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Problem sighting in with slugs


JoshD
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I have a Benelli M3, one of the older HK marked guns. Just the other day, I was shooting 2 3/4" 1oz Winchester slugs through it to sight in for deer season, which starts the 18th here in IL.

 

50yds is what I've always sighted in at. The rear sight is almost off of the dovetail, past the last white marking on the right. Even being this low (as low as possible), it is still shooting about 4-6 inches high at 50yds.

 

Any suggestions? Does Benelli make a taller front sight post? I can't believe such a quality gun would have a problem like this. BTW- it groups great, just shoots way too high.

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I get different results out of the same shotgun (even prone) depending on the brand of ammo thats being used. I know it sounds strange but it happens. Now 4-6 inchs is far to inconsistent for something to not be way off. When did you shoot this firearm last? Any problems then? Same type of ammo? It could be 1 of 3 things IMO, the firearm (ie. the sights, barrel, etc.) the type of ammo, lastly there is always the chance of operator error in combination with the ammo. Not saying your a bad shot but it is a possible varible, given the info. I have. I doubt its your shooting skills cause if you were flinching you'd be hitting low more then likely, not high. Hope you get it ironed out in short order. Good luck

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This is the first time I've ever fired slugs through this shotgun, and prior to that, I've only fired 1 box of regular all purpose loads, 7.5 shot, through it. It was either NIB or LNIB when I bought it.

 

The slugs are the type I mentioned earlier, and were just purchased last week.

 

I do not think it is me. Windage wise, the gun was perfect. I moved the rear sight from the last mark on the bottom to the first mark on the top, just to see if it was me or if it would even make a difference. It went from shooting 4-6in high, to shooting 12+ inches high. So, the sights are working fine, they are just way too high for some reason.

 

Looks like I might have to hold low or use a 6 oclock hold this deer season :confused:

 

Anyways, thanks for the suggestions FN. I might try some Remington slugs and see if it makes any difference.

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The Benelli M3 with ghost rings has adjustable rear and front sights, available. Maybe you could swap out what you have for the adjustable ghost rings. Your gun sounds like it would accept them without much work. Cause you were right in your inital post you need a taller front blade. Ghost rings would be a hinderance if trap,skeet, but if your after deer they would be perfect. You could zero righ in on that buck. The M3 is such a nice firearm you shouldn't have to aim low and cross your toes! If it were an old Makarov pistol or something I'd concur, but not an M3! Thats one fine piece.

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I’m glad you’re getting great groups at 50 yards, because I get just barely acceptable groups at 110 yards with my SBEII & Zeiss scope. About 4 inches so far, but I expect them to improve a little with some more work. I pounded my shoulder this weekend trying another new type of slug. Tried the new Hornady SST which looks spectacular on paper ... didn’t shoot worth a hoot in my gun. These slug guns are EXTREMELY ammo sensitive!!! Over the last two years I’ve tried just about everything out there in sabots. Keep coming back to Winchester Platinum Tips. Did so again yesterday. The Winchester Partition Golds shot pretty well yesterday, but my shoulder was giving out by then ... punishing. (50 rounds) Every different brand and load shoots so different that the scope requires large chunks of adjustment. The only “operator error” I can think of off hand that might cause such consistently high point of impact is “are you laying the gun BARREL on something hard for a rest?” If your rest the barrel or forend on something like a wooden rail for instance there will be massive muzzle jump in the “high” direction. Other than that; with a slug gun, you have to pull the gun back into your shoulder quite firmly with your right hand and HOLD DOWN THE GUN by holding down the forend with your left hand. Slugs are so slow that muzzle jump has time to effect the projectile, hence the shooting style which is contrary to what you’ve been taught about shooting a rifle. You can pick up a lot of good slug shooting information at www.tarhunt.com. Read through the stuff they have available. Click the “Shooting Guide” tab on top, then work down the “Overview” subjects on your left. By the way, Lightfield Slugs shoot quite accurately and a lot of guys use them. I just personally like the ballistics on a more bullet shaped slug for longer range, and flatter trajectory. If you’re shooting smoothbore, I read a lot good about the new Federal “TruBall” rifled slug.

 

Good Luck

 

Butch

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#1. “50yds is what I've always sighted in at. The rear sight is almost off of the dovetail, past the last white marking on the right. Even being this low (as low as possible), it is still shooting about 4-6 inches high at 50yds.”

 

#2. “This is the first time I've ever fired slugs through this shotgun, and prior to that, I've only fired 1 box of regular all purpose loads, 7.5 shot, through it. It was either NIB or LNIB when I bought it.”

 

One more thing ... I’m a little confused as to whether you have a rifled barrel or not. On one hand you mention what sounds like fixed open sights, which normally don’t come on a smoothbore barrel, and on another you say you fired 7-1/2 shot through the gun. IF you have a rifled barrel ... you will severely foul the rifling by firing non-sabot slugs, or lead shot through the gun. The rifling scrapes prodigious amounts of lead off and it fills the grooves. NOT that this would have anything to do with your 6" high point of impact problem.

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Man, I really appreciate the comments gentlemen! Maybe we can get this thing figured out in the next 3 days! LOL

 

My M3 has the same type of front sight as the one pictured on Benelli's webpage. They do appear to be adjustable, but for windage only. It does look like if I could find a very small open end wrench and get the tiny nut off, I might be able to put a small shim of some type under the front sight post and reinstall the sight, raising the height of the post. Of course, a taller post would be better, but I'm not even sure if they make one.

 

Also, I forgot to mention, the sights that I have ARE the adjustable ghost rings. They are the model previous to the ones shown on the website though. The rear sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation, just not adjustable enough I suppose.

 

When I was sighting in and got these results, the 1st time I was shooting using the bedrail of my truck for a rest, with my hand underneath the forearm. The 2nd time I was sitting in a chair, using a standing wooden powerline pole as a rest. I can't remember if the forearm or barrel was in contact with the pole, but once again, I was holding onto the forearm with my left hand, and just using the pole to steady my aim. So, with my hand supporting the forearm, I wouldn't think it would have anything to bounce off of, but it's possible I suppose.

 

For the past 10 years I have used a 20 ga Rem. 870 for deer. Smoothbore with rifle sights. I've never had a problem like this, and have always used Winchester slugs.

 

Also, this is NOT a rifled barrel. It is a smoothbore with adjustable ghost ring sights. I have fired shotshells in my 870 deer barrel also, and if it affected the impact of the slugs at all, it was not enough for me to notice.

 

I don't really know what else to say about it, maybe I'm missing something. It has the integral 8 shot magazine tube (not a screw on) that has been plugged to hold 2 rounds to be legal. Also has a pistol grip stock. Everything is factory, no aftermarket accessories on it. It does have the stabilizer clamp from the barrel to the magazine, I can see how this could affect the POI, but not sure if it would make it shoot about 8" high from the factory zero.

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Well folks, I just got back from shooting again. I'll probably be branded as a liar or lunatic from now on, but can only speak the truth as to what just happened.

 

Before leaving, I loosened the barrel nut on the magazine tube and retightened it to make sure it was ok. Nothing abnormal. Then, I took off the stabilizer clamp. Everything was fine. Tightened it back up, only SNUG this time instead of torquing it.

 

Drove up to the woods and shot while seated, @ 50yds as normal, using a wood bench w/ a 5gal bucket on top of it for a rest. Put my left hand under the gun, making sure not to let any part of the weapon touch the bucket, as you all have described. Shot from the same 15rnd box of slugs.

 

After my 1st shot, I was overjoyed but in disbelief. It shot exactly to POA elevation wise, and was only about 2" off windage, to the left. I mean elevation was DEAD ON. Fired 2 more shots, and got a nice triangle. Measured the group at the widest point and was about 1 3/4". For open sights, smoothbore, and 40 cent slugs, this was more than sufficent for me. Adjusted the windage 1 tick mark, and proceded to put 2 slugs in the same hole. Not a figure 8, I mean in the same hole. Wow. Only problem was that I was now about 2" to the right of my POA. Moved the sight just barely, only half a tick mark, and it shot to POA as good as any rifle I've shot.

 

The only conclusion that I can draw is that the stabilizer clamp was way too tight and moved the barrel. That may not be true, but it's the only reasonable thing that comes to my mind. Now I can see why competition shooters consider a free floating stock/tube or bedded stock a must, especially when shooting with a sling.

 

Well anyway, that's my wild story for today, you can either believe it or not. Heck, I don't even think that I believe it myself.

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By the way ... wind has a huge effect on slugs because they're so big and slow. It's best to sight in during calm conditions. So if it's at all windy when you sight in, don't make yourself crazy about right/left bullet holes if your elevation is consistently good. Another little fun fact ... temperature change ... you lose about 1 inch in elevation for every 20 degree drop in temperature ... so if you sight in at 90 degrees and hunt in 30 degrees you’ll be hitting 3" low. Let’s see ... one last thing I can think of before you go out into the woods. You’re all happy and confident about your gun now, so you figure it earned a little TLC and cheerfully give it a super clean up job to be ready as Freddy on opening day ... BUT ... if you don’t put a “fouling shot” down that barrel before you go hunting to clear out any oil &/or solvents; you can count on your first shot hitting anywhere from 2" to 4" high. Most guys forget that and can’t figure out why they missed.

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