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Slug Gun Upgrade: 5 Ways to Make Your Shotgun More Accurate

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April 29, 2013
Slug Gun Upgrade: 5 Ways to Make Your Shotgun More Accurate - 2

Hunting big game with a rifle is not permitted in many parts of the country. Gun hunters in those areas are left to tote shotguns that are usually better suited to dumping grouse at close quarters than collecting venison at longer range. A modern saboted shotgun load is perfectly capable of delivering lethal performance at distances well beyond 100 yards. But can you put that projectile where it needs to go?

Dave Klotz of Da Mar Gunsmiths, a small shop located in Weedsport, N.Y., says you can with some modifications to your shotgun.

Here’s what Klotz did to my Remington 870 at a cost of $487.

Pin the Barrel

Shotguns are not rifles. Barrels are easily removed and tolerances aren’t tight where it slides into the receiver.  “The barrel moves. It vibrates,” Klotz explains. “You don’t have to be a gunsmith to understand that a barrel that moves is not going to deliver consistent groups.”

Klotz developed his pinning process about 35 years ago. He drills a hole through the side of the receiver and through the shank of the barrel, then inserts an Allen head screw to about five threads deep. The result is a barrel that doesn’t wiggle.

Improve the Bore
“Shotgun barrels usually don’t leave the factory in a condition that leads to really accurate shooting,” Klotz says. “We lap the bore, lengthen the forcing cone, and crown the barrel.”

The high polish in the bore after lapping helps minimize plastic buildup from sabots, which can degrade accuracy. Extending the forcing cone gives the slug a better transition into the rifling, Klotz says.

Fix the Trigger
It is nearly impossible to shoot well with the creepy 8-pound triggers typical of most production shotguns. “You can’t shoot accurately with a trigger like that,” Klotz says. Klotz’s shop used to be a Remington Service Center, and my 870 came back with a trigger that breaks crisply at 2 ¾ pounds.

Use a Better Scope Mount

Klotz doesn’t believe in barrels with cantiliver scope mounts. “On a shotgun, you need a mount that does not shoot loose and will not bend or break. There wasn’t one available, so we designed our own,” Klotz says.

The Da Mar mount uses six screws (three per side), and each screw is located on the sides of the receiver where the metal is thickest. It features a Weaver-style rail and rings.

Reduce Recoil
To take the sting out of my slug gun, Klotz did some bonus work and installed a Remington SuperCell recoil pad and put a steel plug in the stock to increase its weight. Slug guns are never a pleasure to shoot, but these alterations made a big difference and were no doubt part of the reason my groups improved.

Accuracy Results

I’ve never been very good with a slug gun, but after receiving my reworked 870 from Da Mar, it took me about 30 minutes to realize that I’m not quite as bad as I thought.

I shot six different loads, recording the best five-shot groups for each at 100 yards. I shot as I always have—off a picnic table with sandbags. While I wasn’t able to duplicate the 1.5-inch groups that the Da Mar guys got with Lightfield slugs, I was able to print the first 3-inch group I’ve ever shot with a shotgun, which is a far cry from what I had previously been able to do.

Winchester Dual Bond  
         
Before: 7.5 in.                      
After: 3 in.

Winchester Platinum Tip       
Before: 8.25 in.                      
After: 3.25 in.

Winchester Partition Gold       
Before: 9.5 in.                      
After: 3.75 in.

Remington Core-Lokt 
          
Before: 7.5 in.                      
After: 4.25 in.

Remington AccuTip   
       
Before: 9.25 in.                      
After: 5.5 in.

Winchester XP3
           
Before: 8.75 in.                      
After: 5.75 in.

Comments (2)

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from jjas wrote 50 weeks 4 days ago

....and used your stock 870 for close quarters work or deer drives.....

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from jjas wrote 50 weeks 4 days ago

Many guys love a pump or semi-auto for deer hunting and I've only heard good things about DaMar and their work on slug guns. Throw in the fact that folks like the fast follow up shots for deer drives a pump or semi-auto provides and I get why you did what you did.

Having said that....for what you spent on the improvements to your gun, you could have purchased a Savage 220 or 212 bolt action and gotten better accuracy.

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from jjas wrote 50 weeks 4 days ago

Many guys love a pump or semi-auto for deer hunting and I've only heard good things about DaMar and their work on slug guns. Throw in the fact that folks like the fast follow up shots for deer drives a pump or semi-auto provides and I get why you did what you did.

Having said that....for what you spent on the improvements to your gun, you could have purchased a Savage 220 or 212 bolt action and gotten better accuracy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 50 weeks 4 days ago

....and used your stock 870 for close quarters work or deer drives.....

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)