Making Shotgun Slugs Out of Birdshot

Nice four part tutorial on re-manufacturing shotgun slugs out of birdshot, though the first two are the actual process and the last two range testing so i won’t post those. It’s a simple process that may seem like a waste of time at first but the benefits become obvious if you think about it for a second.

The shotgun’s strength is it’s versatility. One shotgun used for defense, hunting, and pest control simply by switching loads, something most rifles and handguns cannot do. Birdshot is what you will probably have the most of laying around, because unless you’re in the middle of Oakland when TEOTWAWKI comes most of your shooting should be opportunistic hunting and the elimination of critters who are coming for your food supply, like raccoons with a taste for your chickens. In 12ga buckshot is the preferred combat load but slugs are very effective on humans and large game or dangerous animals. In 20ga the slug is the best self-defense load simply because of availability – the 20ga is a deer caliber and there are many slugs lining the shelves of your local big box, but very little buckshot.

But slugs are expensive and when budgeting for an ammo hoard it’s more likely you will be stocking more of the various size birdshot than anything else, unless your post-SHTF plan is mayhem and rapine. This skill allows you to stock more of the birdshot you’ll be using for everyday survival with the option of making up slugs if things are getting hairy in the area you’re in. As the video itself points out you actually save up to 60 cents a round doing this which is a nice bonus. The trade off is that the homemade slug has less powder – and thus power -  than commercial slugs. But that also means more manageable recoil with a slug that would still do plenty of damage.

The only slugs I don’t recommend are in .410. I love my .410 but spring for some of the buckshot loads if you’re going to use it for survival. .410 slugs are just too light.

What’s nice about this technique is that it uses minimal tools. A slug mold, cast iron lead dipper and Bernzomatic torch are all you really need to get started. At Amazon these things can be had for under $75 all together.

Part II:

Parts 3 and 4 are range tests which are interesting if you have the time.

3 thoughts on “Making Shotgun Slugs Out of Birdshot

  1. Slight tangent: .410 slugs, as you’ve said, are really light. They are also very fast. They have little in common with .41 Magnum although novices often group them together. .410 are actually one of the oddest rounds, ballistically, that I can think of. If they weren’t so lacklustre in aerodynamics they would be conceived of as a high-velocity mid-range powerhouse …
    but alas they lose their velocity too fast and aren’t very accurate. At close range they might be okay; I haven’t seen them compared to .410 buckshot but I’m sure that would be okay too.

    Anyway, that’s my little note on this interesting chambering. I’ve always wanted a .410 but I have no use for one. Maybe for skeet if I get really good.

  2. More on topic:

    This is a good idea. I am a case in point: Having always promised myself to have a few of each type of shotgun ammo on hand, I think I have exactly zero slugs. Being able to remake some of my lead from skeet & trap loads into slugs would be handy … maybe a good project for the depths of this winter.

  3. I have a .410/,45 Survivor that I really like. The .45 is nice in a carbine and now .410s have some pretty good buck loadings, but you’re right that the slugs aren’t very useful.

    I like a .410 as a garden gun and to bang around with. Good for close range critters that are eying your chicken coop especially when you want to save your other ammo for emergencies.

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