American Hunter - June 2013 - 62

hw

Federal Trophy Copper Slug
By Kyle Wintersteen

T

he buck wasn't a fighter. Perhaps
it had outgrown that in its youth.
Or, given its size compared to
other bucks we'd seen, maybe it
preferred intimidation to full-on
violence. What I can say for certain is the
buck came to my friend Michael's rattling sequence on that cold afternoon in
Alberta, investigated for a moment then
quickly circled back to tend its does. Minutes passed, my stomach in knots all the
while, before it reemerged. It fed on prairie
grasses amidst loose pines as I took aim.
My shotgun cracked. Had I seen the deer
fall? I couldn't be sure. The shot didn't feel
great, which I confessed to Michael.
"Well, I think you're going to be happy,"
he said, interrupting our search for blood.
Antlers stood tall over the grass, just 10
yards from where the deer had been shot.
Federal Premium's new Trophy Copper
Slug had caught the buck behind the
shoulder and, I later discovered, mushroomed nicely and driven bone fragments
through its lungs. We pulled the slug from
the off-side hide.
That wasn't the first time the innovative
sabot caused me to smile.
My initial test of the
new ammo was with
12-gauge, 300-grain
slugs and a Benelli

Super Black Eagle ii with a 1:28-inch rifled
barrel. My intent was merely to sight-in
the gun (formal accuracy testing would
be performed another day), and yet the
results literally caused me to say "wow." My
first three-shot group at 100 yards was 1.8
inches. Just to make sure it wasn't a fluke,
I shot another group, a veritable cloverleaf
by slug standards at 1.7 inches. I've tested
centerfire rifles that shot looser groups
than that. Given the modern fine-tuning of
sabot slugs and rifled shotgun barrels, the
"200-yard shotgun" has replaced "hitting a
pie plate at 100 yards" as the gold standard.
However, the Benelli/Federal Trophy Copper Slug setup is the first that's truly given
me the confidence to consider shooting a
whitetail at that distance.
Arguably the most unique aspect of
Federal's new design is the aluminum
plate that sits at the rear of the sabot.
According to Federal, the plate helps
the sabot to engage the rifling in a more
The plastic sabot features an aluminum
plate at its base that helps it engage
the rifling, promoting accuracy.

june 2013 ❘

stable and consistent fashion. Upon exiting
the muzzle, the plate falls free from the
sabot. Through some effort and a lot of
luck, I was able to recover one of the plates
after firing. Its roughed edges indicated to
me that it had indeed engaged the rifling
as the sabot rotated down the barrel. It's an
innovative design, but not surprising considering that Federal's engineers are evertinkering. After all, its parent company,
atK, produces everything from fighter jet
missiles to rocket propulsion systems.
The slug itself features a polymer tip
that increases its ballistic coefficient over a
normal hollow-point copper solid. According to factory numbers, the load I tested, a
12-gauge, 23/4-inch shell firing a 300-grain
slug 1900 fps at the muzzle, flies quite flat
for the first hundred yards, then drops 11
inches in the subsequent hundred yards. With a 150-yard
zero, drop is estimated at just
less than 8 inches at 200 yards.
Other aspects of the
slug's design include a large
internal cavity designed to
foster penetration as the

60 ❘  americanhunter.org


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American Hunter - June 2013

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American Hunter - June 2013 - 1
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