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Old November 22, 2012, 12:01 AM   #1
Join Date: December 14, 2010
Posts: 79
How do I zero a slug gun?

Not that clueless. Been shooting 50 yrs, but just got a rifled barrel for my Mossberg 500. I got it with irons cuz
I think they are totally OK for deer under 150m. I also think irons will complement the uncanny pointing of the 500, whereas a scope or dot sight would be hard to snap shoot. I got some different 5 packs of slugs by Winchester, Remington, Hornady and Federal for rifled barrels. Some are sabots. I think I even got a pack of Beneke, but wanted to stay with common domestic slugs. I also have a leftover supply of old "punkin (pumpin) balls" i.e. rifled slugs for smoothbores.

1. Can I use punkin balls safely and effectively through my rifled bore just to get on the paper?

2. Is the accuracy of a smoothbore punkin ball enhanced by a rifled barrel, or does it fly wild?

3. What is recommended zero range for a slug gun with rifled barrel?

4. With the M16, we zeroed at the prime ordinate of 25m and this gave us a maximum ordinate of 250m for our zero. What might I use for a close range zero to get a 100 yd zero? Remember my irons hug the bore.

5. What's the max effective range of 12g slugs from a rifled bore?

6. What do you recommend for a zero range? Iowa ranges from dense brush to harvested cornfields.

7. If I needed my shotgun in a civil emergency(about as likely as zombie apocalypse in Iowa) and proper rilfed barrel slugs became scarce, would the short, rifled barrel handle punkin balls or buckshot well or would I be best off putting the long bird barrel back on?

8. What's the best slug for the Mossberg 500's factory option rifled barrel?

Des Moines
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Old November 22, 2012, 12:26 AM   #2
big al hunter
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I have found that the "pumkin balls" were ok in my 835. However I had best results with sabot slugs. Hornady sst and Federal premium Barnes expander shot equally well. I got 2 inch groups at 100 yds. I have a scope so this info will not directly correlate to your setup. I sight in dead on at 100, about 4" low at 150. The ballistic calc says zero at 150, not more than 3" over at 100 and 6" low at 200. I prefer less variance from line of sight. Killed a deer at 125 yds w/ the sst last year, head shot a coyote at 40 yds this year w/barnes. Let the barrel cool for 5 minutes between shots after 2. The barrel heats up fast and groups get really big, really fast.
You can't fix stupid....however ignorance can be cured through education!
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Old November 22, 2012, 07:20 AM   #3
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I was always told that foster slugs will lead the bore of a rifled barrel and you shouldn't use them. I use Winchester 1oz sabot slugs for my rifled barrel and they are still pretty cheap. I sight in at 50 yds because that's where I hunt the most. If your planning on longer shots you should invest in some premium slugs for the performance. Check out Winchester (probably any ammo company,) on line. They have some zero distances for their slugs. The slug I use is 2.7 inches high at 50, dead on at 100yds and 4.6 low at 125yds. Good luck. I know finding the right slug for your gun can be expensive but worth it in the end.
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Old November 22, 2012, 07:37 AM   #4
Join Date: April 8, 2012
Location: Locke, NY
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I use foster slugs in my Savage 220F just for trigger time in spring and summer. It's a pain to clean before deer season but the cost difference makes up for it.

I would not use foster slugs to even get on paper as you will have to unfoul your rifling before using sabots. Use the rounds you're going to hunt with. Start at 25 yds and work your way out to 100, adjusting as you go. I shoot Hornady SSTs 3" high at 100 and dead on at 150, 6-8" low at 200.

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Old November 22, 2012, 07:43 AM   #5
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I was always told that foster slugs will lead the bore of a rifled barrel and you shouldn't use them
Lead slugs may lead a barrel and they might not. With sabot slugs you might find plastic fouling and you might not. It's all part-and-parcel of the game. Any time you force something down a tube at high pressure, you're liable to have fouling. The "rifling" on a Foster slug is not really rifling, it is designed to minimize the friction in the barrel, to allow the ammo to be shot in barrels that might not be exactly bore-gage, and to allow the slug to be fired from choked barrels. The rifling fins are designed to swage through a choke.

I believe that rifled shotgun barrels are best served with sabot slugs, but there's nothing necessarily wrong with using Foster-type slugs through a rifled barrel. We've been pushing lead bullets down rifled barrels for a couple of hundred years and have learned how to deal with lead fouling.

We've also been using round balls for lots of years, probably longer than we've used rifled barrels. One of my most accurate muzzle-loading recipes uses a patched round ball down a rifled barrel. It's accounted for several deer. There's nothing wrong with that either. If your shotgun shoots best with round balls, use round balls. In honesty, though, I bet you'll find the best accuracy with a sabot slug.
Dennis Dezendorf
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Old November 22, 2012, 08:02 AM   #6
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I was told that rifled slugs will ruin a rifled barrel. Say you barrel has a 1:9 twist rate and your slug has a 1:12 twist and I guess that will ruin your rifling. Don't know from experience though cause all I have is smoothbore slug guns
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Old November 22, 2012, 08:24 AM   #7
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They are high dollar if not on sale but Remington AccuTip 2 3/4" 260 gr. grouped best in my Savage 220. The Hornady SST 2 3/4" 250 gr. and 3" Accutip grouped ok but with the 2 3/4 " AccuTip they were almost making 1 hole out of a 3 shot group at 50 yards. The 3" Accutip slugs shot about 3 inches higher than the 2 3/4" AccuTip slugs at 50 yards and the Hornady about 4 inches higher.

Hornady box list: ( this is for a 20 ga. )
150 / 0.0
200 / -1.2
100 / +3.5
50 / +2.5
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Old November 22, 2012, 09:18 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rcase1234
I was told that rifled slugs will ruin a rifled barrel. Say you barrel has a 1:9 twist rate and your slug has a 1:12 twist and I guess that will ruin your rifling
Nonsense and horse-feathers. Lead slugs are very soft, and while they might foul the bore, they certainly won't ruin your rifling.
Dennis Dezendorf
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