How to Slug a Rifle Barrel?

how to slug a rifle barrel

Slugging a rifle barrel needs a core understanding of the diameter and the size of the bullets. With this knowledge, one can quickly slug a rifle barrel. The interior diameter will identify the size of the bullets that you can insert into your rifle. Nowadays, most of the rifles manufactured by the Americans do not essentially need to slug the barrel, which is an excellent initiative for the shooters. But the rifles made by other country manufacturers might need to slug a rifle barrel, and that varies from rifle to rifle.

If you are using factory-loaded bullets in your rifle, you do not need to worry as most factory jacket bullets are 9mm, and will be .355 inches only. So, in this case, you are not required to know the interior diameter. On the other hand, if you are using commercial bullets, then you need to pay proper attention to knowing the diameter so that the exact size of bullets can go through it.

In this article, you will get a complete understanding of slugging a rifle barrel. If you want to know all the details, then continue reading this blog.

How to Slug a Rifle Barrel?

From the above discussion, you must gain an understanding of what is slugging and what its impacts are. In the current section, you will read how the slugging of a rifle barrel takes place. This is how it is.

First of all, you are required to have a pure lead slug. You can buy the pure lead balls from Hornady and Speer. These will be the best suits as these are the perfect ones. You should pick the one that is larger than the diameter of your barrel. For example, if you have a .357 magnum, you should buy a pure lead round ball of .375 inches. If you have a .45 caliber, then you should use a .490-inch pure lead ball. The reason behind picking the larger diameter is that it will get parallel that will be far easier to measure the sides of the diameter. You should only use a wooden hammer or a rubber mallet. Don’t use metal hammers for pounding a slug into the barrel of your rifle. You also need a short rod of wood that you will keep in your hand. But make sure that the size of this short rod should be larger than the size of the barrel of your rifle.

Now, as you have picked all the necessary tools, it is time to use them. Place the pure lead (that you have selected in the above section) on the top of the barrel’s nose. You can also put some oil on it as it will not damage your rifle’s barrel. With the rubber or the wooden hammer, pound the pure lead into the barrel through its muzzle. As you are using a larger size ball, there will be a long flange on the barrel’s nose when you are trying to pound it in the muzzle of the barrel. There is nothing to worry about upon its flange. Just throw it on one side. Now with the shorthand wood rod (that you have picked at the start of the slugging process), tap the slug into the barrel. It is advised that if the barrel is mounted permanently, then you do not need to chip the grips, but if you can easily detach the barrel so you can slug it without any difficulty taking it away from the rifle. This will be very helpful for you if your rifle allows you to un-mount the barrel.

You might experience several things when you are doing the slugging process. When you tap the slug through the rifle, you may notice different experiences for different firearms. For many old rifles, you might see that the slug falls when you just have started tapping it into the barrel. There is nothing to worry about because this is a sign of a narrowing bore. In contrast, in many rifles, the slug slides into them smoothly, indicating that the barrel is made up of good quality manufacturing material. And there are some rifles with constricted and loose spots, but the same is the above case. You do not need to worry at all as it indicates that the manufacturing quality of the barrel is modern. So, you have to be prepared for all the challenges when slugging a rifle barrel, as it can hit the floor in a great sound or can slide down in the barrel with one tap with the rubber hammer. So, when you have started the process, do not bother and face everything with great patience.

If you dodo as described in the procedure, you will surely get your slug perfectly fit into the barrel. With the completion of the process, the time to measure the size of the bullets has started. I am repeating that you have to take a larger pure lead, rubber or wooden hammer, and a wooden rod. These will give you a complete and successful process at the end.

Measurement of the Size of the Bullet

Now you are all set to go for measuring the size of the bullet. Here you need a caliper or a micrometer that is mentioned above for measuring bullet size. It is very easy and simple to measure the size of the bullet if the rifle has an even number of rifling grooves, where you can measure the opposite grooves that will give you the measurement of the diameter. But if you are using a barrel with an odd number of grooves, it will not be as easy to measure the diameter as for the even number of grooves. So, all the barrels with 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, etc., grooves need extra effort than even grooves. So, you can use the caliper for measuring the diameter of parallel grooves in an even number of grooves quickly.


What Is Meant by Slugging a Rifle Barrel?

Slugging is done to determine the exact size of the bullets. In other words, slugging means to tap a lead ball that is slightly larger than the barrel’s diameter down to bore. In this way, a mirror image will be left on the lead ball by which you can easily measure the diameter of the grooves from the high spots on the lead ball. So, this is the easiest way for you to determine the size of the rifle’s projectile. The size of the bullet is measured by using a caliper or a micrometer.

Why Need to Slug a Rifle Barrel?

If you are a cast bullet shooter, then you need to slug your rifle barrel. The slugging process is needed because if the bullets do not match the size of the diameter. Then they will shoot poorly with smokeless powder. But with the black propellant, the powder will slug up an undersized bullet with its force and easily fit in the barrel. However, it does not go right in all cases. You have to slug your rifle barrel if it is not fitted properly.

Does Slugging Hurt Your Rifle?

Many people who have rifles or shooters ask this question: Is there any drawback of slugging a rifle barrel, or does slugging damage their rifle? This question is specially addressed for those who fear that slugging will be a bad idea for their rifle. The answer to the said question is: No, slugging does not hurt or damage your rifle. You can continue using it after slugging a rifle barrel as you were using it before the slugging process. So, you can slug your rifle barrel without any tension in your mind.

Is There Any Difference in The Rifles with Slugging or Without Slugging?

Yes, there is a difference between slugged and non-slugged rifle barrels. The barrels without slug contain a droplet, as well as their bore is smooth. However, the slug barrels have rifle sights that are made for the saboted bullets. But one thing to keep in mind that you will not get any disturbance if you have decided to slug your rifle barrel. So, let us get started on how the slugging process is done.

Final Thoughts

Slugging a rifle barrel does not hurt the rifle and will not be a bad idea anyway. The core purpose of the slugging process is to measure the size of the bullets. The process is very easy if the tools to be used are accurate. This process needs the patience to complete the entire task. You might not get successful on the first attempt. But keep trying to achieve success. You have to make sure that what number of grooves your barrels have and then act accordingly. It will make your task very easy. Good Luck!

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