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Thread: 20 ga. slug vs. 12 ga. slug

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master

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    20 ga. slug vs. 12 ga. slug

    I figured I'd better start a new thread rather than take one of topic... not that I ever do that of course!

    It seems that within the slug shooting community there are a lot of people who advocate 20 ga. over 12 ga. and I am wondering why.

    When it comes to home loaded sabot rounds I am totally baffled by this as the same slug can be shot in both guns in an appropriate sabot so I'd figure 12 ga. would do the same velocity as 20 ga. with less pressure due to larger base to push on.

    For full bore slugs there are heavy 20 ga. slugs and light 12 ga. slugs so for home loading again I'd figure you load what you want to get the job done.

    For factory rounds maybe 20 ga. are all you need and have less recoil?

    The answer will be a bit academic for me as I am set up for 12 ga. and don't plan on changing unless there are really good reasons and a bit lighter gun with a bit less recoil isn't enough reason for me.

    Help me out here! What am I missing? There must be more to it.

    Longbow

  2. #2
    Vendor Sponsor uncle dino's Avatar
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    Lb. I think it's all about recoil.. I find myself grabbing a 20 rather than a 12 anymore. D

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I would say recoil! Repeated heavy recoil doesn't make for a real pleasant trip to the range, or pasture in my case. The 20s are generally lighter weight which is nice through the woods. I have loaded some max 12 ga with up to 675 grns and it's not worth it to me. As a practical matter in the field I (plus a couple of buddies that have shot my loads) have killed roughly 25 animals in Ga and SC with the last few years with home rolled slugs of various sorts with a variety of shotguns. From a single .600 ball to 1 1/4 oz slugs shot at various angles and distances up to 100 yds and have yet to recover a single lead projectile from an animal. Nothing huge but some of 170 lbs or so. Never shot a factory slug at an animal. Oh yeah, a buddy killed a 300 lb nuisance alligator with one of my lee slugs from 40 yds. Didn't get that one either. From experience I would GUESS that a 525 Lyman moving at 1400fps would take down an average horse at 50 yds, assuming decent placement. In my part of the world at least what we might call moderate loads is more than sufficient. You're gonna have a blast working loads through your new mossy. Is there anything in Canada a .735 RB would not kill efficiently? It's all fun and I look forward to your results over the next year. I'm still excited to take new slugs hunting but I shoot them just enough now to prove on paper then to the woods! I've got some 1 oz 20s from BB, even my Zlugs that I have not killed with yet. Bloodtrail did take a nice hog with one. This was a loooong post that I really answered in the first sentence. Sorry, hope I didn't get too carried away.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    It's recoil for sure as well as weight. My Marlin 512 (12ga) barks, booms and kicks like a mule with the Hornady SST's or any equivalent slug. While my buddies Savage 220 (20ga) is a kitten with the SST/Accutip slug. They are also about the same speed & trajectory with a 50gr difference in bullet weight. When I got the 512 I killed my shoulder sighting it in with several bullets to see which worked better. I was so sore after about 50rounds I bought a 1lb mercury recoil suppressor and drilled a hole in the stock to mount it. I have shot a Rem 700 in 300mag along side my 512 with the suppressor and I think they are close but the 512 still a little more than the mag. The 220 is much more comfortable to shoot more rounds. Nobody will shoot my 512 after they see the kick, flame etc. & everyone in the woods knows it was me that shot when it goes off. They both do an excellent job of taking deer. I'm one of the younger guys in my hunting club and the wiser older guys like 20ga shotguns for the same reasons they all sight recoil & weight.
    Last edited by NyFirefighter357; 11-05-2018 at 01:20 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    No argument with what's been said but I'm still confused.

    So, I read this from Remington:

    "It’s the largest tipped slug you’ll find anywhere. In field testing, these huge .58-caliber slugs produced gaping wound channels and crumpled every deer it touched with a single shot. From 5 to 200 yards, it yields perfect mushrooms and over 95% weight retention thanks to its spiral nose cuts and high-strength cartridge brass jacket. Designed for rifled barrels only. Available in 2¾" or 3" 12-gauge and 20-gauge versions."

    From that I am assuming that they mean the same .58 cal. slug is used in both gauge guns with appropriate sabot. If they are both launched at the same velocity then I'd expect recoil to be pretty much the same except for possibly different powders and burn rate effect and of course terminal performance if launched at same velocity would be identical.

    If the 20 ga. uses a lighter payload then obviously recoil would be less and I understand the sectional density issue re penetration but if the payload in both is a .44 cal. bullet in a sabot, .45 cal. bullet in a sabot, .50 cal. bullet in a sabot or as above .58 cal. bullet in a sabot then equal velocity equals same recoil and terminal performance. No?

    I see that Federal loads their Vital•Shok Trophy Copper Sabot Slug in 20 (275 gr.) and 12 ga. (300 gr.) loaded to same velocity at 1900 FPS so the 12 ga. payload is about 10% heavier so a little more recoil (but not a lot). They don't say what diameters the slugs are so we can't talk sectional density but I'm betting they are close if not the same.

    As Hal says, there is likely nothing in North America, or many other places, that a properly designed shotgun slug in either 12 or 20 ga. won't kill and the 20 ga. may well be more than adequate with lighter payloads and less recoil which is all well and good but a 12 ga. can be loaded down too.

    Anyway, not trying to convince anyone they should give up their 20 ga., just trying to figure out why there would be so much difference in recoil with sabot slugs unless some manufacturers use significantly lighter payloads in 20 ga.

    I like the 12 ga. and will stick with it, recoil and all, because I am set up for 12 ga. and while I don't necessarily like recoil knocking more brain cells off of whatever deteriorating gray matter I still have, I'm kinda used to it now.

    In my case, I like full bore slugs so yes, a 20 ga. may provide more penetration than a 12 ga. using some slugs but I suspect that when both are loaded with typical Foster slugs there is little difference because 20 ga. Fosters are generally lighter than 12 ga. Fosters. So being smaller diameter but lighter doesn't enhance penetration if sectional density isn't higher. I haven't looked but I'll bet 20 ga. Brenneke's are lighter than 12 ga. Brenneke's too.

    Anyway, I just see the comments so often I am curious about reasons to choose the 20 over the 12. If recoil and lighter gun are it then I'll stick with my old fashioned 12 ga. Different strokes.

    Both will do what needs to be done... but the 12 ga. makes a bigger hole! Size does matter!

    Longbow

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'll look into the Accutips but I know the 12ga SST's are 300gr S&W 500 FTX bullets and the 20ga are .452 250gr FTX bullets

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Hornady SST Slug, 12 Gauge, 2 3/4", FTX, 300 Grain Key Features:
    Muzzle Velocity: 2,000 FPS
    Muzzle Energy: 2,644 ft.-lbs.

    Hornady SST Slug, 20 Gauge, 2 3/4", FTX, 250 Grain Key Features:
    Muzzle Velocity: 1,800 FPS
    Muzzle Energy: 1,798 ft.-lbs


    Remington Premier 12 Gauge 2 3/4" AccuTip Bonded Sabot Slugs
    Slug Weight: 385-grain
    Muzzle Velocity: 1,850 f.p.s.
    Muzzle Energy: 2,925 ft.-lbs.

    Remington Premier, 20 Gauge, 2 3/4" AccuTip Bonded Sabot Slugs
    Slug Wt.: 260-grain
    Muzzle Velocity: 1,850 f.p.s.
    Muzzle Energy: 1,976 ft.-lbs.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    12ga SST
    Muzzle -1.5"
    50 Yards +2.4"
    100 Yards +2.7"
    150 Yards 0"
    200 Yards -6.7"

    20ga SST
    Muzzle -1.5"
    50 Yards +2.5"
    100 Yards +3.3"
    150 Yards "0
    200 Yards -8.2"

    https://images.remington-catalog.com/573cd0229b967

    https://youtu.be/tMvwsvJCTig?t=42
    Last edited by NyFirefighter357; 11-05-2018 at 01:17 AM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Thanks for posting that info and I have to apologize for not doing a bit more research because I could have looked that up myself. The factory info i did look up wasn't quite so different between 12 and 20 ga.

    So for those factory slugs there is a definite difference between the 12 and 20 ga. but again, for handloaders the 12 ga. can be toned down some. Not sure what is available for 20 ga. sabots but there are some 12 ga. sabots so with appropriate loading they should be quite flexible.

    If a guy is not a reloader so stuck with factory loadings then that would make his choice a little clearer. I kinda doubt there are reduced recoil sabot rounds but have not looked. There are reduced recoil Foster and other full bore rounds available... in 12 ga, anyway.

    Longbow

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Well since you brought it up, Hornady does make the SST slugs in reduced recoil for both the 12 & 20ga.

    12 GA 300 gr FTX® Custom Lite®
    Velocity(FPS) Energy(ft/lbs) Trajectory (inches)
    Muzzle 1575 1652 -1.5"
    50 Yards 1423 1348 +3.6"
    100 Yards 1289 1107 +4.5"
    150 Yards 1178 924 0"
    200 Yards 1091 793 -10.7"


    20 GA 300 gr FTX® Custom Lite®
    Velocity(FPS) Energy(ft/lbs) Trajectory (inches)
    Muzzle 1600 1421 -1.5"
    50 Yards 1445 1159 +3.5"
    100 Yards 1308 790 +4.3"
    150 Yards 1193 790 0"
    200 Yards 1103 675 -10.4"

  11. #11
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    Guys I just shot close to 500 rounds of 12ga thru My 7 lb. M500 a week ago and I'm still here with no ill effects.
    .
    Virtually everything I shot was Factory Loaded to between 1200 and 1300 fps. The gun, and by extension your shoulder, doesn't know the difference between a 1 oz slug, 1 oz of Buckshot, or #8 birdshot. They all weigh the same, and if the velocity is the same, then the recoil is the same,,, or at least close.

    Your mind may think there's a difference, but for the one or two shots you'll need for hunting I think you could live with it.

    However the difference in performance is substantial, and that should weigh in heavily as you make the decision on what to use.

    The TKO of a Low recoil 1 oz. Slug at 1300 fps is 59.6. The TKO of a 1 1/8 oz slug at 1600 fps is 84. A .458 Win Mag 500 gr at 2150 fps is 70! a 3/4 oz 20 ga slug at 1600 fps is 39.5..

    A 3/4 oz slug should be more than enough for deer sized game just based on power. But there is a substantial increase on that power just going to a low based 12 ga slug. Given that 20 ga guns are typically lighter than 12 ga guns there seems like less than a little trade off here as far as recoil is concerned.

    Another way to go, is to load the 12 ga slugs down to about 1100 fps like my Trap Loads are. I have been shooting my Pumpkin Ball loads for several years at 3 gun shoots as a result of mistakenly shooting a couple of high base slugs at a steel target. This produced instant misery. Pumpkin Balls of 425 gr were the solution, and my Pumpkin Balls are loaded directly into my Trap Reloads instead of the shot.

    The Lyman Slug was designed to fit directly into an existing Trap Load by simply opening the crimp, dumping out the shot, inserting the slug, and closing the crimp back up. Obviously substituting a Slug for the shot when reloading is easier than opening a crimp.

    There is no significant disadvantage to shooting a Low Recoil Slug over a Arsekicker Slug for anything below Grizzly Bears. It just hurts less.

    That said I see nothing wrong with 20 slugs if you already or only have a 20 ga shotgun.

    Randy
    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 11-06-2018 at 12:52 PM.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy Petander's Avatar
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    I tried a friend's 20 gauge in a trap range a few years back. All of a sudden breaking clays became easy. Very easy.

    Got a 20 right away for trap. I then learned that the "20-guys" have been hunting everything just as successfully as "12-guys", including fox in winter. I patterned and chronoed lots of ammo and guns,ended up selling all my 12's. I felt I sprayed an unnecessary amount of shot around the target,getting more recoil in reward. A 20 puts almost the same amount of same velocity pellets in the same 30" target as a 12.

    I'm not a great shotgunner. I just shoot a 20 faster and more accurately than a 12. 20 is great in a combination gun,too. 20"s also have a tendency to multiply. 20 slug is like a standard 45-70 factory load. 12 slug is more but I don't have many bears on huge boars around where I hunt.

    I'm planning to start loading tungsten shot for 20's...

    But 20 slugs are easier to practise with as well,to me at least. Of course 12 has more power with full house loads... at both ends... that's why we have all those practical slug loads.

    Long story longer,it's a matter of taste to me. If it was for a dedicated slug hunting gun, my pick would be a 12 gauge,more is more.
    Last edited by Petander; 11-06-2018 at 10:18 AM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    I'm a big believer that surface diameter matters, in smooth bore a 12ga is always better but a 20ga is less kick and the longer slugs will probably be the most accurate, although I've never owned a 20ga.
    In a rifled gun from what I've seen/heard They are better but I've no 1st hand experience to back that up, but it is what I'd want to buy.

    At the end of the day, speed weight and surface area will always kill better but only if it hits the right place, accuracy is the best killer of them all.

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