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Thread: Full Bore Slugs

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Dixie Slugs's Avatar
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    Full Bore Slugs

    With the introduction of rifled barrels for shotguns, it has been only a matter of time that the cast bullet fellows picked up on it....and that's great!
    May shooters soon realized that a rifled barrel on a shotgun was now a ultra bore big game gun!
    Problems arise in thinking due to them still thinking in terma of the old Foster designs.....it's an entire different game when going the full bore.
    But....all youhave learned about cast bullets in handguns and rifles still apply to there big full bore bullets.....including, and most important, heat treating!
    The following are some thoughts:
    (1) Unlike shot loads, in a shotgun, that like a soft cushsion to reduce shot deformation......full bore laods like< and must have for accuracy, a firm platform. The best 12 ga. wads we have found are from Circle Fly. They are the .250"-1/4" hard nitro type wad....and the 3/8" hard filler wad. The best overpowder wad for plastic hulls is the X12X sold by Ballistic Products Inc. These wads, in combo, with you powder to give a wad column and a firm rolled crimp...will amke a good load.
    (2) Time and time again, when testing factory Foster slugs....when accuracy went out the window, it was due to wads blowing into the hollow base. If you are loading this design, it is most important that a Circle Fly .250" hard card wad be under the slug.
    (3) One of the problems in rifled shotgun barrels is the old type forcing cone. Custom barrels have leades like in handgun, or rifle chambers. in order to get accuracy in rifled shotgun barrels, the slug bullet must be hard and aligned as it leaves the hull. This is where heat treating and hard wads come to play. The best way to heat treat is to cook the slug/bullets for a hour at 400/450 degrees and water quench. This will run the bhn up to around 30 bhn and the slug/bullets will stabilize at around 28 bhn. Wheelweights, and a liittle tin, heat treated this way will not be brittle.
    (4) On the question of lubes. The slug load does not need to be lubed as well as ceterfires since the velocity and pressure is lower. Lee Alox, or #350 Alox, cut back with paint thinner, makes an excellent Alox wash.
    (5) Slug size is important. Modern rifled barrrels, like the Hastings, runs .727" -n the grooves and .717" on the lands. In slug/bullets as large as 12 gauge, .003" over size of groove is best. Bigger and you will get some mis-alignmenet. Dixie has settled on .730" as a standard.
    (5) The cast bullet shooters will have to find a mold maker to cut your mold so that it throws the slug/bullet, with your alloy, at 730". We prefer a lathe cut iron mold for our production molds. Some, but not all, cherry cut molds are not true around. This may be OK for soft slug/bullets, but is not best for hard cast heat treated ones.
    (6) No diiscussion would be complete without touching on powders. Powders in slug loads do not react like the same powders in shot loads. There is a small peak in oressure as the hard slug/bulle enters the rifling and with slug/bullet weights over one ounce (437.5 grs)....a owder with the burn rate of Blue Dot or Steel is best. One ounce and less, a burn rate about Herco works. Stay away from the faster powders with hard cast heat treated slug/bullets.
    (7) Pressure testing ypur loads is smart. Ballistic Research in McHenry, Illinois, is a very good place.
    Just some rendon thoughts, James
    Dixie Slugs (dixieslugs.com)-Home of the Dixie Terminator

  2. #2
    Boolit Mold
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    Great info, James!!! Thanks

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Dixie Slugs's Avatar
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    Hello Friends! Well, It had to happen and that's good. During the later part of 2007, Ole' Dixie has seen more and more people looking for information of reloading full bore ammo for rifled shotgun barrels!
    In a thread on Dixie Slugs, I made the statement that when you put a rifled barrel on a shotgun.....you had an ultra bore rifle on a shotgun frame...how true that is turning out! After all it's just a bjgger bore!
    We have offerd our big slug/bullets to reloaders when there was a slack in producing loaded ammo....not very often. These slug/bullets are hard cast, heat treated, and Alox lubed....ready for loading. They are not cheap, since there is a lot of labor involved.
    The other interesting factor is they are not going to shotgun-only states....neither is our load ammo.
    Now we see Hastings coming out with 28 ga and 410 ga rifled barrels....very interesting! A 24 ga would be even more interesting as it would might be good with the .575" Minie bullets.
    Time will tell, but I really think these smaller bore shotgun barrels will be picked up be reloaders! Dixie will be watching the .410 setups.
    So....all of you that like cast bullets should think about the shotgun bore rifled barrels......it's wide open for research!
    Regards, James
    Dixie Slugs (dixieslugs.com)-Home of the Dixie Terminator

  4. #4
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    Be interesting to see that Hastings 410 barrel used with the 11.4x74R Wildcat designed for the 45/410 contenders.

    At what point do you make the distinction between rifle and shotgun? If I have a rifled barrel, use metallic cases with rifle primers, and load a full diameter slug in the end of a case, it sounds an awful lot like a rifle to me.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Dixie Slugs's Avatar
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    Quite frankly, I say anything with a rifled barrel is a rifle/handgun....no matter what frame it is on!
    However, the hunting rules and regulations say.....if the barrel is stamped in a gauge...it's a shotgun.
    I do say that cast bullets in a rifled shotgun barrel....has the same things to know as any othe type/size of cast bullets.
    There are some different needs. We have found that a slug/bullet load needs a firm wad column, not like the soft wad column/plastic one piece shot wad used in shot loads.
    Fact!...different wad columns do not change pressure, up or down, as much as weight of slug/bullet or velocity.
    A beginning load for a solid starts with a shot load of equal weight. Solids do not have the sidewall pressure/friction the a shot load has.
    There are many different opinions as to powder burn rate....and single base vs double base powders. In most cases, the powder recommended for a certain shot weght is close for a equal soild's weight.
    But....you will get arguements on that also!
    Regards, James
    Dixie Slugs (dixieslugs.com)-Home of the Dixie Terminator

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    QUOTE by James Gates
    In most cases, the powder recommended for a certain shot weght is close for a equal soild's weight.
    But....you will get arguements on that also!


    Now that you bring that up - I use the same powder charge for either ball or shot. I find that with a .690 Round Ball loaded exactly the same as a 1 1/8 ounce shot payload, I get a higher velocity (not a whole lot higher, but consistant) with the Ball. I'm thinking that the shot sets back and applies pressure outwards as it travels down the barrel and the Ball doesn't. Your thoughts?

    DC

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Dixie Slugs's Avatar
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    Exactly! As I have mentioned, and based on pressure tests, solids do not have the side wall pressure/friction, that an equal weight/velocity as a shot load. In some cases the velocity will be less, based on the burn rate of the powder.
    We tested various undesize ball and bullets in plastice wads. We were not very impressed. One load did show promis though. If the Lee Key slug is cast hard from wheelweights and put in a Federal 12S3. Lee does not recommed it be cast from anything but pure lead. We got some nice groups with it cast hard and used in a smoothbore.
    When you move over to rifled barrels and solids, a good place to start is equal powder to match an equal weight shot charge. Extreme care should be used in selecting the powder charge and a slow burn powder is best. Blue Dot is a good safe powder to work with.

    Below is the Dixie Terminator-730"-730 gr.....it is the same as the bullet/slug used in the original Paradox load....except the wide frontal area and two relief/lube grooves instead of one on the original. This is the slug/bullet that Todd Corder used on the 2000 pound bull (see tech note on dixieslugs.com)
    Regards, James
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Dixie Slugs; 01-02-2008 at 11:05 AM.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master Ricochet's Avatar
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    May be a bit off topic, James, but how's that Tri-Ball load shoot in a cylinder bore?

    I note a couple of commercial loads from other makers online with the old "buck and ball" combination in shotshells. The one I see most is the Centurion "Multi-Defense Buckshot" load with a .65" ball and 6 #1 buckshot loaded to a nominal 1290 FPS, about a 2 3/4" Magnum load. I'm thinking about trying some.

    Don't have any rifled "shotguns" around here, but do have a full choked Marlin Goose Gun, a modified and full Stevens double, and a cylinder 20" Mossberg 500 on the way (along with the one my daughter now has.) I'm really not much of a slug shooter, I tend to think of shotguns as short range shot shooters.
    "A cheerful heart is good medicine."

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Dixie Slugs's Avatar
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    The Tri-Ball load is in 3" ot 3 1/2" lengths. We have shot them out of cylinder bore gun and the pattern the three ball in around 10" at 30 yards. Moving down to full choke that tighten up to about 6" at a measured 40 yards in 3" and about 5" in the 3 1/2" shells. The ideal choke seems to be around .675" chole. Some guns shoot extremelly tight pattens with a .660/.665" choke.....but some guns with that tight a choke will throw one ball out to 6" while the other cutt out each hole.
    The Buck & Ball loads we tested just did not pattern even at all. Some of our friends have sent theri short smoothbore barrels up the Mikr Orlrn and had them threaded for choke tubes. Those barrels work gteat with various tubes. Remingto n tubes have worked best and are available at Wall mart.
    Regards, James
    Dixie Slugs (dixieslugs.com)-Home of the Dixie Terminator

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Ricochet's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Some years back when I was turkey hunting using a mountain bike as many of you now use 4-wheelers, lugging that Goose Gun slung over my shoulder and trying to keep it from catching on branches, I decided the ideal turkey gun would be an 18 1/2" barreled Mossberg 500 with the muzzle adapted for choke tubes.
    "A cheerful heart is good medicine."

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Talking about your Tri-Ball, I've loaded up quite a few of your old Dixie Hog Cruncher loads, with slight variations. I use .575" instead of .570" balls, and no buffer. They whack the snot out of phone books and one previously good chronograph. They're sort of particular about what guns I use (all mine are fixed chokes) but in the right guns they give very good patterns.

    DC

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Dixie Slugs's Avatar
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    As I menetioned before, many of our customers are making up Tri-Ball guns patterned after ours.... a Remington 870 Express (black stock & forearm), having Mike Orlen cut the barrel at 21" (ahead of the rib post), re-threading for Remigton tubes, and installing Tru-Glo Gobbler Dot fiber optic sights....plus sling swivels.
    The entire gun is then wiped down with a Bicarb Soda water mix, dried with a hair dryer, and a cost of flat poly......some are putting a flat camo finish on with an air brush. Then wiped with a silicone rag.
    That setup also makes a great turkey gun with tight choke tubes. Most of those gune pattern Tri-Ball in the center of the shot pattern.
    Getting back to full bores....more and more cast bullet fans are starting to play with both the 12 and 20 bore rifled guns. The problem is getting proper mold for today's rifled barrels (.717" on the lands and .727" in the groonves). We like
    .003" compression ergo .730" bullets.
    Most mold on the market are either undersize or over size.
    Regards, James
    Dixie Slugs (dixieslugs.com)-Home of the Dixie Terminator

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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