Y-man finds Heaven – Shotgun accuracy at last…

Y-man shoots the S&W 9mm Compact

Wow…
Wow…

At last – Nirvana, Valhalla, HEAVEN!

And no, I have not found Religion, I have found shotgun slug ACCURACY!

For more than 8 months now, I had been champing at the bit, and foaming at the mouth to go up north to the middle part of Nigeria, where I come from, so I could do some further testing of the different combinations and build-up of slugs, especially with my ‘new’ rifled barrel for Mathilda: my much loved Mossberg 500A shotgun. I have been researching and working up loads safely for all of this time. I have been casting slugs for a few months, using both my Lyman 525 Sabot mould, and the Lyman .735 inch Round Ball mould. I had the earlier one for almost 3 years now, and the later was purchased in November. I also did some un-orthodox casting with my self-fabricated 16mm and 15mm socket wrench moulds.
At a point, I despaired about achieving any reasonable accuracy with the 525 Lyman slugs, or with any of my slugs, even with a rifled barrel, and this led me to purchase the .735 inch Round Ball [RB] mould. I had tested shooting the 525 Sabot slugs last year using my smoothbore barrel, and got groups as wide as 12 inches! This is NOT acceptable for hunting, ‘plinking’ [Who plinks with a shotgun?!] and for home defence… I have always dreamed of groups of 3 to 4 inches accuracy, consistently out to 40 yards as my ideal target.
So it was with much excitement that I set out on that 5-hour drive once again.

Sorry guys: video and photo heavy post below!

The shooting adventure in January…
After closing out some family issues, I made some time to go shooting. I learnt from old mistakes to:
1. Make sure the process is structured and meticulously pre-planned. I arranged and labelled the different slug types, documented everything, and made sure to mention to the camera the order of shooting the slugs, so that the results would be clear.
2. Ensure that targets were arranged properly: I tried to set up different targets for the different types of slugs to be shot.
3. I made effort to have up to three camera angles: one target cam, and two others covering from beside/ behind me and capturing the targets too. I used my GoPro Hero 4 and Garmin Virb action cameras.
We got to the [EMPTY] farm, and set everything up, with the targets out at about 46 to 47 yards, leaned against a poor, suffering, lead-filled tree [A wide thick trunk also serving as a back-stop], with a chair to shoot from, and almost immediately began to get hits, and reasonable ones too! I was able to confirm that the Lyman Sabot slugs were giving me what I needed: consistently… 3 to 4 inches at out to 47 yards. I had a few ‘flyers’, some of which were as a result of a MAJOR issue I had while shooting. More on that below.
Conclusion: I will henceforth proceed to only cast the Lyman 525 Sabot slugs going forward: the RB slugs are too heavy, and have the risk of over-pressure. Other slugs are simply not worth the effort.
I think I’m home.

Cheek-slap!
I had a few rounds of toe-to-toe between the stock of my shotgun, and my poor cheek… The new Williams sights on the barrel are almost same level as using a bead sight. Using my Mako folding stock: I was walloped stoutly many times on the cheek by the recoil… I was quite badly bruised and began to flinch and pull shots at a point. I started to have flyers in my shooting. Shooting 42 high recoil slugs on the first day, and 10 more the next day – I actually got home to questions of “So, how does the other guy look? We mean the guy you fought?”
LOL!
I am getting rid of this stock [None too early: I noticed it has developed a crack!] and going back to the excellent MAGPUL SGA stock, which I do possess. Yes, I lose the ‘fold-ability’ but at least this one is a solid, correctly-angled stock.

See a super-imposed image of the two stocks: the Mako has a higher profile, and thus hits the cheek harder. It is also much shorter in LOP, so it is not properly held when shooting.

Y-man. Compare Mako and MAGPUL stocks.

The 50-yard 4-inch fruit-seed hit…
My cousin at one point tasked me with shooting at a 4 – inch piece of dried fruit-seed on the top of a tree out at about 50 yards. I chuckled, and tried… I did not hope to hit it at all, I could barely SEE it!

Took the first shot, using one of the proven failed slugs… Of course I missed by about a mile…
Casually hitched up my shoulders, and took the second shot, using the proven L1 slug: AND HIT IT!
The villagers watching went into WILD jubilation and congratulations! All of them wanted to shake my hand. I felt like a ‘Hero’! Hahaha!
It was GOOD to have had witnesses… Honest.

It felt GOOD… Winning the Gold medal in shooting at the Olympics must feel like this…
Good one.

On further reflection later, I asked myself the question: was it all a fluke? Had I simply been lucky?
Well, maybe…Who knows…

Pressure signs on my slugs!
I noticed some pressure signs on firing some of the slug designs that got me worried about over-pressure on the shells I was firing: shells not extracting, swollen primers and even one torn shell casing on firing… I had a few with a large fire-ball, and much louder blast…
At one point: I even had to use a [clean] stick to push a stuck shell out of the chamber…
I now know which slugs shoot ok now, and which did not exhibit pressure signs: I will stick with those only going forward… I am discarding the other risky slugs forever…
The shots at one point began to shake my safety backwards, and I began to have several failure-to-fires, first shot would be ok, then when I would rack the slide: pull trigger, and ‘Click!’ No ‘bang!’, move safety forward, pull trigger: BANG!, rack slide, pull trigger: CLICK!

This worries me, and I really hope I do not have to remove the safety completely in order to have GUARANTEED reliability – where my gun shoots EVERY TIME [Pun intended!] … I know this would generate some heated debate here, but remember, I am in Africa: not the USA, where the laws forbid such a modification and your prosecutors would be panting with sweaty desire to handle litigation against you involving such a modified firearm. In Africa: the question is WHY do you have a gun, not where is the safety on your gun… And in my country, if you don’t produce your licence document in time: you may have received a few slaps, punches, kicks and even a few poorly-aimed bullets… Here, COMPLETE discretion is the key… Even my own closest relatives do not know I have a shotgun at home.

I may have to go the way of:
This is my REAL Safety...
I just know this will cause a lot of varying opinions on it here: let’s hear the perspectives…

MacGyver has nothing on me! My own Snap-Caps…
You all remember I was talking about getting snap-caps, after the stainless steel ones I got fabricated here turned out to be too heavy… I also had a kind offer from a good friend in Atlanta of some snap-caps, but regretably had to refuse them, as they would have been too risky to take home – looking as they did too much like the real thing.
So I worked with advice I got on this group, and filled some already fired shells with sand, covered with the overshot wad, and roll-crimped to get my own snap-caps. I then sprayed them black to differentiate from regular shells. They work great! Good for practicing fast shooting and slide manipulation…

Meeting a village hunter with his locally fabricated shotgun.
While on the farm, I met with a local hunter, and he had a fascinating locally-fabricated single-shot shotgun. These are made quite commonly here with barrels fabricated from the steel tube from car steering systems [The MAIN steering shaft from a car] which are cut, bored and modified to be used as barrels. Used mainly for hunting and village defence, unfortunately, a few are used, cut short, by unscrupulous persons to rob, kidnap and kill also. Well, this example is owned by a hard working, tough hunting villager…

Shotgun receiver: break-action single-barrel:
Hunter in the Village - Locally fabricated Shotgun Receiver and Chamber-1

The locking, extractor and shooting mechanisms are quite interesting also. Very functional. This example was very lovingly cared for: action was oiled very well too. I guess you could say this is a modern take on the “Shakaboolah”. You can see the loving work that must have gone into the stock…

The cocking lever, trigger, locking action and extractor:
Hunter in the Village - Locally fabricated Shotgun Receiver and Chamber

I actually fired this firearm: almost no trepidation… The bead-sight was wonky and canted to the side because of the cocking lever, but on the whole: at about 30 yards, I got an accurate spread of pellets of about 8 inches.

The barrel, it did look a bit rusty though:
Hunter in the Village - Locally fabricated Shotgun barrel

I later gave the hunter a gift of one single shot-shell for his kindness and patience at my excitement. You can see his very functional bright RED outfit for visibility, and thick jacket and Jeans to protect against the bees, thorns and snakes, as well as the sturdy walking shoes.

The village hunter and his locally fabricated shotgun:
Hunter inn the Village (3)

His hunting dogs! [Well trained: they would run round looking for any shot game on the sound of a shot…]
Hunter in the Village - Hunting Dogs(1)

The bravery of my people…
I was quite surprised and impressed with how fearlessly the villagers in the surrounding areas would come up to my farm, on the sound of my multiple gunshots. They would come to ‘check what was going on…’ without any fear. Some villagers just strolled over to the farm where I was shooting at from their own farms or homes with only machetes in hand… All in the face of the sounds of fairly rapid gunfire.
I asked a few of them what gives them the courage, and most shrugged [We shrug a LOT!] and said: “Well, you only live once, and we must all die someday… No biggie…” LOL!
You all remember that this is a nation that has suffered some extremist terrorism and attacks on innocent villages over the last few years.
My people have HEART! WARRIORS!
[Remember that movie: “Warr-iors! Come out to pla-aay!” LOL.]

US Trip November 2015…
In November last year, I was passing through Atlanta again, on my way back from Orlando, where I had attended a seminar/ conference. Of course, I was able to buy a lot of knick-knacks on Amazon to bring with me: unfortunately, some of them turned out to be defective/ not fit for use in my country – anyone of you guys need three DEAD Digital alarm clocks? [They take 110 volts American, but I have 220 volts here in my country – I burnt three of them out before I realised that!] I’ll gladly pay shipping! Or, on second thought: they would make nice shooting targets placed on their sides!
Of course also, I did some shooting at the nice Stoddard’s Range and Guns in Douglasville.
It is sad what happened at the Stoddard’s Atlanta location recently. My heart goes out to the families and staff at Stoddard’s. I still do not know the full details, but I think I know what actually happened: as it has happened at some ranges in the past. My condolences and sympathy to all.
I introduced something a bit different in my shooting this time: it gets boring quickly when over the years all you do is have a static target out at say, 50 feet, and you simply keep shooting at it… What do you gain? Shoot, retrieve target, look at hits, point at hits, nod knowingly, shake your head wisely at flyers, turn and look at other shooters [firearm safely placed facing downrange!], point at target once again, chase one hand with the other like Goose chasing Maverick… Haha!
It gets boring fast… Even full-auto carbine or machine-gun fire poured into such a static target is no longer exciting anymore…
So on this last trip, I did this routine to get something different:
1. Lay-up multiple targets on the gun range’s mobile target carriage.
2. Send the automated target carriage out to 50 or 60 feet,
3. Firearm unloaded, loaded magazine placed beside it on the counter in front.
4. Breathing exercises, wriggle fingers, flex knees slightly.
5. Close eyes, hold breath, open eyes, exhale, then hit the “TARGET CARRIAGE RETURN” button: speed set at medium…
6. Keeping eyes on rapidly approaching target, quickly but safely pick up pistol, load magazine, cock, aim and FIRE…
7. See how many shots and follow-up shots you can put in what target circles by the time the target gets to the stop point.

Sometimes I put up 2 targets side-by-side on my carriage, and when the firing lane beside me was free: I would even put up a target there also, and do same: learning to transition rapidly and as accurately as possible between two or more fast-approaching targets… I would alternate shooting as rapidly, and as accurately as possible from left to right and return…
I know that the Stoddard’s range equipment has facilities that you can program the carriage for random spurts of movement, flips, rotations etc, but I was just too stubborn to ask for help in setting that up…

I did the same, basically, with a full auto AR15:

My Garmin Virb Camera surprised me by showing the actual bullets going downrange: almost like tracers…
It was FUN! And eye-opening. One thing I noticed was that It really helped me quickly learn how to aim a pistol more rapidly, and get follow on shots on target, getting rid of my old habit of shooting, and then lowering the firearm between each shot…
I shot the wonderful CZ75 Pistol, and the S & W M&P 9mm Compact pistols: the CZ75 won my heart hands-down. A slightly bigger frame that fits my big hands solidly, good heft to it too.
I later did some “single-shot” shooting with TWO malfunctioning .22LR pistols. Man, those things were FILTHY! Rimfire is not reliable in my opinion…

Looking forward to my next US trip!

So, it’s all good…
I really appreciate being a part of this family, and would want to suggest to Steve and the rest of the TFB crew: what would it take to set up and run an actual FORUM? So we can communicate more, and learn from each other by threads, and not only on topics?
Cheers.



Y-man

Y-man is based in a firearms restricted environment in West Africa, he is really interested in shotguns [Which is all he can legally get], and he makes the best of whatever he is able to lay his hands on.

Y-man had some training at an early age in the “Gentleman” forces of the Air Force in his country, including some weapon training…

He also appreciates your advice, comments and feedback almost as much as the air he breathes…


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  • TheSmellofNapalm

    Thanks for the write-up, very informative and interesting!

  • iksnilol

    Very informative, thanks.

    I must admit I really liked that local shotgun. Personally I am working on 3D printer plans for a shotgun. I mean, if they did it with .380 ACP which has almost double the pressure of a regular 12 gauge shell then the shotgun should be easy :P.

    Of course I intend to use metal components but 3d printing the prototype is a tempting idea.

    • BrandonAKsALot

      Have to watch that bolt thrust man. If you can, look up the plans for the Jaco rifles. They are very simplistic single shot guns and are relatively simple to scale up strengthen the locking area if you are somewhat familiar with that stuff.

      • iksnilol

        Hey, that’s an idea! I completely forgot about those.

        Also, recommendation for Y-man: Have you tried sanding/filing down the Mako stock so it is similar in height to the magpul?

  • anon

    You looked like you handled those bursts like a champ. Would you attribute that to any past experiences or training with FA’s, the general controlability of AR’s, or just you being a biggish dude?

    • iksnilol

      I think he was in the military at one point IIRC.

      • Y-man

        Thanks Iksnilol: yes, growing up in military school, age 11 to 17 shooting the FN SLR in 7.62×51, and a few years [2] in service in the Air Force, with same rifle, as well as the Sterling 9mm and the Browning Hi-Power 9mm, all this helped.

        But I must mention that all of this was in Semi-Auto fire only. I only got to fire full-auto on my trips to the US… I guess I learnt from you guys! LOL!

        • iksnilol

          So I should change “at one point” to “basically half his childhood”?

          😛

          Eh, even with a full auto rifle I can’t afford the ammo to fire full auto. The selector rarely goes on the auto setting :/

  • ostiariusalpha

    A fantastic article, Y-man! Your context is from a place that is so foreign to my own, yet your enthusiasm and drive is something I feel such such an affinity with. I’m really delighted you were able to successfully bring your plan to fruition, and give us a report on it; I enjoyed every word of it. Here’s hoping you can increase your contact with the rest of the global shooting community. Custodi in Proelio, brother!

  • Bob

    Interesting read. You make me want to get a shotgun. ;D I do have one, a single shot H&R, but it was made in 1912 or so and is heavily worn, so not recommended to shoot unfortunately.

    If you don’t mind my asking, Y-man, what is it you do for a living? It seems like you are fairly well off for the area you live in, what with the shotgun, cameras, etc. Also, what made you choose the Mossberg 500 and have you considered getting any other toys that go bang?

    • Y-man

      Hi Bob,

      I do not mind your asking… Just that I might not be able to do ALL the telling… LOL.

      Lets just say – the foreign trips, the cameras, other gadgets, spending equivalent of $3,000 on a Mossberg 500, etc… Are all because I am one of what I like to call the “Lucky Few”, and some other people might call “Blessed”. A good job, a great family… Being able to pursue my interests afford-ably…

      Lets just say: I work in the industry that extracts and processes the “liquid black gold” your car drinks daily… And my country was for many years the fifth highest producer of said black gold…

      I didn’t really “choose” the Mossberg 500: I used to have a Turkish Magnum EFE Semi-auto shotgun. It broke [Firing pin] and I later returned it, paid some additional money, and got the Mossberg. This was simply what the [licensed] dealer brought me, and I did not have a choice really… I have not regretted it – the ruggedness, the flexibility of mods and add-ons, the reliability…

  • Tassiebush

    Y Man, I’m very happy to hear about the accuracy improvements. I can totally identify with the flinch implications of firing too many slugs in one sitting. As the shoulder develops a juicy bruise part way through a course of fire it’s hard enough to push on, but with the cheek taking that beating all I can say is you’re a better man than I!
    I really liked the locally made shotgun video. It is really cool to see that type of enginuity. It was a thing of beauty. How do people source their ammunition? is it reloaded locally?

    • Y-man

      Hello Tassiebush. The locals reload using the most shockingly locally improvised materials. You saw that I gave the Hunter the fired empty?

      They make gunpowder: Charcoal, Saltpetre, Sulphur, they strip matches… Then they punch wads out of plastic flip-flops. Load is usually lead pellets cast by pouring Lead melted from discarded Batteries from height into buckets of water. Primers: they actually use caps for kids’ toy cap pistols as primers.

      • DanGoodShot

        That’s great! Life hands them matches, flip-flops, caps and dead batteries and they make… Bullets!!!!! Lol! I love it!

  • FightFireJay

    Y-man, you may be the best thing about TFB! Keep it up.

    • Y-man

      Thanks FlightFireJay: Ssssshhhh! Don’t let Steve and all the others hear that! LOL!

      Thanks!

  • Tassiebush

    I quite like the idea of a TFB forum. It would be cool to have this online community able to ramble off onto lots of topics. I think too that it’d be pretty cool if members had a secure way to exchange details directly with each other.

  • FLdeepdiver

    Always great to read your articles! Glad you had a good time at our range, hope to see you again! JC

    • Y-man

      Thanks FLdeepdiver!

  • gusto

    was that really a negligent discharge ? seemed like a hangfire to me

    • Y-man

      Honestly, Sir, I PRAYED hard while watching that in hyper-slow motion… Alas: I saw that my finger ACTUALLY slipped unto the trigger… Oh, the shame!

      • itsmefool

        At least you’re honest; many here would never admit to such an error!

        • Y-man

          At least I had the firearm pointed safely downrange!

  • Sianmink

    You’re a hero, y-man. Keep it up!

  • BrandonAKsALot

    I get so excited when I finally see a new Y man post. Your articles are seriously so enjoyable and inspiring to read. You really bring a totally positive exuberance to this site. I’m glad to see Mathilda is still going bang after all her different looks.

  • Joshua Knott

    Love reading this guys articles, he truly appreciates freedom.

  • Toxie

    Just love this guy, keep enjoying your sport Y man!

  • DanGoodShot

    Fantastic article! The vids and pics introjected throughout is a nice touch. I have a Saiga 12 that I treaty like its one of my kids. I change furniture almost as often as I do my clothes. Lol. I like learning about fellow gun/shotgun enthusiasts around the world! Keep the articles coming and yes, TFB needs a FORUM!!

  • itsmefool

    Yep, this guy is one of the few compelling reasons to read this blog…make Y-Man an editor!

  • Mike Lashewitz

    All I can say is God Bless You Y-Man for doing your best in that situation. Most of the world now is clamoring to get weapons rights back while they are totally under attack here in the USA.
    Americans have forgotten how to appreciate was most here take for advantage and what our government is trying to steal away.

  • BIGDAVE1954

    Great article Yman. I will read you faithfully now. I too am a Mossberg man. I own 2, a 410 bore and a 20 gauge. I got them in the Bantam series because I have short arms. I am 6 ft. tall, 210 lbs. and have 30 in. arms. This is about 3 in. shorter than normal. I grew up in the coalfields and boxed in something called Golden Gloves. I beat up peoples fists with my face all over the state. One thing I have learned that has helped me in the past…to make steel harder, heat it until it is red then plunge it into granulated sugar. Leave it there until it cools. It will smoke a lot. If it is not hard enough repeat the process. Sugar is almost pure carbon. The steel picks up the carbon and becomes harder. When I was poorer and stripped threads on a bolt, I would break a hack saw blade down and use it to cut channels in a nut the same size as the bolt. This makes a nice die for chasing threads. Maybe this can help your hunter friend.