As slug ammo continues to take the airgunning world by storm, Mat Manning takes a look at some of the better-known brands that are leading the charge.
About a year ago I flagged up the fact that slug ammunition was gaining popularity with airgun shooters and predicted that the trend would gain pace over the coming months. Sure enough, the slug revolution spread from a trend among more experimental shooters to a craze that, seemingly, everyone wants to be a part of.
Unsurprisingly, the choice of readily available airgun slugs is now far wider than it was just a year ago. Many of the big airgun ammo names are producing slugs and several new players have emerged, with small operations producing ammunition to a remarkably high standard.
Although most airgun experts will tell you that slugs will never replace pellets, there is no denying that the improved ballistic coefficient of slug ammo has the potential to deliver remarkable performance at long range and in the wind.
Tight groups at 100m were the initial benchmark for slugs but some shooters are now using them to achieve impressive results at 200m and beyond.
Switching to slugs doesn’t guarantee good performance, however. This ammo tends to work better with high-power airguns and favours some barrels over others—even then, results are better if the gun’s power output is specifically tuned to match the exact type of slug being used.
There is no denying that the wider choice is making it easier for shooters to find the right slug for their guns and for their shooting requirements, and some of the lighter variants can even produce decent results with sub-12ft/lb airguns.
Featured below are a few of the key players in this developing market—the ones that airgun shooters will be looking to when experimenting with slug ammunition.
Daystate’s high-powered airguns have achieved some amazing results with slugs, and the British gunmaker’s electronic Delta Wolf can quickly be tuned for optimum performance with different types of ammo. So it is no surprise that Daystate also has two brands of slug under its banner: the Juggernaut .22 and Juggernaut .25.
Tried, tested and recommended by Daystate’s renowned Accuracy Research Team (ART), Juggernaut slugs are a variation of the famous JSB KO, weighing 25.39 grains in .22 calibre and 33.49 in .25. Precision-made in the Czech Republic, this hard-hitting round is described as being suitable for benchrest and hunting applications.
FX Hybrid slugs
FX Airguns has been at the forefront of the slug revolution, and the firm makes barrel liners and other gun-design adaptations to optimise airgun performance with this ammunition.
Its Hybrid slugs are claimed to combine the best attributes of pellet and slug ammunition, and boast impressive long-range grouping and good performance in wind.
The Hybrid slugs feature a hollow core and recessed base to reduce weight and improve expansion on impact. They are available in a .22, .25, .30 and .35 calibre and a range of weights from 19 to 68 grains.
Howler slugs are a new addition to the Daystate ammo line-up. This round is produced by USA slug supremo Nielsen Speciality Ammo following meticulous testing and development to ensure optimum precision in Daystate barrels.
The comparatively light 20.3 grain .22 Howler has already been raising eyebrows across the pond. Daystate has confirmed that the full range of this high-performance slug will include .177, .22, .25 and .30 calibres, and will be arriving in the UK very soon.
While working in pest control after a career in the military, Liam Craven noticed a gap in the market for high-quality airgun slugs at sensible prices—so he started to make his own.
Based in North Yorkshire, the enterprise grew into Wildman Slugs, which today makes some of the world’s finest airgun ammo.
The Wildman ethos is to produce consistent, accurate, high-quality rounds, and the business’s rolling development programme has resulted in an ever-growing range of hand-swaged slugs, with calibres from .177 to .30 and a wide selection of weights and designs. Liam is always happy to discuss specialist commissions with customers.
Husband-and-wife team Graham and Yvonne Scase launched their business making precision, hand-swaged slugs in 2019, and they have quickly established a loyal following that extends across the globe.
Pro Hunter slugs include Premium Standard and Premium High Impact lines, both made to remarkably tight tolerances and with variation of no more than one-10th of a grain on each calibre.
These slugs were intended for high-power airguns but with weights as low as 13 grains in .177, sub-12 shooters are also getting impressive results. The full range includes numerous weight options (up to a whopping 60 grains) in .177, .22, .25 .30 calibres.
H&N Slug HP
This tried-and-tested slug from famous German ammo stable H&N has been around for a while and is regarded as an excellent round. Hand-packed following careful visual inspection, they are even coated in a special lubricant to minimise barrel friction.
Recommended for airguns producing 20ftlb and over, these slugs come in numerous variants to suit different barrels. The .22 round is available in 5.51 and 5.53 diameters and 21, 23, 25, 27 and 30 grain weight options.
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