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Thread: Looking for some wisdom on 20 gauge slug loads

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    10

    Looking for some wisdom on 20 gauge slug loads

    I reload a few types of slugs for my 12 gauge, but I just bought some reloading gear for my 20 gauge and figured it would be fun to load slugs.

    What I am finding is that there is very little in the way of slug data for 20 the 20 gauge.

    I'd like to use wad slugs as I am using a gas operated shotgun (saiga 20) and the gas vents are a pain to clean lead out of.

    What I have is:
    Lee .575 RB (285 gr.)
    Lee Minie .575 (470 gr.)
    Lyman Sabot .576 (350 gr.)

    I don't have load data for the lees as they are intended for muzzle loaders, but they are the same size as the lyman.

    What I'd like to know is how much constriction is safe. The wads I have measure .03 thick on the petals (give or take .002) so the combined thickness with the slug is .635 and my barrel at the choke is .615. As I understand it, shot actually generates a lot of constriction, is this correct?

    Would a shot load of a similar weight be a logical starting point? Or are these totally different items?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master turbo1889's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by csspecs View Post
    . . . What I have is:
    Lee .575 RB (285 gr.)
    Lee Minie .575 (470 gr.)
    Lyman Sabot .576 (350 gr.) . . .
    The 0.575” RB is a good choice, especially in a smooth bore gun – Use the load data for the Lyman 350gr. wad-slug as “start loads”, you can work up beyond them if you use 28ga. nitro cards as filler inside the wad under the ball. If you use shot buffer instead for this purpose then don’t work the load up any hotter then what is listed for the Lyman 350gr. wad-slug loads, the buffer will raise the pressure enough to offset the fact that they are lighter weight.

    Is your 575-470 Lee the Modern Minie, Target Design (shallow angle TC nose shape) or the Improved Minie, Traditional Design (longer rounded nose)?

    I doubt you will be able to get the Lyman 350gr. wad-slug to shoot worth a hoot out of a smooth bore gun. Most people struggle to get it too shoot decent out of a fully rifled barrel slug gun. If you have the opportunity to trade or swap it for a Lyman #575494 mold then I suggest you do in a heart beat.

    . . . What I'd like to know is how much constriction is safe. The wads I have measure .03 thick on the petals (give or take .002) so the combined thickness with the slug is .635 and my barrel at the choke is .615 . . .
    With wad-slugs you can safely take the constriction all the way down to as tight as the diameter of the slug itself inside the wad. Such situations are rarely accurate but won’t hurt the choke. The plastic wad petals will shear completely off if necessary quite easily with no damage to the choke.

    . . . I don't have load data for the lees as they are intended for muzzle loaders, but they are the same size as the lyman. . . . Would a shot load of a similar weight be a logical starting point? Or are these totally different items?
    As far as making slugs with the Lee minie ball loads go – yes, you have the right idea about using shot loads of equivalent or greater weight as a starting point. The 575-470 Lee in the Modern Minie, Target Design makes a superb wad-slug load for 20ga. fully rifled barrels in my experience. Their other improved, traditional design works too but not nearly so well. I think in a smooth bore you are probably going to get key-holes and a spreading pattern at or beyond the 50 yard mark but I’d definitely give it a try and see. For a superb load try 2400 powder ignited by a hot Fed-209A primer with the Lee minie ball inside a Fed 20S1 wad. Start charge level would be 35 grains and you can work towards a max load of about 40 grains. Use that combination at your own risk since it’s one of my own pet loads but I did base that load off of some very obscure published load data for the use of that powder for heavy field loads in the 20ga.

    If you do get your hands on a Lyman #575494 mold my advise for loading it would be the same as I gave for the round ball loads. Loaded in such a manner it is a proven performer in both in rifled and smooth bore guns and unlike using the Lee minie balls or the Lyman 350gr. wad-slug it flies nose first drag stabilized over extended range from a smooth bore gun with reasonably good accuracy.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Seems I found the right thread for my question, Guys I am building up a fully rifled 20 gauge SxS and intend to shoot brass and the Lyman wasp wasted 20 gauge slug (350 grain). do you have a good place to start my loads?

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Dixie Slugs's Avatar
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    Before you commit to brass hulls you should read sone data about what size ball/bullet needed. You will find that thhe ball/bullet needed for brass hulls is larger than needed for plastic/paper. Ross S. did a good article in Shotgun Journal about originals design to use braas hullls.
    If you are locked in to brass hulls.....the chamber should be cut for the 2 1/2" length of popular Magtech 20's.
    The twist is important also......slow for balls and squared conicals. Today's bore diameter and twist is not correct for a ball/bullet used in brass hulls.
    Ross S. stated that only about 10% of the orignals were set up for brass hulls...interesting indeed!
    For a proper fit in Magtech 20's, the ball/bullet must be about .655". This would mean that the groove diameter should be about .002"/.003 smaller than that. If you are having a custom barrel cut, maybe you can get it that size.
    Just some thoughts indeed.....James
    Dixie Slugs (dixieslugs.com)-Home of the Dixie Terminator

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    James,
    thanks for your input. I wasn't sure about the slug size and would probably have to have a set of dies made to fit. Yes I was aware of the shorter chamber as I would be using magtac brass which I have used in my 28 SxS DR. The barrels were made by ER Shaw who has been making them for a while and the twist is as you say for slugs. I will be trying different load combinations like I used in my other gun, from 100 grns of FFg on top of 10 grains of 3031 or blue dot, and also strait smokeless like 4198 all of which have perfromed pretty well. I'll be of course looking for closest group.I would sure be interested in using your slugs if possible, but I noticed the size of your is .625 and i would have to paper patch them to increase size. Thanks
    Fred
    Last edited by fredw1324; 09-26-2010 at 02:19 PM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Dixie Slugs's Avatar
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    Right on! Remember one thing that is often overlooked indeed.....the 20 bore with a rifled barrel is really a 62+ caliber rifle and should be approached as such!
    Dan at Mountain Molds can make an excellent mould for you project. Also NEI has a design take off of the original Paradox design that runs a little large for present factory 20 ga rifled barels.
    Regards, James
    Dixie Slugs (dixieslugs.com)-Home of the Dixie Terminator

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks James, I'll contact them as soon as I get the barrels in so that I can measure the bores. i do know that they are 1 and 28 twist.

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    Looking for load recipes for 20ga slugs

    I am trying to load some 20 gauge slugs but I have not been ablt to find any load data any where. I am using the foster slug from a Lyman mold, Winchester hulls, Winchester 209 primer. Powder will be what ever works, If I need to buy some different powder then so be it. Also, do I need a special wad? I tried using the normal wad but with the fingers it is to thick. I have expermented by cutting off the fingers and just using the base of the wad. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Dixie Slugs's Avatar
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    After all the fan-fare written everywhere about 12 ga sabot rounds, I find it interesting that there seems a growing interest in 20 gauge (.625")! It is slowly dawning on shooters that a full bore 20 ga slug/bullet is larger than the .500" slug/bullets in 12 ga sabot rounds.
    Another thing that is coming to the front is you just do not need super velocity in slug/bullet loads in either the 12 or 20 bore loads!
    The Todd Corder family hunted, and killed deer, this year with full bore 20 ga loads! Well before last season Todd and I talked in detail about what was a controllable (sp) velocity to push a .625"-500 grain slug/bullet in 20 bore.
    Ole' Dixie has tested the .625"-500 gr Terminator bullet at 1050'/", 1300'/" and 1400+'/" and found no real difference, except recoil. in the killing power of the three.
    The final load we selected matched to old 50-70 load. This same load was tested on true wild hogs down here.
    Yet. the reloader still plays with 20 ga sabot type loads. or out-of-date Fosters, with old style designed loads!
    The 20 gauge, with a rifled barrel, is really a big bore rifle.....pure and simple!
    Regards, James
    Dixie Slugs (dixieslugs.com)-Home of the Dixie Terminator

  10. #10
    Boolit Master hatcreek's Avatar
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    Go to slugsrus.com, they sell sabot pressure wads (spw), for both 12 and 20 ga, the 20 ga spw loads with most 44cal .429 .430, i cast my own with a Lee .44 cal 255 grain mold, slugrus has load data for their wads, I have not tried these as of yet, but spring is comming, can't wait, if by chance you try these shoot me a line and let me no how they performed, dito.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Feb 2013
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    Instead of of the minnie ball what is your take on the lee 458 REAL for a wad slug thru a Carlson rifled choke tube. Jim
    https://fsreloading.com/lee-precisio...440-90404.html

    l
    Quote Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
    The 0.575” RB is a good choice, especially in a smooth bore gun – Use the load data for the Lyman 350gr. wad-slug as “start loads”, you can work up beyond them if you use 28ga. nitro cards as filler inside the wad under the ball. If you use shot buffer instead for this purpose then don’t work the load up any hotter then what is listed for the Lyman 350gr. wad-slug loads, the buffer will raise the pressure enough to offset the fact that they are lighter weight.

    Is your 575-470 Lee the Modern Minie, Target Design (shallow angle TC nose shape) or the Improved Minie, Traditional Design (longer rounded nose)?

    I doubt you will be able to get the Lyman 350gr. wad-slug to shoot worth a hoot out of a smooth bore gun. Most people struggle to get it too shoot decent out of a fully rifled barrel slug gun. If you have the opportunity to trade or swap it for a Lyman #575494 mold then I suggest you do in a heart beat.



    With wad-slugs you can safely take the constriction all the way down to as tight as the diameter of the slug itself inside the wad. Such situations are rarely accurate but won’t hurt the choke. The plastic wad petals will shear completely off if necessary quite easily with no damage to the choke.



    As far as making slugs with the Lee minie ball loads go – yes, you have the right idea about using shot loads of equivalent or greater weight as a starting point. The 575-470 Lee in the Modern Minie, Target Design makes a superb wad-slug load for 20ga. fully rifled barrels in my experience. Their other improved, traditional design works too but not nearly so well. I think in a smooth bore you are probably going to get key-holes and a spreading pattern at or beyond the 50 yard mark but I’d definitely give it a try and see. For a superb load try 2400 powder ignited by a hot Fed-209A primer with the Lee minie ball inside a Fed 20S1 wad. Start charge level would be 35 grains and you can work towards a max load of about 40 grains. Use that combination at your own risk since it’s one of my own pet loads but I did base that load off of some very obscure published load data for the use of that powder for heavy field loads in the 20ga.

    If you do get your hands on a Lyman #575494 mold my advise for loading it would be the same as I gave for the round ball loads. Loaded in such a manner it is a proven performer in both in rifled and smooth bore guns and unlike using the Lee minie balls or the Lyman 350gr. wad-slug it flies nose first drag stabilized over extended range from a smooth bore gun with reasonably good accuracy.

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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