View Full Version : New to deer hunting

August 28, 2006, 11:19 PM
I am going to try deer hunting for the first time this fall (with the help of an experienced friend). I think I have decided to go with a Remington 870 Express Slug model in 12 Gauge.http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/shotguns/model_870/model_870_express_slug.asp My local gun store is selling them for $330.00.

Do any of you experienced hunters have any opinions on this? I have narrowed it down to the Remington because of it's lower price and good reputation for quality. Also, any suggestions as to what scope would go well with this weapon?

Thank you for your time and knowledge.

Fat White Boy
August 28, 2006, 11:40 PM
Where do you live? Big Five Sporting Goods was selling the 870 for $239.00 this weekend...I am in Southern California.

Hard to beat an 870, they have been around a while.

August 29, 2006, 12:06 AM
The 870 is a solid gun and you can get additional barrels if you want to go bird hunting. Make sure you got it tucked into your shoulder
"right and tight", or it'll leave a mark. ;)

Are you sure you need the scope? This isn't a long range gun, 100 yds is about it for the average shooter. Most can handle it w/ open sights. But if your eyes are like mine I'd use a low power variable like 1.5x4. The lower powers don't restrict your field of vision close in like a 3x9. Also make sure the scope is suitable for shotgun use.

FWIW I have a red-dot (just a cheap Tasco Pro-Point) on the slug bbl of my Black Eagle. The big tube gives a great field of view in the brush or when they're running, and the illuminated dot is nice for low light conditions. My only problem is I forget to turn it off when I come in for the night and the batteries are dead by morning (which is why I have extras taped to the sight). If you consider this route make sure the state you hunt in allows illuminated sites. Note that a red dot is not a laser sight, there is no projected beam. The illuminated dot only shows up in the sight.

August 29, 2006, 12:26 AM
Fat White Boy- I live in Illinois, so CA is not really an option. I thought $330 was a decent price, but now you have me thinking. Was the 870 you saw the slug model with the fully rifled barrel? I see that Remington is offering a $30 rebate on 870's, but $30 off of 239.00 is better then $30 off 330!

August 29, 2006, 12:30 AM
garyfdl - I am not sure that I "need" a scope, but the Express Slug comes with the "cantilever system." As far as I can tell, this has no sights, just a scope mount. Thank you for your advice on the red dot, I hadn't thought of that option. I like the idea of that for low light situations. I don't know the rules on illuminated sights for hunting in Illinois, but I will defiantly look into it. :)

August 29, 2006, 01:07 AM
are you restricted to using a shotgun where you hunt. if not id look into a 30-30. you can find them in the $150 to $300 range.

August 29, 2006, 08:19 AM
That cantilever system needs some type of optics and Illinois deer hunters need a shotgun. Go with a low powered scope. I have a 2.5 Leupold compact on a 35 Remington, it is a good clear American scope. I also have a red dot setting on a Savage model 99 308.

The red dot is a Cabela's market and is waterproof. It is very fast at aquiring a target. Leave both eyes open. If you get a red dot make sure it is water proof.

Some folks I know can shoot a scope with both eyes open and the dominant eye takes over. It works occaisionally for me. I am in the habit of closing my none dominant eye

August 29, 2006, 12:10 PM
Yep, I think you're on the right track with the 870. Just find some slugs that you can keep inside 4" at 100 yards, and you're good to go - probably you'll want saboted slugs (if legal) - they'll work very well with your rifled barrel. Now get out there and SCOUT!

August 29, 2006, 05:04 PM
Academy had the 870 listed today (on sale) for $208. They also had several Mossberg models around around that price also.

August 29, 2006, 07:00 PM
Thank you all for your posts and good advice!

maas - I am restricted to a shotgun or handgun for deer hunting here in Illinois.

Capp35 - I am not familiar with "Academy." Is that an online retailer? Is their 870 listed the slug model with the fully rifled barrel?

August 29, 2006, 08:59 PM
I thought Academy outdoors, was nation wide. they have an online site though.
Not sure if it was the slug model.

August 29, 2006, 09:05 PM
Capp35 - I see on Academy's website that they have the standard 870 for $239.00. I didn't see the slug model. Thanks for the info though. :)

August 29, 2006, 09:28 PM
You cant go wrong with getting the 870 for deer hunting. Where Im from in NY my county is shotgun only also. For my deer gun I bought a 870 SP with cantileiver scope mount and love it. My 870 is built like a rock and has never jammed on me. I put a leupold VX-I 2x-7x scope on it and fire lightfield hybrid sabots. It is a solid 150yd gun/ammo combo for me. I've got 5 deer so far with it all one shot kills, no misses with it, and one of the deer was a doe at 130 yds. I carry it with the scope on 2x for quick snapshots/close range and crank it to 7x for the longer shots or for picking shooting lanes.

August 29, 2006, 11:53 PM
hey rex,
i'm from illinois but i usually deer hunt in WI. i'm actually out in ohio now. anyway, i was all set up to deer hunt in illinois with a good friend on public land. we had tags for the second season. problem was, it was the week after we hunted in WI. believe it or not, we got hunted out, i was just so tired of being cold and wet that i bagged it. that said, we spent a bit of time on the range with the shotties, since we'd always been rifle hunters. i found that a front bead really sufficed up to 100 yards. so i wouldn't say an optic is necessary. but i digress.
enough of my BS rambling though (it's late, i do that when i'm overtired). i think those cantilevered barrels are devoid of a bead. for that purpose, then, i'd get the cheapest red dot that could handle the recoil. i wouldn't expect that to run you more than $40. if the barrel's not rifled - although again, i think those are - it will double nicely if you go for turkey at some point too.

in terms of buying your gun, you can do better! a quick drive to indy or wisconsin and you'll find much more reasonably priced long guns. the interstate stuff only restricts handguns. i've bought (almost) all my long guns near where i hunt in wisconsin at this little hardware store, they cut some good deals. so if you've got the time, and it's not too far (don't want gas to offset the deal), it's worth calling around and finding a good spot to run out to. i'm out near the place i mentioned at least once a month so it's convenient for me.

anyway... long answers to short questions, hooray.

September 1, 2006, 10:40 AM
Thank you all for your insight and helpful information. I am going to get the 870. :)

September 1, 2006, 03:00 PM
I tried one of those rifled barrels with the scope mount on my 870. It shot very well with the sabot slugs, out to 150 yards. It also kicked much harder than my smooth bore slug barrel with rifled sights. I do pretty good with iron sights at 100 yards and I didn't feel that the extra range and slightly better accuracy was worth the extra recoil, so back it went.

If you try to sight it in from a regular, seated bench position, you'll see what I mean. Sight it in off a rest while standing and you'll have better luck.

Buckshot doesn't pattern very well from a rifled barrel (donuts), so you won't want to use it for SD. The sabot type slugs are also more expensive than regular slugs.
For me, the old style, smooth bore slug barrel remains a better choice. YMMV Luckily, the barrels are quickly changeable. Another barrel will cost between $100-$150.

Have Fun & Good Luck

September 1, 2006, 03:08 PM
Hi rex,
Another one from Illinois here. Just wanted to say good luck with the 870. You'll be happy.

September 1, 2006, 06:46 PM
I'm old, tired and broke down so I have a Winchester 1300 with rifled slug barrel and 12X Bushnell. My compadre likes to shoot .308 (a great rifle round) but then he likes the hail mary shots. I suppose it to be pretty woody where you will hunt in Illinois, ergo the choice of fire arm. Unless you plan on trophy hunting I stronly suggest head shots to spare damage to quality cuts of meat. With a quality slug gun like Remington you should easily bag Bamby with minimal problem. Good hunting.

September 2, 2006, 02:09 AM
The 870 is a great gun (I am a remington fan as well), but I picked up a Mossberg 500 with a 28" barrel and a 24" rifled barrel with sights (combo package) for around 250 a year or so ago at a walmart of all places. The 500 is a great gun and you can even get a blackpowder barrel for it later if you want to get into that as well. Not as expensive as the 870, and can use it as a "truck gun" and not feel bad about abusing it.

Also once you decide on the gun for you go out to where you plan on hunting and start scouting and planning everything. Get a good topo map and binoculars and start going out (try to go out at dawn, mid day, and dusk) and seeing where all the trails are and looking at the movement patterns. That way on opening day you know where to be to get that big buck.

September 2, 2006, 03:21 AM
I have two 870's. I have shot 1,000's of rounds through the 12 ga. on the skeet field. They will shoot forever and then do it again! I hunted with it several years too using a plain smooth slug barrel with rifle sights. Works good. 870 is one of the best made guns for the money in a pump shotgun IMO. However, I bought a 20 ga. 870 with the same barrel style. I have not shot a slug or hunted with the 12 ga. since. Now days I usually hunt with handgun, but when hunting with others (when doing deer drives etc), I take the 20ga. If I am alone it's just the .44 mag.
If I were to do it all over again, it would the 870, but it would be the 20 ga. all the way. Lighter to carry and quite a bit less recoil. Easier to practice with.
I'm mostly a sure kill shooter and don't take the long shots unless maybe it's with a good solid rest at a standing broadside buck in the clear. Works for me!
My guess is that you will soon see the 870's for much less when the hunting sales start. And a used 870 would be worth a look too IMO.
Good luck hunting!

September 4, 2006, 10:33 AM
Thanks again to all who posted. I appreciate your advice.:)

T. O'Heir
September 5, 2006, 11:17 PM
The 870 is the shotgun to which all others are compared. Put a low magnification scope with a wide field of view on it. A fixed 4X will do. A scope will only let you see the target better. It will not give you better accuracy.
You will have to sight in with the ammo you intend hunting with the same as you would with a rifle. You will have to try as many brands of ammo as you can to find the one or two your 870 shoots best at 100 yards. Yep, 100. A 4" group is good enough, but you'll likely get a bit less than that with ammo your 870 likes. Think in terms of it being a large bore rifle as that's what a rifled barrel makes it.
Don't even think about buckshot. A rifled barrel won't shoot it worth beans and buckshot is totally unreliable.

September 6, 2006, 02:02 PM
If you want to go for accuracy instead of versatility in a slug gun,try to find a H+R ultra slugster.I own one,a 12 gauge.I think you can get the plain jane one in either gauge for a little more than a couple hundred bucks.I own the deluxe version with the camo laminate wood,plus I also got a bushnell trophy 3x9 for about $325,it will shoot rings around my buddy's 11-87 with a hastings barrel with the muzzelbrake all day long.

September 13, 2006, 03:53 PM
Well I am some what new to deer hunting too. I'm going bow this year but I was thinking about slugs. I have a Remington 870 Express but it's not the slug type. So would I have to get a different barel for it and why? I know guns a lot and I grew up hunting but I've never used slugs of any kind.

Art Eatman
September 13, 2006, 09:02 PM
trab, this thread might help:


September 16, 2006, 11:25 AM
And get on the phone with your state representative about getting that law changed, so you can get a 30-06!