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Rifled or smooth?

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Rifled or smooth?

Old 07-08-2007, 06:51 PM
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Default Rifled or smooth?




Whatis the difference in range and accuracy between shooting a high quality rifled slug from a smooth shotgun barrel and a rifled shotgun barrel? Can you shoot rifled slugs through a rifled barrel?


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Old 07-08-2007, 07:47 PM
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Default RE: Rifled or smooth?

i believe rifled barrels are made to shoot sabot slugs. smooth bores shoot rifles slugs.

i dont know of the accuracy...i know they are really extending the range with some of the sabots out there now...i know its definently the longer range of the 2...
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Old 07-08-2007, 08:16 PM
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Default RE: Rifled or smooth?

I'm a big believer in rifled barrels with sabots.
I've shot both ways and the rifled barrel shoots like...a rifle, within it's effective range. Very repeatable accuracy.
In my limited experience with the smoothbore rifled slugs, they give me about twice the group size.

Big difference in ammo price though. Sabots will empty your pockets quick.
Some guys compromise by shooting rifled slugs in their rifled barrels. To me, it doesn't sound like it should work since the 2 types of rifling would almost certainly be different pitch and might even be a different direction, but I know some that swear by it. The downside is heavily leaded barrels from the steel barrel's rifling cutting into the slug's lead rifling.
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Old 07-09-2007, 03:53 AM
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Default RE: Rifled or smooth?

A rifled barrel with saboted slugs will give you 150-200 yd. accuracy. A good smooth bore is maybe a 75-100 yd accurate gun. There may be exceptions, but thet's the norm. Rifled barrels are designed to shoot saboted slugs. Although you could shoot regular lead slugs through them, I suspect they wouldn't have the accuracy or range as the sabots.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:13 AM
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Default RE: Rifled or smooth?

I have a 870 with a smooth bore slug barrel and a 1187 with a rifled barrel. I shoot rifled slug through both. I get good groups with the smooth bore out to about 80 yards. After that it doesn't do as well. Last year I shot 2 deer with my 1187 with rifled barrel/rifeld slugs 127 and 138 yards. As mentioned above there is lead fowling in the rifled barrel using rifled slugs, but thats what they make cleaner solvents for. I'm not willing just yet to pay $10+ per box of 5 sabots over $1.98 for 5 rifled slugs but thats me. I clean my barrel well sfter the season ans haven't had any problems.
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:27 AM
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Default RE: Rifled or smooth?

Rifled barrels were originally designed to extend the range of foster style slugs. Sabots are relatively new in the scheme of things.

Rifled slugs out of a smooth bore don't usually give great accuracy and have poor ballistics. When shooting a smooth bore you hear things like hitting a pie plate at a certain distance. This isn't exactly precision shooting. And then consider most are just using a bead sight and that makes it even more difficult to shoot consistently.

It is hard to nail down "how much" better one is than the other because it really depends on how well you shoot, how well your gun shoots and how well it likes the load you are using. I can give you examples of what I have seen. With a smooth bore and some sort of sights, like clamp on fiber optics or even a low powered scope I have seen groups as good as 3 or 4 inches at 100 yards. This is for sure not the norm though. I would say the norm is probably closer to 4 or 5 inch groups from 50 to 80 yards depending on your gun and set up.

Now with a rifled barrel you are looking at touching holes at 100 yards with a good set up. I would consider 4 inch groups at 100 yards with a rifled barrel and a scope to be poor. Usable no doubt, but you could do better in my opinion if you shoot well enough. Average would probably be 2 or 3 inch groups at 100 yards and MOA if you have a good gun and find the right load.

And you can shoot rifled slugs out of a rifled barrel, it just makes a mess. Doesn't hurt anything though. And the rifling doesn't matter since it doesn't actually impart any spin onto the bullet. This is a myth, and I don't know why they call them "rifled" bullets. The fins are there to crush as they go through the choke since not all shotgun barrels are consistent on size and choke. This is why shooting a tight choke with slugs isn't very accurate, it really deforms the slug when it goes through and messes up the flight.

The reason foster (rifled) slugs fly as well as they do is because they are hollow and have the weight forward like a shuttle cock in bad mitten.

My H&R ultra slug gun will shoot a few brands of cheap rifled slugs VERY well until the barrel fouls out, which is about 4 shots. I am talking one large ragged hole at 100 yards. Maybe 2 inch groups or so. And I get 1.5 to 2 inch groups out of it with Winchester Platinum sabots. The sabots cost around 15 bucks for 5 rounds and the foster slugs cost about 3 bucks.

I have buddies that own 870's, 1100's and 1187's with cantilever rifled barrels and they get similar accuracy when using the right load.

And in my opinion an inline muzzle loader is even more accurate and easier to work up a load for. My Remington 700ML will shoot 1 inch groups at 100 yards and around 3 inch groups at 150 which is my max distance for that gun. But I have seen some that are better.

Paul
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Old 07-09-2007, 12:53 PM
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Default RE: Rifled or smooth?

The difference between the two means shooting at the deer at 75 yards and hoping you hit it in vital zone,and shooting it at 200-250 yards and KNOWING you'll be tasting venison with preminum loadings.
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:36 PM
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Default RE: Rifled or smooth?

Buy a Lyman hour-glass shaped mold and handload your own dirt cheap as good as the factory sabots.They useregular fieldcases and wads[folded crimp] They make 12 +20 Gauge I believe.......A gas / propane stove,dipper and casting pot and your in buisness........Harold
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:43 PM
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Default RE: Rifled or smooth?

I will add that shooting a slug gun accurately at 200+ yards is NOT the norm. I don't, nor do I know anyone that has a gun capable of this using any of the modern slugs on the market. Ballistically they could do it on paper, but most just don't shoot accurately enough to be reliable at those distances.

Accuracy falls off VERY fast with a slug gun or inline muzzle loader. Just because you can shoot 1 or 2 inch groups at 100 yards don't assume it will shoot 3 or 4 inch groups at 200 yards. You may find that past 150 yards the groups just are not reliable enough to be of any real use. You positively have to check your gun and load at the distances you expect to shoot it at.

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Old 07-10-2007, 05:01 PM
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Default RE: Rifled or smooth?

My Dad had a old Mossburg Slugster and He could hit the old paper plate
all the time at 75 yards. Tha is about the size of a whitetail's heart and lungs.
But beyond that they drop like rock.
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