As Deadly as it is Beautiful: Brass Based Expanding and Fragmenting Shotgun Slugs

Oleg Volk writes about the new OATH Ammunition 12 gauge slugs at All Outdoor

12ga slugs have been rightly known as good stoppers on dangerous game, but tend to over-penetrate in hominids. OATH Ammunition has two new designs that solve over-penetration along with greatly improving reliability in box-fed shotguns.

Above is their 1.25oz 1600fps all-copper slug designed to expand to an incredible 2.5″ and penetrate just enough to punch through a hostile human with little energy left to harm anyone downrange. If you’ve ever heard the expression: “a hole big enough to toss a cat through,” consider that cats can fit any opening larger than their heads, and smaller breeds have heads under 2.5″ in circumference. The copper or aluminum expander die visible in the middle ensures reliable opening even through heavy clothing. The die itself penetrates deeper than the expanded slug.

Loaded in machined brass cases, these cartridges won’t deform out of round under spring pressure even in 10 or 12 shot box magazines of shotguns like MKA1919 or Saiga. These photos show display samples. The actual production slugs have sharp leading edges. These will be available in 2.75″ length and also in 2″ for tube shotguns that can feed shorter ammunition and would benefit from additional capacity.


Read more here.

These are definitely not going to be cheap!


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    And after the gun fight you’ll have a nicely shredded pile of meat perfect for backyard grilling.

    • FrenchKiss

      Who would hunt with a round like this? Ethical hunters wouldn’t.

      • mosinman

        i don’t know about hunting but i’d want a round like this if i lived anywhere near bear territory

        • BobinMI

          No, I don’t think that you would. A deeper wound channel is going to be far more beneficial in stopping a bear than a wide wound channel. My guess is that this doesn’t even make it through the front shoulder of a grizz.

          • Joe

            Bear = Off Label Use

          • BobinMI

            I don’t follow. New to this site.

          • Cymond

            “Off label use” is a common phrase that means something is being used in a way that it is not intended for on the label.
            For example, meloxicam is a painkiller that is labelled for cats and dogs, but is often used “off label” for rabbits and other unapproved animals.

          • Bill

            WHAT? I think I’ve been prescribed Meloxicam, I’m an unapproved animal?

          • Swarf

            Yeah, that was a pretty bad example.

            And yes.

        • Bart

          No, this is a terrible bear round. It might work extremely well for home invaders. As far as four legged animals go, I think it might also work extremely well for Cougars and feral dogs. That all assumes that it flies straight and doesn’t tumble too much.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        I suspect the deer in my area are affiliated with Al Qaeda.

      • Mikial

        It’s not supposed to be a game hunting round, it’s a home defense round because they specifically say slugs are great for game, but have too much penetration in humans so you have to worry about what’s downrange.

        • Joe Higgins

          Buckshot is the best home defense round you can fire from a 12ga. Otherwise, just use a rifle.

          • Bart

            If this thing actually works properly, it would make a devastatingly huge hole in a bad guy. It is said to expand to a diameter of 2.5 INCHES. That would be like pushing a baseball through somebody’s chest. It would hurt!

          • Nashvone

            I wouldn’t want to clean up that mess.

          • Hensley Beuron Garlington

            A baseball, shaped into a deadly throwing star, pushed through broadside.

          • Joe Higgins

            Please check out my reply to Taofledermaus at the top of the comments section for a scientific evaluation of their claims.

      • Swarf

        you get in gunfights with the critters you are hunting?


    • Tassiebush

      They said that overpopulation would lead to food shortages but realistically with an open mind that isn’t necessarily the case is it… 😉

      • Bill

        Tastes like chicken, I hear. Or pork.

        • Tassiebush

          Personally I reckon it’s like a mix of koala and dolphin…
          Most things I’ve read suggest pork including accounts of counterfeit meat sales. I reckon chicken is just a Hannibal Lector based red herring.

          • Core

            Long Pig. I’ve seen interviews with anthropologists, working with cannibal tribes. It’s supposed to be slightly porky but distinctly Human.

          • Tassiebush

            Interesting! Makes sense if it’s distinct. I recall that on the Vice documentary on Liberia that ex warlord General Buttnaked recounted how he identified that he was served human flesh in Nigeria at a restaurant due to his extensive cannibal experience in Liberia.

  • Heretical Politik

    OMG!!! Need gel test!!!

    • Tim Pearce

      They’ll have to add two new bits of data to record for that test. Gel block mass before and after.

  • DrewN

    Yeah, pretty sure you’re not getting your security deposit back if you drop a bad guy with one of these.

    • Tim Pearce

      I don’t know. I think I’d replace the carpet and drywall, myself, rather than continue to live with what would look like someone threw a bucket of dark red paint all over my apartment.
      I’ve never had to fix things like that in an apartment. Do you still get your deposit back if it’s as good as it was when you moved in, because you fixed everything?

      • DrewN

        Geez, this is pretty off topic, but I’m both a landlord AND a super, so this is right up my alley. Short answer: maybe, as long as you didn’t touch the electrical,plumbing or appliances: i.e. stuff that can go catastrophically bad. Cosmetics? If you do good work there’s a small chance it might slip by me, but i inspect rentals for a living so.. If I know you are in the trades most likely I’ve worked out a deal with you already. But something like a DGU? There is no chance I don’t find out. None. Renter’s insurance is cheap. Buy some.

        • Beju

          Hell, back when I was a renter, adding a renter’s insurance policy actually reduced my total insurance bill over just having policies for 2 cars.

        • Core

          I started doing finish work when I was five, you would never know.

      • MR

        Depends on hoe much the deposit is, might be money ahead to forfeit it. Though you probably won’t get a great reference for your next apartment.

        • MR

          How. How much.

          • Swarf

            Yeah. Hoe deposits are a whole different issue.

      • iksnilol

        Eh, blood turns brown after a while if that is any consolation.

      • MrSatyre

        I once did a run a long time ago with some people I know who do crime scene cleanups, just to see if I could stomach the messes. With the size of the splatter you’d make with that sort of round, you’d be replacing everything down to the studs. Can’t leave any biological particulate matter around, especially any containing fecal matter. Probably everything behind and to the sides of the perp would have to be bagged and disposed, including furniture, electronics, books, pictures, carpet, drywall and ceiling.

  • ltulrich

    It hurts just looking at it.

  • Taofledermaus

    Those look like they would HAVE to be shot from a rifled shotgun because there is no way they would fly nose-first from a smooth bore. I think ONE five lb. gummy bear would stop this round.

    • FrenchKiss

      Smooth bore muskets had an effective range of about 100 yards.

      • Taofledermaus

        They shoot lead balls too.

    • Tim Pearce

      Would they tumble that much in what is likely to be only 20 feet?

      • Taofledermaus

        I’m more than certain they would fly sideways. We’ve shot a LOT of oddball shotgun slugs. For a smooth bore to work, you have to have the majority of the weight in the nose. The nose on these is the lightest part of the slug, tapered and counter sunk.

        • Joe Higgins

          It really begs the question what these are for. we got buck for home defense ranges. Slugs take us out to 100. These look like they wouldn’t have the external ballistics of slugs, so they would drop off in effectiveness earlier. Just not sure where these would see use.

          • Taofledermaus

            I suspect it is just a marketing gimmick.

          • Swarf

            Perhaps the nose contains a single atom of neutron star?

          • Ben Warren

            The whole neutron star is one big atom. If you can cut that, you might as well make the whole bullet from neutronium.

            The book “What If?” by the writer of XKCD actually did some calculations for this. If you had a handgun chambered for 9mm firing a bullet weighing 1.4×10^16 kilograms, you could bullseye the Earth’s core. Every single time.

            Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that you are hitting a 328 MOA target, which is hardly impressive. On the other hand, you’re hitting a target 6360 kilometers away with a pistol, a feat that even Jerry Miculek has yet to attempt.

          • Swarf

            Man, I need to get that book. I love XKCD, and the book sound just as entertaining and enlightening as his cartoon.

            Also, you’re a huge dork.

          • Ben Warren

            The book is awesome, and has a few What Ifs that you’ll never read if you don’t buy it. I can’t wait for a sequel.

        • Giolli Joker

          Beside the fact that your experience is huge and well documented (and entertaining), can’t it be that this slug is nose heavy? In the centre it has that ball/die in the front but might be rather empty behind it… I can’t judge if it is sufficient to shift forward the centre of gravity, but maybe…

        • Sianmink

          Can’t disagree. If it had some sort of drag component on the back it might be a different story, but as is I don’t see how these things won’t try to swap ends.

          That said, they’re still gonna be pretty special for shots inside 20 feet.

    • thedonn007

      Let us know when you make a youtube video of it. If anyone can judge how a shotgun round will fly just by looking at it, it would be you.

      • Taofledermaus

        I’d love to have Tim the machinist fabricate some of these. I think these are laser-cut and I don’t think his CNC could replicate that.

        • G0rdon_Fr33man

          These gotta cost a fortune…

        • anon

          Machinist reporting in. They look more like they are cut with a wire EDM to me.

          Not sure about the hole in the center, could be drilled if they are using bar stock copper, or they could be cast with the center hole already in place. The latter would be my guess.

          It could also be some really great cast work, but i would be amazed if they did it that good.

          • bull

            the center is drilled or milled. look at the picture where the “petals” have opened up. you can see tool marks 🙂
            and i think the slots might have been cut open? look at the petal at 1 o clock…. slot cutter?

    • Edeco

      Disappointing, looked like a Saiga breakthrough for a minute. How many ditch-bank-watermelons (DBWs) of penetration do you suppose?

    • Giolli Joker

      According to the linked article “Both may be fired from a smooth bore with roughly two inch dispersion at 25 yards, but rifled shotguns are ideal for best accuracy.”
      I trust more your words, though.

      • With the slug hitting backwards, sideways, keyholing, and all manner of not performing as designed.

    • I was just going to say that.

    • Joe Higgins

      It looks to have about the significantly larger cross sectional area than the 9 pellets of a 00 buck load (This looks to have about 2.1 sq in of area, 9 pellet 00 has about .7 sq in). The 9 pellets of 00 will tend to pattern larger than 2.5″ through a cylinder choke at most reasonable (not barrel stuffed) differences. This will be enhanced by picking a load that has good divergence at the longest sightlines in your home. For my home, the longest practical sightlines are a bit over 7 yards. I use a load that expands at about 1.5″ per yard for home defense. Thus, at anything over 5 feet, I can expect a larger pattern than 2.5″. This will increase the likelihood of striking multiple vital structures with a single shell.

      As to the increased cross sectional area, think of it this way. 00 buck has .7 sq in, and penetrates about 20″ in gel. #4 buckshot has a cross sectional area of about 1.2 sq in and penetrates about 14″ in gel. As we get to smaller shot, our cross sectional area continues to rise, and penetration falls. smaller shot than #4 (and thus more total cross sectional area) lack the penetration to meet FBI standards. This thing is trying to push out almost double the cross sectional area as #4. There is just no way it consistently meets FBI standards at their listed velocity. I based my calculation of the cross sectional area (2.1 sq in) of the expanded slug on the diameter of 12 gauge slugs, their listed expanded size and some math. If I erred, it was on the small size. The larger it is the less it will penetrate.

      Moreover, if their velocity and slug weight claims are accurate, this thing is gonna have 13 percent more recoil than the already shoulder breaking levels you get from 3″ 1oz slugs. And more than double that of 2 3/4″ 9 pellet 00 buck.

      Add on to all of that that this thing might not stabilize out of non rifled shotguns (who uses a rifled barrel for HD), and the projectile is by no means guaranteed to travel nose first through the target. it may well turn sideways, shed pedals, etc.

      So to sum it all up: this thing won’t meet FBI standards; at most any range, even if it were to penetrate, it would be less likely to damage multiple vital structures; it will be less consistent in its performance than traditional loads; and to top it all off, it will have more than double the recoil of standard 00 loads.

      Thanks, I will pass.

  • Mikial

    Cost isn’t that big a deal since I’m only going to buy 12 of these. Just enough to fill my Saiga magazine.

  • Paladin

    Looks interesting, and the full brass case is definitely a good idea for box mag fed guns, but I’ll withhold judgement until I see a gel test

    • Sianmink

      For what it must cost to fill my Saiga with 12+1 of these I could probably buy another gun.

  • Tassiebush

    The shooting was found to be justified but the defendant was convicted of animal cruelty and interference with a corpse after they tested claims about the hole size. They were also sued by the cats owner for cleaning related costs…

  • Kyle

    2.5 inch wound channel? Ouch.

    • Kyle

      Oh and a quick question. How exactly are they crimping that to keep the slug in place and could these be used in reloading other loads like buckshot? The brass looks pretty thick and I don’t see any obvious signs of a cannelure in the slug.

      • Sianmink

        I would say friction fit, that brass is just too thick to do anything with. Maybe they have a cardboard or plastic cup that the slug sits inside.

      • Porty1119

        Brass shotshell hulls are already sold; they’re popular with cowboy-action shooters and the bunch of lovable nutcases who like turning H&R USHs into Africa rifles.

  • Giolli Joker

    Machined brass cases? Extremely pretty, but there are out there 12ga brass cases for likely 1 third of the price of this one… however, it’s lovely.
    I wonder what’s behind the bullet and if they thought about a solution to have it fly straight out of a smoothbore shotgun.
    (Btw, buckshots are devastatingly effective too…)

  • DW

    Love isn’t the only thing to blossom in your heart…

  • jerry young

    give a little more information like when and where can we get them and how much do they cost? I’d like to try them out

  • Bill

    Plenty of people who’ve been shot with “normal” slugs fall down and behave, and I’ve never heard of collateral damage from over penetration, other than the obvious. I’m also not certain that you would get a wound channel that wide, instead of 6 slices of narrow channels, assuming it expands correctly. Granted, that improves the odds of interrupting a blood vessel or major nerve, properly placed. Nonetheless I’ll have to get some for my Museum of Odd Shotgun Ammo, and to trade off to the girl I know who makes jewelry out of bullets and cartridge cases.

    One of the benefits to a slug is penetrating light cover, and I’m not sure how well this would do in that regard, or against bone.

  • RawDawg

    So, the title says brass based, but the article describes them as all copper.

  • Rick A

    I’ll stick with 00 buck.