If you took a look at the biggest changes in firearms for hunters over the last few years you would probably have to conclude that the most significant innovations have come in blackpowder arms. We’ve got muzzleloaders that use smokeless powder, break-action guns that are simple to use and ergonomically outstanding, and electronically fired designs that don’t require use of a primer. Likewise the ammo we stuff down these guns has become more sophisticated, accurate and lethal.
But we’ve seen another revolution in hunting arms as well in recent times—I’m thinking here of slug guns. The rifled slug gun of today is a different beast when compared to what we hunted with even ten years ago. I saw a striking example of this today with a Remington 11-87 Sportsman that I took to the range. The shotgun itself is a stout looking beast with a cantilevered rail for mounting a scope, a camo dipped thumbhole stock and a 23-inch rifled barrel.
Before today, I had shot two different loads through the shotgun: Remington BuckHammer 1 ¼-ounce slugs and Remington Premier Coppersolid 1 oz. slugs. Both have performed very well at 100 yards, with a slight accuracy advantage going to the Coppersolid load—but the difference is small enough that I wouldn’t feel handicapped hunting with either.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a few boxes of the new AccuTip Bonded Sabot Slugs, introduced earlier this year by Remington, in time to take bear hunting in Canada next week. These sexy-looking slugs (funny how new ammo must have an eye-candy element) shot as well as they looked. Granted, I only put one box through the gun (I’m saving the rest for the hunt) but I was rewarded with two key-hole groups, the first being a two-shot group just to see where I was on the paper and the second a three-shot group after I had adjusted my point of impact to get the 11-87 about dead on at 100 yards.
These .58-caliber slugs weigh in at 385 grains and have a published velocity of 1,850 fps in the 2 ¾-inch length shell I’m using. Remington says the slug delivers consistent expansion whether the target is 5 or 200 yards downrange and has excellent (95 percent) weight retention to boot.
If the hunting gods smile on me next week, I’ll hopefully be able to report on whether the slug performs as advertised. The accuracy is there—I’m curious to know whether the terminal ballistics is as impressive.