At SlapShot we have focused our phase one efforts on the 12 gauge slug for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact the 12 gauge slug is a large forgiving format that enables a wide range of experiments. Further, the large profile of the 12 gauge 73 caliber slug facilitates the quintessential "SLAPShot" effect. Now we have gotten a custom built shotgun that functions nicely with our ammunition, but first some information on the shotgun that survived our experiments.
The Work Horse Savage 212 Shotgun
Our initial development relied heavily on the rugged design of the fully rifled Savage 212 bolt action shotgun. On several occasions we punished the gun with hundreds of rounds exceeding SAAMI recommended pressures. After having to replace two lower quality scopes, we added the Nikon Slughunter scope with BDC reticle. In our search for the perfect recipe the Nikon set up enabled many punishing shots, holding zero flawlessly. We want to pay homage to Savage Arms for building that great American workhorse and Nikon for some high quality optics.
Going Custom With Precision Firearms of Oregon
After getting recipes that were in the SAAMI recommended range we went to Eddie Khoury the owner of Precision Firearms of Oregon to build us a custom semi automatic shotgun with a rifled barrel. Eddie found us a Mossberg 930 Slugster and went to work building a law enforcement/military capable shotgun. Eddie replaced the standard Mossberg buttstock with the Mesa Tactical Urbino buttstock and added the Mesa Tactical Sureshell carrier to the receiver. To accommodate future accessories Eddie added the Elite Tactical Bobcat Tri-rail forearm in place of the standard Mossberg forearm. The final touch was shortening the rifled Mossberg 24 inch barrel to 18.5 inches. He also shortened the pull to accommodate those wearing body armor, reducing the tangle ups when shouldering the butt. Now we have a fully rifled, semiautomatic tactical shotgun. We did not add a mag extension, but that is always an option. The stock barrel porting was sacrificed when the barrel was shortened, but Eddie is ready to port the barrel if we decide it is necessary.
After doing some research we established a short list for the sight: Vortex Optics, EOTech and Burris. Our research found that Vortex has a lifetime full replacement warranty and reviews say Vortex takes their customer service seriously. My past experience with Burris has been flawless so I will be a lifelong Burris customer. I have not personally owned an EOTech, but the PD where I work uses the EOTech on the AR15 patrol carbine. In about 1997 or 1998 I had the opportunity to travel to Fort Ord to demonstrate the TigerLight Defense System along with other developers who had different less lethal technology. EOTech was showing off their first generation holographic optics. My colleague who was in special forces thought the battery requirement of the first generation EOTech we saw at Fort Ord would never meet the needs of the Army. That evaluation eventually turned out to be incorrect as EOTech has seen many battles along with the United States Army. We viewed EOTech as a likely choice for our purpose built shotgun until reading an article about L-3 Communication (EOTech) knowingly selling defective sights to the United States Army. That information knocked EOTech off my list. The Vortex products were very attractive due to great reviews and great pricing.
We contacted Vortex optics and asked them for some advice and was immediately contacted back with some options. We settled on the Strikefire II because my research said it could handle the recoil due to the robust 30mm tube and the cantilever mount. The cantilever mount comes stock with the Strikefire II, but the representative suggested swapping the cantilever for a lower profile mount. He was correct, we had to max out the height of the Mesa Tactical cheek piece to get a solid cheek weld with the sight on the cantilever mount. The sight survived the range day without the slightest hiccup. With the excellent customer service and warranty this was a bargain at $179.99.
The custom Mossberg 930 functioned nicely with our experimental ammunition and the recoil was tolerable. With the help of some expert gunpowder people we have been able to create recipes that give us good muzzle velocity, with SAAMI recommended pressures. We did not use maximum loads, but depending on the type of gunpowder and the quantity of the gunpowder we were getting shots between 2500 and 3100 FPS with manageable recoil. We have a few more tweaks to dial in the custom Mossberg before we take it out and start firing our military and police grade ammunition. Our police and military ammunition has higher velocity and will be fitted with our Mechanically Adaptable Projectiles (MAPX).