View Full Version : Shotgun slug verses rifle

March 1, 2009, 04:40 PM
I have a couple of shotgus, but no rifles worthy of hunting. I know many people do it, but as far as price and accruracy goes, is it cheaper to buy a new rifle in the long run or buy a new barrel for my shotgun and get slugs?

March 1, 2009, 05:05 PM
A shotgun is not necessarily a replacement for a rifle. What are you going to use it for?

Lee Lapin
March 1, 2009, 05:09 PM
Depends on the range you need to cover. A smoothbore shotgun barrel with bead sights can be good for up to 100 yards depending on the shooter, and on the shooter finding slugs that their shotgun 'likes' and practicing enough to hit with them.

Buy a couple of boxes of the available rifled slugs (sabots are for rifled barrels) at your local dealer's, and go experiment a bit. See what your shotgun will do and what you can do with it. Then make up your mind...


March 1, 2009, 05:56 PM
I would probably just use it for hunting deer or elk, and likely no more than what you said, 100 yds.

March 1, 2009, 06:25 PM
It's probably cheaper to stay with the shotgun and use slugs, but a used 30-30 or similar is really affordable, and would increase your range and precision.

You can also get rifled shotgun chokes to put in your smooth barrel for less than a rifled barrel. I don't know how well they work, but you could do some research and find testimonials I'm sure.

March 1, 2009, 09:46 PM
Your intended shot distance is definitely an important factor. While slugs offer improved distance over buckshot, they still require much closer shots than a rifle might allow. That said though, using slugs doesn't mean you absolutely have to use sabot slugs and invest in a rifled barrel for your shotgun. Heck, I took a deer this season at just under 100 yards with a 20 gauge rifled slug, dropped her where she stood. Use a 12 gauge instead and you'll have more power to shoot with.

Like you'll always hear, it's very important to see what slugs your shotgun likes. Using a rest, my Mossberg 535 shoots the cheap-O Remington "slugger" rifled slugs accurately out to 75 or so yards, while the cheap-O Winchester slugs seem to scatter. Out of my H&R Pardner pump, the reverse is true. Ammo selection is crucial.

March 1, 2009, 11:15 PM
60-100 yards I am equally lethal with the .30-30 as a 12 or 20 slug from a smooth barrel! Well lemme back up the range ... 60-80 but man a slug expends a crap load of energy on impact... I am talking step in front of an 18 wheeler on the interstate energy! That big ol wad of lead is an absolute MUTHA on an animal if it hits a mark! I do not even entertain the idea of a slugger rifled barrel. NOVELTY all the way to me...

March 1, 2009, 11:40 PM
up to 50 yards with smoothbore barrel and double bead sights on rib (big bead in front and smaller bead halfway back): @ 50 yards with quality slugs that your gun likes--I usually use an improved cylinder choke mounted in interchangable choke barrels; I would not go tighter than modified, especially with a hardened lead slug like Brenneke brand; 'pumpkin ball' styled forster slugs are most common with smoothbore barrels

up to 75 yards with smoothbore barrel that has rifle style sights (rear sight should be adjustable); same considerations as above & I would go with an improved forster style slug like Brenneke

fully rifled barrel with rifle style sights--whatever brand and type of sabot slug you and your gun desire--clunky solid lead 'hammers' to high tech polymer tip 'accurized' slug; I might push 75 yards, but things can start looking small without the magnification of an optical scope

fully rifled barrel w/ cantilever mount and optical scope--100 yards easy with slugs that your gun likes; Lightfield brand slugs (clunky lead 'hammer') are a good choice for up to 100 yards; if you want to push the envelope, then get one of the higher tech polymer tip slugs...125 yards is a reachable goal

all depends upon your situation, hunting location topography, and comfort level as a shooter...here's an example--this past year I hunted in a one man ladder stand on a semiflat ridge that has semi-open areas with trees and horendous thicketed areas; I tried using a full sized .300 wsm rifle with a muzzle brake on the front and just didn't feel that the topography and tight space in the treestand was a good choice for that rifle; part 2...I purchased a Mossberg 500 combo that has a fully rifled barrel w/ cantilever mount & Bushnell Banner 2-7 x 36 scope; Lightfield Hybred EXP 1 1/4 oz 'lead hammer' slugs* round are what I will be using; I think that the topography and smaller gun package are a better choice for me & I have the ballistic capability to take longer shots in the more open areas on the property

*these slugs are @2.5" high at 50 yards for a 'zero' at 100 yards

BTW: if you do not want to invest in a fully rifled barrel & you use a red dot or low magnification scope for turkey hunting, you might want to think about a rifled choke tube that will make a sabot slug spin; this is a much lower cost option than buying a dedicated rifled barrel