Slug Guns for hunting
The most common reason to use a slug gun (a shotgun equipped for shooting solid projectiles) is because you are hunting in an area where high-powered riﬂes are not allowed. Shotgun-only zones are found all
across the Midwest, including states such as Michigan, Indiana. Iowa, Illinois. and many others. Many folks speculate as to why these areas are deemed shotgun only, but safety is the common explanation given
by government agencies. Shotgun slugs don’t ﬂy as far as bullets ﬁred from high-powered riﬂes and are therefore safer for use in areas with high densities of people, cars, and buildings.
There are a few different ways to get set up with a good slug gun. The easiest and cheapest version of a slug gun is to take your existing “do-all” smoothbore shotgun (like a Browning BPS or Remington 870) and
screw in an open choke that’s wide enough to accommodate a slug. There are several downfalls to this method. the greatest being accuracy. Shotguns ﬁring slugs from standard open chokes have an effective range of only about 50 yards. Adding a scope to such a rig will do little to help, as the effective range of the ﬁrearm hardly warrants a magniﬁed image. Open sights work just ﬁne.
A better option is to buy a riﬂed slug barrel for your “do-all” shotgun. When deer season rolls around, just throw on your riﬂed slug barrel and you’re in business. Riﬂing is a term for the spiraled grooves cut into the bore of a rifle barrel. These grooves cause the bullet to spin, which stabilizes the bullet and gives it both better accuracy and longer range.
An all-purpose slug gun can be as simple or complicated as you wish. Most standard pump-action 20-gauge and 12-gauge shotguns including the Remington 870 and the Browning BPS can be converted into an effective slug gun with only minimal expense. Pictured here: A: Mossberg FLEX 12-gauge shotgun chambered for 23/4-inch and 3-inch shells and fitted with a rifled barrel. B: Vortex Crossfire II. C: Homady SST 300-grain saboted slugs.
The above method works quite well, but there’s still a drawback. On convertible shotgun systems, the interface between the action and the barrel is not as tight and therefore accuracy can suffer. That—plus a few other reasons—is why many serious slug gun hunters choose the pricier yet more effective option of buying a shotgun manufactured specifically for shooting slugs. This gun will come with a rifled barrel tapped for scope mounts and a crisp-feeling trigger. Many such ready-made slug guns perform more like a rifle than a shotgun, with effective ranges in excess of 200 yards. (Hint: The Savage model 220F is an exceptional slug gun. It retails for around $500.)
A NOTE ON SLUGS: Use conventional slugs when shooting a smoothbore shotgun. These slugs are cut with spiraled grooves, which mimics the effect that a rifled barrel has on a bullet. Rifled slug barrels are meant to be used with “saboted” slugs—basically a slug that’s wrapped in a plastic cup that makes contact with the rifled barrel and throws the slug into a spin. The sabot also helps to seal the barrel, minimizing the loss of barrel pressure, which might otherwise escape around the edges of the slug. This increases muzzle velocity and range.
A stable rest and proper form are important when zeroing your rifle.