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Old February 22, 2013, 12:59 PM   #1
BrittB
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Using a shotgun for deer hunting

Using a 20 gauge shotgun, what would be the best shell to use and what kind of range could one expect?
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Old February 22, 2013, 01:20 PM   #2
Nathan
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I think Hornady makes a 20 ga SST. That is a good design usually. What shotgun do you have? Rifled barrel? Cantilever?
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Old February 22, 2013, 02:04 PM   #3
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I've used my smoothbore 20ga successfully out as far as 65yds with slugs - but good sights and/or a reddot/scope are a necessity, to consistantly hit a deer's vital zone that far (or further) away.

FWIW, My 20ga slug gun is an Ithaca Model 37 Deerslayer.

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Old February 22, 2013, 02:18 PM   #4
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I'm using a H&R single shot 20ga with a smooth bore and mod choke. I'm working on a scope mount as well. I think a red dot is out as a scope, state law.
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Old February 22, 2013, 04:13 PM   #5
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Using my scoped Win 1200 20 gauge I have used Fiocchi slugs and Federal slugs to good effect but shooting targets this summer has caused me to switch to Remington sluggers. Partly because that was about all I could find in my toy stores and partly because they shoot very nice at 100 yards, better than I thought they would. Out to 60 yards you won't have any problem with your gun and choke and if you get a scope or hi viz rifle sights you will have a hundred yard gun.

My scope is a cheap 2.5X Simmons and has been solid for me for over 10 years. This winter is the first time I have had to think about changing my sight settings and that was because of the high velocity sluggers.
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Old February 22, 2013, 04:23 PM   #6
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I have a mossberg 20 gauge smooth bore with a modified choke that shoots remington slugs like a rifle @ 50 yds. It's freaky accurate for a bird barrel! If you have a smooth bore barrel then you want rifled slugs. If you have a rifled barrel then you want sabots. Some of the loads available for rifled 20 gauge barrels are highly effective and accurate out to 100 yds. I limit my shots to 60 yds with rifled slugs.
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Old February 22, 2013, 06:31 PM   #7
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BrittB,
The only way to know what will give the best performance in your gun, is just to try various types of ammo.
Shotguns are kind of like .22s in that regard.

Maybe it's a Mossberg thing, but my 500 12 gauge is the same way.
I have both barrels, one a smooth bore, modified, and the other a rifled with sights.
Using standard ole' foster slugs in the smooth bore and trying various sabots in the rifled barrel, they both are about as accurate, with the same groups.
Any difference at longer ranges is more due to the lack of sights on the smooth bore than anything else.
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Old February 22, 2013, 07:14 PM   #8
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I've tried slugs at targets which is why I'm working on fitting a scope to it. It was close but close doesn't cut it when it comes to hunting, I don't want a wounded animal on the run. Has anyone had good luck with buckshot?
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Old February 22, 2013, 07:38 PM   #9
PetahW
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Unless the shot is extremely close, I've found buckshot to be a wounder - probably why it's banned for hunting deer in my state's game laws (not in 12ga, though).


.
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Old February 22, 2013, 08:27 PM   #10
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Rifled slugs are the shot of choice then, got it!
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Old February 22, 2013, 08:44 PM   #11
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I used to have a cut down 12 ga H&R that I used as a general purpose truck / cabin gun. It looked like hell, but I used JB Weld to affix some Williams peep sights. Could probably silver solder them on as well. It was really handy, but not so much fun to shoot more than a few shells.

As for slugs, get a few different varieties and see what works best from your gun.
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Old February 22, 2013, 11:39 PM   #12
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Slug

My father took his first deer with an Ithaca Model 37 Featherweight 20 Gauge slug while it was swimming. You can probably hit a deer at about 150 yards with a slug,but the accuracy depends on if it is rifles or not. The shotgun also had a Williams's peep sight.
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Old February 24, 2013, 05:45 PM   #13
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I've had great results with Remington buck hammer slugs. 2" high at 50 yards 2" low at 100. Way cheaper than copper slugs. Additionally, some of the speedy slugs flew like knuckleballs out of my short rifled 870 barrel.
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Old February 26, 2013, 01:14 PM   #14
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Used Remington Sluggers for years out of various smooth bores. Tried others but always went back to them until a couple years ago when I tried Brenneke KO's. Consistent patterns tightened up just a tad so I switched to them. But if I had to go back to Sluggers, I wouldn't sweat it cause the difference was minimal.

That being said, agree with trying different slugs and using what your shotgun shoots best.
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Old February 26, 2013, 01:45 PM   #15
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I use a Browning A5 with a smoothe bore deer barrel with rifled slugs.

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Old March 1, 2013, 08:21 PM   #16
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Perhaps this video will provide a glimpse into buckshot effectiveness - with a 20 gauge.
Watch it all or forward to frame 3.10


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvDMN4PlcZA
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Old March 2, 2013, 10:44 AM   #17
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I am not much a fan of buckshot, it is great at shorter ranges..
I like slugs, many of of the deer I shot were between 60 to 100 yds. If I had been using buckshot, they would be still out there. I also have scopes on all my deer shotguns.
I do use 00 buckshot for my HD shotgun
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Old March 2, 2013, 11:34 AM   #18
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Using a shotgun for deer hunting

At real close range I don't doubt buckshot. I'd be loaded with rifles slugs of some kind myself. I'd be comfortable after some time at the range out to 150 yards, and that's REALLY pushing it. My true comfort level would likely be less than 100 yards.
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Old March 2, 2013, 03:00 PM   #19
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Here is a 230 yard smoothbore slug video. Now Hickok45 CAN SHOOT no doubt. But it is not hard to put regular rifled slugs on a 8 inch plate at 100 yards with a smooth bore shot gun with a cylinder or Improved cylinder choked barrel. With the imp. cylinder usually being the better of the two. Smooth bore shotguns slinging rifled slugs are more accurate than one would think.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNTyCcip-ks

As far as buckshot, I personally wouldn't feel comfortable at more than 60 yards or so. I once took a deer at 70 paces, with 3" OO Buck with a 500 Mossberg 30" barrel Full Choke. I only put ONE pellet in the deer's neck. And he ran a country mile. The only way we found him was with our trail dog (short legged Beagle). It was a dumb decision to even try that shot. But I was young and I didn't have any better sense back then.
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Old March 2, 2013, 03:11 PM   #20
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Yes, slugs for smoothbores have come a long way from the undersized, bore rattling, and barely accurate enough for 65 yard shots of the slugs of the 1940's and 1950's. Just as the improvements in buckshot ammo have come a long way from the "blue whistlers" of the same era. Today's top end factory buckshot loads are no longer limited to "bayonet range" or deer size game.
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Old March 2, 2013, 03:37 PM   #21
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Buckshot is a bad idea for deer, particularly if you are interested in eating the animal- note in the video provided by RMcL that there are hits all across the deer, including at least one in the guts.

If your goal is good tasting meat, then shooting up the eatin' parts and poking holes in the poo pipes is a bad plan.

One hole through the lungs will kill them, without the mess. Buckshot scatters hits randomly ...... making it all but impossible to do just the damage necessary ......
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Old March 2, 2013, 03:45 PM   #22
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Buckshot is illegal in Iowa. If you are wanting to reach out and poke a hole in something, you need a rifled barrel. It is the only way you can take advantage of the improvements made to slugs. Oh, and with that rifled barrel you need to use sabots. With that combo and some practice you can kill deer sized game out past 150 yds. A good scope might be in order then too!
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Old March 3, 2013, 12:13 AM   #23
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"Buckshot is a bad idea for deer, particularly if you are interested in eating the animal- note in the video provided by RMcL that there are hits all across the deer, including at least one in the guts.

If your goal is good tasting meat, then shooting up the eatin' parts and poking holes in the poo pipes is a bad plan.

One hole through the lungs will kill them, without the mess. Buckshot scatters hits randomly ...... making it all but impossible to do just the damage necessary ......" jimbob86 - From Nebraska

------------------------------------------

First of all, in the video it is apparent to this Southerner, the pattern was centered on the junction of the neck and body. This common aim point places the pattern in neck shoulders and lungs. Most deer struck with half or more of the pellets in typical buckshot hunting load, centered in this area, drop as if poleaxed. As with any conventional shotgun load, the minimum pattern/maximum range of the gun/choke/load combination must be determined through pattern testing.


Here is another video of a Buck taken with Federal 3" Flite-Control 00B. See frame 3.50 for the shot and 6.4 for the recovery of the Flite-control wad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhfZtytEYO8

Last edited by RMcL; March 3, 2013 at 12:41 PM.
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Old March 3, 2013, 03:04 PM   #24
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Quote:
But it is not hard to put regular rifled slugs on a 8 inch plate at 100 yards with a smooth bore shot gun with a cylinder or Improved cylinder choked barrel.
Agree with this. Have taken a few deer at 100yds with a smoothbore,cyl., 12ga. 1100 using Rem. Sluggers. Till about two years ago had shot that same gun/load going on 30yrs. and know where it hits out to 100yds.

Switched to Brenneke KO'S and have not yet shot them out to 100 yet. Sooo, that gives me something to do this summer. Hopefully same holdover as Sluggers.

Using buckshot on deer in Ohio is illegal.
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Old March 3, 2013, 03:42 PM   #25
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"Perhaps this video will provide a glimpse into buckshot effectiveness - with a 20 gauge.
Watch it all or forward to frame 3.10


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvDMN4PlcZA "


Dang,
I'm glad I saw that, that 20 ga #2 buck knocked this deer down yesterday,
I have heard so many experts question the killing power of 20 ga for big game, at close range the 20 rocks
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