Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shootgun Sabot Slug Review

Shootgun Sabot Slug Review

The Slugs I selected for testing are as follows:

1. Winchester Partition Gold - 2 3/4", 385 gr,
2. Remington Copper Solid - 3", 1 oz.
3. Hornady SST - 2 3/4", 300 gr.
4. Federal Vital-Shock-Barns Expander Tipped Slug - 2 3/4", 3/4" oz.

If you have not priced any of this type ammo lately, you are in for a shock! These rounds come in a box of only (5) and are $13-$15+ a box! Unbelievable! That's about $60 of ammo in these (4) boxes.
Use them sparingly!

I got a call from my huntin' buddy, Capt. Rick Friday. He had borrowed my range to try the new Hornady's in his Remington 870 with a worked over trigger and a fully rifled Hastings slug barrel. He reported the accuracy was terrible! He couldn't keep (3) shots on a 8 1/2"x11" paper at 100yds.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been contemplating taking my Remington 11-97 Premier on a hunt to the farm we lease in Illinois. The only reason I would really consider it is that we will be doing some drives to try to thin the doe population down and some quick follow up shots might be in order.

I have been through this all before but I decided I would like to try some of the latest "Sabot Slugs" designed to be shot through a fully rifled barrel to see if there is any new ammo on the market with better performance than I got in previous testing. The barrel on my 11-87 is a Remington Barrel with a built-in cantilevered scope mount. I robbed a scope off another rifle for the testing and set up the bench at 100 yards.

(The shooting bench is some of Capt. Ricky's handy work)
"Lead Sled" Rest!


I started with the Remington Copper solids. The first shot was on the paper high right. I made a scope adjust and sent (3) more rounds down range. No other scope adjustments were made during the testing. I had over compensated a little and the group was a little low left but a very respectable 1 3/4" group. That's pretty much as good as it gets for a shotgun. Unfortunately, I have found the performance of the bullet itself to be poor. See my more in depth report on these here: Remington Copper Solid Slug Review

Remington Copper Solids, 100yds, 1 3/4" group! (Remington 11-87 Premier)


Next up was the Winchester Slug. I had some tumbling issues with these the last time I tested them but they all struck the target square this time around. They came in #2 in the accuracy department but it was a little beyond acceptable with a (3) shot group of 3 3/4". That leaves a little to be desired. The bullet did show some decent expansion in the back stop.

Winchester Partition Gold, 3 3/4" group, 100 yds. 


I was really looking forward to seeing how these babies would perform, Boy were they a disappointment! These things were so far off it was incredible. I fired (3) shots and none landed on the 24"X36" paper!! I could not even find where (2) of them went. The third hit the left edge of the pallet real low, over 24" from P.O.A. (point of aim).

I adjusted aim to the nail head at the very top/right of the pallet and the bullet impacted  level, 24" left for approx. a 20-24" group? Don't ask me. I was really pulling for the Federals. I expect the ballistic tip bullet would prove to have some good results on a deer. With the accuracy I got I think I would be better off with a sling shot.


The Hornady slugs were my last hope. This is also a ballistic tip bullet. I have had such great results in my T/C Shockwave bullets with ballistic tips I was hoping this one or the Federal would have the accuracy I was looking for. Unfortunately, this one came in #3 in the accuracy department with a (4) shot, 8", 100yd. group. Disappointing to say the least. One other thing I noticed is that the bullet rattles around a little in the sabot? This could be some of the accuracy issue if the sabot is not gripping the bullet to impart the spin from the rifling.

Hornady, SST, 8" group, 100yds

The other half of the equation is bullet performance or expansion. As noted in my first post on the copper solids, they performed poorly in this category and exhibited no deformation or expansion after passing thru a pallet and into a dirt backstop. It seems clear to me that the bullet is not designed with long, I should say, medium range performance in mind but 100yds is a short shot in the mid west.

The other three showed moderate tip expansion with complete retention of the core. The Hornady's opened up very nicely and the best of the four bullets tested. Too bad they came up short on the accuracy department.

Unfortunately, the results I got from all this and the money spent may not help you to much. From my experience, shotguns are very finicky when it comes to ammo types and all are individuals. Even if you have the same gun I shot, you will likely get different results. 

Hopefully you'll have some luck finding an accurate shell before you work all the way to the far end of the list.

Good Luck,
Larry S. 


  1. I use the partition gold & Hornady slugs as interchangeable out of my 1100 with a scoped Hastings slug barrel. with outstanding accuracy. Have held dead on up to 160 yards & dropped em! I do agree that certain guns like specific ammunition, so maybe you haven't found the right slug for your gun/barrel combination?

  2. Thanks Dan, your right. Shotguns shooting slugs are just as fickle as a muzzleloader. I tried a pile of different slugs before deciding I would just use my T/C Encore. Other than only having one shoot, it will way out perform any shotgun.
    Good luck this season,
    Larry S.