Western Field 170 Slugster ~ Lee 1 oz without Tail Feathers

Discussions covering the components and techniques of reloading for your scattergun; be it buckshot, shot, or slugs.

Western Field 170 Slugster ~ Lee 1 oz without Tail Feathers

Postby Ranch Dog » 01 Dec 2019 06

Note: I thought I had posted this some time ago, but found the topic in my "Drafts".

I haven't been around much because of ranch and pilot chores, but I'm always to be thinking about slugs going downrange. Over the last couple of months, I ended up with a like-new Western Field 170 Slugster.


Also, I continue to ponder a return to the Lee 1 oz slug. In a nutshell, we depend on the wad cup, any pressure wad, serving as a sabot. My thinking is that shot pressure columns are not capable of surviving the slugs acceleration down the barrel. Almost all the experience with poor MOA performance with Lee's offering blames the slug, I've done that myself, but I been asking myself, what if it is the pressure column is creating the problem. With this in mind, I decided to get rid of the pressure column to see how a tail-less slug shot.

I have a dozen and a half different pressure column wads, but fancy only two because of the bore fit with the Lee slug. Both are BPI's; the Lightning 078 and the PT1205. Of those two, I favor the first for the exact fit of the slug.


With either, a ¼" of something, brings the slug up to where the cups petals are at the ogive. I've tried 20 Gauge cards, but a felt (white) or cork wad is a better fit. I cut the tail feathers off the column wad with a razor blade.


In place of the pressure column, I use two 50mm waxed cards with a Mini 12 Gauge Nitro card between the powder and the waxed cards. Let me detail the components with this image.


I'm putting the loads together with a Lee Load-All Junior.


Yesterday was my first experience with the 170. I shot three at 25-yards, adjusted the rear sight to move the POI left and down one index marking each (wasn't sure what reference the indexes represents), and then shot three more slugs at 50-yards, and they hit the same spot. Indexes must be ½ MOA.


Yeap, there are six holes in that target! I'm truly amazed! I doubt my rifled barrels could put six slugs into a similar size group with their best slugs; The group did not expand with the 50-yard shooting, that means the MOA shrunk!

I've been shooting this round in my Mossberg smoothbore pump, and it is just as accurate. What is interesting is that there is nothing found downrange other than the white felt 20G ¼" wads about 8 to 10 yards from the barrel. I haven't seen anything else. Given the consistency of the felt wads in the same spot, the shot cup is departing immediately to points unknown. I'm good with that given the target performance.

My rifled barrels, with this load, will not hit the 25-yard berm let alone the target! With the 170, I need to get the rear sight adjusted and keep after it. 99% of my hog hunting is after dark. I got to pondering the 170 with a scope and found an old topic on another forum that mentioned the Weaver 55 bases, the same bases that the 695 Slugster uses, fit the contour of the receiver of the 170 (Mossberg 395). I will need to drill and tap the receiver, as I'm going to scope this gun so I can use it against my hogs. Note:This ended up not working out. The bases did not fit the receiver and the bolt handle will not clear a scope.

The bases ended up being a bit of an expense as $200 went toward a 695. I owned a new one but never shot it. I couldn't get passed the trigger. The 395/170 have the same heavy, non-adjustable setup, but if it is shooting good, I suspect that I will shoot it enough to get past the pull.

My Western Field kind of looks like a Remington 788 on steriods!
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Re: Western Field 170 Slugster ~ Lee 1 oz without Tail Feath

Postby alphalimafoxtrot » 03 Dec 2019 06

Yep, your gun does look like a bolt action rifle on steroids - especially with that 5-round mag! Nice.
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Re: Western Field 170 Slugster ~ Lee 1 oz without Tail Feath

Postby W.R.Buchanan » 31 Jul 2020 00

My thoughts on this subject are that slugs must be launched Square with the bore. IE: the Trailing end of the slug must be perpendicular to the center line of the bore.
Not as critical with the Lee Slugs or Foster Slugs, but the Lyman 525 Slug has no chance of grouping unless you can figure out how get them to launch with the skirt in the same position for every shot.

I tried a few of them in my 18" M500 HD gun after I got a 18" barrel with rifle sights. I immediately sent it to Vang Comp and got it done.

Up side,,, it shoot 00 Buck into 5" at 25 yards! which makes buck viable to 50 yards, And would probably beat that with Flight Control Wads.

Down side Lyman 525 Slugs all over the place at 25 yards.

I decided this was due to the .745 back bore allowing the slugs to tip slightly while going down the barrel. The barrel is choked back down to .730 at the muzzle which means the last 2" acts like a funnel, but which ever way the slug is tilted will yield a different path down range which is not conducive of any accuracy.

This gun shoots factory Federal Low Recoil Slugs great. I have some Brennekes to try in it s well.

One another note,,, my round balls fly true and grouped at about 1.5-2" at 25 yards out of that barrel Obviously not affected by the tipping as they are round. The Lee Slugs also printed well. The Pellet Slugs just fly stupid. But out of the Browning Buck Special Barrel they group well out to 50 yards.

Go figure. I wonder if the way you are holding your mouth when the shot breaks has any significant effect on accuracy.

Your Slugster has a strait up cylinder bore barrel which is probably a good thing with these slugs. I have another 18" barrel for the M500 and I will try shooting these thru it and see if they do better.

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