Sabot Slug Ammo: Sabot Slug Bullets Explained
Sabot slugs – pronounced “SAY-BO” – are the improved and technologically superior brother of rifled slugs, because they simply offer more accuracy and longer range from a shotgun, typically with a rifled barrel. This type of slug is encased (or otherwise attached) to a wad or bore-sleeve – which basically grips the rifling in the barrel and gives the projectile inside the spin needed to fly smoothly.
If you try to use a sabot slug in a smoothbore, you may notice some accuracy issues at very long ranges – but not as much as you would with a standard rifled slug. There’s a ton of debate about what works better in your smoothbore shotgun, and the answer seems to be elusive. It all depends on your firearm and the time you spend trying various brands of slug.
The sabot shotgun slug wasn’t designed for a rifled shotgun barrel. In fact, the rifled shotgun barrel was created to help the sabot slug perform better, as they were both created around the same time. Most slug shooters will only use slugs in their dedicated slug-shooting firearm, and not mix shooting with shots.
Sabot Slug Features
- Long-Range Accuracy: The main draw of the sabot slug is the phenomenal accuracy when compared to a standard slug fired through a standard shotgun. The sabot can consistently group well at 200 yards-plus (once you’ve got your brand), which is necessary for hunting big game. You need to know where your shot is going to go to get that kill shot.
- Stopping Power: Where most people will associate a shotgun with that famous spread of pellets for taking down birds, the sabot slug will provide a huge amount of stopping power on medium- to large-size game. One 12 gauge sabot slug maker claims their slug generates over 3,800 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. This puts 12 gauge sabot slugs on par with .338 Winchester Magnum when it comes to muzzle energy.
- Variety: The sabot slug comes in quite a variety – including plastic or paper sleeves, various other materials and mixtures as well. Each of these will perform a little differently in regards to accuracy and effective range. Half the fun is experimenting to see what brand or type your firearm seems to prefer.
Sabot Slug Uses
The sabot bullet was created almost exclusively to take down deer and other large game at ranges longer than you’d get with a rifled slug. This carries over to home defense, especially if you have a lot of property to watch and prefer the power of a slug over the spread of 00 buck – it all comes down to personal preference.
The sabot slug is a very high-tech ammo type. And when it comes to slug shooting and hunting, it's top of the line. The price will usually be more than a box of rifled slugs, but good deals tend to be easy to find.