Well, I finally got around to doing this after saying I would for some time. Hogtamer said he wanted pictures so pictures he gets!
I regularly scour the range for slugs and boolits and often find my own laying about or buried in a berm. Best time to look is after shooting in winter when there is heavy snow. Many of these slugs were retrieved after the snow melted.
Most were shot by me and are labeled "mine" after the description. All of mine are 12 gauge and all but one were shot from smoothbore.
Most are cast from my home made moulds: TC HB's, wadcutter HB's, TC solids, finned slugs, ribbed slugs, RNFP slug, teardrop slug and HP Brenneke styles. Mine are mostly ACWW and some heat treated. No soft lead. The "others" I can't say for sure but they look soft from the way they distorted.
So, on to the narrative:
Miscellaneous recovered slugs ~ left to right:
- Rapine 730XXX ~ those shot pretty well; no distortion
- Dixie Tusker ~ hollow base but meant for rifled barrel; didn't shoot badly from smoothbore; no distortion
- Lee Drive Key slugs 1 oz. ~ shot okay at about 6" groups at 50 yards; little if any distortion
- RNFP HB ~ home made mould with thin long skirt and filled with hot melt glue; didn't shoot well at all
- unfired Rapine 660XXX with several shorter fired examples to the right ~ severe crushing of the skirt and poor accuracy
Recovered 0.735" round balls ~ left to right:
- shot from Remington rifled barrel; accuracy of around 2" at 50 yards; you can see the rifling on the ball
- the remaining balls were shot from smoothbore and while accuracy ran around 3" to 4" at 50 yards, it is pretty obvious the balls didn't enter the bore dead center as the "belt" around the equator is skewed
Recovered attached wad slugs ~ left to right:
- there are two ribbed attached wad slugs and you can see crushed ribs from tilting in the bore; accuracy was poor
- there are two HP attached wad slugs; accuracy was poor
- next is a teardrop shaped slug that had a stack of 4 nitro card wads screwed on; accuracy was poor
- a row of TC solids with attached wad; accuracy is running around 6" at 50 yards
- Lee Drive Key slug with added attached wad; accuracy was around 6" at 50 yards
- 2 Gualandi DGS slugs; accuracy wasn't bad at around 2" to 3" at 50 yards with one keyhole but note the skirt distortion from the cushion leg running into it
Recovered finned slugs ~ left to right:
- 4 on the left were oven heat treated to prevent crushing of the fins; accuracy was poor at around 12" at 50 yards
- the next two were not heat treated and were shot into end grain wood
- next two are Rocket slugs donated by Diehard; he bought a box off ebay and sent me 5 to try out; they were a factory slug designed to drop into a shotcup and had 4 fins which crushed almost flat at firing.
Recovered Foster slugs ~ left to right (all shot by other people):
- note that only 3 or 4 have no skirt distortion and many have a little "fringe" of lead where the wad has squeezed the base
Recovered Lyman sabot slugs ~ left to right (all shot by other people):
- I don't have an unfired on for comparison but these all suffered significant skirt collapse
Recovered ribbed slugs:
- all from my home made mould
- you can see many have ribs that crushed at firing form tilting in the bore
- if shot as cast, skirts tended to distort so they had to be oven heat treated but then were brittle so shattered on impact
Recovered round balls ~ left to right:
- round ball with patch attached ~ don't bother!
- round ball with tail... yes, I said a tail; don't bother
- 0.662" balls with screw run into them then hot melt glued to copper tubing (tubing filled with glue) these shot pretty well; I have improved the design but initial testing did not go well due to over pressure; I will lower powder charge and try again
- three in a row 0.690" round balls drilled with glue skirts AQ style; didn't shoot badly but skirt bond is not good so I moved on
- 0.735" round ball with glue skirt cast in paper tube; the combination of slightly oversize ball and glue skirt resulted in overpressure and sticky extraction even though charge was not heavy; haven't tried again
- two 0.678" round balls loaded into shotcups; as usual with good round ball loads, accuracy ran about 4" at 50 yards
Recovered internally ribbed slug:
- two photos ~ shot into snow there was virtually no damage to the slug but if you zoom in you can see streaking and smearing at the nose where the slug tipped in the bore which surprised me because it is bore size! Also, if you look at the base photo you can see how the wad crushed the ribs and tilted.
Recovered wadcutter hollow base slugs:
- all shot into snow
- most show belling of the skirt (no it isn't camera distortion) which was a problem until i oven heat treated then; accuracy was not very good
Recovered wads from TC solids:
- just added because obviously some of the slugs tore apart ~ I got these from the 100 yard berm
Recovered TC hollow base slugs:
- much like the wadcutter hollow base slugs, most of these were shot into snow and skirts distorted until I oven heat treated then ~ these have thick skirts too!
- after oven heat treating and snugging fit up in the bore these gave good accuracy of about 3" + at 50 yards
I hope the photos post in correct order! Nope, didn't seem to. Oh well.
Yow! That was wordier than planned!
Recovering slugs and wads can be very enlightening as they all have stories to tell and many of the stories are not good!
I have many recovered wads that tell me real horror stories too but this is too long now!
By looking and listening to the stories they tell, you can eliminate the bad things that are happening which make for poor accuracy.
I should add that I started out with confidence that I could get 4" to 6" groups at 100 yards from smoothbore ~ largely convinced by Lyman who claim 4" groups with their Foster slug are possible. My take, having shot Lyman Foster slugs (you don't see any here do you?), is that while it may be possible it is not too probable! My experience to date anyway. I do have some new advice on getting them to perform better but have not had a chance.
Anyway, I am still working on those 4" to 6" groups at 100 yards!