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Slugs & Barrels

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#1 Larry $

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 06:57 AM

My boss is going on his 2nd trip to Alaska at the end of this month. Last time he brought his 30-06 and took a Caribou and a bear. He said both shots were inside 100 yards and wants to hunt with a 12 ga slug gun this time. Can you guys share some balistic information on shotgun slugs and the pros and cons of using them on Caribou and black bear?

Also what are the general rules concerning smooth bores and slugs/sabots and rifled barrels and slugs/sabots?

One bit of good news - as we talked and I pulled out some books on big game hunting he started drooling over a .338 he saw and asking how much they cost and wondering if he could get it by his wife. :yes: I'm a bad influence.

Edited by Larry $, 12 August 2006 - 07:00 AM.

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#2 runNgun


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Posted 12 August 2006 - 04:06 PM

Most of the high powered sabot slugs are almost dead on at 100 yards these days. Some are more than capable of 125 yards. IMO only the high porformance 12 Gauge 3 inch or 3 1/2 inch slugs should be used on a bear or caribou.

Pros- If he doesn't own a slug gun right now he can get one very cheap. A good used one will run you probably about $200 or less while a new one will be $50-$75 more in my researching. You also have a generally larger peice of lead hurling towards you target than a rifle if you choose a 3 inch or a 3 1/2 slug ( Hastings and Brenekke make 3 1/2 inch). And with most high porformance slugs leaving the barrel at 2,000 FPS and a .50 or .63 caliber slug you have a deadly combo. Most slugs also leave large wound channels. Slugs are very hard hitting.You can crush bones with a good slug. You also get 5 or 6 shots with a shotgun.

Cons- Most of your heavy slugs will kick like a mule. While a 8 pound slug gun scope included will soak up recoil you'll still feel something. Price is a cencern for at least me because $10-$13 for 5 slugs isn't much fun to pay if your like me you rely on your allowance to pay for your stuff <_< .

I'm not sure of the slug availability in Alaska so be sure he takes plenty of slugs with him.

The general rules of slug and barrel combinations are as follows.

Smooth bores must use rifled or "pumpkin ball" slugs. These are the very cheap and usually inaccurate. The only way smoth bores can use sabots is if you use a rifled choke tube. If you don't use one a sabot will drop like a rock. If he already has a smooth bore this may be a good option although in my opionion you won't get the accuracy because you only have maybe an inch or two to put the twist in the sabot needed for good flight but I'm not sure.

Rifled barrels are usually the best for slug hunting. You have rifling through the whole barrel so you have the slug spinning and stabalized the whole time which will give you better accuaracy. Sabot slugs are the only thing that can be used in a rifled barrel. Rifled slugs are not good for a rifled barrel even though it sounds like they should go together.

Some of the best slug makers are:
Federal Ammo
Lightfeild slugs
Here is a link for information on different slugs

Choosing a slug to use for hunting is the same for rifles. Try many brands and choose what shoots best in that particular gun. Sighting in is also the same as a centerfire rifle.

Overall a slug will bring a bear or a caribou down with the right load. and I think it might be more of a challenge to hunt them with a slug gun than a rifle that can shoot 300+ yards.

Hope this helps your boss B)


Edited by run'ngun, 12 August 2006 - 04:10 PM.




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Posted 12 August 2006 - 07:12 PM

My only experiences with slugs was with a 20 ga smooth bore with rifled slugs. It hit very good out to 50 yds but from there on out it just got worse and worse.

A bunch of years ago I had the opportunity to hunt on assategue island for the little Sika deer. The first time I was there the hunt area we drew was slug or 00 buck shot only. I tried many different types of 2 3/4 slugs but never found one that shot very well at all out of several smoothbore 12 ga guns. I did kill one and my hunt partner shot two but they were very close range and we killed them with 00 buck shot. Man I wished I lived closer to you as I have a bunch of slugs for 12 ga.

I would say the rifled barrel on a shot gun has to be more accurate than a rifled slug from a smooth bore. Your should check to see if he could get a slug barrel for the shotgun he now has and that should be much cheaper than a whole gun just to go once.

I am sure Ricf and Frank Sr should have some good info as they live in Onio and I believe they can only use slugs.
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#4 Phil


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Posted 13 August 2006 - 06:28 AM

If I was hunting at close range for critters that could eat me, I'd contact guides in that region who deal with em all the time, I know Geoff/Tbow uses 12ga. for protection against Polar bears. I'd also think an open sighted 45/70 would be effective .
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#5 FrankSr


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Posted 13 August 2006 - 11:12 AM

I don't use a shot gun during that season I use my muzzleloader. I like the accuracy better in the ml. besides I have more range with it.

#6 Larry $

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 08:20 AM

OK, new twist. I think my boss is simply looking for some bear protection and now will be taking his .30-06 for hunting and borrowing my .45LC Vaquero for personal bear defense. Please go to the pistols forum for more questions on proper ammo for this role.

Or not...
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