Shotgun slugs add an entire new dimension and level of capability to the already impressive list of uses for a shotgun. While a shotgun with a traditional shotshell may be the best for upland game hunting, a #6 shot would hardly be effective for hunting feral hogs. So with the extended range and incredible power, the shotgun slug provides its user with the ability to hunt medium and large game with ranges in excess of 100 yards out of a smoothbore barrel.
The two slugs you’ll hear about are sabot and rifled. Sabot slugs come in a packing, wad or case made of paper, plastic or other materials and this helps give the slug spin. A rifled slug however looks more like a regular old shotgun shell and the slug itself has spiraled grooves (the rifling) that enable the slug to spin as it exits the barrel.
Rifled Slug Features
Variety – Rifled slugs come in a huge variety for every gauge shotgun available from 10 gauge to .410 Bore. There’s different lengths, materials and individual slug features giving you a nice range of options. Some are specially designed for very long range and others have a shorter range but a more devastating effect on impact.
Power – With the average .410 bore slug coming in at about 700 foot pounds of energy, it exceeds most .45 ACP loads on the market today. If you need real knockdown power, there are 12 gauge slugs with over 2300 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. This puts the 12 gauge slug into .30-06 energy levels!
Rifled Slug Uses
There is pretty much one real use for rifled slugs and this is hunting. Slugs were designed to take down deer, bears, hogs and other large or thick skinned creatures at closer than rifle range. You might think you’d have terrible accuracy shooting something like this out of a shotgun but with some practice and testing of different brands you can find something your shotgun really likes and get good grouping at up to 200 yards or more consistently.
One thing most slug shooters agree on is that no one slug works well in all shotguns. Believe it or not, shotguns really seem to prefer certain brands over others. With sabot and rifled slugs both, you’re going to want to start off with 3-6 boxes of different slugs to simply see what happens when you shoot it. There is a process to finding what works best for you and you can read about it here.
If you’re strictly a rifle shooter and decide to try putting some slugs through your shotgun, the first order of business is to relax. It’s a completely different experience and you’ll either love it or hate it right away. Most people with firearm experience enjoy having this hunting alternative though. Slugs are great fun for backyard shooting also. It’s quite a blast, literally, shooting some slugs into some targets or melons in on your property.