Shotgun only Areas for deer and a burgeoning deer herd have created some interesting technology in the last two decades.
The latest in rifled barrel and sabot slug technology has stretched the effective range of slugguns to previously unheard of distances and hunters are increasingly taking advantage of this trend.
Rifled shotgun barrels in the early eighties were commonly long/slow twists (1:36 and longer) and short barrel lengths of around 20-22 inches. Sabot slugs beginning with the original BRI Sabot were commonly a wasted .50 cal one ounce pellet with a two piece hard plastic sabot traveling at around 1200 to 1400 fps. These guns usually had rifled sights and barrels not fixed to the the receiver but only held on with a barrel nut like traditional shotguns.
These guns had an effective range of 100-150 yards… and even at shorter ranges the slugs were limited in accuracy and energy.
Many newer slugguns have 1:28 twists and 24 inch cantilever barrels designed to stabilize the new tech slugs. These new sabots are multi petaled plastic sabots around bonded or partition bullets that shoot 1900-2000 fps and deliver incredible energy and accuracy out to 200 yards.
Some of the better/faster slugs are Remington Core-Loct Ultra and the new Aero tip, Winchester Partition Gold and Hornady SST, Winchester XP3 among others.
Bolt action slugguns with good accuracy were developed with some success by Browning, Mossberg and Savage but met with limited demand and meager success in the marketplace. These guns still used the old benchmark twist rate of around 1:36 and the new slugs just did not perform well. Most deer hunters favored faster repeaters like pump guns and semis which led to the virtual abandonment of this technology with only one model still in production at this juncture.
Ithaca made a pump action 26 inch 1:28 twist barrel deer slayer II that was considered one of the fastest and most accurate slugguns ever developed until the company’s recent demise. Browning, Winchester, Benelli and Beretta among others offer semi autos and pumps with 1:28 ROT 24 inch cantilever barrels that shoot with amazing accuracy. Remington is still using the longer twist rate but their guns are capable of shooting good groups as well… although I find the groups open up quickly at longer range with faster slugs.
Beretta ES-100, Beretta Extrema II and Benelli SBE I and II offer 1:28 twist rifled barrels at 24 inches long and fixed to the receivers. I have tested and owned both of these and they are extremely accurate semis and consistently shoot minute of deer (4-5″ groups) at 150-200 yards with the right optics and slugs. I prefer 3-9 or higher magnification long eye relief scopes and 1900 fps Core-loct Ultras… (Plastic removal with Sabot Cleaner is imperative when shooting sabots!). I am testing some new 2000 fps 3 inch sabots right now with the SBEII and they look promising.
I have a 28 inch 1:28 ROT Stainless fluted barrel for my Encore Pro Hunter and after testing most of the sabots out there I have settled on the new Remington Aero Tip slug! I am getting consistent 2 inch groups at 150 yards and 4 inch groups at 200 yards…This is outstanding accuracy for a slug gun! I also have started testing my new 20 gauge Benelli M-2 as mentioned in a previous article.
Look for the next article where I will talk in depth about proper cleaning for your slug gun!
Big Red OUT!

3 Responses

  1. I would like to try a Beretta ES-100 or Extrema II as a replacement for my 870. Where might I find these shotguns as they are not in the Beretta catalogue.

    1. Accuracy Plus in Peterborough ( can get it for you, if it’s out there to be gotten 🙂

  2. Hi. I have looked and looked for your article on how to clean slugguns. You know the new slug by Savage. If you could send me the sight to that article, i would sure appreciate it. Thank you. Katie

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