Gun season is one of the most popular deer seasons of all time, and hunters ask what can be done to increase slugs’ accuracy in a shotgun. The short answer is rifled barrels, choke tubes, and sabot slugs.
In the woods, you’ll find seasoned hunting experts alongside absolute novices. They’re all aiming at the same thing, a well-placed shot on a deer within killing range.
While some states allow rifles, many places mandate slug guns as the legal hunting weapon of choice. Chambering shotguns with slugs isn’t new, but most hunters lament their lack of accuracy and range limitation.
Detriments of Accuracy in Slug Shotguns
Slug shotguns are available with rifled or smoothbore barrels. Guns with rifling can compete with rifles in accuracy, offered in bolt action, semi-auto, pump-action, and single shot.
Semi-automatic and pump-action slug gun barrels feature a cantilever scope mount, which allows for its removal without impacting accuracy.
In the early 60s, slugs gained popularity over their counterparts in the US. States west of the Mississippi started mandating that some or all public land deer seasons feature shotgun only hunting.
This is why a rifle bullet has more range than shotguns shot, seeing some areas are densely populated with hunters. This came with serious range deficiencies, and impacted hunters began taking an interest in increasing the accuracy of slugs.
What Are Saboted Slugs for Shotguns?
Saboted slugs are designed to be shot from shotguns with rifled barrels or fitted with a choke tube. The sabot releases the slug as they exit the shotgun’s muzzle.
While this configuration gives ammo sufficient knockdown, accuracy is also improved up to around 150 yards.
Foster slugs are augmented by the rifling and saboting, as the hollow rear acts to push its center of gravity forward. Some variety of slugs also feature fins, also called rifling, located in the rear to guide and stabilize the slug up to 75 yards.
Slug guns have become stable fare for hunting in the semi-rural and near-urban area. They offer an alternative to firing centerfire rifle rounds that have a range exceeding two and a half miles.
What Can Be Done to Increase the Accuracy of Slugs in a Shotgun?
In many parts of the country, hunting big game with rifles is a significant legal no. Hunters in these areas are left to tote shotguns chambered with either buckshot shells or projectile slugs.
Shotguns are fine, as long as accuracy isn’t that vital, and distances don’t exceed 100 yards. They are better suited for close quarter waterfowl or turkey rather than venison at long ranges.
Responsible, ethical hunting calls for putting shotgun slugs exactly where you want them to go.
Endeavors to increase the accuracy of slugs are always on these shotgun only hunter’s minds. With a few gun modifications, you can deliver performance at a range of over 100 yards.
These modifications include;
Pinning the Barrel
In shotguns, as opposed to rifles, barrels are not pinned. You can remove the barrel easily, and where it meets the receiver, tolerances aren’t tight.
Barrel movement and vibrations compromise consistent shot placement accuracy.
To increase shotgun slug accuracy, pinning the shotgun’s barrel requires a little workshop DIY. Drill holes through the barrels shank and side of the receiver, with a depth of about five threads.
Use an Allen head screw to tighten the shotgun’s barrel into your receiver. This ensures that there is no wiggle when you fire the slugs, thereby, increasing range and accuracy.
Improving the Shotguns Bore
Since shotgun barrels aren’t accuracy-conditioned from the factory, the bore needs to be lapped for accurate slug shooting.
Lapping means that the bore is highly polished, while the barrels forcing cone is lengthened. This helps minimize sabot plastic buildup, a contributing factor of degraded accuracy.
After crowning the barrel, the extended forcing cone offers a better transition from cartridge to riffling for the slug.
Harvesting game at a reasonable range requires that your slug gun have a rifled barrel or be fitted with a choke. These go a long way to increase the accuracy of slugs.
Fixing the Trigger
Without exception, the typical production gun 8-pound trigger makes it nearly impossible to guess where the slug will go. Slug shotguns should have a trigger weight close to 2 ½ or a crisp 2¾ pounds at most.
Refitting your slug gun with an accuracy benefiting trigger may require that you visit a gunsmith. Even if you have a well fitted out machining shop, I still wouldn’t recommend going it alone on this one.
Increasing the accuracy of slugs in shotguns will call for a balanced firearm with less recoil. To take the kick out of your slug gun, fit the stock with a steel plug to increase the weight.
A recoil pad in the stock also works well for improved slug groups.
Upgrading Your Scope Mount
If you have little faith in cantilever mounts on most semi-auto and pump-action slug guns, find one that will not bend, break or shoot loose.
I saw a gunsmith custom design a scope mount with six screws. The screws were located three to a side, and on the receiver part as this is where the thicker meat of the metal is.
Sight-in Your Slug Gun for Increased Accuracy
There’s more to accurate shooting than what your slug or gun can do. Proper hand and eye coordination are essential before asking what can be done to increase the accuracy of slugs in a shotgun.
Slug gun accuracy requires that you use the proper form for each shooting platform. A solid rest at buttstock and forearm points is vital for a consistent group when you are bench shooting.
An error most slug shot-gunners make is not holding down on the gun’s forearm. Instead of pulling down on the forearm, inaccurate slug gun shooters hold tight at the shoulders.
The result is an upward movement of the barrel when the shot is fired, affecting slug accuracy. To compensate for the backward movement of pulling the trigger and the recoil, hold the forearm down.
Often what affects the accuracy of a slug gun is sighting in. Sighting in the shotgun will ensure it offers dead-on at 100 yards if set at a high of 2 ¼ inches from 50 yards.
Sighting in at 50 yards negates the effects of the wind. A scope will be necessary if you are to sight in your shotgun beyond that range, but practicing will effectively offer maximum range.