Accurate Slug Shooting – Barrel Cleaning Is Key!
If you want accurate slug shooting – and who doesn’t? – this investigation by HAM Contributor Matt Coulter demonstrates that barrel cleaning is key!
As a follow-on from our Big HAM Slugs Test, Matt has done a whole lot more shooting. But this time he’s been shooting for accuracy, rather than to test Ballistic Coefficients. Here’s the results of what he’s found…
Firstly A Reminder About The Test Set-Up.
The 50-Yard range is set-up at Matt’s home. The gun being used is his redoutable KalibrGun Cricket 2 Tactical. It was used for the Big HAM Slugs test. (Another sample tested by HAM was a Gold Award winner).
This gun is in .22 caliber and is fitted with an un-choked Lothar Walther barrel. Matt is very familiar with shooting it and has a lot of experience with its’ favorite pellets – 25.39 Grain Redesigned JSB Monsters.
This meant that Matt fired “control groups” using the JSBs, before, during and after the slug accuracy testing. If accuracy remained the same with these “known accurate” pellets, it would be a check that nothing was changing with the Cricket.
That way, differing slug accuracy could be compared with the “constant” accuracy of the Redesigned monsters.
Note that Matt measured all group sizes in mm for this test. So you’ll need to think metric for a little!
Also – VERY IMPORTANT TO SAY – this test was undertaken entirely with UN-SORTED slugs with 10-SHOT GROUPS (and pellets, too). We plan to move on to sorted slugs in a future investigation.
Slug Accuracy Before Barrel Cleaning
Matt’s accuracy testing was undertaken with the same range of slugs as were used in the Big HAM Slugs Test.
To be honest, accuracy was disappointing – or worse – for all of the slugs in our first set of tests.
By comparison, the CTC for the 10-shot groups of redesigned Jumbo Monsters averaged just 22.5 mm (That’s about 0.88 Inches). Interestingly, this remained consistent throughout and whether the barrel was cleaned or not – as this comparison of targets shows.
It also confirms that Matt’s a consistent shooter!
The left target was fired before the slug testing started. The right target was fired after the barrel was cleaned. Yes, the group on the right is smaller, but not by much!
By comparison, the average CTC for all the slugs tested was 98.6 mm (3.9 Inches). Yes, the average group size for the pellets was an amazing 75% LESS than for the slugs. Before the barrel was cleaned, that is…
Matt Cleaned The Barrel – Now We See Accurate Slug Shooting!
Having shot 10-shot groups for all of the slugs (multiple groups for many of them), Matt then cleaned the barrel. For these, he used Ballistol, together with a PatchWorm pull-through and flannel patches.
The results were remarkable!
On average, the 10-shot group size shrank from an average CTC of 98.6 mm to 25.5 mm. That’s an average reduction of no less than 74%. WOW!!!
The reduction applied to all the slugs Matt tested both before and after cleaning. This chart shows how…
So let’s look at what that can mean on paper. Below we see a comparison of 10-shot groups for Daystate Howler slugs.
The left group is before cleaning the barrel, the right group is after. Just look at the difference and remember this was with unsorted slugs where the only change was a barrel clean with Ballistol.
Then try this for size! The targets below compare 10-shot groups of 21 Grain H&N Slug HPs. On the left we see the group from the “dirty” barrel.
The right target has two groups from the cleaned barrel. By this time Matt was finessing his shooting and was experimenting with seating the slugs at the front of the magazine.
Group 1 was shot with the slugs not pushed fully forward in the magazine. Group 2 tightened yet further when he carefully pushed all the slugs right forward in the mag.
That right-hand group (Group 2) was the tightest 10-shot group Matt has EVER shot with his Cricket 2 Tactical at 50 Yards. The CTC was just 13.4 mm (0.53-Inch) – better than the best group he’s ever shot with Redesigned Monsters.
And it was shot with 21 Grain H&N Slugs HP with only a clean barrel and care given to slug loading, compared to that “shotgun” target on the left. WOW again!
Accurate Slug Shooting Conclusions
So what do we conclude from Matt’s great efforts?
The obvious conclusion is that slugs need a clean barrel. Make that a really clean barrel! From his experience, Matt’s recommending no more than 100 shots between cleans.
He also has pointed the way to the need for more care in loading slugs. Seating the slugs consistently in the magazine can pay dividends, too.
Another conclusion is that your gun may be shooting accurately with pellets and not need cleaning, yet the barrel is too dirty for accurate slug shooting.
In one sentence, slugs are more finicky and require more discipline and rigor from the shooter for accurate slug shooting. But – if you take the effort to improve your technique – slugs can turn-out to be even more accurate than pellets, even if it doesn’t start-out that way!