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A couple of weeks ago we a test of .454 Casull vs. a 12-gauge slug (specifically a Remington Slugger). That slug did great, but it got me thinking — how much better might something like a Brenneke slug perform? So, this week, it’s a straight-up ballistic gel test of a Brenneke Black Magic Short Magnum one-ounce, 2 3/4″ shotgun slug. And (spoiler alert) it’s just plain incredible. About 150 fps faster than the Slugger and much more destruction — heck, the ballistic gel slow-mo shot alone was worth it (and should forever put “caliber war” claims to rest. Handguns are handguns, but a 12-gauge loaded with Brenneke slugs…well, I almost think Jayne Cobb might nickname it Vera.

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  1. That looks bad, in a good way. Have you seen the Hexolitt32? It is also a devastating slug, though it isn’t cheap.

  2. Slugs are incredible and most people don’t even know much about them or have any idea what they are capable of. It would be nice to see some testing done at longer ranges. Say 50-70 yards.

  3. I’ve been shooting Brenneke Rottweil slugs in 3″ magnum and 1 3/8oz when camping in bear country. Is the Black Magic superior to the Rottweil desing? I have been pretty happy with it in terms of accuracy and decided stopping power, although it is reminiscent of shooting a thump gun.

  4. I’m a big proponent of slugs. I own 3/4oz & 1oz and 00 & 000 in equal amounts. Hard to resist ~437gr @1400fps. Distance shooting is immensely enjoyable, especially against steel plates.

    Enjoyed the jello shot, as I do all STB410 videos. Never tried the Black Magic personally. Will have to give them a whirl.

        • “People” is plural, who knows, maybe he meant 3 or 4 bad coming at you, one behind the other. Could happen!

        • The sheer damage means that the flaws of it aren’t as big of a deal. With a hollow point handgun bullet, over penetration might mean it isn’t expanding enough. However, this is a solid shotgun slug.

        • This round does not need to stay in the body to transfer all of its energy to be lethal. Take the front section of gel block which was falling apart. Now imagine holding it up to any part of a human being’s center mass. Now think about veins, arteries, vital organs, and nerves and how this round could possibly disconnect any of them in that area. I work on a surgical team and can assure you that if you took a scalpel and created the same wound channel, any where center mass, you wouldn’t stand a chance at survival.

          Yes you do need to be concerned what would be behind your target because of over-penetration but considering it is a shotgun it would probably be used in a home (would need to be sure who is in next room) or out in the wilderness, not a crowded shopping mall.

    • You’re right, in handgun ammunition I definitely do harp on not wanting to see bullets overpenetrate (although, to be fair, I’d take overpenetration over underpenetration, but in an ideal world we wouldn’t see either).

      If you look at the segment involving the first picture of the bullet in the gel, I do say that it overpenetrates a lot. And that’s not good. But I still wanted to see what the thing would do. Slugs are generally used against 4-legged creatures, but what if you wanted to use it against a human — how suitable might it be?

      In a 12-gauge, it’s not easy to find a projectile that won’t overpenetrate — 00 buckshot will go about 25″ easily, and this slug went 22″, and the Slugger went 20″+. They overpenetrate. It’s a risk you have to accept when using a 12-gauge shotgun for self defense.

      In concealed carry, out in public, with no idea when or where the gun might need to be used, overpenetration is a concern regarding the potential of hitting bystanders. But it would be rare indeed for someone to use a 12-gauge as a concealed weapon, and probably unwise even for using one for open carry out in public. Accordingly, I see the 12-gauge as more likely to be used in home defense against home invaders. In that scenario, yes there’s the potential for overpenetration to cause problems, but it’s nowhere near as likely (IMO) as in the totally unpredictable scenarios that a concealed-carrier may face. So maybe (MAYBE) it’s more suitable for use in such a scenario — especially if you have more distance between you and your neighbors. Might be irresponsible to use such a weapon in an apartment, but if you’ve got 40 acres, it might be more acceptable.

      Please note: I’m not advocating that people should arm themselves with slugs for home defense. I’m demonstrating what the slug does. Now that we know what the destructive capabilities are, it’s up to each of us to weigh whether that additional destructive power warrants the risks that potential overpenetration may pose.

      • Have you ever tried #4 buck? I shot a silhouette at 25 yards once with 41 pellet #4 (22″ barrel, modified choke) and the pattern covered the whole torso, so inside of that I would think it would be devastating.

        The other factor with shot is where the pellets that miss go.

        • +1 on that question. I’ve read in quite a few places that #4 buck might actually be the best defensive load for close distance, precisely because it’s still extremely devastating, penetrates just deep enough rather than overpenetrating, and is less likely to penetrate walls (or at least it will penetrate fewer). And Federal specifically makes a high-quality defensive load for it, Federal Vital-Shok (in 2.75″ and 3″ versions), with FliteControl wads and copper-plated shot, which should give it very good patterns even further out.

    • Because everyone understands that 12 gauge slugs over-penetrate. He’s just illustrating the damage for fun’s sake, it’s not part of his ammo competition. Also probably a shout-out to more rural viewers who don’t have to worry about a slug penetrating 22″.

  5. Can’t find these anywhere – every webstore is sold out, except for some place called the Ammo Bank that sells them 30% higher at $14.99, and $5.00 fee if you don’t SNAIL MAIL them a copy of your proof of age.

    Anyone know where these can be had for $8-$10/box now?

    • Have pity on the dude. Maybe he’s gonna retire soon, and just wants to build up his nest egg, using you for the hen that lays his eggs!

  6. Wow! That really is an impressive slug! I wonder how many unsupported sections of walls it will go through after it leaves the perps vitals.

    • Probably more than a few…

      If we assume that the bad guy you had to shoot was equivalent to about a foot of ballistic gel, then my calculations show that this slug would exit him while still traveling at about 613 feet per second. 400 grains at 600+ fps is no joke, that’s dangerous. If my calculations are correct, this slug could totally penetrate two bad guys back-to-back.

  7. Well for >2X the price of other slugs it better do something extra.

    He’s beaten the 9mm to death with a ton of manufacturers and models.
    I think it’s time for him to do another mega test series on slugs.
    Probably way to early to call a winner in that category.

    But really, does any bad guy who gets hit with even the cheapest slug really going to be in any shape to continue a fight?

    • I still have lots of 9mm to test — but even I’m getting sick of testing 9mm! 🙂 So yeah, that’s why you’re seeing a few different variety tests thrown in. I still have to finish off the 9mm Ammo Quest, and I will, but sometimes I just like to test other things too.

      As to your question — my thought is, no, if you hit someone with a 12-gauge slug (from just about any type of slug) the devastation is going to be so substantial that it’s extremely hard to imagine how they could continue in the fight. But, you never truly know — look at the case of Officer Peter Soulis, who had to shoot the bad guy 22 times (22 times!) with .40 S&W. You’d think one solid hit of a .40-cal Ranger SXT in the torso would stop someone, but Soulis hit him 17 times in the chest and the guy was still coming…

      Sometimes humans drop from seeing a .22 fire at them. And sometimes they take a grand total of 22 hits from a .40 before they stop. Sometimes people can be astonishingly resilient, so you should be appropriately prepared.

      • Nice to see you on the board. Your 9mm series is great and yeah there’s probably some more models to go through before you can declare that it’s all encompassing. Unfortunately for me, I normally bought HST and your review probably makes my job of buying it a lot harder. I have an alert at SGammo and the last in-stock alert mentioned that there were 750 others emails going out for the 100 boxes available. Needless to say I didn’t get any. Curse your reviews STB410! cheers.

      • Can you please shoot a Barnes 95gr Tipped TSX into some gelatin? 🙂 Matter of fact, with all of the calibers available for an AR lower that are advertised as deer calibers, i’d love to see a x39 vs 6.8 vs 6.5 vs .30AR review.

  8. When you’re comparing the Black Magic to the Remington Slugger in an anti-personnel role this falls into the category of dead is dead… Akin to when I slog through pages and pages of internet forums arguing whether 8mm Mauser or .30-06 has more stopping power. Any worthwhile comparison should be done on damage to big game or penetration through medium to heavy cover, not human replicating ballistic gelatin… I’m pretty sure that the guy who is shot reasonably center-mass in the torso or through the femur won’t know the difference between the Black Magic or the Remington Slugger.

      • Regardless of physics, since neither of these rounds were addressed specifically in Marshall and Sanow’s 1996 book… Any speculation on “one shot stops” that hasn’t gone through their wringer of the Scientific Method is purely that… Speculation!

  9. For self defense, I don’t think it would matter much which 12ga round was used (provided it was within range), if a human is hit anywhere near center mass they won’t be much of a threat. Even birdshot at inside the apartment ranges hit in essentially one solid mass of shot, maybe 2″ wide. Of course birdshot would be useless at 100 yards. Within range though, I don’t think the bad guy will know the difference. In fact I don’t think he’ll know anything at all. Ever.

  10. Thank you for an outstanding video ShootingTheBull410 … the damage that slug did was beyond impressive.

    I have been wondering if .44 Magnum shot out of a carbine/rifle would be anything close to even a standard shotgun slug. I found a video that indicates muzzle velocity is in the neighborhood of 1850 fps and the bullet expands to 3/4 inch diameter. The force of the bullet hitting the gel block was so violent that it threw the gel block right off the table, even though it was held in place with duct tape! I sure wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end.

    For anyone who is interested, here is the video:

    • Your thought process mirrors mine. I had just run that test, to see if a big pistol round could match a shotgun slug (I used a .454 Casull, 250-grain, around 1700 fps) and the impact and damage was very, very similar to a Remington Slugger 12-gauge (438 grains at around 1302 fps).

      Your test with the .44 Magnum from a carbine delivered even more impact than the .454 Casull from my 6.5″ revolver, so I’m not surprised at the test results at all. If someone wants to have a pistol-caliber carbine, .44 Magnum is an excellent choice.

    • If the velocities are correct the Brenneke slug beats out the .44 in energy 2056 – 1824lbs/ft. Although the .44 slug should be substantially more aerodynamic so it would have the edge past 75 yards or so, and it should be more accurate. A .44 lever action with an 18.5″ barrel would get you a 9 round magazine, so it wins there. Throw in a box of Buffalo Bore deer grenades and I’m thinking I’d go with the .44. And if you want a lighter recoiling version for the lady of the house, you couldn’t go wrong with a .357 lever either.

      • How about a VEPR12 with a 12 or 20 round magazine full of these 🙂 – staggered with 00 copper buck, slug, 00 copper buck, slug…

        I will take one of those.

        • Now you’ve got a winner. The other advantage to the 12ga. is the ability to load shot up front and slugs in the back. Of course there’s no guarantee that you’ll stack them in the order you’ll actually need, but it does give you an opportunity to avoid putting your neighbors in danger unless it’s absolutely necessary. Plain old birdshot is devastating at 12 feet.

  11. Guys, this is intended to be used on nasty large animals, like a brown bear…. You need reeeeealy deep penetration and the slug cannot fragment. All this talk about using it on people is just nuts.

    I no longer keep a 12 gauge around the camp, but when I did, it was loaded with these slugs.

    Spokane WA USA

  12. I have 2 questions:

    1) your first test was a 400 grain hard-cast vs 12 gauge vs 250 grain hollow point. Does anybody make a 400 grain hollow-point in .454 casull or other expanding bullet type?

    2) How does .50BMG stack up to that slug? (especially in Soft point or hollow point.)

    Ok 3rd question – How much would it cost to get you to show us? 🙂

  13. We need some 38/357 tests from a snubbie!! I’ve asked before, but I think a lot if ppl would really want to see that.


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