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 Post subject: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:10 pm 
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Location: Vancouver Is., BC
I'm tired of paying $5-7.00 for a box of 20 gauge slugs. So decided to load my own.

I went to range yesterday with a few 20ga slug loads loaded with some cast Lee Modern Minie Target slugs. .575-470gr slugs that I cast.

According to Lee they are, "The most accurate of all Minies. Makes nice, clean holes in the target. The first choice for higher scores."

Well Lee appears to be correct. I shot a 2" 3-shoot group at 25 yards with my Mossberg 385KB 20 gauge bolt action smoothbore shotgun with the C-Lect choke dialed out to open bore. The holes were nice clean circles and none were keyholed.

The best part of all this is that each slug load cost me basically the price of a generic 20 gauge shell.

Here's how I do it. I cut the crimp off a bunch of birdshot loads and pour the birdshot into my melting pot. I melt the birdshot and pour it into my Modern Minie mold. After it's cool I slide it back into the hull leaving the plastic wad in the hull to act as a sort of sabot. I have to add a little bit more lead, but not much. I usually throw in some plumbers solder that I have because of it's tin content.

The Minie fits snugly into the hull as it's diameter is .575 and the inside of the hull with plastic wad is a measured .577.

I will probably buy a roll crimper to give the hulls a factory looking crimp, but have found that the slugs don't move in the hull because of the snug interference fit they have now.

The wads that I recovered had all the petals turned back the way they are supposed to be.

Needless to say, I am happy with my results, especially at 25 cents a loaded slug.



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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:44 pm 
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You might want to rethink this idea!

Assuming you are using "generic" 7/8 oz shells as a starting point, replacing the 7/8 oz (380 gr +/-) shot payload with a 470 gr slug results is a nearly 1/4 oz increase in payload. This will surely increase the pressure substantially. Since most 20-ga slug loads are formulated with 350 gr slugs and run well up on the pressure scale, you will probably be far in excess of the design parameters for the "generic" shell and the SAAMI specs for a 20-gauge.

Have you determined what primer is in the shell you are using? How about weighing the powder charge (even though you won't know precisely what it is). Without that information, you will be unable to even get an approximation of the pressure and velocity you are generating.

I fear for your well-being shooting these loads. You may get away with firing overpressure loads in your Mossberg 385KB for a while, but they could cause a gun failure at some point.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:55 pm 
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This is really dumb and dangerous! You are dealing with an older gun and unknown pressures... that's an accident waiting to happen!


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:14 pm 
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Thanks for your concern, but if you do the math you'll find that 475gr pretty well matches factory birdshot loads.

My Minie slug load = 475grs
Factory 1 ounce load = 437.5grs
Factory 1 1/8 load = 492grs
Factory 1 1/4 load = 546grs

Seeing that a 20 gauge is capable of shooting 1 1/4 once of birdshot which is 546gr of lead, I don't see where this is a problem as I am only shooting 470gr of lead. A one ounce load of birdshot weighs 437gr., so a 475gr slug weighs onlly 8% more. Hardly dangerous.

I have some 20gauge Remington Nitro Magnum 1 1/4ounce factory loads that weigh 546grs, that kick harder than my 475gr slug loads.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:01 pm 
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johnes50 wrote:
Thanks for your concern, but if you do the math you'll find that 475gr pretty well matches factory birdshot loads.

My Minie slug load = 475grs
Factory 1 ounce load = 437.5grs
Factory 1 1/8 load = 492grs
Factory 1 1/4 load = 546grs

Seeing that a 20 gauge is capable of shooting 1 1/4 once of birdshot which is 546gr of lead, I don't see where this is a problem as I am only shooting 470gr of lead. A one ounce load of birdshot weighs 437gr., so a 475gr slug weighs onlly 8% more. Hardly dangerous.

I have some 20gauge Remington Nitro Magnum 1 1/4ounce factory loads that weigh 546grs, that kick harder than my 475gr slug loads.


You are working with a powder charge meant for lighter loads... you're also working with a solid mass instead of shot. It's your eyes, hands, etc... but it's not a risk I would ever be willing to take. Do yourself a favor-- buy a reloading manual and stick to the published recipes.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:51 pm 
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Your lack of understanding on how shotshell loads work is frightening! Just because a 20-gauge is capable of carrying up to 1-1/4 oz of birdshot doesn't mean that the same type and weight of powder is used for all loads. In general, the lighter birdshot loads use a faster burning powder, resulting in faster pressure spikes. Heavier loads, including slugs, usually require a slower burning powder to keep pressure spikes manageable. These different powder types also call for different primer types for proper ignition. Birdshot loads also behave differently from slugs, causing pressure differences.

You are changing out one component in a sophisticated combination of components and expect it to behave similarly. That's unlikely. The worst part is that you won't know what's happening with the pressure. How hard a shell kicks or whether 20-ga guns are capable of shooting 1-1/4 oz loads has nothing to do with it. Neither will indicate what's happening with a pressure spike.

As DRS told you, it's time to get a little smarter. Pick up a copy of the Lyman Shotshell Reloading Handbook, 5th Edition, and do some reading. You'll soon find there's a lot more to creating a safe load than just cramming some stuff together in a hull. The cost of the handbook will be a lot less that the cost of losing a hand, an eye...or, your life. "Hardly dangerous" is a foolhardy reply to a potentially dangerous practice.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:15 am 
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Is the issue here the grains of the slug increasing chamber pressure or what the charge to be set for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:52 am 
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SicSemper wrote:
Is the issue here the grains of the slug increasing chamber pressure or what the charge to be set for it.


That is only part of the issue. Yes, the amount of powder needs to be calculated for the payload; however, the correct powder also needs to be used. Some powders burn faster than others. Depending on the weight of the payload, faster- or slower-burning powders are used to keep pressure peaks under SAAMI specifications. In the end, "increasing chamber pressure" is the bottom line!

The OP is simply opening up a factory shell and substituting a heavier, and less fluid, payload. Shot loads can compress slightly on setback, lowering chamber pressure spikes; a solid slug does not compress at all.

Because shell manufacturers usually use proprietary powders, he has no data on the powder type he's working with. It doesn't even sound like he has measured the powder charge. He's working with several unknowns...and betting his hands, eyes and, possibly, his life that nothing bad will happen. This is a very dangerous practice!

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:28 pm
Posts: 927
Location: Brinton, MI
Fellas are right in substituting slugs for shot, raising peak pressures.
But you can make safe loads with 20ga and Lee slugs that will
outdo factory slugs. CHEAPER.. You buy primed 20ga cases from BPI
at 14 cents each. Get their steel 20ga roll crimper also. Get right loads
from here or manual and powder and wads, and they will have the wads
that will fit the slug just like the ones youre redoing. You want the loads
that use more of a slower powder getting you more velocity with safe
peak pressures, due to a longer overall higher average pressure curve.
Don't give up, there is abetter way.ED


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:23 am 
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hubel458 wrote:
Fellas are right in substituting slugs for shot, raising peak pressures.
But you can make safe loads with 20ga and Lee slugs that will
outdo factory slugs. CHEAPER.. You buy primed 20ga cases from BPI
at 14 cents each. Get their steel 20ga roll crimper also. Get right loads
from here or manual and powder and wads, and they will have the wads
that will fit the slug just like the ones youre redoing. You want the loads
that use more of a slower powder getting you more velocity with safe
peak pressures, due to a longer overall higher average pressure curve.
Don't give up, there is abetter way.ED


This is really good advice. You would be well-served to follow it.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:19 am
Posts: 935
from Midway USA- package of 25 Guaglandi Hunting Shotgun Slug 20 guage 7/8's oz
called DGS-20 slug- dangerous game slug- $15.77-
it has the wad/powder cup attached- contacted BPI for the recomended load- 25.0 grains Longshot- 1541 velocity- I get 1551 out of my Beretta AL2 with cylinder tube- I shot at 60 yards off a bench into an old tree- three went into the same hole- course that hole is pretty big and deep

nice reload and I used the regular Mec600jr crimp-


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Homemade slug loads for my 20 gauge
PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:49 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Tampa, FL
I load 30g Herco with my 12g 1oz slugs - really slow heavy shotshell powder. Lee states 34g is max. Use the WAA12 CB clone wad. Work great. They have 20g molds too.




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