Unofficial 12ga Penetration Comparison

The Unofficial Canadian 12ga Slug Penetration Comparison
Done by 0faustus0 - CGN Regular

I was always curious as to how far those 12ga slugs can penetrate and I wanted to compare my hand load to slugs that are available in Canada.

Here are the slugs that I wanted to test, because with some I got very good accuracy … and others had a good reputation for penetration. However, i did not get around to test all of them.

From left to right:

  1. Rio Brnneke
    r (Gualandi) Slug
  2. Winchester 3” Rack Master
  3. Federal TruBall
  4. Sellier & Bellot Sport Slug (Low Recoil)
  5. Federal Power Shok Sabot Slug (did not shoot/test that one)
  6. My Buck & Ball load (690 Round Ball, 21 pellets of #4 buck, 29 grains of Blue Dot)
  7. Aguila Mini Slug

I started out last week end with a setup of 4 pine boards each 1.5 inches thick. To my surprise most of the slugs went right through those 4 pine boards … with the exception of two:

1.) The Aguila Mini Slug penetrated only 2 boards,
2.) And the Sellier & Bellot Sport Slug penetrated only 3 boards.

So, then I had to give it another try this week end … and this time with 8 pine boards … i.e. 12 inches of pine wood.

Here the set up:
(I fired from around 8 meters/yards from the target.)

And here the results:

(Here the link to a larger image.)

1.) Rio Brenneke penetrated 5 boards (I shot two rounds just to be sure … I had expected more from the Brenneke.):
2.) Challenger slug penetrated 7 boards (actually it was stuck in the 7th board and one could see the nose from the back)
3.) Federal TruBall slug penetrated 6 boards … now I was surprised by that one because it is a Foster slug.
4.) For my Buck & Ball load … the 690 round ball penetrated 3 boards this time … got stuck in board 3 in the back.
5.) Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test the Winchester Rack Master again, but it penetrated 4 boards without any problem in the first test.

And here a picture of the recovered projectiles:

From left to right:

1.) Brenneke Slug
2.) Brenneke Slug
3.) Challenger (Gualandi) Slug
4.) Federal TruBall
5.) Sellier & Bellot Sport Slug
6.) 690 Round Ball

For today the Challenger slug is the clear winner when it comes to penetration. It is a pity that it is not more accurate … I only got a 10 inch group at 50 yards/meters with the Challenger slugs. However, I get 2 inch groups with the Federal TruBall at 50 meters/yards ….

And here the velocities …

  1. Rio Brenneke: 1 1/8oz; 1410 FPS
  2. Challenger (Gualandi) Slug: 1 1/8oz; 1610 FPS
  3. Winchester 3” Rack Master: 1 1/8oz; 1700 FPS
  4. Federal TruBall: 1oz; 1600 FPS
  5. Sellier & Bellot Sport Slug: 1oz; 1345 FPS
  6. Federal Power Shok Sabot Slug: 1oz; 1500 FPS
  7. My Buck & Ball load: Weight 2.1oz; Velocity unknown
  8. Aguila Mini Slug: 7/8oz; 1250 FPS

Voila … so much for today …

Thoughts anybody?

Shotgun was an 870 Police with ghost ring sights and fixed IC choke …

Faust did test the accuracy of all the slugs in the picture that He posted.

The Challengers were the worst for me. They gave me random flyers. But maybe I will give them another try …. maybe I just had a bad batch.

But I have heard from others that the attached wad sometimes gets damaged in the barrel when fired, and that is supposed to cause the flyers … because the wad stays with the slug. But I think I will try them once more just to be sure of my results ….

Last edited by faustus; 11-10-2018 at 11:54 AM.


Penetration Test II - Buckshot

Penetration Test II - Buckshot

From left to right:

  • Reminton Express #4 Buckshot;
  • Hornady Superformance 12 ga 2 3/4 00 Buck;
  • Federal Power-Shok 12ga 2 3/4", 000 Buck;
  • Federal Vital-Shok 12ga 2 3/4", 00 Buck;
  • My hand loaded #1 buckshot load; (I did not test this one)
  • Sellier & Bellot - 12GA, 2-3/4", Sport 00 Buck

Some of you might remember my slug penetration test that I did last year. And I think there was a clear “winner” when it comes to penetration. (look above)

But, this year I wanted to see how buckshot compares to those results and I tested a couple of buckshot loads last week end. And the results are a bit unspectacular and surprising to me. I thought that the high velocity buckshot loads should produce more penetration … but I guess that was not the case. In short none of those commercial buckshot loads was able to penetrate two spruce boards of 1.5 inches thickness each.

Here the details ….

The Setup

I had four boards of spruce 1.5 inches thick stacked behind each other, and with a 9 inch circle as my target. The gun was a 870 Police 12ga with rifle sights and a fixed improved cylinder choke. All shots were fired from 20 meters.

And here the detailed results

Reminton Express #4 Buckshot, 12ga, 3"

  • Model: 12HB4
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1225 fps
  • Pellets: 41
  • Wad: none
  • Buffer: yes
  • Hits within a 9” circle: 8
  • Penetration: not even one board … :frowning:

Hornady Superformance 12 ga 2 3/4 00 Buck

  • Model: H86246
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1600 fps
  • Pellets: 8
  • Wad: Flight-control Wad
  • Buffer: none
  • Hits within a 9” circle: 5
  • Penetration: did not penetrate 2 boards (the second board stopped all pellets)
  • Note: I had expected more from this load because of the high velocity of 1600 fps

Federal Power-Shok 12ga 2 3/4", 000 Buck

  • Model: F127000
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1325 fps
  • Pellets: 8
  • Buffer: yes
  • Hits within a 9” circle: 5
  • Penetration: did not penetrate 2 boards (the second board stopped all pellets)

Federal Vital-Shok 12ga 2 3/4", 00 Buck

  • Model: PFC15400
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1325 fps
  • Pellets: 9
  • Wad: Flight-control Wad
  • Buffer: yes
  • Hits within a 9” circle: 7
  • Penetration: two pellets penetrated two boards completely. But I believe this happen only because those two pellets were traveling together through the boards.

Sellier & Bellot - 12GA, 2-3/4", Sport 00 Buck

  • Model:
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1214 fps
  • Pellets: 9
  • Wad: none
  • Buffer: none
  • Hits within a 9” circle: 3
  • Penetration: did not penetrate 2 boards (the second board stopped all pellets)
  • Note: This load produced the worst pattern.

Voila, that is it … I leave it up to you to come up with your own conclusions ….
Hope this provided some valuable information …



– Bird Shot Penetration –

Adding this ….

I was curious as to how far bird shot would penetrate if it was shot from a very close range …. And I mean very close …. muzzle touching close. There is a controversy if bird shot could kill a bear … and how “bird shot” would behave when discharged at very very very close distances ….

In order to find out … I was using my setup with 1.5 inches thick spruce boards.

I fired one shot of 12ga Federal 1 1/8oz Heavy Field load with #6 shot (1255 fps)…. and the muzzle of my gun was only 20cm (20 centimeters) from the target. Gun was an H&R 12ga Pardner single shot with fixed modified choke.

Here is the result ……



Close up of the stuck projectile:

In conclusion, that bird shot load at very close range (20 cm) nearly penetrated 3 boards of 1.5 inches thick spruce boards … and it behaved very much like a slug. All the pellets stayed together. Buckshot on the other hand at 20 meters was not able to penetrate 2 boards.

Compared to the slugs that I tested, this bird shot load had around the penetrating power of a “sports slug” or a normal low recoil slug.

Now, could this load kill a bear? I let you decide …. :smiley: