View Full Version : slug frustration

April 1, 2009, 04:28 PM
i am having some frusteration with my 20 ga. 870 slug gun. i have a fully rifled cantileiver barrel with a leupold vx1 2-7x33 scope.

i have tried the remington copper solid 5/8 ounce and hornady 260 gr. sst sabot slugs.

here is my problem.

i shoot 1st shot. dead nuts. 1.5 in high at 50 yards. then my second shot hits about 1.5 inches above that. 3rd hits an inch higher than that one. then the slugs will group all together about 4.5 inches above the bull at 50.

im letting the barrel cool completely (aobut 8 min) between each shot. then i tried not letting it cool with same results. running a patch through the bore doesn't seem to help either?

could it be my gun will only "shoot dirty" and should i adjust the sights so it hits 1.5 inches above bull at 50 after 5 shots?

im really frusterated, can i please get some suggestions?

(p.s. just registered but have been reading a while).


April 1, 2009, 05:18 PM
Try a few different types of sabot slugs. Different weights, brands, style... It may only be the ammo is not making a good match with that gun.
Checked your barrel nut I reckon?

April 1, 2009, 05:22 PM
+1 to trying some more different slugs. My Mossy 535 grouped horribly with some slugs, but I found that it really likes the Winchester Supreme Platinum sabot slugs. Once you find an accurate slug, stick with it. ;)

April 1, 2009, 05:57 PM
my mossy 500 12ga loves rem slugger's.

April 1, 2009, 06:07 PM
While the suggestions to try different brands is correct do not ignore the shooting dirty idea.

With a rifle barrel the first shot out of a clean barrel, one that has a trace of oil in it, will often shoot high. Ensuing shots will go to POA.

Could be some variation of that theme with the plastic of the sabot depositing some small amount of material in the barrel on the first few shots, essentially lining it with plastic and smothing it by filling the imperfections in the steel.

If the same stringing happens with a few different brands then maybe you should shoot it dirty?

April 1, 2009, 06:52 PM
Shoot it dirty. Almost all guns shoot to a different POI when dirty as opposed to a clean barrel. I hunt with a "dirty" barrel in my A5 and my '06. I want the first shot dead nuts on the sights so I don't have to shoot twice unless the deer has more stamina than usual. I don't want a bruin coming over and arguing the fact that I poked a hole in his greasy hide either. CB.

April 1, 2009, 07:00 PM
Accuracy is all about things happening the same from shot to shot in virtually every aspect--consistency.

If your slugs are "walking" up on you, then figure out what's changing from shot to shot. Is your barrel tight to begin with. Is your scope solidly mounted and nothing is changing?

April 1, 2009, 07:15 PM
+1 on shoot it dirty. Sight the gun in just before deer season and don't clean it until the season ends. Then, put the slug barrel away until the next year.

April 2, 2009, 12:47 PM
+1 on the rem sluggers. cheap, accurate, and they hit like a fully loaded dump truck.

April 2, 2009, 12:55 PM
Also as the barrel heats up your point of aim will definitely change. If you are using this shotgun for hunting you should have it zeroed on a cold, fouled barrel. During hunting season don't clean the barrel unless you plan on sending a couple rounds down the tube to foul it a bit.

Also are your rings torqued properly? When I install a new scope I put pencil lines on the scope where the rings are so I can tell if it is slipping at all.

April 2, 2009, 03:11 PM
One time a while back, I took my 870 12 gauge with its slug barrel out to the range and shot off a bunch of slugs.

I had 2 or 3 inch groups at 25 yards, and 6/8/10 inch groups at 50 yards. At 100 yards, I could see the things hitting the ground near the steel plates but there was no telling just where it was going to hit next.

April 3, 2009, 08:17 AM
Make sure that your not getting too much barrel rise (recoil) when your taking the shot. If your on a bench, hold the barrel down instead of holding the barrel from the bottom.

Lee Lapin
April 3, 2009, 07:25 PM
Are you single loading, or loading the magazine full then shooting? If the latter, how many rounds in the magazine?

Has it done this before or is this something new? Have you ever been able to get it to shoot groups? If so, have you changed anything since then?

Does it do the same thing if someone else shoots it?

Sorry to answer a question with more questions...


April 3, 2009, 10:28 PM
Hey Young

I think what is most important to getting a good answer is the following question - how fast do these slugs fly? What is the FPS?

I don't know the answer but I will make a few comments based on my testing of many different slugs with a Remington 11-87.

Basically, anything that shoots at an FPS faster than Lightfields (1454 FPS) fly poorly. Some group better than others and some I have no idea where they went. This was always with a good rest and I spent a fortune doing it.

This may not be your situation at all but if you are going with the most "souped up" slugs on the market then your 20 guage may not have enough twist to handle them. Many claim that getting the super fast slugs to shoot out of a shotgun is pure luck and varies per gun. Most gun barrels do not have enough barrel twist. I have read this in many places but I would be interested in what others have to say.

It sounds like you need to try different slugs. If you are using the super fast ones then try bacing off a notch. Lightfield slugs seem to fly good for anyone who shoots them regardless of guage.

Just trying to help eh :)

April 15, 2009, 01:31 PM
+1 on dirty barrel and heat.

April 15, 2009, 02:46 PM
I have not had great luck with alot of the saboted pistol bullet (slugs ) out there. Try the remington buch hammers. One of my buddies bought some now all of use us them. They do shoot Better on a average thean most sabitsed rounds. They shot 12ga but i bought a 20 ga barrel for a h&r and am very happy with them .

April 15, 2009, 08:30 PM
Greetings, Youngoilguy, and welcome aboard

Let's see if we can make some sense of this:
The Remington solid copper sabots have a muzzle velocity of 1,500 fps and the Hornaday SST sabots have a muzzle velocity of 1,800 fps. If you're mixing your loads, then vertical stringing is to be expected. Perhaps you should set your sights for "dirty with SSTs" and then count the clicks up it takes to bring the Remmy solids to zero. The bad news: as most sabot shooters will confirm, it takes a serious chunk of change to accurately zero with sabots.

troy mclure (and ddeyo1)
The Remmy Sluggers you mentioned are rifled slugs and may work great in you smooth barrel gun, but youngoilguy's 870 has a rifled barrel that wants a diet of sabots.

April 15, 2009, 08:45 PM
i did realize that i had made that mistake. i hadnt read his original post thoroughly enough and i do apologize. he sent me a PM about it and i corrected my suggestion.

April 15, 2009, 08:56 PM
^ It's nice to know that he's well aware of the differences. If you follow the postings, you'll see that many newbies buy a nice cantilever scoped mount rifled barrel only to be overwhelmed by the cost of sabots, so they go with rifled slugs without really understanding the consequences.

April 16, 2009, 12:00 AM
yeah. imo a smoothbore with iron sights and rifled slugs is the way to go. out of the shotguns i have the rifled slug is plenty accurate enough for the close range brush work i do (not to mention you dont need to buy expensive sabots and a new barrel)

April 16, 2009, 12:10 AM
I have an 870 that would spray sabots. I sent it to DaMar gunshop in Weedsport, NY and had them "pin" the barrel to the reciever. It shot great after the fix.

April 16, 2009, 04:51 PM
assuming that you are not feeding mixed ammunition, are you sure the barrel is not moving, you also did not say if your scope was camtilevered, or mounted directly to the reciever. we had a similar problem with my sons 20ga youth model 870. when we pinned his barrel, the problem went away.

April 16, 2009, 04:55 PM
Switch to a junk Mossberg, smooth bore single bead and cheap winchester bonus pak slugs... All you can expect is "minute of pie plate" at 60 yards but you won't bang yer head on the wall while emptying yer wallet trying for better!

Brian Pfleuger
April 16, 2009, 04:59 PM
Try Remington Core-Lokt Ultras. All guns are different but I've found the Core-Lokts to be liked by more guns than not.

I tried Winchester Supremes and I could shoot about 14 inch groups at 100 yards. The Core-Lokts are very consistent, same gun, same range.