View Full Version : buckshot for deer?

September 23, 2006, 11:11 PM
Well I found a local spot to do some whitetail/ferral hog hunting in North Texas, but they say that you can only hunt with a bow or a shotgun with nothing larger than #4 buck shot. I imagine these are typical Texas deer... larger than a lab, smaller than a great dane. Would #4 buckshot do the trick on these deer? Where would I need to aim?



September 24, 2006, 12:14 AM
Hm. The problem, ISTM, is that in order to do enough damage to kill the deer, you're going to ruin a LOT of meat, and mess up the hide if you want to keep that. Are you allowed to use slugs in the shotgun? I think I'd be more inclined to do that....

(Or find a place that lets you use rifles.)

Happy hunting! A little over a month to go for us non-archery types!


September 24, 2006, 12:28 AM
no... just bows and #4 buck shot. i guess the area is surrounded by populated areas. what kind of damage/meat loss are we talking about anyway?



September 24, 2006, 12:37 AM
Just get VERY close to the deer before you fire. Hide in the shrubs untill one walks by, then jump out and shoot it at a distance of less than 10 feet. Have you ever seen Commando?

September 24, 2006, 08:20 AM
buy a bow and arrow, or use 3.5" 12 ga. mag w/ a turkey choke. That'll whack em out to 30 yds., and whack your shoulder at the same time. Where is this place?

September 24, 2006, 07:36 PM
Well, giving you as much edge as I can think of here...

A 3" 12 gauge magnum shell with #4 buckshot has 41 pellets in it. That's 41 holes in your deer hide assuming they all hit. For this to work you're gonna need a full or turkey choke, I think, and pad your shoulder or have a good recoil pad ;) But for the deer to die, you have to hit something vital (which means a really tight pattern or being REALLY close to the deer...see OBTC's comment) or hit enough that it bleeds out.

If I were you, I'd get a bow. Or I'd find someplace else to hunt. There's all kinds of Parks & Wildlife managed land in this state where you don't have those restrictions. Thank God!!!!! :eek:


Jack O'Conner
September 25, 2006, 07:04 AM
I agree with castnblast. Bow or buckshot does its best work at around 65 feet or so.

Older books suggest an open bore such as improved cylinder for buckshot. This was to minimize deforming the shot as it passed through the choke. Even slightly deformed buckshot flies away from the cluster and opens up the group. But modern ammo, such as Remington, features plastic beads surrounding the buckshot to buffer this "squeeze effect". Buffered buckshot shoots deadly tight groups with full choke! But I suggest shoot only when the distance is about 60 feet or so.

September 25, 2006, 05:59 PM
Actualy I have found with buckshot full chokes don't always throw the best pattern,,we use buckshot down my way every year, req;s require it.

If your stuck with no-4, so be it, buy the magnum load if you can find it, and then pattern your shotgun,,,on the deer, aim for the rib cage/lung area, unless your right on top of it, then if your hunting for meat shot it in the head.

September 25, 2006, 07:37 PM
If I *had* to hunt deer with #4 buckshot (not ideal at all), I'd keep distances to under 15 yards; maybe 20 yards - maybe, and take neck shots only - with a full or extra-full choke; preferably extra-full or super-full. A bow would be preferable in killing power at that range, if you're proficient with it.

Jack O'Conner
September 26, 2006, 08:58 AM
I've had good luck with #1 buck in my 16 gauge. The full choke keeps 7 to 9 balls within a 8 inch circle at 60 feet (20 yards). I aim for the chest from broadside angle. This deadly cluster topples the animal quickly.

September 29, 2006, 01:44 PM
Well, I will be the one to fly off center here and say you can do a little better than 20yds., but not by much. Pattern your gun with various #4's and different chokes, find what it shoots tight and the little #4 pellets will have the energy to take them out to 40yds. or so.
By the way, #4 is my load of choice for Turkeys here in Central Texas and has brought down more than a few Whitetails that have jumped up while walking or happened by while quietly calling along the creeks.

September 29, 2006, 02:37 PM
Are you talking #4 buck or #4 shot for turkeys?:confused: I was just clarifying, not trying to insult your intellegence. thanks...

September 29, 2006, 10:17 PM
Sorry Castnblast. I was definitely referring to the original accepted load of #4 buck Stillborn was referring to and not #4 squirrel and rabbit shot. #4 buck is somewhere around .24 caliber, adequate under 40 yards if your shot is good and pattern is tight enough. As a side note, I have seen a small deer jumped up and killed with a load of # 6's.
Definitely a fluke and definitely not recommended.

October 3, 2006, 08:30 AM
Yeah, I've done it too, that's why I asked. I don't "encourage" it though. I was duck hunting about 15 years ago (I was in high school) when I jumped a doe out of the brush. It didn't run, just jumped from a bedded position. I had my great grandfather's 20 ga. side by side w/ two triggers. (both full choke) I aimed right where the head meets the neck, pulled both triggers simultaneously (about 15 yds) and dropped her like a ton of bricks. I was using #5 lead shot, as it was still legal in the area I was hunting at the time. Folks, don't get me wrong here. I do not encourage this. Even though I did it then, I would not do it now. It's just irresponsible to do something like that.

T. O'Heir
October 4, 2006, 02:15 AM
I'd be inclined to go elsewhere too. Buckshot is unreliable. Using a bow requires lots of practice and upper body tone. It's not something you can just do. However, if your choice is that place or nothing, pattern the shotgun with 3" magnums, a full choke and take neck or very close range heart/lung shots only.
Like springmom says, a 3" magnum with 4 Buck has 41, 6mm pellets. A tight pattern will do, but you really can't rely on it.

October 5, 2006, 12:15 PM
I was just wondering how many people have actually used buckshot? There are alot of post talking about using super tight chokes but I have always been told not to use a really tight choke with buck shot.

#4 buckshot is not the same as #4 turkey loads. it is alot larger.

If it was me, I would try a few different loads with different chokes. I wouldnt hesitate to hunt with buckshot but I would learn how far I could effectivly keep enough pellets in a paper plate. I would keep my shots to the same that I would for bow hunting. Just do your homework on how the deer are moving and you shouldnt have a problem getting within 30 yards of a deer.

October 19, 2006, 06:00 PM
...but in montana you must use "0" or larger, and that usually means ''00''. If you are willing to pass on poor shots, fine. If not, don't. I have shot 6 or 8 of our larger bodied deer with ''00'', and it has done well, but these were jump-shot like phesants at close range. I would call the origonal 9 pellet 2 3/4" loads maximum range at 30yds on a broadside shot. This is based on pattern testing
in 5 sporting guns and 20 or so Mossberg defensive guns. With carefull selection of loads and chokes you might wring out an extra 10 yards.

Now here's the kicker: When you shoot a deer with "00" buck (.33 cal) you will find 1/3 or more of the pellets that hit the critter, even at 10 feet. They just don't penetrate very much. Now take a 24cal #4 pellet that weighs 1/2 as much, and you can see there might be a penetration issue. Therefore, more pellets do not nessesarily mean greater effective range.

If you go this road, put it in the boilerworks and you'll probably break a leg as well, but do not expect rifle-like tissue damage.

Just a thought, but how fast could you get a 30 pellet load moving from a 3'' shell? Pattern density to 35yds or so would be adequate and the added speed might improve penetration. Test it first though, as I do not speak from exerience on this point.

October 19, 2006, 06:53 PM
Being born and raised in the South, shotguns and dogs were a way of life for me for a long time. I have killed deer and seen deer killed with buckshot. I have seen ALOT more get away. Some hit, some not. I am not a fan of buckshot myself. I agree to pattern your gun first with different brands. The only "mostly reliable" load that I found was Winchester SuperX copper plated and buffered out of the mod. barrel of a side by side. and only in#1's. I keep buckshot around now for home protection. Like I said, I don't like using it on deer. Too iffy. IMO

October 20, 2006, 03:36 PM
I have killed deer and seen deer killed with buckshot. I have seen ALOT more get away.

I agree with that whole heartedly. When I lived in Tidewater, Va. we had to use buckshot. I've never been impressed with it, for deer, at any range. My buckshot guns usually patterned best with modified chokes, btw.