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Thread: Photos of Recovered Slugs

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Castlegar, B.C., Canada

    Photos of Recovered Slugs

    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!

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    pipehand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    South Carolina Sandhills
    Cool. And now you have about 4 pounds of lead to remelt!

    The finned slugs look good- too bad about the performance.
    You have the right to force me to pay for the feeding, housing, clothing, education, and medical treatment of yourself and your children when I have THE RIGHT TO FORCE YOU TO PICK MY COTTON!

    Section 1 13th Amendment to the Constitution:
    "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Castlegar, B.C., Canada
    Yeah, I actually was planing on making the ribbed slug mould then saw I could make a finned slug so thought I would try it but they did not shoot very well. At first, the fins crushed even after I altered the slugs to fit into a shotcup ~ originally they were bore size and loaded over a gas seal and hard card wads. So, I tried oven heat treating and that worked but then wads got diced up so I had to add a polyethylene disk under the slug. After that the wads survived and fins didn't crush but accuracy was still mediocre to poor.

    My take is that the fins are operating in a partial vacuum due to the shockwave off the nose so they are largely ineffective.

    Diehard saw them and posted what he found on eBay ~ the Rocket slugs, which had only 4 thin fins. I figured they would crush and so they did. Not sure what the manufacture was thinking. you might try searching for "Rocket Slugs" and Diehard's photos may still be up. Anyway, they didn't work either.

    So far, I have had a hard time beating round balls to 50 yards or better with any kind of slug. 100 yards is the goal though and round balls get a little unpredictable at longer ranges.

    4 pounds of lead! Those slugs weigh at least an ounce each and that isn't all of them. I bet I have 20 lbs. of slugs and the same in boolits. However, I have a hard time melting them. I keep hearing the stories! The voices never stop....

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Hogtamer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    East central GA, Appling near Augusta
    So "back to the future"! The lesson seems to be the simple round balls of lead our forefathers used is still the ticket, even in modern guns. My experience has yielded similar results and my efforts now are focused on customizing RB loads to my gun, not reinventing the projectile. Finding the right size that works best. Thanks longbow, very enlightening!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Castlegar, B.C., Canada
    I have certainly had trouble or should I say challenges in obtaining good and consistent results using "conical" slugs.

    I have shot several factory Foster loads that would groups around 6" at 100 yards and maybe better if a guy was to really try.

    I have gotten similar results from AQ slugs and Gualandi DGS slugs.

    I have gotten some good groups of around 3" at 50 yards with my TC hollow base slug (heat treated) and the Rapine 730XXX (forgotten the number and I didn't cast these, they were given to me). I have not managed to get consistent groups of under 6" at 100 yards with my home loaded cast slugs whether from commercial moulds or home made moulds.

    The next step for me is to test the new attached wad slugs and if as good as the TC hollow base and TC attached wad slug at 50 yards (3" to 4") then I will see how far it will shoot with acceptable accuracy. if it doesn't work out then I will use the TC hollow base slug and try to repeat previous success then stretch it out.

    I think one of the challenges is that if you look at slug velocities, it turns out that many are likely to go to transonic velocities at around 50 to 60 yards. As they drop to sonic velocity, there is a lot of turbulence as shockwaves rearrange and such so that may be a large contributing factor in smoothbore accuracy (or more correctly inaccuracy). If a rifled gun is used that instability is much reduced due to the spin of the slug.

    Round balls do not know which way is up or forward and they can't "tumble" so unless they pick up enough spin to cause them to curve, they should fly pretty straight and true.

    It occurs to me that we have some accomplished smoothbore muzzleloader shooters on this site who can probably enlighten us on maximum accurate range for patched round balls. These guys are the subject matter experts for round ball accuracy.

    I have read of pretty impressive smoothbore musket accuracy but getting it first hand from one of our own seems like an obvious idea and a question I should have asked long ago. Duh!

    I doubt a smoothbore shotgun would do better but we should be able to achieve similar accuracy at the same ranges. That should answer that question without burning up pounds of powder and lead on yet another quest!

    If a shuttlecock slug design will produce 3" to 4" groups at 50 yards and it remains stable then it should produce 6" to 8" groups at 100 yards. There is the challenge.

    Yet another rambling response!

    So back to the short answer... yup. round balls are easy to cast, easy to load and shoot pretty darn well to at least 50 yards.


  6. #6
    Boolit Master OnHoPr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Very interesting pics and info longbow.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check