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“You buy a powerful slug o’ shells, Dud,” George Middler down at the hardware store would say in his fruity voice, pushing the boxes of Remingtons across.

I looked up in dictionaries like Merriam Webster online it didn't help. Thanks in advance.

P.S. in the french translation of the novel "Salem's Lot" it is translated as meaning "a lot"

T’achètes de quoi exterminer une armée, Dud ? lui disait George Middler..

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  • slugs are bullets. A slug is a term used for a bulky solid ballistic projectile. It is "solid" in the sense of being composed of one piece; the shape can vary widely, including partially hollowed shapes. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slug_(projectile) However, slug of shells like that is not common.
    – Lambie
    Apr 12 at 16:13
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    A slug of a drink is also a shot of it, or a large mouthful, so maybe it's a play off that - just a slangy way to say "a bunch" or "a lot". A slug is also a type of a shotgun projectile as Lambie notes, but "a slug of shells" makes no sense - slugs go inside shells, so it would be "a shell of slugs" if anything. (Although that doesn't make too much sense either - slugs are large projectiles that come one to a shell, as opposed to the shot more commonly associated with shotguns). Apr 12 at 16:38
  • Ok, I'm going to call a gun store in Maine, right now to find out. There are a lot of Down East variants.//Boy, they answer the phone really fast. :) The guy I spoke to said it is unusual but can mean: the slugs in the shells.
    – Lambie
    Apr 12 at 17:13
  • Yeah, well, I would not expect a translator (which I am by the way) to get something right in French when even a gun shop owner was not exactly 100% sure what King meant. Also, I doubt King is so up on guns and suchlike. [haha]
    – Lambie
    Apr 12 at 17:18

2 Answers 2

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(d) in non-alcoholic contexts, a portion, a share.

1953
1953 [US] R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 174: I gave Candy too much money. [...] You give him a big slug of the stuff to begin with and pretty soon he has a stake.

Green's Dictionary of Slang

So, slug of shells can mean a share or portion of them. Here, the store owner was selling him a box of them. This for me seems to fit best here.

Remington shells are a thing. I prefer not to post links to site. But everyone can google that.

Text: “You buy a powerful slug o’ shells, Dud,” George Middler down at the hardware store would say in his fruity voice, pushing the boxes of Remingtons across.

In alcohol contexts, slug means drink down a portion of a drink. "He took a slug of whiskey and set the glass down".

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Both 'slugs' and 'shells' are terms for ammunition. The box of 'Remingtons' pushed across the counter is a box of ammunition, 'Remington' being a US brand that has made firearms (and, oddly, personal care products such as men's razors) for over a century, though the name has belonged to different companies over time.

I can't say I understand exactly why he says "slug of shells", as 'slug' is not commonly used as a collective term for ammunition. 'Shells' are traditional bullets, the term referring to the outer casing. 'Slugs' are projectiles normally fired from shotguns in place of 'shot', which comprises lots of smaller projectiles fired at once, so that might be why it can be used as a collective term.

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  • Just to clarify - a "traditional bullet" that you'd buy in a store is a cartridge, which consists of a bullet (the projectile) and a case, casing or hull (and powder, primer, etc.). A shell is a type of cartridge specifically used for shotguns - often with the hull made of paper or plastic, and can contain shot (uncountable - a large number of small pellets) or a slug (a single, large-calibre projectile). Apr 12 at 17:09
  • I don't think this assessment is correct. Slugs are a type of shotgun shell but the relationship in this situation is coincidental. Slug, as used here, is a metaphorical, hearty helping.
    – EllieK
    Apr 12 at 19:38
  • @EllieK I acknowledged in my answer that it is only a possible reason but with some logic. I don't think your idea is correct for two reasons - firstly that a 'slug' as a quantity refers to liquid, not countable things like bullets. And secondly, a slug as a quantity of liquid is normally a 'mouthful'. Do you have any resources that suggest otherwise?
    – Astralbee
    Apr 12 at 20:44
  • @Astralbee - The quoted text in the original post is referencing a colloquial conversation in a S. King novel, most likely occurring between yokels in the state of Maine (see contracted words like slug o' shells for support). "A powerful slug o' shells," does not translate to a "powerful shell that is a slug." It is most akin to the phrase a "big ole' slug o' whiskey." Contextually, it 100% does not refer to shotgun slugs.
    – EllieK
    Apr 15 at 12:23
  • @Astralbee - ...and the French translator also sees it this way.
    – EllieK
    Apr 15 at 12:33

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