Is the Maximum Range of Shotgun Slugs 100 yards?

by
posted on July 25, 2011
bs_2015_fs.jpg (6)

The Myth: Shotgun slugs for big game should be limited to 100 yards.

The "NRA Firearms Fact Book" says: "Shotgun slugs should not be used at ranges greater than about 75 yards. Maximum effective range is limited as much by the slug's rapid decay of energy and velocity as by its poor accuracy." Published in 1964, the "Fact Book" states that a typical 12-gauge, 1-ounce slug traveling at 1560 fps loses 60 percent of its energy at 100 yards. Although its ME is 2,365 ft.-lbs., it drops to less than 1,000 ft.-lbs. at 100 yards, which is below the minimum recommended energy threshold for big game. And, because slugs are made of soft lead so they will expand to fit the bore upon firing, they flatten out and become horribly inaccurate at ranges greater than 50 yards.

The Data: I chronographed four modern slug loads to verify manufacturer claimed velocities, then I ran my data through ballistics software. (Due to variances in barrel constrictions and lengths, load velocities can vary greatly among different guns.)

The Reality: Sabot, jacketed bullets that take advantage of rifled barrels greatly enhance accuracy at ranges unobtainable by traditional slugs. Some new high-velocity sabot rounds can produce 1,000 ft.-lbs. of energy at 200 yards.

What it means to hunters: If you and your slug gun can deliver it accurately, many new slug loads have the energy necessary for an ethical shot at 200 yards.

Latest

Benelli Lupo BE.S.T. Lead
Benelli Lupo BE.S.T. Lead

New for 2022: Benelli Lupo BE.S.T.

The new Lupo BE.S.T. features a premium wood stock that bridges the original Lupo’s precision performance and technological innovation with defined ergonomics and contemporary styling.

First Look: Zeiss DTI 3/25 Thermal Imaging Camera

Zeiss has released the DTI 3/25, its second thermal imaging camera developed especially for hunting.

First Look: Bergara Premier Divide Rifle

Representing a lighter, backcountry-minded version of the Bergara HMR, the Premier Divide bridges the gap between a tactical and hunting rifle, pairing the company's proprietary Cure Carbon Barrel with a custom AG Composites Chalk Branch carbon stock. 

Mojo Outdoors Releases Scoot-N-Shoot Gunner

With turkey season around the corner, Mojo has added the Scoot-N-Shoot Gunner to their turkey lineup.

Browning Ammunition Introduces Pro22 Rimfire

Browning's new Pro22 is the company's latest addition to its ammo lineup, providing target shooters and plinkers with a new high-accuracy option for shooting their favorite rimfire rifle.

New for 2022: Nosler Suppressors

The all-new Nosler Suppressors are designed specifically for hunters to strike an ideal balance between size, light weight, exceptional durability and sound mitigation. 

Interests



Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.