & test for accuracy & penitration... now I'll need to talk to my smithing buddy about whats needed to get the minis to feed in the lever action ???

Magnum Wheel Man
July 23, 2008, 09:07 AM
I spoke with my buddy who did the sights yesterday, & we both agreed that we could possibly add a block of sorts to the loading fork... ( at this point I'm pretty much OK setting the gun up exclusively for the minis ), but possibly removable, to make the lever gun reliably feed the minis... I think he'll start on it this next week, after make sure the sights are where I want them...

... I haven't tried the minis at 50 yards yet, but at 25 yards IMO, they carry plenty of power to be able to hunt deer with, they may well run out of power before 50 yards though ??? or for use as a home defense round, they are plenty powerful...

I'm hoping I can get this done & talk my wife into deer hunting with it this year... she has had neck surgery, so is a bit recoil sensitive, & we'll be hunting in very thick woods shot gun zone, so 25 yards is a normal shot there... otherwisw we can use handguns... I'll outfit her with the Contender with a 30-30 barrel on it...

July 23, 2008, 02:45 PM
With my Winchester 1300 Defender, i feel well-armed and confident using Mini-Slugs--11 in the tube to be exact.

I can put 'em into the 10-ring past 25 yards with both shotguns that i use them in.

Good thing you checked for POI with your shotgun

Magnum Wheel Man
August 4, 2008, 07:49 AM
well... I did some more testing with my IAI lever action over the weekend...

... a couple of interesting things happened...

I got the new sights adjusted for 50 yards with the mini slugs...

... then the gun "fell apart" :mad:... the tube mag support slid forward on the barrel... the wood forend slid forward about 1/4"... they must have used thinner bolts than the dimpled holes between the barrel & mag tube would hold in place... I'm not sure if he screws loosened up... but I tightened up alot of the action bolts as well, so my guess is that they didn't use any thread locker on any of the bolts...

one interesting result of my gun "falling apart", is that I was into my shooting, & didn't notice the changes to the gun... only that my gun suddenly was not on the paper... it was at that point... I thought I better check for a squib, that I noticed the tube support off the end of the mag tube... it took quite a bit of force to hold the barrel & tube together close enough to slide the support back into place.... so what was happening, was they seperated after the support slid off, & the slugs were going high... the intersting thing, was that one of the slugs hit & went clear through one of the barrels at 100 yards... IMO, if the slug has the energy to go clear though both sides of a steel 55 gallon drum at 100 yards, it's likely going to be effective on deer to at least close to that distance... I wouldn't think twice about the power level of the mini slug at 75 yards for either human self defense, or deer hunting

BTW... my buddy will be pulling apart the gun this week... we found the lifting fork begins to drop, as the acton is cycled, just before the mini shell enters the barrel mouth... so if at all possible, he'll need to make a custom part to replace one of the links in the action, to time it slightly different, to allow feeding of the minis... then add a block, as we discussed earier... so at this point, it's questionable weather the lever will be able to feed the mini's or not... but with IMO, the power of the mini's being acceptable, if the action can be reworked as a dedicated mini gun... we'll go ahead & do it...

Three Steps
August 8, 2008, 08:58 AM
Quote: "I'm also considering buying a couple 100 all brass 12 ga. shells, & reloading my own, & I may cut them down to duplicate the minis, if I can get function at that length to 100%".

6THMichCav is probably right about the dangers of cutting down the length of a shotshell. In my foolish youth (about 1970) I was shooting black powder loaded slugs in an Iver Johnson single with soldered on sights. Jack rabbit deadly out to 30 yards or so. I got the bight idea to make a short shell with a slug load but used a factory loaded shot shell cut down and the factory powder charge re-used. Black powder would have been too bulky to make a short shell. The chamber split where the extractor rod is and split the stock where it joins the action from gas pressure. I was not hurt at all (lucky!) and hopefully learned a lot. I may have been 30 years ahead of my time but that ended my experimenting on that project, glad somebody made it work.

August 8, 2008, 10:05 AM
I asked of a guy that owned them short shells and he called them "poacher rounds"... said they were not suitable at any range beyond "across the fence from a road"...

Magnum Wheel Man
August 8, 2008, 10:29 AM
I guess I look at power wise, if they can blow a 1"hole through both sides of a steel 55 gallon drum, they aught to be OK for home defense or hunting, to at least 1/2 that distance, & mine ( out of that short barreled lever action ) will do that at 100 yards...???

Magnum Wheel Man
August 18, 2008, 11:07 AM
got the chance to play with my shotgun this weekend... my buddy added an adjustable block on the load fork to fit the mini shells, & made a new part that controls the timing on the feed fork... I can now put 8 mini slugs in the magazine, one on the lift fork, & one in the chamber, so it'll hold 10 rounds...

getting the bugs out... I can now put 9 in the gun, & if rack the lever "with authority", & consistantly, it will feed all 9 rounds well... it will ( for some reason ) not feed the 1st round on the load fork, but seems to handle the rest of them afterwards... we are thinking the magazine spring might be too light, as sometimes the shells seem to jam up in the mag ( might be too much lead in the same space ), with the shorter shells... also shooting them, might help ( I'm low on mini shells right now, so while tweaking, we are just racking them through )... the concussion may either help or hurt...

but anyway... we're making headway...:D

August 25, 2008, 06:02 PM
The mini slugs work great in my Win 1300, like they were made for that shotgun. Prolly were...

August 25, 2008, 09:09 PM
Another link for inexpensive mini-shells

Also, I remember reading when I first heard of these shells that only the Winchester 1300 would reliably feed them without alteration.