For hundreds of years, people have been making their own ammunition for shotguns for various reasons. It has been done out of necessity, the desire to find better-performing shells and even more recently to save money as the cost of ammunition has risen sharply. More shotgun users are even casting or molding their own slugs than ever before. That brings up the question is it practical to do such things as cast or mold your own 12-gauge shotgun slugs?
Why is the Use of Shotgun Slugs Rising in Popularity?
I guess before you can truly answer if it’s worth it to cast your own slugs, you have to examine why you would want to shoot slugs as opposed to pellets or birdshot out of your shotgun. It has to do with the fact that times are changing as to how people see themselves using their shotguns.
It used to be popular to think of a shotgun as just a close in weapon. Many jokes came about from this type of thinking. Jokes were often heard like, “if you can’t hit the broad side of a barn with a rifle then buy yourself a shotgun”. This is hardly the case anymore because new slug technology has made these types of shotgun rounds effective out to 100 yards.
The Pros of Casting Your Own Shotgun Slugs
- It saves you money
Without a doubt if you like to shoot your shotgun very often then you will save a whole bunch of money doing reloads yourself. This is especially true if you use slugs. A typical box of quality long range slugs can run you upwards of $20 for a half-dozen or less of them. Doing everything from casting your own slugs to hand reloading the shells yourself will greatly reduce this cost.
Try this handy online shotgun shell cost calculator to get an idea of just how much you might be able to save doing your own slug casting and reloads yourself.
- It allows you to customize your shells
If you are just a casual shooter you may not care much about the quality of your shotgun slug shells. On the slug needs are that fit your style of shotgun hunting best. When you cast or mold your own slugs it will allow you to better tailor your slugs to your own personal preferences.
- It can be a very challenging and satisfying hobby
I am not going to sit here and tell you that casting your own slugs is super easy and won’t come with some frustration when you first start out. There is one thing I can promise you though and that’s that casting your own slugs is a relaxing way to take your mind off your daily stresses and strains. It’s also very gratifying to see your finished slugs come out right.
The Cons of Casting Your Own Shotgun Slugs
- It can be time-consuming
You will need some time to get good at the slug casting and molding process. This is especially true if you don’t have a mentor to teach you. It will definitely consume a chunk of time when you are first learning how to do it.
- There are no guarantees of a quality finished product
I would like to say that every single time I have cast my own slugs they have turned out great but I would be lying. There are times I was ready to give up because my cast slugs just were not turning out the way I had hoped.
- It can be dangerous
Let’s face it. Working with hot molten metal is not something that everyone is going to be comfortable with. If you are not extremely careful you can get a pretty severe burn. So if this thought bothers you then buy your slugs already made or just buy complete slug shells.
Having the Proper Reloading Equipment
You can cast the most magnificent slugs in the history of the world but you won’t find it very rewarding if you don’t have the proper equipment to put them together properly in the shell. The best reloading press is still an essential piece of equipment in the hand reloading process. Make sure you consult many reloading press reviews before making your final buying decision. You don’t have to spend a fortune on your reloading setup but some pieces of reloading equipment you can’t do without.
So the importance of getting your reloading setup right cannot possibly be overemphasized enough. A good reloading handbook will come in handy to help with this and there is plenty of reliable information on the internet that will help you here too.
Whether to Cast Your Own Slugs or Not?
As usual much of this decision will come down to such factors as your shooting budget, the amount of free time you have and the confidence you can do the slug casting process well enough to make it worth your while. At least now you will have some extra information in which to help you make a decision as to whether or not to try casting your own slugs. Casting slugs is really easier than you might think and it’s a fun and enjoyable way to expand the horizons of your overall shotgun shooting experience.