Slug Loads - Accuracy Results
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?
Last edited by hcpookie; 10-25-2010 at 08:09 PM.
I played around with the lee slugs a couple winters ago in a rifled barrel 1100 and 11-87. It seemed they were a little finicky between types of hulls even between the same manufacturer. IIRC I ended up just picking win AA high brass and developing the load from there. The thickness of the wadding and type of cup had vary different effects on grouping. I shot a bunch of them as they're cheap to make and tried several off brand wads that said they were WAA12 equivalant. They ended up being too soft and would get pushed into the open cavites in the back of the slug. Some would drop off right away and some would be 50-60yds down range and a few made it to the target at 100yds. That played havoc on group size. I finally managed to locate some winchester waa12 hulls but never got a chance to load them up and see what they performed. That harder wads that dropped right away would keep the slugs in a 3"-4" group at 100yds which is fine for where I hunt. I was hoping to shrink that to 2" someday. Keep the info comming as I'm back to shooting slugs for deer unless I want to travel.
I have experimented with putting a smaller sized (20 gauge) cardboard wad underneath the slug. Have tried both corrogated and the flat type you find on boxes for soda cans. Either cardboard works and doesn't seem to make a difference; I presume it is due to the 'crush' of the wad. This seems to help keep the wads from pushing into the bottom of the slugs. This last batch I used both the thin cardboard and corrogated, and you see the results. I suspect the difference in these and 'flyers' is that the higher the pressure the more likely the wad is to push into the slug, thus the need for the cardboard between the wad and slug. I have tried hot glue in the voids and it all seems to be about the same in my experience. The wads I retrieve had an impression of the bottom of the slug, but did not follow the slug to the target.
There are some sabots you can use with a .45 slug (either cast bullet or muzzle loader slugs) and I believe they are made by BPI. The castboolits forum has some people posting their results, as well as the shotgunworld.com reloading forum. The trick with those seems to be that you need the sabots to grip the slug tight enough to impart spin to the slug, otherwise the sabot spins while the slug remains relatively spin-free. They seem to have good results with those, and I'm waiting to see what they ultimately figure out for those!
That will be another ball game altogether, as the Saiga will need to have a rifled choke tube installed via one of those thread adapters.
Both of the guns I was shooting them out of had rifled barrels. From reading the info I could find, the bar in the back of the slug cavity is supposed to allow the wad to press around it and help impart a spin to the slug when the wad hits the rifling. I also tried putting a 20ga card under the slug to keep the wads from pushing too far inside the slug and getting caught. It worked, but I had better accuracy with stiffer wads that didn't squish into the slug as much. I think its a ballancing act to get the right stiffness of a wad to get it to stabilize the slug, but yet fall away quickly. In a non rifled barrel a card or two under the slug should only help, especially if the wads are soft.