If it shoots, I have shot it. That may sound fairly general, but it also is pretty accurate, too.
There are not many guns or calibers that I have not had the opportunity to experience. That does not mean I have owned all these guns. My time served as guide and outdoor communicator has put me in contact not only with firearm manufacturers, but many gun collectors, as well.
One of the fastest growing segments in the firearm industry is slugs and slug shooting. Many Eastern and Midwest states, such as Illinois, require shotguns for deer hunting. Because of the growing number of "slug-hunters" and the less-than-desirable performance of the traditional slug-shooting gun, firearms and ammunition manufacturers have really accelerated slug technology.
Public Demands Precision
At this point in history, the demand for higher performance from shotguns was not extensive. The war had just ended, and very few states even had deer seasons. Only in the past 20 years or so have gun and ammo companies been bombarded with requests for more precise shooting tools and improved slug ballistics.
The first new look at slugs told the manufacturers that a major problem was the fact that most slug hunters were shooting slugs at deer through their bird and rabbit guns. With no rear sight at all and only a bead at the muzzle, aiming a shotgun was very difficult. When shooting a shotshell, the gun is not aimed, it is pointed with these types of guns. This process with slugs caused disastrous results in accuracy. The answer was simple. Put rifle sights on your shotgun.
This sounded easy, but it negated the primary use of the shotgun, which is to shoot shotshells. To remedy this, some gun-makers offered removable rifle sights for shotguns. The problem now was the fact that every time the sights came off and were then re-attached, the gun would have to be sighted-in again. Slugs are not cheap, you know.
The next logical step would be to produce a shotgun barrel with permanent rifle sights. The premise here was that if a deer hunter was really serious, he would invest in a shotgun barrel just for deer hunting. One barrel for shot, another, with fixed sights, for slugs.
Gun Outperforms Ammo
This idea worked well, but now the gun was capable of out-performing its ammo. We had the sighting potential for tight groups, so the slugs themselves now came under scrutiny. The idea of rifling the barrel instead of the slug came hand-in-hand with development of the "Sabot" slug. (Pronounced SAY-BO)
Let me end with some solid advice. Human error has not been eliminated. We now have a totally new breed of gun, the slug-gun. It is a dedicated deer-hunting, slug shooting, no shotshell ever, gun. But we must still use our heads. If you remove your barrel for cleaning, the barrel will never go back on exactly where it was. You must sight-in again.
My suggestion if you have a slug gun, is to get it sighted-in and do not change anything. Clean it as is. It will pay-off for you eventually.
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