By Glen Wunderlich
Member Professional Outdoor Media Association
Testing Lightfield Ammunition
Here in lower Michigan, where centerfire rifles are outlawed for deer hunting, the most popular firearm is the shotgun. As a necessary evil, many of us endure the shoulder pounding from excessive recoil produced by hard-hitting ammunition so that we can be on target when opportunity strikes afield. And, nothing is more difficult than to shoot tight groups after your shoulder is black and blue and your fillings are rattled loose. All that has changed!
Lightfield Ammunition has produced 12-gauge shotgun slug ammo that begins with mild and ends with wild. The mild version, in its Lightfield Lites configuration of 2 ¾ inches, is still quite formidable and propels an 1 ¼ – ounce saboted slug downrange at a respectable 1300 feet per second (fps). And, this load won’t beat you up.
Here is where things get interesting: Its 2 ¾ shell named the Hybred EXP fires the same 1 ¼ – ounce saboted slug at an impressive 1450 fps, while retaining downrange energy of 1200 foot pounds at 125 yards and does so while still hitting the exact same location on the target as the Lites. Lightfield refers to this phenomenon as SameSite Accuracy and permits sighting in with the milder loads and then confidently switching to the harder hitting stuff.
But, if that’s not enough punch to please you, hang on – and, I do mean hang on – for the next level of deer-drilling power: The 3-inch, Hybred Elite smokes the same slug at 1730 fps and produces an astounding 3628 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. No other manufacturer can match this horsepower. In fact, the energy developed with this load is on par with a .460 Weatherby Magnum firing a 500 grain bullet! The 3-inch slug will hit about 1 ½ inches higher than the Lites or EXP at 50 yards and is designed to be dead on at 150 yards, if you have zeroed at 100 yards with the 2 ¾ – inch shells.
To accomplish a high level of accuracy takes a bit of an unusual hold described by Lightfield in this manner: Position a solid rest under both the forend and butt portions of your gun’s stock. Begin applying shoulder pressure to the butt of the gun and offset any forward gun movement by pulling straight back with your right hand in trigger squeezing position. With your left hand on the forend, pull firmly straight back and down at a 45-degree angle. The firmer the hold, the better the accuracy will be. Keep in mind that 60 percent of your overall group size can be directly attributed to inconsistent left hand pressure. If the tips of your fingers are not turning white and/or the gun tends to fly out of your hands, your hold is weak and so too will be your groups.
Although rifled slug guns perform similarly to rifles, they are not rifles and cannot be zeroed as if they were. Even the fastest slug has a significantly longer barrel time than a typical rifle bullet. It is extremely important to apply the same back pressure to the forend and the butt stock in the field as is done at the range! Not doing so will result in the barrel jumping into the air, moving your point of aim and ruining your shot before the slug even exits the barrel.
Sighting in should be at 50 yards and not 100, because the slug must impact the target while still in the supersonic phase of its flight, which eliminates approximately 60 percent of the windage factor. It’s a huge mistake to do otherwise! When the 2 ¾ – inch shells are sighted in 2.5 inches high at 50 yards, gravity will have it dead on at 100.
The Lightfield slug eliminates the inherent inaccuracy associated with bore size variations. When fired, the pressure build-up behind the projectile forces the locked slug/sabot assembly to expand to the actual full bore size of all shotgun barrels, regardless of the manufacturer. Once expanded, the locked sabot/slug assembly takes full advantage of the barrel rifling, maximizes spin and ensures an incredibly accurate flight path. In essence, the round becomes “customized” to whatever gun you have.
Oh, yes. That group shown in the photo was no fluke. Our shooting session had 5 shooters and all were able to produce virtually the same results. In addition, the SameSite technology is now available in 16 and 20 gauge. (Disregard the holes with the red “Xs”.)
One more thing. Lightfield has a 3 ½ – inch 12 gauge round firing a 600 grain slug at 1890 fps with muzzle energy of 4759 foot pounds, but we won’t go there right now. But, if you are heading to dangerous game territory, it’s worthy company.