There are many barrels available for the Remington 870 and other shotgun models. Most of the barrels have standard lengths like 18.5″, 21″, 26″, and 28″. Some of them are a smoothbore and some of them are rifled. In addition, there are many chokes available.

So, which one is better to shoot slugs with? Which one is more accurate? What is the best slug barrel? Usually, shooters and instructors recommend using a Cylinder or Improved Cylinder with slugs. Some shooters know that there is a rifled choke option, but they are not sure about its efficiency.
I conducted a series of tests to understand shotgun, chokes, and slugs much better. It took a lot of time but now I can share the results with you.

There are a lot of opinions and discussions about shotgun slugs. Not all shooters understand how to shoot slugs accurately. Even experienced shooters often don’t understand which barrel, ammo and choke is better for shotgun slugs.

Remington 870 with Optic Sight

Remington 870 with Optic Sight

I have used the Remington 870 with the Nightforce optic sight. This accessory was made to help users get the most accurate result possible when shooting at distances of between 50 and 100 meters (55-110 yards). Some shooters told me that optic sights cannot withstand heavy shotgun recoil but this one worked perfectly, even with Accutip slugs which are designed for high speed and provide a really hard kick.

Barrel length and slugs

Some shooters think that short barrel is a “slug barrel” and that long barrel is more suited for birdshot than slugs. But in my experience, you can shoot slugs accurately using the long barrel too. My test proved that long barrel is good and sometimes even better than short barrels.

Remington 870 Barrels

Remington 870 Barrels

Barrels used during test

  • 18,5″ smoothbore barrel with a fixed choke
  • 26″ smoothbore barrel with replaceable chokes
  • 30″ smoothbore barrel with replaceable chokes
  • 20″ fully rifled Barrel

Chokes used during test

  • Cylinder
  • Modified
  • Full
  • Rifled

Yes, you can shoot some slugs with a Full choke. But you need to contact the manufacturer about that. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Slugs, Chokes and Barrels Test Results

The test took a lot of time, so I tested only a handful of slugs. Rio Royal Star was used for most of the tests while Remington AccuTip and Rottweil Exact were used for longer distances.

Rio Slug Ammunition

Rio Slug Ammunition

I decided to test different barrels, chokes, and slugs. Here are results of 12 tests with different options:

# Barrel Length Choke Slug type Group size
50 m (55 yards) 100 m (110 yards)
1 18,5″ Cyl Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 117 cm (46″)  
2 26″ Cyl Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 153 cm (60″)  
3 26″ Mod Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 96 cm (38″)  
4 26″ Full Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 147 cm (58″)  
5 26″ Rifled Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 67 cm (26″)  
6 30″ Cyl Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 134 cm (53″)  
7 30″ Mod Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 145 cm (57″)  
8 30″ Full Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 191 cm (75″)  
9 30″ Rifled Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 112 cm (44″)  
10 20″ Fully Rifled Barrel Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 100 cm (39″)  
11 20″ Fully Rifled Barrel Rottweil/Gualandi 60 cm (23″) 216 cm (85″)
12 20″ Fully Rifled Barrel Remington Accutip 25 gram (385 Grain) 72 cm (28″) 115 cm (45″)

Testing Different Shotgun Slugs, Chokes and Barrels, Targets:

Targets:
18,5″, Cyl, Rio Royal Star

18,5″, Cyl, Rio Royal Star

 

26″, Cyl, Rio Royal Star

26″, Cyl, Rio Royal Star

 

26″, Mod, Rio Royal Star

26″, Mod, Rio Royal Star

 

26″, Full, Rio Royal Star

26″, Full, Rio Royal Star

 

26″, Rifled, Rio Royal Star

26″, Rifled, Rio Royal Star

 

30″, Cyl, Rio Royal Star

30″, Cyl, Rio Royal Star

 

30″, Mod, Rio Royal Star

30″, Mod, Rio Royal Star

 

30″, Full, Rio Royal Star

30″, Full, Rio Royal Star

 

30″, Rifled, Rio Royal

30″, Rifled, Rio Royal

 

20″, Fully Rifled Barrel, Rio Royal Star

20″, Fully Rifled Barrel, Rio Royal Star

 

Rottweil Exact, Fully Rifled, 50 meters

 

Remington Accutip, Fully Rifled, 50 meters

Rottweil Exact Fully Rifled,100 meters

Remington Accutip, Fully Rifled, 100 meters

Remington Accutip, Fully Rifled, 100 meters

Test results

You can see results and targets above. The best results I got on 50 meters (55 yards) were with a 26″ barrel with a Modified choke, a 26″ barrel with a rifled choke and a 20″ Fully Rifled Barrel. The best result on the longer distance of 100 meters (110 yards) was with the 20″ Fully Rifled Barrel and Accutip slug.

But they were all pretty accurate for a smooth bore barrel.

Barrel, Choke, Slug and Speed

Also, we measured speed using a shooting chronograph to see if the barrel length and choke had influenced the slug speed. Here are the results:

# Barrel Length Choke Slug type Speed meters/second
Measured Avertised
1 18,5″ Cyl Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 411.6 430,0
2 26″ Cyl Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 422.3 430,0
3 26″ Mod Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 421,0 430,0
4 26″ Full Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 416,0 430,0
5 26″ Rifled Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 423,2 430,0
6 30″ Cyl Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 428,0 430,0
7 30″ Mod Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 432,0 430,0
8 30″ Full Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 433,0 430,0
9 30″ Rifled Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 430,0 430,0
10 20″ Fully Rifled Barrel Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz) 417,3 430,0
11 20″ Fully Rifled Barrel Rottweil/Gualandi 406,8 415,0
12 20″ Fully Rifled Barrel Remington Accutip 25 gram (385 Grain) 451,5 564,0

Rifled choke for shotguns

I was surprised that the rifled slug worked that well. Several inches of rifling had influenced the slug and increased accuracy. The rifled choke is a must have for slug shooting. I have used this type of choke during training and competitions and rifled chokes always improved my results, even when using cheap ammunition.

Rifled barrel and Accutip slugs

Rifled barrel with special slugs enables you to shoot very accurately. Yes, both barrel and slugs are priced higher but they are well worth the price. Recoil is heavy because of the high speed of the slugs but you don’t need to shoot a lot during hunting.

Conclusion

This test was really interesting for me too. You can shoot slugs accurately from any shotgun barrel. Some of them give you advantages but all of them work pretty well. So, buy more slugs, visit the range often, train harder, and you will have great results with any barrel. If you shoot cheap slugs then the rifled slug may help you to get better accuracy.

Related posts:
Remington Barrels
Shotgun Chokes Explained
Remington 870 Express Fully Rifled Deer Barrel and Remington Premier AccuTip Sabot Slug Ammunition

Recommended Product:
Remington Rifled Choke Get Remington Rifled Choke on Brownells