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Old January 18, 2011, 11:28 AM   #1
cnimrod
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Rifle vs Shotgun which is "safer"?

So after shooting low with a slug gun for the 3rd time in about 10 NJ hunts I wish all the more I could use a rifle.
So yes I need to work on range estimation but if i'd used a rifle like i grew up with and can in NY it be a different story. I know it'll never happen but I've read articles on how slugs are more prone to deflecting then a rifle bullet and since you're better able to hit what you're aiming at with a rifle they'd be "safer".
So whadaya think?
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Old January 18, 2011, 11:34 AM   #2
2damnold4this
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I don't know that there is much difference between the two.
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Old January 18, 2011, 11:39 AM   #3
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Rifles are (generally) more likely to be deflected substantially by small obstacles. Shotguns slugs are (generally) more likely to "bounce" and remain intact after striking larger obstacles.


However, I don't think either of those equates to danger.


The VAST, VAST majority of hunting accidents are not from one in a million deflections or bullets hitting someone three valleys over. The majority of accidents are from intentionally shooting someone who was mistaken for a legitimate target, or from not seeing someone on the other side of the target.

As such, it's the nut behind the butt that's most dangerous, not the choice of firearm.

Incidentally, most of NY now allows rifle hunting for deer. Pennsylvania has been almost entirely rifle for decades.

Pennsylvania has a better safety record that NY.

So far, I have heard of one rifle incident in NY and there are several shotgun accidents every year.
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Old January 18, 2011, 11:43 AM   #4
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I have also read that a ricochet 1 oz slug can travel twice as far as a .30 cal rifle round. (IIRC)

Cnimrod, have you tried any of the new 209 primed muzzleloaders? With all the new powders and bullets we have available muzzleloader season has become more like single shot rifle season.
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Old January 18, 2011, 11:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
So yes I need to work on range estimation
How far are you trying to shoot with a shotgun?

If it is so far that you have to hold over (you shot low), then you need to know the range. Guessing ain't gettin' it. Rangefinders are better and cheaper than when I bought mine. They work.

Quote:
Pennsylvania has a better safety record that NY.
Fewer "nuts behind the butts", I'm guessin' ...........
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Old January 18, 2011, 12:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimBob86
Fewer "nuts behind the butts", I'm guessin' ...........

Yeah, but it's per capita... Fewer hunters do make for fewer accidental "targets" but considering that the majority of accidents (almost everywhere) involve accidental shooting of someone in your own party, or yourself, I don't think the larger open spaces and fewer hunters necessarily account for the variance.

Personally, if there's anything "safer" it's that most people hunt with bolt action rifles so you don't get the "BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM...... BOOM BOOM!" like you do with semi-auto or pump shotguns.


Most accidents come from stupid, not from firearm choice.

Just this year, a former acquaintance of mine killed his uncle by setting up blinds on opposite sides of a field and then shooting at a deer that ran between them.... with 12ga slugs... but that accident simply would have happened, regardless of weapon choice.
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Old January 18, 2011, 12:10 PM   #7
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Yeah, but it's per capita...
I understand that- I did not say fewer "people" ..... though that may be the case. I surmise that NY has a higher percentage of inexperienced City folk hunting ..... I don't live in either place, but I understand PA has more of deer hunting culture ......
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Old January 18, 2011, 12:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimBob86
I understand that- I did not say fewer "people" ..... though that may be the case. I surmise that NY has a higher percentage of inexperienced City folk hunting ..... I don't live in either place, but I understand PA has more of deer hunting culture ......

I couldn't give you the numbers, but I highly doubt that's true. Upstate NY is very much like any other rural area of any state. Thousands upon thousands of acres of wooded areas, small towns and rural communities populated by people who have lived on and hunted the same land for generations. Small farms, dairy, beef and crop.

I suspect that the "city hunters" are from, and go to, both NY and PA.... I also suspect that the numbers of "city hunters" are far, far smaller than the legends surrounding their stupidity would have us believe.

Me, I have not one time in my life met someone from "the city" that was up here hunting. I see plenty of out-of-area hunters, but they have universally been from another relatively rural/suburban area and just traveling somewhere to hunt.

To add to that, almost every accident I've ever known of has been committed by "the good 'ole boys" who basically did a stupid thing. They're from the country, they grew up hunting, many of them have been doing stupid things for years... and it finally catches up.

It's not usually the FIRST stupid thing you do that kills you, or someone else.
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Old January 18, 2011, 01:01 PM   #9
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Jimbob....I think your right. Too many nuts from NYC think they know what they are doing with a gun. Going out hunting and shooting up the place. I grew up hunting in PA outside of Philly. My buddy and I have run into more than a few (who knows how they ended up there) guys that were from out of state, either NY or the nut jobs from NJ (where you can't even hold a BB gun at the store without a permit). They would pile out of some beat old caddy or other long car and go stormin into the woods shooting everything with their cool rifles. More than once we found a deer they shot and didn't even try to find. I hate wasting my tag on a small doe, just because some idiot didn't do his part and I had to put her down.
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Old January 18, 2011, 01:23 PM   #10
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Deerhunter,

How many of those city slobs shot people?


I'd also be curious as to the "beat up old caddy". People from cities that go hunting generally have money. They don't drive beat up junk.

The yahoos in the beat up junk are almost certainly not city people but much more likely "country bumpkins".

If I compare all the "types" of hunters that I've ever met... the "good ole' boys" are the most careless, least polite, most polluting, most dangerous of them all. The country boys are the ones who shoot at everything that moves, chase deer with shotguns loaded with birdshot to "keep them moving".... all that nonsense.

The more suburban types are generally well-to-do, polite and careful. They drive expensive vehicles, own expensive guns and wear expensive clothes. They're often not terribly successful, though even that's a stereotype, but they are far from the most dangerous hunters in the woods.

Once again though, per the topic of the OP.... it's the guy pulling the trigger that's dangerous, not the choice of weapon.
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Old January 18, 2011, 01:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
it's the guy pulling the trigger that's dangerous, not the choice of weapon.
+100.

And I'm not sure "missing 3 times out of 10 NJ hunts" has anything to do with the question asked...

I hunt with a bow and it has a worse trajectory than a slug, but I still hit what I am aiming at...
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Old January 18, 2011, 02:36 PM   #12
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I missed low for sure

nicked the brisket and my son then finished the job thankfully. I site in at 100 yds (taped) and I'm good. These deer were all about 100 yds (not taped) I don't practice with the slug gun much it's just too darn painful. I will try some shots at a greater distance 125-150yds and see what's happening. but we could analyze my misses till the cows come home I do enough of that myself thanks.
point was:
I certainly don't think any of my misses were dangerous and I put safer in quotes because yes, safety is in the hands of the hunter but states don't allow rifles solely for their increased range, generally in areas of denser populations and flatter terrain. So the state says shotguns are safer. Bottom line for me, I can shoot a rifle better. If most hunters can do likewise, doesn't that make it "safer"
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Old January 18, 2011, 02:43 PM   #13
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A miss isn't dangerous unless the shot is dangerous.

Be sure of your target and what is beyond....
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Old January 18, 2011, 03:30 PM   #14
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I think the logic would be something like - All things equal which is going to hit the ground first? And the answer to that would be the slug.

Do I agree with that logic? No, because you can't legislate stupidity out of the equation, despite the many attempts to do so.
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Old January 18, 2011, 04:32 PM   #15
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ANY projectile will be negatively impacted by any form of brush or limb.

If you are not willing to practice with your choice of ammo, perhaps you need to change your ammo???? As an ethical hunter, you OWE it to the animal to dispatch it quickly and humanely - that means putting your shot where it needs to be - and that takes practice
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Old January 18, 2011, 04:48 PM   #16
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I agree that it's the shooter that causes more accidents.

But in some areas a rifle is more dangerous than a shotgun. A wild shot with a rifle can travel a lot further than a shotgun slug. Shooting up hill at a ridge line target, a stupid move no matter what you shoot, the bullet will travel further than the slug and thus have a greater chance of hitting someone down range.
A high speed rifle bullet is also more likely to penetrate an object than a slug at greater distance.
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Old January 18, 2011, 06:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
I site in at 100yds(taped) and I'm good.
Do you mean you're zero'ed in at 100yds or you just shoot at 100yds?

Also, what's your setup; 12-20ga? Using what ammo?

When you shoot 'good' at 100yds are you benchrested or free-handed?

Quote:
I will try some shots at a greater distance 125-150yds to see whats happening.
No disrespect but I've been hunting with the same 12ga shotgun for a long time and I still don't think I'd take a 150yd shot at a deer and I practice. Slugs are heavy and you have to practice enough to know where the POI is going to be at different ranges versus where your zeroed at. Course your POI will change shooting uphill or downhill. Only way to really determine that is, again, to practice.

Peezakilla has a good thought with the BOOM,BOOM,BOOM,BOOMBOOM...BOOM,BOOM theory.
All those BOOMs have a projectile attached to them landing somewhere.

Ohio has always been a shotgun state(no rifles) for deer hunting. Although we have to plug our shotguns to hold no more than 3 shells, I just know somewhere there's a law I've not yet read that states "if you pull the trigger once, you have to pull it till shotgun is empty". Soooo... I guess Ohio has the BOOM,BOOM,BOOM theory going on. Never understood the idea of shooting my deer meat up like that. Course most shots are triple taps so probably 2 out of the 3 were misses. Those slug went somewhere.
IMO, thats more dangerous than using a bolt action rifle.

On the other hand, most shotgun slugs don't have the range of most high powered rifles.

As to whether 'shotguns or rifles are safer'. Guess that would depend on how close the nearest population(house's etc.) was to the hunting area, what kind of terrain the area was, etc...
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Old January 18, 2011, 07:24 PM   #18
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I agree with Shortwave.

Taking a shot over 100yds with a slug slinger is stretching it's capabilities. You wouldn't shoot a bear with a .22, because you know its limitations. The same holds true for the range of a slugger.

Past 100yds, the POI drops significantly. It sounds like your range estimation needs work, and that you should be working on getting a closer shot.
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Old January 18, 2011, 07:28 PM   #19
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good ole boys

True good ole boys aint the ones polluting and putting game in harm. Our dads wouldve tore our asses apart for such things. sorry just a little sensitive about that saying. Anyways its always the single person who is firing who is responsible..
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Old January 18, 2011, 07:32 PM   #20
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if you want my opinion and/or to answer your question:

the shotgun is "safer" as far as accidental or negligent discharges go when it comes to people. I might be wrong about this, But its been my experience rifles can be more dangerous to the average, clueless 'joe' than pistols or shotguns.
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Old January 18, 2011, 07:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngunz4life
the shotgun is "safer" as far as accidental or negligent discharges go when it comes to people. I might be wrong about this, But its been my experience rifles can be more dangerous to the average, clueless 'joe' than pistols or shotguns.
What makes you say that? I've always seen that handguns are handled worse than any other firearms while long guns of all types are pretty much the same. Previous discussions here on TFL indicate that others have similar experiences.

I've never before seen any indication that any individual would be more dangerous with a shotgun in their hands than they would be with a rifle, or vice versa.
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Old January 18, 2011, 07:49 PM   #22
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then maybe you're right, peetzakilla

I am not an expert, and I can only give my opinion on the subject from what I have seen.

we all know kid ND/AD are with pistols more(example only: finding daddy's gun). I have seen more people have issues with rifles than any other weapon. Someone made a good point about a missed shot too due to travelling distance, but I didn't see that until after I posted. Some rifles when fully loaded have it in single action. Anyways, thats just my feelings on it.
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Old January 18, 2011, 08:01 PM   #23
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I don't think either one of them is "safer" than the other. The real issue is the person pulling the trigger needs to know their target and what's beyond. If everyone followed that advice, there would be a lot less hunting accidents.
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Old January 19, 2011, 07:30 AM   #24
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Reading through this, we all seem to agree about the stupid factor; it doesn't matter about shotgun, rifle or Daisy Red Ryder.

So, "dangerous" from what factor? Distance a missed shot can travel? Survivability if hit? Probability of a ricochet? All manner of variables in those, looks like. As usual, no "One size fits all."
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Old January 19, 2011, 10:53 AM   #25
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to the OP,

if you have issues with the recoil of a slug gun, i suggest that you do 1 or more of the following:

switch to a semi auto shotgun
switch to a knoxx comp stock (they actually work) if you have a pump gun
or switch from 12ga to 20ga....

also, try to accurately judge distances (practice makes perfect) on deer sized targets ( as a bowhunter this is paramount, but even rifle hunters tend to underguesstimate) ... easiest way to do this is get a lifesize target (either paper or better yet, a 3d archery target) and have someone set it up at varying distances (someone other than you) and then you get to guess how far the shot is..... it is a real eye opener for most folks... that 125yd shot is really 150-175 or more!

also, I am sure you had the "deer fever" while making the shots and combined with possibly flinching and pulling the shot (you already confessed to the slugs hurting you and you cant put much trigger time in) and you may have guessed the correct yardage, but the other 2 factors caused the missed shots.

for me, i am not recoil shy (I have several BIG guns includings a 416rigby, 458 win, 45/70 , 45/90, 338lapua, 375 H&H, 30-378 weatherby, to name a few) but shooting a single shot or pump action 12ga with a 3" slug makes my shoulder hurt just thinking about it. i switched to a remmy 11/87 awhile back for a slug gun and dropped down to a 2 3/4" slug.... works for me.... on another slug gun I use a mossberg 500 in 20ga and it has a knoxx compstock (the "normal" shotgun stock model) and it feels like i am shooting .223 or similiar and is very very enjoyable to shoot and has extreme accuracy (for a slug anyway) at 100yds ...

just my 2 cents.
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