Last time I went to the range, it was to check zero on my hunting guns. As you may recall, the muzzleloader was on, and the Mossberg 500 was refusing to zero. I chalked that up to a crappy package scope going bad, and set it aside.
I missed with the smokepole the second day of the season. I went out with my iron-sighted 870 two days later, and promptly missed with that as well.
In other words, this has not been a good season.
I'm heading to the in-laws' farm this weekend with plans of filling the freezer, and had no guns I felt I could trust, so it was back to the range today.
I started with the Mossberg. I yanked the scope off and borrowed the Eotech from MrsZ's AR. I boresighted it and took a shot at 25. Made a few adjustments and got it pretty close at 25. Put up a target at 100 and ... barely on the backer.
Bring it in to 50, dial in a few adjustments, and it's knocking out a consistent 2-3" group at 50. Not exceptional, but certainly not bad for a shotgun and more than adequate for deer.
Back out to 100, and the group has become a pattern yet again. Tried taking two or three shots looking for a consistent hit... nothing. Quite literally a 20-inch spread.
Brought it back to 50, and it's not perfect but it's still grouping. One last try at 100, and it's gone again. None of these keyholed, they just weren't holding.
I ran out of shells at that point. I burned three boxes of Hornady SSTs trying to get this done. I cursed. A lot. That's near-on fifty bucks in ammo, for those of you who don't buy sabot slugs. I had blamed the earlier problems on the scope; now that the Eotech did the same thing I'm not convinced. The cantilever rail feels solid, the barrel/bore looks fine, etc. The consistency at 50 yards leads me to believe it's not a mechanical problem... somewhere between 50 and 100 yards, those slugs are doing funny things. They're dropping the sabot around 20 yards (easy to find in the grass), so that's not it. Not keyholing, so not tumbling... they shouldn't be going transonic anywhere inside 250yd.
I'm at a complete loss. These same slugs were shooting like magic last year. (I didn't have anything to shoot them at, but that's not the ammo's fault.) The clear answer is to buy a couple boxes of different brands and try again. Unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the disposable income at the moment to blow $50-60 on a few boxes of sabots and then another 50 when I find out what shoots well.
The muzzleloader, fortunately, managed to group and shoot like a charm; I put three slugs into 3" at 100yd and called it good. Came home and cleaned it, fired a few primers to re-foul the bore, and that'll be my hunting gun for the year.
(All this shooting, by the by, was done without a bag etc. I leaned my elbows on the bench much like I'd lean them on my knees in a blind or stand.)
If anyone has any insight about the Mossberg, I'm all ears.
1 month ago