Reloading slugs - Help needed, please!

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by flounderdude, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. flounderdude

    flounderdude Guest

    Hi, I'm new here. I need some help. I'm trying to reload my own slugs for deer hunting. I bought a 1 ounce Lee Precision slug mold and made about twenty five slugs using old sinker weights. They seemed to look just fine coming out of the mold and the weights, as determined by a digital scale, were almost exactly 1 ounce. However, I tested these rounds on the range this week and it was a disaster. At fifty yards, the shots were all over the place (18 inch grouping) and that was with the gun in a sled. I was using Remington Premier hulls, 36.0 grains of HS-6 and 1 ounce pink Claybuster wads that are equivalent to the WAA10SL wads. I crimped the shells as with any other reload, therefore I did not roll-crimp. I was shooting the rounds through a Remington 870 Express using a rifled barrel and scope that produces very tight groups at 50 yards using the low-recoil Remington 1 1/8 ounce BuckHammers. What have I done wrong? I followed the directions exactly. Can you provide advice? I don't want to buy another mold. I want to try to make this one work. Thanks, Dan
  2. 1hole

    1hole New Member

    Well, no one else seems to have a quick answer so here's my suggestion alto I readly admit I've never even shot slugs, much less reloaded them!

    Did they lead your bore much? I have wondered if a coat of Lee's Liquid Allox Bullet Lube wouldn't help shotgun slugs - may be worth a try.

  3. Catfish

    Catfish Member

    I loaded a couple of bunches of the Foster 1 oz. slugs years ago. The first batch was cast with PURE LEAD. They grouped better than any thing on the market includeing the the Saboted slugs form both smooth bore and rifle barrels. The second batch I loaded was cast with unrefined lead. It was still pretty soft, but not like pure lead. With the same load they shot like crap. So if your going to load your own slugs make sure they were cast with pure lead.
  4. RePete

    RePete New Member

    First off, I see 2 problems.

    1. These loads are designed to be shot out of a smooth bore and not a rifled barrel. For that barrel you need sabot slugs.

    2. The Claybuster wads are too hard and don't open up the way they should at lower temperatures. They appear to become problematic at temps below 50 degrees, whereas the Winchester wads do not.

    Before you make any load changes, try them out of a smoothie. If they are still all over the road then change the wad.

    Also, make sure the fold crimp is perfect to almost perfect and that you are using the same wad pressure - I use 30lbs - I also load on a Mec700 VersaMec.

    Good luck, slug loading is an adventure.
  5. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    Start off with a perfectly clean barrel. If there is lead or wad (plastic) fouling it will be very bad for accuracy. Use a good solvent like Shooters Choice bore solvent. It cleans copper, lead and plastic fouling.

    Sinkers should be pure lead but some folks use wheel weights. If the slugs are not fairly easily scratchable with a findgernail, they may be too hard. You might look for a different source of lead. Look at the stick on wheel weights, they tend to be very soft. Given that you have a rifled barrel, the advise of soft lead MAY not be best. Your barrel MIGHT like a hard cast slug.

    Try different loads and different wads. A rifled barrel may or may not shoot a foster slug well. Different wads, different powders, reduce the charge and find the load the barrel likes.
  6. Old_Brewer

    Old_Brewer New Member

    I went through a similar process back in the early 80s. As I remember I couldn't roll crimp plastic. I cut the petals off the wads & used corn meal to fill the hollow base. Have you contacted Lee Precision?

    edit: I experimented with different wads. You want to get as perfect a fit in the shell as possible. I also tried a cardboard wad over the slug, for a better crimp. My load data is in storage, sorry about that.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  7. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

    The only reason you want soft lead is to make removing the slugs with hollow points from the mold easier. You're tearing up your wads by shooting them thru a rifled barrel. The Lee slugs are meant to stay inside a wad on their trip down a smooth bore. You'll do lots better than 18" groups if you just use a smooth bore barrel. I've got the same 1oz Lee mold & two 870 express guns & my limitation with them seems to only be the sights. Even so, at 50 yards I get fist size groups.
  8. jimbow

    jimbow New Member

    Lee Slugs

    Ummm. Acording to Lees web site the 1 oz key lock slug mold is for rifled shotgun barrels. Not for smoothbores.
    Pure lead is to allow the slug to conform to the rifleing thru the wad and the wad prevents leading as the slug itself doesn't touch the barrel.
    I bought the mold and will try it in the comming weeks.
    I know this an old thread but what the hey.
  9. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    If it shoots good with Remington Buck Hammers then why not stick with them?
  10. DMC

    DMC New Member

    They've worded that very poorly. The LEE slug is supposed to be for either rifled or smoothbore. No matter which, the slug doesn't contact the bore, so pure lead or hardcast will work. I shoot hardcast from a smoothbore with better groups than any factory slug. The one thing that isn't included in any load data is that the LEE slug needs a hard card in the cup under the slug. Without the card (base of slug in direct contact with the shotcup) the wad will sometimed hang up on the slug, which will produce fliers. Some wads are better than others, but no matter which wad is used, the card should be used.

  11. marlin4442004

    marlin4442004 Guest

    Good point DCM

    I have been reloading for 25 yrs ...but just started with shotgun shells. I also got the Lee mold ...havent used it yet but it does say for rifle or smooth bore. Excellent observation on the wad sticking to the slug. These hard cards that what they are called or do you just use some kind of wad material ?
  12. TenXreloads

    TenXreloads Guest

    Lazy heads need not read

    I am 58 years old and have been loading now for 47 years.. Read it ,& think it over.. This should help…..
    In slugs alone I load about 350-450 slugs per year for myself , many more for other hunters ... I mold a 525gr lyman slug that is meant to be loaded into a standard shot shell wad... I use a very hard lead for these slugs... They kill 200 pound class deer at 160 +yards very well and hold groups at the
    3 in mark at 100yds all day long...
    I am on a state permit that allows me to enter certain state controlled lands that need to have the deer herds reduced... I am allowed 24 / 7 shooting... My deer kill rate per year is 300 plus ... Don’t ask me where I do this , it would be easier to find out who shot JFK than get me to tell you where...
    I won't say that I know everything about all types of slug shooting , but the following data you will find to be true... I shoot a 12 Gage H&R slugster ... This is a 12 gage rifled barrel gun built on a 10 gage barrel and frame... It's heavy !!! I did the trigger on this down to 4 ounces , with zero creep & over travel... It shoots GREAT!!!!
    ALL slugs that use a shot cup wad to carry the slug down the barrel have 2 real BIG problems... Barrel bores that have fouling & wad choice...
    While other problems don’t help , these two alone WILL cause some fired groups to be so wild that they don’t even land on the target paper at 100 yds... WHAT WAS THAT ??? Sound like the words you used last time at the range??? Read on ... And read carefully !!!!
    Fouling from previous fired rounds causes these types of slugs to stray from the center point of your group ... This barrel fouling is a mixture of un burned gun powder , primer mixture ( < that’s right !! ) and wad partials left behind from an in proper choice of components...
    As the fired slug & wad moves down the barrel , the fouling in the barrel builds up on the outside area of the wad at the lower part of the shot cup fingers... This build up occurs between the outside of the wad and the inside of the barrel on the area of the wad that is holding the lower bottom of the slug... This build up shears off the shot cup fingers at the base area of the slug , because most of these type of slugs are wider at the base area ... The fouling build up and wider mass of the slug at its bottom causes a higher friction area on the outside of the wad at the base of the slug... This makes for a wedge of fouling between the wad and barrel a widest point of the slug ... A wider base on these type of slugs make for a more stable flight and better groups...This shearing effect is anything BUT a controlled thing... I does NOT always happen and can happen to 1 or 3 or 2 and sometimes all of the wad fingers... This causes the following to happen ... As the slug and wad exit the barrel the fingers that are sheared off fall away from the slug first... This leaves the wad to be pealed off the slug unevenly as it is discarded form the slug by the uneven air pressure that is placed on the wad that now has an odd finger count... This can and often does tip or upset the flight angle of the slug... And those word come out again ( what the ------)
    This fouling can be reduced greatly by switching to a cleaner powder...
    I have about 30 types of powder on hand ... I have tried 700x , bluedot ,7625 , 4756 , 800x , hs6 , hs7 ,AL8 , and many more ...
    Settle in on Longshot ... Not The fastest load but its cleaner than most and the slug speed is around 1850fps.. Clean the barrel Clean the barrel and keep the barrel clean ... You cant shear off the wad peddles from barrel fouling if you don’t have barrel fouling in the barrel bore... I know that the above is true and I will tell you how to check it for yourself...
    Clean your barrel until that patch comes out bone white... NO cheating on this , its clean or its not clean ... The only fool here is you if its not clean!!!!!!!!! Take your gun and a helper to a area that has about at least 100ft of clear clean ground ... set up a target at 100 yds ,Have your helper watch for the discarded wad... take the best shot you can... Now get off your butt and find that discarded wad. Keep looking until you find it
    Can't find it... Clean the barrel again and find a helper with better eyesight...
    Take 2 Repeat above until you find the wad ... The cup fingers will be clean and should be intact... After you get this first phase correct without cleaning the barrel keep shooting and colleting the used wad and you will see that they keep getting more and more fouling on them and less and less peddles will be intact... oh the group size is not what you will ever want to show your shooting friends.. But you can fix that , just keep cleaning that barrel...
    About wads I wont tell you what I use , but Ill tell you what to avoid and why to avoid it ... When you recover your use wads take a look at the base of the wad and if it is all twisted and or bent the base of the wad is too soft and the base is no longer square to the barrel bore and the base of the slug ... N O T GOOD !!!!!! An offset wad base will not exit the barrel bore squarely... This will allow gas pressure to blow out unevenly from the muzzle because one side of the wad will exit the muzzle before the trailing edge of the wad leaves the muzzle.... The first edge to leave the muzzle first will have about 10 to app 12 thousand psi exit the muzzle on that side first and this just pushes that slug severely away from the side of the wad base that comes out first

    Use clean burning powder ... Not some 30 year old crap , lots of new style clean burning stuff around these days... go to a faster powder if your are still finding powder fouling ... DONT throw charge your powder, use a GOOD scale
    rcbs still does it right...
    Use a harder wad Look towards remington R type wad that have holes in the side at the base. not any type of folding leg type wad they crush and shift the base of the wad to the side and exit the muzzle poorly and cause the phrase that sounds like ( who shot my target , that’s not from me )

    CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN THAT BARREL. Hey I do . About 400 times a year and it works ..... Barry here from TenXreloads..
  13. DMC

    DMC New Member

    I'm sorry, I didn't see this until today. :eek: A 20 Gauge nitro card will do it, but I cut mine out of fiber gasket material - any auto parts store has suitable sheets.

    TenX has it about right with wads.Actually, no wad made, that I know of, is really suitable for the best accuracy. When I want the best loads, be they slugs, buckshot or birdshot, I'll take a wad that would normally be used for the load in question. Cut the crush section out, leaving the OP part and the cup. Load the OP wad, then cork filler wads (again, I cut my own out of cork gasket sheets) then the cup. Now you got a cushion that compresses in a straight line. A punch for cutting the cork can be made from the brass of a 20 Gauge shell. Just the right size for 12 Gauge filler wads. (It doesn't work for the hard card wad mentioned earlier - I use scissors for them).