20-gauge slug loads

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Bill in Oregon
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20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Having plunged recently into the mudpuddle of shotshell slug handloading, I found it remarkably simple. I ordered a bag of 100 factory-primed Fiocchi hulls, a bag of DGS "Dangerous Game Slugs" with wads attached, and their slug-loading manual from Ballistic Products, and a roll crimper from Precision Reloading. Process couldn't be simpler. With the recipe I used, I poured 25 grains of Longshot into a primed hull, slid the wad and slug down into the case, then used the roll crimper in my Makita to complete the load. I found that the loaded shell is hard to hold onto while applying the roll crimp, so I quickly fabbed a nutcracker-style hull squeezer that easily holds the loaded hull still while making the crimp.
The proof, of course, will be at the range to see how these loads perform. My beater Stevens bolt gun arrives Saturday, so I should have an answer soon.

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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by 4t5 »

That’s pretty nifty, I am a fan of the 20 ga.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Hey Bill, I just ordered some more components from BP, those guys are great- sent me the data for all the Thug Slugs and the 20ga copper value slugs, just got a box of 100 of those!
I too have to make up a shell holder for roll crimping.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by gcs »

You roll crimping with a hand drill or a drill press?
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Will, I was too cheap to buy BP's hull vise. :lol: Vise grips and a piece of leather also work, but it would be easy to be inconsistent with that set up for me.
GCS, I was using my hand drill, but will switch the roll crimper over to the drill press when I get serious about this. That's the crimper in the chuck of my Makita ...
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by horsesoldier03 »

Looking forward to seeing how it performs. The Nutcracker vice is very creative!
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Tycer »

horsesoldier03 wrote: Wed Sep 06, 2023 7:00 pm Looking forward to seeing how it performs. The Nutcracker vice is very creative!
Yep. Looking forward to the range reports!
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Nath »

Excellent Bill 😎.
Can't wait until range day.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Well, I had a chance this morning to try out some slugs in the old beater Stevens Model 58 bolt-action 20 gauge.
It was somewhat of a challenge due to the crudeness of the Model 58's design aggravated by a recoil pad that had turned to granite years ago. Even in 20-gauge these slug loads slug on both ends!
The "rear sight" is just an odd little lump of metal on the bolt, and the front is the usual brass bead. The trigger has to be more than 10 pounds. I can find no sign of any choke markings on the gun, but the calipers say .592 at the muzzle -- somewhere around improved modified; not quite full.
I had five rounds loaded with Ballistic Products' 7/8-ounce Dangerous Game Slug (white wad) over 25 grains of Longshot, and five rounds of the BP 7/8-ounce Thug Slug (red wad) over 20 grains of Unique in factory-primed Fiocchi cases.
I shot two three-shot groups -- the gun holds one in the pipe and two in the magazine --at 25 yards with the forend rested over some padding and using a six-o'clock hold. The DGS slug gave the better group -- 4 inches with some evidence of yaw -- and the Thug load gave a 7-inch group with quite a bit of yaw.
I shot the four remaining shells offhand at a 25-yard gong, and boy they moved that steel when the slugs connected.
I am not sure if I want to invest in mounting a new recoil pad on so inexpensive a shotgun, but I definitely hope to tighten up the bedding and see what might be done to lighten the trigger. The safety is loose as well. Might also try filing the sides of the front bead and filing an actual notch in that lump of rear sight to improve the sight picture.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Nath »

That sounded fun but I'm sure it would do better sans choke.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Yeah Bill I've tried Longshot, PB, Universal- not really pleased with any of the accuracy at 50 yards with the thug slug from my Savage 220. But I've got some 3" hulls due any day and I'll try those with one of the recipes in the reviews on the BP site.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

I do want to do something with that choke. I s'pose I'd rather ream or polish it out rather than cut the 24-inch barrel shorter and remount a front sight, but that is likely the easiest solution.
Will, you must have a shoulder of steel. The 2 3/4-inch loads were plenty for me, although all I had on was a thin shirt. No bruising visible -- yet! :lol:
The Longshot load under the DGS slug shot harder and sounded louder than the Unique under the Thug slug
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Grizz »

search term >
20 ga slugs at 200 yards
lots of accuracy videos of both 20 and 12Ga . . . good rainy day links
Last edited by Grizz on Sun Sep 10, 2023 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Oh I've been dealing with slugs for so long I've learned to get some kind of padding between me and the gun! A knit watch cap works well.
I had a Marlin 12 ga slug bolt gun I ported, made it a bit more tolerable. I called it The .729 Pachyderm Pounder :lol:

When the Savage hit the market everything I saw said the Remington 3" accutip was the most accurate slug going. That's all I've ever shot until they became 5 bucks a pop!
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by jeepnik »

In my 20 for HD I load alternatingly slugs and buck. You don't need any of those fancy/expensive slugs. The good old foster slugs are more than sufficient .
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Jeep, this slug project is not for home defense but for potential deployment in the famous Texas swine jihad.
By the way, here are three slugs recovered from the caliche/clay berm behind the 25-yard target frames -- probably 30 yards at impact. The BP slug load manual says 25 grains of Longshot should be pushing the Dangerous Game Slug to 1530 fps. Judging by the limited deformation, these slugs seem pretty hard to me.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Yes Bill I do believe the DGS is hard!
I sure hope I can get the Thugs to shoot reasonably well at 50/100 , ought to be a real thumper on deer. Should be good on hogs as well.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

20230913_125942.jpg
So the big brown truck was here yesterday afternoon with my order from BP.
Finally got around to opening up the box and 2 things I ordered were not there, gas seals and a bag of wads.
Not on the invoice either. Huh...
Send them an email and they screwed up!

Anyhow I made up a hull vise this morning, loaded a few 3" with 25 gr Longshot, a1/4" felt wad, 4 overshot cards and tested out the new roll crimper. Boy that's different!

Also made up a dummy round of 25 gr Longshot, fiber wad, value slug, was too short so I then made up the same with 2 fiber wads and roll crimped.
20230913_125926.jpg
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Will, I bet those'll work. Nice job on the hull vise, too -- and hardwood instead of my junk softwood 2x4.
I realized that with the roll crimper mounted in the drill press, I need to set a depth adjustment, as relying on feel alone led to inconsistent crimps and in one case, a ruined shell.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Yes Bill that is exactly right. I might spend the money and buy their hull vise, having the ability to clamp it to the drill press table would just be 1 less thing to mess with!
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Testing 5 loads today,
Longshot with 2³/⁴ & 3 " hulls with Thug slugs.
Longshot and HS6 with trophy coppers in 2³/⁴".
Variations with wadding, card wads & crimps.
20230917_084832.jpg
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Looking forward to your report, Will. Watch that shoulder! :lol:
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Well Bill the results are in ...
TERRIBLE!
Nothing shot good let alone great.
Forget fold crimping all together. My theory is the sabot is catching the crimp upon ignition which let's the bullet travel without anything grabbing rifling. Not to mention the sabots are shredded!
One of the 2³/⁴ loads with the trophy copper slug was ok at 50 yards but I certainly would not shoot that at game past that.
So the first shot I took was a federal hull, that stuck in the chamber! Of course I didn't bring a rod! Thankfully I had a box of 308s in my range bag and used it to knock it out. Yet those grouped ok.
The 2 loads of 3" sucked as well with the thug slugs.
20230917_120930.jpg
After each group I walked to mark the target and look for wads,sabots. As you can see here, each row with its own trash.
20230917_121157.jpg
After I get some lunch I'll separate it all out so you'll have a better idea about it.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Sorry your session was disappointing, Will. I am not in a hurry to get back out there until I make a decision about cutting off the choke and having the barrel threaded for a rifled screw-in choke. Then there's the sight work. A guy on castboolits said he epoxied some irons on a shotgun decades ago and they have held up fine.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

So here is the trash
20230917_125922.jpg
20230917_130058.jpg
20230917_130313.jpg
20230917_130430.jpg
Now the thug slug attached wads im not positive which load these came from- Longshot or the 24gr of Herco.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Oh and none of these loads were terribly abusive recoil wise. Although I did pad my shoulder with a heavy winter glove. :D

This Savage 220 of mine is 1:24 twist. Like all of these Savages they prefer 3" Remington acutip slugs. This one has produced 1"groups for me at 100 yards. I'm not expecting that kind of accuracy but something around 2" would be ok by me.
So I'll keep trying powders, maybe buy some .50 cal pistol bullets for the sabots.

The acutips are 260 grains at 1900 fps. I'm not sure if it's the velocity, sabot, bullet or what part the crimp plays but the fastest load in the book is only about 15 or 1600 fps.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Now the wheels are turning...
20230917_143203.jpg
All are .499 like the trophy copper that came with the sabots but different weights. Closest thing is the black belt 245 gr muzzle loader bullet.
I even checked a muzzle loader sabot inside the 20ga sabot with a .452 but it's a bit fat at .670.

I might try those black belt 245s...
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

So I've been busy in the basement!
Just for kicks after the last failure testing loads I stuck my bore scope down the throat of my slug gun. Well lookie there- lead fouling! Hours of scrubbing, tight fitting jag( 1/2" dowel and a 28ga wad) and I finally got the bore back to steel.
So that got me thinking maybe the patterns these reloads were producing was due to fouling.
In the mean time I received a box of .50 325 gr 'seconds ' from Midway.
So I have loaded 3 each of these new bullets, 245gr Black Belt muzzle loader bullets, the copper hollow points .
Also loaded more of the Thug Slugs in 3in with different powders. I also lubed 3 of the 3" with cast bullet lube from my sizer.
Now if I can get some dry weather to go test...
I know the fouling is caused by the Thugs as this gun has never seen anything but Remington acutips.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by KWK »

Bill in Oregon wrote: Sun Sep 17, 2023 11:58 am... until I make a decision about cutting off the choke and having the barrel threaded for a rifled screw-in choke.
I didn't know they were making such. Tell me more.

I handled an H&H Paradox at a recent auction. I assume this rifled choke is a bit less drastic than those Fosbery came up with 140 years ago, although his are said to work quite well, shot or slug.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Rifled tubes have been around quite a while. They are normally extended, I think the 12ga one I have is about 5 inches long.
They don't give real rifle like accuracy but they do give you the ability to shoot sabot slugs.
My Benelli would shoot fair at best with I/C and foster slugs and iron sites. When I got the rifled choke, installed a saddle mount with a 4x and used the attached wad Remington Buckhammer( no longer in production) it would be easy minute of deer at 100.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

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I have slug molds in the Lyman sabot slug design for the 10 , the 12 , the 16 , the 20 and the 28 . The 12 and 20 are American made the others came off EBay from an Eastern European group . None of these slugs have been tried in rifled barrel or rifled choke guns . Mostly in SxS but a few times in O/U guns . They fit my parameters as I target at thirty yards . Very rarely do I load slugs in both barrels , usually POI between the two barrels is off enough that the second barrel gets buckshot . I have a Savage 220 but I use the Remington. 20 gauge 2 3/4” AccuTip slugs in it and at 100 yards three are typically in an inch to an inch and a half . I have several other 10 gauge slug molds picked up at different places and even a couple things for the 8 gauge . But that Lyman style sabot mold that looks like an air rifle pellet on steroids has done a great job for me I’d love to have one of those large enough to fit my 8 gauge . There was a time I relished finding good working loads for this that or the other , but over the last couple years I’ve tried to curb that practice as much as possible and now simplicity is king . About the only thing I even remotely like fiddling with to get to shoot are my 8 and the 10 gauge doubles . We have a J Manton 8 gauge fully rifled hammer double at the shop for sale , if I happened to hit the lottery I’d buy that gun and set forth having molds cut and making it shoot to suit me , oh btw the price on it is 25K hence the need for a lottery prize lols !
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Have you looked for the Remington slugs lately? That's why I'm trying to get a load that works.
Yeah that Manton would be a boat load of fun to get shooting and to kill deer with it would be awesome.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

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GunnyMack wrote: Sun Sep 24, 2023 3:05 pm Have you looked for the Remington slugs lately? That's why I'm trying to get a load that works.
Yeah that Manton would be a boat load of fun to get shooting and to kill deer with it would be awesome.
I bought ten boxes two three years ago . I’ve not hunted the gun in over three years . I’ve actually got it for sale in the shop right now . Gun Leupold 3-9 and forty rounds ammo . Last year I sold four boxes to a friend .
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

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GunnyMack wrote: Sun Sep 24, 2023 3:05 pm
Yeah that Manton would be a boat load of fun to get shooting and to kill deer with it would be awesome.
I’ll console myself using my Parker with the masking taped slugs this year 8) :lol:
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Off for more testing today- finally !
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Go for it, Will. I refinished and tightened up the Stevens, and fitted a different recoil pad. Also ordered some regular Foster-style slugs to try in it.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Things are better!
So clean bore for starters.
35.0 lilgun behind wad, sabot and copper slug shows lots of promise.
Next was 23.0 HS6 behind sabot with 325gr .50 pistol bullet- burn that recipe! All 2³/⁴
Then 24.0 800x with wad, sabot & 325gr .50- scratch that as well. In 3" hull
Now for the Thug slugs.
24.0 800x with 40lbs wad pressure. Quite promising but they aren't exactly stable.
Then I believe 24gr( can't read what I wrote on the hull!) With the Thug but these I smeared cast bullet lube into the 'rifling grooves'. It's the group at 9 0clock, probably 1³/⁴" group.
I'm going to load more of both lilgun loads for 100yd testing, these were at 50.
20231001_115234.jpg
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Correction- 24 gr of LongShot behind Thug with lube!!
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

You shot some sweet groups there, Will. You are on to something for sure.
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

They are a lot better than some I've tried. Clean bore is the key!
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

I shot 6 of the Thug slugs today, 3 were dry and 3 were lubed. Stuck the bore scope in and still a good bit of leading. Time to try powder coating.

From the groups I'm thinking the lubed loads were hitting square-er which leads me to believe the leading was from the 3 dry shots and they were stripping causing them to yaw.
If the powder coating works I'll be quite happy, if not I've got a good supply of bullet lube!
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Will, how do you plan to separate the wad prior to powder coating?
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Easy Bill, they pop right off! See-
20231001_170847.jpg
They are an attached wad but they aren't permanently attached.
Think this qualifies as leading?
20231001_170648.jpg
I'm half tempted to fire lap this bore, the chatter marks in the rifling are pretty bad! It would certainly help with the leading...

Oh and a 410 hull cut off the base makes for a nice bore guide!
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Will, I'll be darned. I had tried to remove the wads from fired slugs -- and of course they wouldn't go down without a fight! :lol:
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

It's possible Bill that some may be more readily attached than others. Yes they are very hard to remove after they impact dirt!
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Since I didn't get to go pick up powder paint at harbor freight I decided to get some from Amazon. It arrived today.
Looks like another wet Saturday so I'll give it a try. The paint I got is for fishing jigs. They had a nice yellow- perfect for 20 gauge yellow! :lol:
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Excellent. I have both green and yellow -- University of Oregon Fighting Ducks colors. 8)
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

Since I despise cool whip I have to try and find another suitable container to coat the slugs in. Or buy a tub and let the dogs eat it! :lol:
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Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by Pat C »

Nice, anouther bolt action shotgun .My first hunts as a kid were with my Dad and my H&R Topper model 58 20 GA slugs.
Never connected with a deer but I hope the memories with my Dad taking me will not leave me.
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:57 am
Location: Not where I want to be!

Re: 20-gauge slug loads

Post by GunnyMack »

So I got the powder paint, read the instructions and it says preheat with a torch and dunk it into the paint. Ok, I got quite a heavy coat of paint, filled the HP nose!
Take 2- find a 3/8 bolt to put the slug on base first, hold out of the flame and drop into container with some PP and swish around. Good coverage! But it's not cured. 2x2 hunk of steel( supposed to be an action wrench jaw- I never got around to making), set the slugs down base first and pass the torch across a few times. Now nice and glossy finish.
Between the HP nose and the wad attachment at the rear I have to be careful I don't fill them up preventing the wad going in. The HP probably won't matter much...
20231007_085526.jpg
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BROWN LABS MATTER !!
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