12GA Slug Test
I always wanted to burn a full day and just test a bunch of different slug loads, and one fall day we did just that. Since there are so many options of slugs available, I wanted to find out for myself which slug worked best for me and my gun and put to rest any of my beliefs or here say as to which slug is best to use.
For our testing, we used a Mossberg 12 gauge pump with a rifled barrel and a Nikon 3x9 BDC shot gun scope. The test would be conducted at 125 yards using a solid shooting bench and a Caldwell Led Sled. We also used a Chronograph to see variations of muzzle velocity from each shot. The test would include 5 shots, followed by a full cleaning before testing the next slug load.
The days temperature was hoovering right around 50 degrees and the wind less than 5mph. It was a very calm day for testing. We would use all 5 shots in determining the rank of each slug used, not best 3 out of 5, but all 5 shots as we know you can get some "flyers".
We tested 7 loads, and they were all 2-3/4" sabots. We wanted to test a few more, but at the time of testing, some loads were not available. The load we tested were as follows...
Winchester Supreme Partition Gold - 385grains/1725fps
Lightfield Hybred EXP Blue - 547grains/1,450fps
Federal Premium Vital Shock Trophy Copper - 300grains/1900fps
Hornady American Whitetail - 325grains/1825fps
Remington PremierAccuTip Bonded - 385grains/1850fps
Winchester Supreme Elite Dual Bond - 375grains/1800fps
Hornady Super Performance - 300grains/1950fps
Some of you may recognize some of the slugs used and I am sure you all have an opinion of what you think is best. For the record, and 45 plus years of hunting with a slug gun, I want to say, not all guns are created equal. So what slug tests we have done here, may not apply or shoot best out of your gun. We encourage all shotgun hunters to perform their own testing and since we are going to unveil the best shooting slugs out of our 12gauge Mossberg pump, it may entice some shooters to possibly try a slug listed here they never tried before, that could end up being a more accurate load for your slug gun.
SO ARE YOU READY?
AND THE WINNERS ARE...
#1 Federal Premium Vital Shok. This load was the most accurate and consistent overall at 125 yards with better than 2" grouping. Keeping in mind this is one of the lighter grain sabot slugs weighing in at only 300 grains. Muzzle velocity on each shot was within 30fps.
#2 Hornady American Whitetail. This load ran a very close 2nd to the Federal Premium with one shot being 3" outside the other 4. This load had the most consistent muzzle velocity out of all the loads tested with only a 20fps varience.
#3 Remington Premier AccuTip Bonded. If we took the best 3 out of 5, this load would of ranked #1 with 3 out of the 5 bullets touching at 125 yards. 2 out of the 5 shots were 4" outside the others. This load was so accurate with 3 out of 5, we actually want to do more testing with it. This is definitely a load I would recommend testing from your shotgun.
#4 Hornady Super Performance. This load was very close to the Remington in regards to accuracy, but we did encounter two flyers at 5" thus placing this load at #4
#5 Winchester Supreme Elite Dual Bond. This slug produced a 4" grouping placing it at #5
#6 Winchester Supreme Partition Gold. This slug produced a 5" grouping placing it at #6
#7 Lightfield Hybred EXP. This load we expected it to place last for a few reasons. It is the heaviest load of them all weighing in at a whopping 547 grains and the slowest muzzle velocity at a mere 1,450fps. Even though the Lightfield ranked lowest at 125 yards, this load groups great out to 75 yards and it's huge pure lead bullet delivers devastating damage. I have personally used Lightfields for years hunting in NJ, Illinois and Iowa and have yet to loose a deer. You just need to know your limits when using this load.
In conclusion, the tests results were very surprising yet interesting. At the end of the day, all loads tested will deliver accuracy at 50-75 yards. We found the lighter grain bullets provided better accuracy down range and more consistent grouping, which was expected. The purpose of the test was to see which loads shot best from our test shotgun. What we found, was new loads we otherwise would of never considered. We are hopeful this test will encourage other hunters to test other loads and brands that could potentially get a little more accuracy and distance out of their shotguns. By all means...give it a shot!