Took the Saiga-12 out the the range last weekend. It was rainy and cold so we were the only ones there It was around 50-55 degrees. I've read that cold can affect shotgun loads' speed, and therefore accuracy, but we made these tests right as we got out of the jeep, so I don't believe cold had any effect on the loads.
Dad picked up a 1oz Lee slug mold for cheap. He made up about 100 slugs for me to test out. The reports for Lee slugs vary wildly on consistency and of course you have to question other people's experiences and reloading skills, etc. when making these considerations. I have yet to see any reports on Lee slugs in a Saiga-12 so I really didn't know what to expect. I therefore only loaded up about 45 slugs total for this test.
All of these are reloads - no factory loads! I loaded up the 7/8 oz Lee slugs using both Lee reloading data and data from the Hornady site for 7/8 oz slug loads using:
- HS-6 powder
- Remington, Winchester, and Wolf hulls (Wolf uses either Federal or "Euro" load data).
- Fold crimp on Rems and Wins, Roll crimp on Wolf.
- Winchester and Cheddite primers
(appropriate wads for each selection)
I've tested these loads on the chrony, and they all produce speeds right where they should be on the charts! This weekend was an accuracy test only. Again, varying reports on different hulls' performance prompted me to try a little bit of everything.
- No choke, only the factory-style flash hider.
- Factory "rail" sights, no scope.
On the 50 yard line:
Winchester: ~ 8" group of 7 shots
Remington: ~ 14"/12" group of 8 shots
Wolf: ~ 12" group of 14 shots
I'll be honest I feel like I dropped some of the shots with the Remingtons, but I didn't make enough to retry If I don't count those dropped shots, I would put Remington at 12" - about the same as the Wolf loads. Both Federal and "Euro" loads for the Wolf hulls performed about the same, didn't see a really noticeable difference (a good thing!). The Saiga did seem to favor the Winchester hulls however.
Others have reported the best performance with Remington hulls out of their slug guns, so I am not going to give up on them yet. 12" at 50 yards means it was grouping well enough to hit a deer- or a man-sized target for normal "shotgun hunting" ranges. In the brush around here that's all I could get anyway!
Interestingly, all of the groups were consistently in a different position... Wins all to the right of center, Rems basically centered, and Wolf was high of center. The fact they were grouping so well tells me that I wasn't getting "flyers" except for those Rems I mentioned. This gives me a really good picture of how the Saiga-12 will perform and it gives me the confidence that if I really needed to use it for meat on the table or defending my home, my shotgun and my loads can deliver!
For my next test, I am going to get one of those rifled choke adapters to see how it affects accuracy. I'm also going to experiment with the sabot loads. If the product reports are to be believed, then I should be able to repro these groups at *twice* the distance.
SO... any one else care to share how YOUR Saiga 12 groups?