New 12 Gauge Ammo Creates Holes Bigger than Your Fist

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.

The billet machined cases don’t suffer from stress cracks like the drawn variety and have been tested to 1,000+ reloads with no measurable degradation. In both WW1, WW2, and Vietnam, US Army used paper or plastic hulled shells and found them lacking in resistance to humidity, eventually going to brass. The OATH loads just starts out right. Having solved the challenge of making machined reloadable aluminum cases, OATH will also offer ballistically matched practice loads at lower price than these premium shells.


The frangible slug is enormously heavy at 2.25oz but slower–1200fps–so that the muzzle energy of the two loads is similar at 3100ft-lbs. Upon impact, this all-brass (except for the 40 grain copper expander die) projectile breaks up into half-dozen 158 grain sharp triangular pieces, each spreading about 15 degrees to the side of the initial direction. Penetration is likewise limited to the depth of a rib cage, producing very good stopping effect without over penetration.


On the left, experimental expanding slug with a flat die, on the right, the fragmenting slug. Both may be fired from a smooth bore with roughly two inch dispersion at 25 yards, but rifled shotguns are ideal for best accuracy. The lighter projectile has been tested to yield groups under 2 inches at 100 yards with Remington 870 Deer Gun. Precise machining and jacket-less monolithic construction have their pluses.

The high energy and impressive precision turn modern rifled shotguns into light safari rifles, suitable for most North American game at short range and eminently functional for defensive social use. Just don’t fire them from lightweight single shot or side by side shotguns–your shoulder won’t like it! In a gas operated autoloader or a defensive pump with a full-length tube, recoil is far more reasonable.

Both of these loads will be available for purchase on OATH web site by the end of January 2016.