Velocity and Accuracy Testing of Select 410 slugs. Take 3
Winchester Rifled Slug 3-inch, Barnaul 2.875-inch all-steel case sabot slugs, Silver Bear 2.875-inch all-steel case sabot slugs, Brenneke Silver Slug 3-inch, Remington Sluggers 2.5-inch, Federal Rifled Slug 2.5-inch
Testing 410 slugs in the modified Steven 38B.

The setup: Shotgun, Chrono, and Target (click to enlarge)

The shooting bench (click to enlarge)
Condition and Equipment Used.

Firearm: Stevens 38B bolt-action shotgun 3-inch and 2.5-inch 410 shotgun with a 22.5inch cylinder bore barrel.

Range: 25yards to target

Targets: 5.5-inch diameter Caldwel Orange Peel target.

Conditions: (11/23/08) Partly sunny early afternoon, cold 38 degrees, very little wind.

Chronograph: Alpha Chony with passive sky screen and remote interface.

In this third set of slug tests I again did not do terminal testing. My goal in this test was to retest many of the same slugs from the second test to see how the modification to the Stevens changed the way is shot slugs. Testing would hopefully show that removing the choke tighten up group sizes and that removing 1.5 inch of barrel length to remove the choke would not have a dramatic effect on velocity.

Winchester Slug
3.0 inches shell

5 shot group at 25 yards (click to enlarge)
Chrono Testing 5 shots

Low Velocity:1660fps
Hight Velocity:1700fps
Average velocity: 1679fps (1680fps in part 2)
Extreme Spreed:39.66
Std. Deviation:16.27
Manufacture Spec: 1800fps
Measure Mass: 111.7gr
Manufacture Spec 1/4oz (109.4gr)
Calculated Muzzle Energy: 699.0ft-lbs
Approximate Group Size: 6.2inch (7.3 inch in part 2)

Notes: Velocity was basically unchanged with this slug going from the 24 inch full choke to 22.5 inch cylinder bore. This was good as it indicates that the assumption of 1.5 inch shorter barrel would not dramatically effect velocity. Unfortunately they were the worst grouping slug of all the slugs tested. Group size did improved some but accuracy was really bad despite the improvement. I am very disappointed in these slugs, accuracy was poor in both configurations and the velocity was below the manufactures specification (-6.7%). This is especial disappointing given that this is a relatively new load offered from Winchester.
Barnaul 2.875-inch complete steel shell

5 shot group at 25 yards (click to enlarge)
Chrono Testing 5 shots

Low Velocity:1724
Hight Velocity:1789fps
Average velocity: 1744fps (1746fps in part 2)
Extreme Spreed:64.98
Std. Deviation:29.32
Manufacture Spec: 1541fps
Measure Mass: 99.1gr
Manufacture Spec 97gr
Calculated Muzzle Energy: 669.1ft-lbs
Approximate Group Size: 2.25inch (3.8 inch in part 2)

Notes: These slugs had very little changed in velocity after the modification. Another data bit supporting the barrel lenth lost had little effect on velocity. These slugs shoot resonable acurate for a 410 slug and are on eof the few that have velocity above the manufacture's specification. Unfortunately these slugs in this form are no longer available. I beleive the manufacture now sells them in the US as Silver Bear slugs and they have lost some velocity in the transition. See the next slug in this test. They were great slugs for the price.
Silver Bear 2.875-inch complete steel shell

5 shot group at 25 yards (click to enlarge)
Chrono Testing 5 shots

Low Velocity:1560
Hight Velocity:1586fps
Average velocity: 1574fps (not tested in Part 2)
Extreme Spreed:25.98
Std. Deviation:10.24
Manufacture Spec: 1541fps
Measure Mass: 99.2gr
Manufacture Spec 97gr
Calculated Muzzle Energy: 545.6ft-lbs
Approximate Group Size: 1.8inch

Notes: The two holes at the top of this target are where the wadding from two shots went through the target. The five slugs hits are in a three shot group and two shot group below the upper two holes. With how good the Barnaul slugs were shooting I bought a bunch more of the Silver Bear Slugs. These being the present imported 410 slugs manufactured by Barnaul and can be had for nearly half the price of the big three manufacturer's 410 slugs. Unfortunately these slugs did not have the extra velocity over the Manufacture specification that the older slug had. These tested pretty much right on Manufacture specification and thus are one of the lowest muzzle energy of any of the slugs tested. That said they are very accurate having one of the best five shot groups of the test and for the price great plinking and varmit slugs.
Brenneke Silver Slug
3.0 inches shell

5 shot group at 25 yards (click to enlarge)
Chrono Testing 5 shots

Low Velocity:1631fps
Hight Velocity:1799fps
Average velocity: 1752fps (1866fps in part 2)
Extreme Spread:168.3
Std. Deviation:69.58
Manufacture Spec: 1755fps
Measure Mass: 114.9gr
Manufacture Spec (114gr)
Calculated Muzzle Energy: 782.9ft-lbs
Approximate Group Size: 2.1 inch (1.9 inch in part 2)

Notes: The Brenneke lost over 100fps in the retest. The only slug to have a substantial velocity lost. Given it was the only slug to have this problem leads me the speculate that it might have been the cold temperatures. Some powders are temperature sensitive. I will have to do a warm weather test to see if it is the temperature or maybe these slugs were sensitive to barrel length. Accuracy went down just a touch but I am not entirely sure if it was the gun or me, none-the-less these are still one of the best performing slugs in both accuracy and energy. The lost of accuracy might also have been do to variability in the velocity. In part 2 these slugs were very consistent in velocity but in this retest the velocity varies much more. It varied so much I shot a second five shoot string and it also varied quite a large amount with Std. Deviation of 50.07. More testing will need to be done to find this source of lost and varying velocity.
Remington Sluggers

5 shot group at 25 yards (click to enlarge)
Chrono Testing 5 shots

Low Velocity:1590fps
Hight Velocity:1678fps
Average velocity: 1647fps (1660fps in part 2) (1817fps 2.5inch chamber/cylinder-bore)
Extreme Spreed:87.98
Std. Deviation:34.56
Manufacture Spec: 1830fps
Measure Mass: 96.1gr
Manufacture Spec 1/5oz (87.5gr)
Calculated Muzzle Energy: 578.7ft-lbs
Approximate Group Size: 1.3 inch (4.4 inch in part 2)

Notes: Velocity lost here was minimal and accuracy was improved greatly. In fact this was the best group of all the slugs tested in this test. I sort of expected the accuracy increase with these slugs since these slugs shot so well in my cylinder bore Winchester 9410. Given that this slugs lost so much velocity in the Steven both with and without the full choke when compared to testing in a 2.5 inch chambered gun I have to assume that the long chamber is really hurting the velocity in this slug. I suspect it is due to the way Remington assembles there slugs with the loose filled buffer between gas seal and slug.
Federal Rifled Slug
2.5 inch shell

5 shot group at 25 yards (click to enlarge)
Chrono Testing 5 shots

Low Velocity:1635fps
Hight Velocity:1682fps
Average velocity: 1662fps (1684fps in part 2) (1728fps 2.5inch chamber/cylinder-bore)
Extreme Spreed:46.59
Std. Deviation:17.94
Manufacture Spec: 1775fps
Measure Mass: 109.0gr
Manufacture Spec 1/4oz (109.4gr)
Calculated Muzzle Energy: 668.4ft-lbs
Aproximate Group Size: 2.5inch (3.3 inch in part 2)

Notes: These shoot good in the full choke of part 2 and even better in the modified Stevens in this test. This was surprising given how bad they shoot in my Winchester 9410 and being a 2.5 inch slug in a three inch chamber. Although they lost velocity it was minimal and these are one of the heavier 410 slug presently available.
Conclussions: Well... the sights didn't fall off after over 60rds of testing today. That pleased me since I wasn't sure how well the 3M epoxy would handle the set-back vibration and the temperature extremes going from near freezing to hot after a few shots.

I was please that all the slugs tested, except the Brenneke, improved their group size. Likewise Brenneke was the only slug to loose substantial velocity due to the 1.5 inch barrel length removed to elimnate the choke. The accuracy lost was small and as likely my fault as that gun's but the velocity lost was puzzling. It has to be either the cold or barrel length lost and I would put money on the cold. I will test that again in warm weather to answer that question. Overall I think this test shows that in general a more open choke will shoot foster slugs more accurately than a tighter choke, but then again I think that has been pretty common knowledge. It is nice to see common knowledge proven correct though.
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