View Full Version : Best 12-Ga. Slugs For Deer?

Matt VDW
September 27, 1999, 10:20 AM
I recently got a great buy on a 24" rifled barrel with sights (but no scope mount :() for my 12 gauge Mossberg 9200. Now I'm thinking about using it to hunt whitetail deer here in Ohio. I've never hunted deer with a shotgun before (Ohio allows shotguns or handguns for deer but not rifles) so I'd like to hear some opinions on the best slug to use. I'd be taking shots under 100 yards, with 10-70 yards being the most likely range of engagement.

I know that rifled bores work best with sabot slugs rather than the Foster or Brenneke type. Still, there are half a dozen types from which to choose: Federal, Winchester (regular and "Supreme"), Lightfield, Remington Copper Solid, and the Hornady XTP, which isn't a sabot but supposedly is designed for use in rifled barrels.

Since test-firing all these slugs would be both expensive and painful, and still wouldn't tell me much about effectiveness on deer, can anyone help me narrow the field some?

September 27, 1999, 12:15 PM
I know you're not going to like this answer, but.....at the ranges you're talking about, under 100 yards, all of the slugs you mentioned perform wonderfully. Here's the bad part...the best slug for you is the one which your gun likes the most. My suggestion, take the plunge, buy one bax of each, and see which has the tightest group. You'll be amazed at the spreads between brands. Good Hunting!

September 27, 1999, 12:17 PM
Almost forgot-be careful with the Remington Copper. My Hastings barrel came with a warning not to use them. Not sure why, but there's plenty of others. Mine likes the Winchester Supreme the best. Figures-the most expensive!

September 27, 1999, 03:31 PM
Can you say winchester supreme 12 ga . one Ounce max dram in 3 inch? YES you can. BTW my 870 shoots about a 2.5 inch group at 50 yards with these (the holes nearly touch). and at $3 for 5 rounds at wal-mart they aren't that expensive.

In my 870, the same load from federal shoots a FULL FOOT higher at 50 yards. ;(

So practice practice practice.


Paul Revere
September 27, 1999, 04:11 PM
Although Hastings gives a written warning about using Remington Copper Solids in their barrels, I've found that that particular round groups best at 100 yards with their barrel. Go figure. BTW, the one with the cantilever scope mount is best by far.

All other slugs I've tried just don't seem to like the rifling. Some even tumble through the targets.

Just remember, when you've sighted in at 100 yards and are feeling comfortable with your shooting, you'll need to hold your crosshairs quite a bit under your intended entry point at a target standing at 20 yards. Slugs drop a considerable distance at 100 yards, requiring you to compensate at short distances. Stay away from shots over 100 yards unless you've practiced them.

Put a sling on that shotgun and use it for all of your shots, wrapping it around your brace hand forearm. When not shooting offhand in the field, put your barrel against a solid surface when sighting (like a tree) and exhale slowly as you squeeze the trigger.

Be careful where you place your slug on a deer. Believe it or not, with a slug, a double lung shot could make for a difficult trailing job. You want the crosshairs to land high on the shoulder. When the slug hits home it will break the shoulder and the spine, dropping your target on the spot. No trailing needed.

Matt VDW
September 27, 1999, 04:14 PM
Dr. Rob: Are those Winchester Supremes you're getting for $3/box of five the Foster slugs or the sabot slugs? At my local Wal-Mart, the Win Supreme sabots were more like $8 for a box of five! I'll have to try the Federals; the Winchester "gray box" slugs shot a tight group but printed about a foot low at fifty yards.

ptpalpha: Yeah, I was guessing that just about any 437 grain, half inch wide projectile impacting around 1100 fps would put a big hurtin' on ol' Bambi. ;) Last time I used a Ruger .44 Magnum with a bullet weighing less than two thirds as much and didn't feel undergunned. (A friend of mine uses a 6" Colt King Cobra with .357s and, despite what's often said about the .357 being marginal for deer, bags a deer almost every year).

I don't know why the Remington copper solids would be bad for a barrel. They sure do have an impressive hollowpoint!

September 29, 1999, 11:47 AM
Those are the standard (non-sabot) 1 ounce 3 inch magnum slugs (there are 700 grains in an ounce right?).

Maybe they are cheaper here in Colorado??

White box with Orange/red striping. Usually runs $3.50 a five pack.


September 29, 1999, 05:22 PM
You know, it's funny. I switched from my 1100 to an 870 to take advantage of the 3"magnum loads. But the darn thing groups better with the 2 3/4"! So after dropping hundreds of dollars building this killer 870 slugster, I'm shooting the same ammo I did with the 1100! But here's the good part: Now I have TWO great deer shotguns!!! Remember, to be one with everything, you must have one of everything! Good Hunting, Matt!

Ray VanderLinden
October 1, 1999, 03:33 PM
Sorry Dr. Rob
437.125 grains to the ounce, 7000 grains to the pound.
If your barrel is rifled and you can get ANY accuracy out of Foster slugs, you are lucky. Foster Slugs were made for smooth bores.

[This message has been edited by Raymond VanDerLinden (edited October 01, 1999).]

Rob Pincus
October 4, 1999, 05:21 PM
I agree with the idea that your gun is going to pick the slugs that are best for you. I have a Benneli that loves expensive Brenneke slugs, and an 870 that used to love the Activ Slugs (that I can't get anymore!!). The Benneli wouldn't keep the Activs on a paper plate at 50 yards, but the Remington (full choke barrel) would put all of them under one hand at 100 yards!

It is going to take some $$$ and some time to figure out which slug your guns likes best.

Long Path
October 4, 1999, 09:29 PM
And some pounding. OUCH!

I'm no wus-- My regular diet is belted magnums with the heavier bullets-- but when I sighted in my father's and my shotguns for an impromptu shotgun-only hunt at a state park a couple of years ago, I was beginning to really feel the oomph before I was done. In one sitting, I had to:
(a) sight them both in for the new sights on one and the old beat-up-in-the-trunk ones on the riot gun.
(b) shoot a group from 4 seperate brands of slugs to see how they shot in each gun, and
(c) Re-sight the guns to the slugs I chose, to be dead-on at 85 yards. (Now I would choose dead on at 100-- live and learn.)

This took over 50 rounds of shooting one-ounce slugs in one sitting, and I was really wishing I'd had the forsight to bring a sandbag for my shoulder, before all was said and done. Here's the kicker: both were with Remington 1100's, which are gas-operated automatics. Had I been doing the same process with an 870, I probably would have been done in in half the time. I wonder how many of us have decided on the first brand we tried, failing to notice that our groups deteriorate as our session of 437 grainers at 1300 fps goes on? :)

Come to think of it, I do believe the Remingtons I chose were the first ones I tried. But then again, they had them on sale for $2.25/box, too.... Otherwise, I'd have gone for the Brenneke's, which had slightly larger groups, but were rather awesome in their ability to punch a perfect wad of 73 caliber.


Will you, too, be one who stands in the gap?


October 5, 1999, 02:48 PM
Paul Revere: lots of good points in your post "put a sling on that shotgun and use it for all of your shots, wrapping it around your brace hand forearm. When not shooting offhand in the field, put your barrel against a solid surface when sighting (like a tree) and exhale slowly as you squeeze the trigger."

I just have to disagree on one minor point. You shouldn't put the barrel itself against a solid object. Better to rest the gun on a hand that rests on the tree or other solid object. Otherwise, vibration in the barrel can change your point of impact.

Rob Pincus
October 5, 1999, 09:41 PM
If your shotgun is that sensitive to barrel vibration, you need to take another look, you are actually shooting Custom .50 BMG rifle!

(did you really think you could hit a deer at 1000 meter with a shotgun??)


October 7, 1999, 02:44 AM
I agree with the other posts about trying different loads, if looking for max power try rem 3"slugger 1oz at 1760fps or rottweil "brenneke" 3" 600 grain at aprox 1500fps.

Paul Revere
October 11, 1999, 10:33 AM

Vibration? Where's the vibration coming from, the tree? I've actually found that placing the gun on my hand allows my pulse to move the gun (albeit slightly), hence better to place it against the tree directly.

October 11, 1999, 05:08 PM
I have to agree with the consensus. Start with brands you like for other ammo and go from there. Shotgunning or handgunning is also the restriction here in the lowwer portion of Michigan. Last season I had to experiment with my new H & R 980 slug gun. It took a while (I feel your pain Long Path!) I would up with Federal 3" 1oz Hydra Shok HP Magnum sabot. Its whatever your gun shoots well.
I'm a newcomer to this site and am very impressed with all the info.

Adapt, Innovate, Overcome