Review: Lightfield Slugs

Lightfield Whitetail Hybred-exp shotshell

Most folks using slugs in the shotgun do so because centerfire rifles are not allowed in a certain region or hunting area. Others do so because they understand how hard a shotgun hits at close range and find the slug a great deer and boar stopper. I have experimented with slugs for over 30 years because I wanted to improve the performance of the police-style riot gun. These slugs are powerful, they pound the shoulder, and they get the job done. (Pounding is less with self-loading actions and shotguns heavier than riot guns.) None are more effective than the respected Lightfield slugs.

Lightfield Bucks, Boars & Bears shotgun shell box
The Buck Boar and Bear load is among the most versatile slug loads.
I have listened to those with experience in the hunting field, and the results are impressive. Lightfield offers slugs that run a wide gamut of performance. You may choose slugs that kick but little, or all of the way up to slugs that are guaranteed to produce the most energy and knockdown power.

Lightfield offers a Lite load that will jolt a 1 ¼-ounce slug to 1300 fps versus the usual 1600 fps. This is a good load for those using lighter shotguns and for personal defense. While buckshot is still a great personal defense load at modest range those with experience in these things regard the slug as the more reliable stopper. I could not agree more. My Benelli tactical pump is often loaded with the 2 ¾-inch Hybred EXP. With a good recoil pad and modest recoil the Benelli performs well with this slug.

Moving up in power, the 1 ¼-ounce Hybred slug exits a 20-inch barrel at an impressive 1450 fps. Lightfield tells us that at a long 125 yards, this slug retains 1200 foot-pounds of energy. That is impressive! There is also a 3-inch shell available with the Hybred slug. This one breaks about 1700 fps from the TriStar Tec12 self-loader I tested this load in.

Exit hole left by a 12 gauge slug shot through a textbook
The exit hole in the textbook—and plenty of energy left.
While the autoloading action makes for a lighter kick than the pump, this is still an awesome loading at both ends. I am unaware of a load with greater punch than this Lightfield Hybred. This is similar to hitting a game animal with an elephant rifle. The big slug simply does the business. If you have a shotgun with a rifled barrel, and can hold this tight, the Hybred slugs are accurate well past 100 yards—perhaps 150 yards with the proper equipment.

To test accuracy thoroughly requires a serious dedication to the grip, solid bench rest, and good recoil pad. Any miss and deviation from the zero inside of 100 yards is related to shooter error more than the accuracy of the slug or the shotgun. Keep the shotgun steady, lean into the butt, and keep the support hand pressing the shotgun to the rear. Remember, you do not need a rifled slug bore shotgun to use the Lightfield slugs well.

The sabot-type slug combination actually expands in the bore because of backpressure on firing. The sabot slug locked to the barrel and gives good accuracy. A rifled slug barrel will give the finest accuracy but an open-cylinder barrel will give excellent results to 50 yards and a bit beyond, making the Lightfield slug an excellent option for hunting in dense cover.

I have tested these loads extensively. I fired some in my son’s rifled barrel Winchester 1200 with excellent results. It wasn’t difficult to produce a 2-inch group at 50 yards, when taking care to aim properly and keep the piece steady. Yet, this isn’t the finest of shotguns for long-range accuracy. Just the same, for deer or boar this is impressive.

Bob Campbell shooting the Mossberg 930 shotgun with slugs
Even the heaviest Lightfield loads are controllable in the easy shooting Mossberg 930. While a purpose designed slug gun would give better accuracy the Mossberg is an excellent choice for close range defense use.
The Tec12 with its ghost ring sights and recoil absorbing action did nearly was well. Among my favorite defensive shotguns is the Mossberg 930 Tactical. This shotgun features a well-designed recoil pad. The self-loading action soaks up recoil, and overall this is among the most comfortable defensive shoguns to fire and use. With a 7-shell capacity this is a formidable shotgun for home defense or defense against dangerous animals.

I loaded seven of the Lightfield 2 ¾-inch Hybrid shells in the 930 and took aim at a silhouette target at 10 yards. The 930 has only a bead front sight and is brilliantly fast on target. I held the bead on target and delivered seven slugs into one ragged hole. There were no malfunctions and the slugs delivered outstanding accuracy.

The Lightfield slug is capable of much more and of long-range accuracy but for my needs this is a formidable performance. Check the performance of the many variations on the 12 gauge slug and you will agree Lightfield is first in its class.

Do you have firsthand experience with Lightfield slugs? What’s your favorite shotgun slug? Share you answers in the comment section.


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Comments (9)

  1. I have used Lightfield ever since i found out that Mossberg uses these to test their rifled barrels at the factory.
    I love the fact that the Commander IDS (impact Discarding Sabot) faithfully drops everything that i throw it at, dead in its tracks. The fact most have neglected, might be out of generalities, is that the IDS goes in and does not, refuses to exit the animal, even at close range. This fact is found at the Lightfield website. Shot from Both rifled and Smooth bore guns. I mounted a Bushnell shotgun scope, 1.5-9x, and thesetup of the three have impressed me immensely.
    Gotta love Lightfield.

  2. I have used Lighfield slugs for years taking many deer including bucks over 250 lbs. One well placed shot and they drop! In my opinion, there are no better slugs on the market. My longest kill was 187 yards with a 3.5 IDS. Yes the cost more but giving the fact you only need on shot a box of 5 lasts me 5 years. I have tried them all and Lightfied is simply the best. Ithica model 37 DeerSlayer w/ Ultradot Red Dot sight.

  3. Great article but for lack of one thing. WHERE’S THE BEEF! Not one picture of the slug itself!!! Now who is the knucklehead that left that picture out?

  4. I have had the opportunity to shoot Lightfield slugs for the last several years. Unlike this article i prefer to shoot the 3.5 inch lightfield commander IDS slugs. They kick like a mule in my mossberg 835 with a slug barrel but man do they have some serious knock down power. I have shot several deer with that slug and never lost one. Two of the deer were over 75 yards and they folded up where they stood. Yes they are a pricey round and usually the 3.5 is hard to find but i highly recommend this shoulder thumping round.

  5. I have been using Lightfield slugs for about 15 years. I had trouble finding a load that would shoot well from my Ithaca 37 Featherweight Deerslayer.
    A good friend turned me on to Lightfield, and now it’s all I use. I get < 3 inch groups at 100 yards and they pack a massive punch. They are a shoulder pounder from my short barrel deerslayer, but it only takes one to let the air out of any deer I've ever come across. Well done Lightfield!!!

  6. I have been using Lightfields for many years now. I’ve dropped deer up to 150 yards away right where they stood. My sluggun is a Remington 870 with a rifled barrel and a Nikon slugmaster scope.

  7. I have no experience with Lightfield, but I am a huge fan of Brenneke’s Green Lightning Heavy Field Short Magnum product. This product uses a one ounce lead slug without a sabot in the 20 GA version that I use. It has proven to be very accurate, and very deadly. I hunt with a single shot, and I have never had to fire a second shot using this round. Deer very often drop very near where they were standing when shot, and those that do run don’t run very far. If you’re looking for a new slug round, I recommend that you also try Brenneke.

    1. I also am a fan of Brenneke! My preference is the “Black Magic” 3 inch, I also have in my ammo the “Rottwieler” a 2 3/4 inch round, and the “Magnum Classic” the round used by Alaska State Troopers and Fish & game for rogue dangerous animals.

      I WOULD look at a study done with both of these ammo groups side by side.
      Whoever did it would need to match advertised performance of each pair.

  8. When we were still a slug gun state (ohio) i used these slugs in both the 12 gauge moss 500 slug barrel and an H&R single shot 20 gauge slugger they both had very good results out to 150 yards .We are now allowed straight walled rifles so i use a 45.70 break open now but if i had to go back to slug barrels only lightfields are the slugs i prefer. A bit pricey at around 15.00 a box of 5 but they do perform well in most any slug gun and will drop whitetails .

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