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Vepr 12 Accuracy Testing with Slugs

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Автор: Benjamin Alexander.

The goal of this test was to compare a variety of different slug designs for accuracy from the Vepr 12 at 25 yards (23 meters) and then to select the best performing slugs and test them again at 100 yards (91 meters). Normally I do my accuracy testing at my home at 25 and 100 meters, but due to winter conditions I used the local shooting range, which limited the maximum range to 100 yards. Six different types of slugs were tested.

The shotgun used was a Molot Vepr 12 with no choke, modified with the addition of a Mako recoil reducing stock on a Canis stock adapter, and a Magpul pistol grip. A Bushnell Trophy red dot non-magnifying optical sight was used for the testing. Otherwise all parts were factory original.

For each slug type, I fired three consecutive five-shot groups from a rest at 25 yards, then repeated with selected slugs three more five-shot groups at 100 yards, for a total of 135 shots. The zero was the same for the 25 yard and 100 yard testing, and I included a photo of the best group with each. I conducted the testing on two different days when the temperature was at 1C. Shooting this many slugs from a rest is not the most pleasant thing to do, but breaking the testing into two parts made it a little more enjoyable!

Test Results

Winchester Ranger Low Recoil Slugs

Shell Length: 12×70
Weight: 28.35 gm
Velocity: 366 m/s
Power Factor: 525

These are the slugs I normally use in 3-gun competition, and I’ve had good results with them in the past when range is 50 yards or less. Recoil is very mild with these slugs. I was curious to see how well these would perform at 100 yards. At 25 yards, my best group measured 5.5 cm, and the average of three groups was 6 cm. At 100 yards, no more than 2 shots struck the 41 cm target in any 5-shot group, and the best two-shot «group» measured 21.5 cm.

Winchester Ranger Low Recoil 25 yards

Winchester Ranger Low Recoil 100 yards

Federal Truball Deep Penetrator Slugs

Shell Length: 12×70
Weight: 28.35 gm
Velocity: 411 m/s
Power Factor: 589

These slugs use a copper-plated lead projectile with a plastic ball inserted into the base which is supposed to help them expand to fit the bore of the shotgun and improve accuracy. They have a good reuptation for accuracy in the USA, but in my shotgun, they were slightly less accurate than the other top performing slugs, so I only tested them at 25 yards. The best group with these slugs measured 5 cm, and the average was 6 cm.

Federal Truball Deep Penetrator 25 yards

NSI Strike Slug

Shell Length: 12×70
Weight: 32 gm
Velocity: 451 m/s
Power Factor: 730

These slugs use a plastic wad that remains attached during flight, and had fairly heavy recoil, as you would expect from a load with a power factor over 700. The NSI slugs were by far the worst performing slugs in my test, with a best group at 25 yards measuring 11.5 cm and an average of 13 cm. I did not test them at 100 yards.

NSI Strike Slugs 25 yards

B&P Big Game Palla

Shell Length: 12×70
Weight: 32 gm
Velocity: 470 m/s
Power Factor: 761

The B&P Palla slugs are an Italian design with an attached wad intended for big game hunting. These were the most powerful slugs tested, and their recoil was also noticeably the heaviest. They also proved to be extremely accurate, and gave the best performance of any slug tested at 100 yards. At 25 yards all three groups measured just 3.5 cm. At 100 yards, these slugs would consistently group well with four out of five shots, but put one slightly high over the target. The best four shot group on target at 100 yards measured 12 cm and the average was 13.5 cm.

B&P Big Game Palla 25 yards

B&P Big Game Palla 100 yards

DDupleks Monolit32

Shell Length: 12×70
Weight: 32 gm
Velocity: 430 m/s
Power Factor: 696

The DDupleks Monolit32 slugs are an innovative design from Latvia machined from a solid piece of steel that rides down the bore on a polymer sabot to avoid any damage to the shotgun. These slugs have gained a great reputation for high penetration through barriers and for hunting, and I was very curious to try them. They proved to have excellent performance, with a best group at 25 yards of 3.5 cm and an average of 4 cm, but I had limited inventory, so I did not test them at 100 yards.

DDupleks Monolit32 25 yards

DDupleks Hexolit32

Shell Length: 12×70
Weight: 32 gm
Velocity: 427 m/s
Power Factor: 691

The DDupleks Hexolit32 slugs were the most unique design tested, and also proved to be the most accurate at 25 yards. These slugs are also machined from a solid piece of steel, but unlike the Monolit slugs, they are designed to expand and fragment on contact with the target to increase lethal effect for hunting. Both the Monolit and Hexolit slugs seemed to have slightly less recoil than lead slugs with similar weight and velocity, possibly due to less bore friction because of their method of construction. The Hexolit slugs also made a distinctive buzzing sound as they travelled downrange at 100 yards. Altogether a very impressive design. At 25 yards all three groups with the Hexolit slugs measured 3 cm, which is excellent for any smoothbore shotgun/slug combination. At 100 yards, the Hexolit slugs seemed less stable, and like the B&P Big Game Palla slugs, only four shots out of each five would impact the target. The best four shot group at 100 yards was 19.5 cm, and the average was 21.5 cm.

DDupleks Hexolit32 25 yards

DDupleks Hexolit32 100 yards

Conclusions

Although it is tempting to rely on low recoil slugs for shotgun competition, for longer range work it may be useful to have some higher-powered loads in the range bag. This test was limited considering the variety of shotgun slugs on the market, but it did seem to show a more noticeable drop off in performance for the low recoil slugs compared to the full power loads at 100 yards. Initially I was disappointed by the reduced accuracy for the top-performing slugs at 100 yards compared to the 25 yard results, but I believe by looking at the targets and studying the ballistics, there is a simple explanation. At this range, both the B&P and DDupleks slugs are starting to go transonic: dropping below the speed of sound (343 meters per second). When this happens to a projectile, it starts to wobble, and accuracy drops of sharply. If you look closely at the 100 yard targets for these loads, you will see that for both, the slug nearest the bullseye has a perfectly round hole, indicating it is still stable, but the three furthest away from the center are showing signs of wobbling. I believe that if I repeated this test at somewhat closer range, the group size for both would get much smaller and reflect the accuracy they displayed at at 25 yards.

Every shotgun is likely to have individual preferences, so it is a good idea to compare several loads and see what works best in your firearm. It is interesting to note that good performance at 25 yards is no guarantee of consistent accuracy at longer range, so it’s very important to test loads at both close and long range. I was also pleased that during the course of this testing, all slugs functioned with 100% reliability and I experienced no malfunctions of any kind.

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