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Old January 5, 2010, 04:38 PM   #1
Uncle Ben
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Who hunts deer w/ a 12ga & rifled/slug barrel?

Just wondering how common it is among hunters to hunt deer and other medium/large game with a 12ga shotgun with a rifled/slug barrel.

I've heard about the option of using slugs in a shotgun instead of a more typical rifle, but it seems like it must be very uncommon. I've also heard that you are limited to about 100 yards this way. Just wondering how good of an option it is.

Side question: is there a difference between a slug barrel and a rifled barrel in a shotgun, or is it just two names for the same thing?

Thanks!
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Old January 5, 2010, 04:59 PM   #2
Magnum Mike
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Here during our regular firearms season that and hand guns is all you can use! Muzzle loaders also!
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Old January 5, 2010, 05:55 PM   #3
Doyle
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Why use a slug instead of a rifle ? Only because the law says you have to. Any other reason just doesn't make sense. Some people try to justify it by saying "it's a perfect brush gun because it busts through brush". Hogwash. If you can see the deer clearly enough to shoot, then a rifle will get the job done there as well as in open places the shotgun could never compete. If you can't see the deer clearly enough to shoot, then DON"T SHOOT. It MIGHT have some validity in areas where you can legally use a rifle but are so close to populated neighborhoods that you are concerned about bullet travel in the event of a miss. Even in that case, a muzzleloader would give you superior accuracy and range without any extra bullet travel danger.

As to the difference between a slug barrel and a rifled slug barrel - yes there could be a difference. Lots of manufacturers made smoothbore slug guns with rifle type sights. Those are made for rifled (foster) type slugs. Rifled bore barrels are made for saboted slugs.

I keep one slug gun (a Mossberg 500 with a rifled barrel and open sights) specifically for a wildlife management area that doesn't allow rifles.
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Old January 5, 2010, 06:14 PM   #4
Shotgunaholic
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Uncle Ben,
Here in SW lower Michigan you cannot hunt with a rifle. You are limited to shotgun, hand gun or muzzleloader. To answer your question regarding the difference between a slug barrel and a rifled barrel.

• A slug barrel is a short (20”) smooth bore barrel with rifle sights or a scope. You would typically use a Foster style slug (rifled) or buck shot.
• A rifled slug barrel is what it says, it has twist rifleing and is shorter in length than a standard SG barrel (20-24”). In these you would shoot sabot slugs. I have heard that some folks shoot buck shot in these but I would not.

The rifled barrel/sabot slug combination will give you better accuracy than the smooth bore/foster slug combination. As far as being limited to 100 yards, I do not belive that. I have taken whitetails out to 124 paces with my smooth bore/rifle sight 12 ga shotgun setup. I have also taken them with my scoped rifled set up out to 100 paces. However these distances are not the norm. Most of the 30 something whitetails I have taken over the years have been in the 20 to 60 pace range. Since I bought the rifled/scoped barrel setup I have not used the smooth bore barrel except when hunting the standing corn using double ought buck.

Anyway, hope you find some of this info worthwile. Attached is a photo of my 12 ga Wingmaster magnum with a Hastings rifled slug barrel with muzzle brake.
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Old January 5, 2010, 06:20 PM   #5
kayakersteve
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I do because NYS makes me, not because I want to

I use this Mossberg 835 with rifled barrel and scope - Generally use Hornady or Remington slugs. It kicks like a mad mule and is no fun and is only good for 8 inch, 200 yard accuracy - I would love to switch to a 270 or 7mm but NYS thinks we will miss and accidentally shoot people on another planet so NYS limits my range to 200 yards!!!!! DUMB, Huh????

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Old January 5, 2010, 07:52 PM   #6
Rembrandt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Ben
....option of using slugs in a shotgun instead of a more typical rifle, but it seems like it must be very uncommon. I've also heard that you are limited to about 100 yards this way. Just wondering how good of an option it is.

Side question: is there a difference between a slug barrel and a rifled barrel in a shotgun, or is it just two names for the same thing?



Most all the midwestern states restrict rifles, shotguns-muzzleloaders-handguns are the legal firearms of choice and quite common.

Rifled slugs can be quite accurate out to 200 yards.

Slug barrels generally have rifled sights, not all are rifled.

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Old January 5, 2010, 08:48 PM   #7
Jack O'Conner
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This little deer was a genuine trophy on the dinner plate.

I hunt whitetails in Pennsylvania and Maryland with rifled shotgun and 300 grain Hornady sabot ammo. Deadly but kicks (heavy recoil) very hard.

Jack
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Old January 5, 2010, 09:02 PM   #8
Shotgunaholic
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Kayak guy and Jack,

I agree about the recoil with sabot slugs, the first time I shot them was from my hunting buddys Wingmaster with a Hastings barel similar to mine but w/o the muzzle break. After five shots I had a headache. That is why I bought a Hastings with the muzzle break. It is almost unbelieveable how much the muzzle break tames those slugs down.
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Old January 5, 2010, 09:11 PM   #9
kimbershot
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i am from ct. we have several seasons--private land rifle/shotgun, public shotgun, muzzleloaders and of course--bow. up until this yr. i hunted (knee injury). hunted private land rifle and private/public shotgun. in ct. shots are up close and personal. i did get a buck at 75 yards with a rifle a few yrs ago, but the majority of deer were taken within 15-25yds (really can't see much further in the cover hunted. shotgun always put them down on the spot. rifle--deer went a little further.

i used to use a browning a5 with williams site on 26 inch ic barrel. finished with an encore with red dot on a rifled barrel. always shot foster style slugs in both and both were accurate on the range and on the deer. i found no limiting factors using slugs vs. bullets.
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Old January 5, 2010, 10:01 PM   #10
dabigguns357
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I use a shotgun just because i can and it's cheaper than buying a rifle/scope,and ammo.

My shotgun is more versatile than any rifle on the market.I bought a mossberg rifled slug barrel gun,added a red dot sight,and some rifled slugs all for less than 200.00 nib out the door.After i get home frome hunting i just change ammo and throw a 18 1/2 inch barrel and prop it up in the corner for h/d.

Now if you can tell me where to find a good quality rifle,scope combo that won't break you ever time you shoot it,i'll be the first to buy it.
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Old January 6, 2010, 08:10 AM   #11
namlot1979
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Here in Ohio it is shotgun, handgun or muzzleloader only which is fine with me. We have so much cover where we hunt a rifle would be useless. Even my smoothbore shooting rifled slugs is deer killing accurate to 100 yds any further than that and I shouldnt be shooting at it anyhow. We take pride in our ability to get short range on our game and that is what hunting should be about....Even with our muzzleloaders we dont take much shots over 75 yds...
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Old January 6, 2010, 10:49 PM   #12
SomeGuyInMidwest
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The main thing for a slug gun is the slugs. I have not personally seen any difference in accuracy between Remington, Mossberg, Browning, and Benelli.

As stated earlier, there is a difference in slugs for a rifled vs. smooth bore. The sabot slugs have pretty good range. I use Winchester Partition Gold and can group slugs on a paper plate at 200 meters. While not exactly rifle quality groups, it is sufficient to kill a whitetail. Hornady SST slugs have similar ballistic qualities as the Partition Golds, but do not have the same weight and simply do not have the knock down power.

The other thing to consider is optics. Shotguns with slugs have extreme, violent recoil. It takes a high quality scope to withstand the punishment and maintain a zero. I have seen many hunters have the Tasco-lie red-dots fail when it counts the most. I have also seen Burris, Bushnell, and Simmons scopes break/fail under hunting conditions. I have had Leupold scopes with no issues. I hunt with others that swear by Nikon scopes. I would highly recommend something with a lifetime warranty.
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Old January 6, 2010, 11:17 PM   #13
Catfish25p2000
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I'm in Illinois, so we can only use a shotgun, handgun, or muzzle loader. I use an 870 wingmaster with remington copper solid slugs, and kill the crap out of deer. I wouldn't shoot any farther than 100 yards with my gun (I'm an iron sight guy with a shotgun), but with a scope, you may get out to 150-200 but you would loose some serious steam out there.
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Old January 6, 2010, 11:18 PM   #14
Willie Lowman
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Quote:
Hornady SST slugs have similar ballistic qualities as the Partition Golds, but do not have the same weight and simply do not have the knock down power.
Knock down power on white tailed deer is judged by the accuracy of your shot not the weight of your slug.

Those Hornady slugs are like 300 grain .50 cal bullets. I have used that caliber weight combo in a muzzle loader and seen deer fall down just fine.
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Old January 6, 2010, 11:43 PM   #15
JackSparrow
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I used to use a "deer slug barrel" for my Winchester 1400. It was smoothbore, and quite short compared to your standard bird or rifled barrel. I was also accurate with it out to 100 yards using Winchester SuperX 2 3/4" rifled slugs.

I've seen Brenneke 2 3/4" rifled slugs be quite accurate at over 150 yards through a smooth barrel, and over 200 yards through a rifled barrel.

Would I choose a shotgun over a rifle every time? No. There are times when I prefer a rifle, and it's usually when I'm taking shots at over 100 yards and want high reliability with low recoil for a quick follow up shot.

It also depends on what kind of game I'm hunting, as well as the regulations. For example, in southeastern Minnesota, shotguns (or handguns) are all you can use for deer, so it's what we use. However, when I go bear hunting in northern Minnesota, most of the locals used rifles until we showed up with our 12 gauge, and they saw what kind of damage they did to the bears. There was no tracking bears when they were hit with a 12 gauge slug, while the rifle hunters tended to have to track their bears a little ways. Now, the majority of the hunters in that area are using shotguns, because let's face it, who wants to track a wounded bear through thick swamp-woods?

So essentially, it's based on preference more than anything. I don't have a use for a rifled barrel due to the way I hunt, but there's plenty of people I hunt with that use a rifled barrel. For me, it's also a cost issue. Sabot slugs tend to cost $2 per slug, or more. And the barrel for my SX3 is $600 minimum. It's simply not worth it for me when I can use my standard bird barrel, firing $0.50 slugs, and being just as accurate out to 100 yards.
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Old January 7, 2010, 08:01 AM   #16
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I hunt in MD and in SC. MD has a number of counties that are shotgun only like other states mentioned above.

I'm running an 1100 w/ a Hastings Paradox and a Nikon 3x9. Currently shooting Win Supreme Partition Gold. I started w/ Win BRI sabots, then was using Federal Barnes expanders for a while.

Sabots are pricey and they do kick a lot. My dad summed it up well, "That's not a rifle, it's an artillery piece!"

You can get decent accuracy if you a willing to invest in a number of loads to see what your gun prefers.

I shot one at 173 yrds on a dead calm day from prone in an open hay field. This year, I dropped this one at 127 yrds, seated in a ladder stand.
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Old January 7, 2010, 10:36 AM   #17
Uncle Ben
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First off, thanks everyone for all the great information. I'm learning a lot so far.

Jack Sparrow: what brand/type of $0.50 slugs are you using in your bird barrel? I was planning on buying a Mossberg 500 combo that comes with a 28" vent rib barrel and a 18 1/2" barrel. Both are smooth.

I would think that the 18 1/2" would be too short, and the 28" too long.
Could I shoot slugs that are designed for a smooth barrel (for bb's) with either of these barrels?
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Old January 7, 2010, 11:50 AM   #18
Willie Lowman
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If you have smooth barrels, use rifled slugs. Foster slugs some folks call 'em.

You will probably have better luck with your 18 1/2 barrel if it has rifle sights.

I don't know what would be to short or too long about 18" or 28" barrels, they are pretty standard sizes.
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Old January 7, 2010, 12:15 PM   #19
Uncle Ben
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Thanks.
I have just seen that most barrels for slugs seem to be around 24" on average, so I figured the 18 1/2" or 28" might be the wrong length for one reason or another.

Are there barrels that are specifically designed for slugs that are smooth, or are barrels that are specifically for slugs always rifled?

I just want to make sure I understand the options correctly...if you have a smooth barrel that is normally for "shot", then you should use a rifled slug....and if you have a rifled barrel, you use a sabot slug (and you will get more accuracy at greater distances) Is that correct?

One more question (at least for the moment): is a choke required when shooting rifled slugs...or is it only required if you want to acheive greater accuracy?

Last edited by Uncle Ben; January 7, 2010 at 12:21 PM.
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Old January 7, 2010, 12:21 PM   #20
hogdogs
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I won't use a $abot $lug so no need for rifled barrels. I do fine with either a 18 inch or 28 inch barrels using cheap slugs. Sub pie plate groups at 65 yards offhand all the time.

As for choke... I have a mod in the long barrel and cylinder bore in my short gun. I get about the same groups with either... likely do to easier to aim the short gun negates the tighter accuracy from the longer gun.

Brent

Last edited by hogdogs; January 7, 2010 at 12:23 PM. Reason: Added second paragraph.
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Old January 7, 2010, 12:35 PM   #21
Brian Pfleuger
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Until very recently the entire lower half of NY state was relegated to slug guns. My hunting areas still is but rifle zones are slowing spreading throughout the state.


So far as range, a saboted slug gun is still pretty limited. Under most circumstances 100 yards is still near max, I have a VERY hard time believing anyone gets consistent accuracy at 150 and beyond. I have tried NUMEROUS brands of sabot slugs (Hornady, Remington, Winchester...) and more than one version of some brands and from multiple guns. Shooting from a lead sled we have never been able to get acceptable accuracy beyond about 120 yards, say nothing of hunting conditions.
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Old January 7, 2010, 01:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Are there barrels that are specifically designed for slugs that are smooth, or are barrels that are specifically for slugs always rifled?

I just want to make sure I understand the options correctly...if you have a smooth barrel that is normally for "shot", then you should use a rifled slug....and if you have a rifled barrel, you use a sabot slug (and you will get more accuracy at greater distances) Is that correct?

One more question (at least for the moment): is a choke required when shooting rifled slugs...or is it only required if you want to acheive greater accuracy?
Like said above, there are both smooth bore and rifled slug barrels. Some manufacturers produce both. All true slug barrels will have rifle type (adjustable) sights. You simply pick the type of slug to match the barrel you have - your understanding is correct.

As far as slugs through a choked barrel. A smoothbore slug barrel will have no choke at all. When shooting a slug through a choked bird barrel, you'll generally find that the least restrictive the choke the greater the accuracy. Most manufacturers do not recommend shooting a slug through any choke more restrictive than Modified.
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Old January 7, 2010, 01:19 PM   #23
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
All true slug barrels will have rifle type (adjustable) sights.
Technically, that is not always true. There are barrels made that are just like some rifle barrels, scope mounts only:

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Old January 7, 2010, 01:35 PM   #24
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Ok, I'll give you that. Some are meant to be scope sighted and don't carry iron sights at all.

By the way, my hunting partner had one of those cantilevered mounts on a Mossberg. Couldn't get the blasted thing to hold zero. The mount was so flimsy that the slightest bump would bend it just enough to through it off zero.
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Old January 7, 2010, 03:18 PM   #25
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doyle
By the way, my hunting partner had one of those cantilevered mounts on a Mossberg. Couldn't get the blasted thing to hold zero. The mount was so flimsy that the slightest bump would bend it just enough to through it off zero.
Wow! That would suck. I have an 11-87 (almost exactly like the picture actually) and I can tell you that the cantilever mount on that gun is anything but flimsy. It may well be the strongest part of the whole gun!
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