View Full Version : Side by Side Coach Gun - Hunting? Deer?

March 17, 2009, 12:33 AM
Does anyone use their side by side coach gun (12 ga) for hunting, or for informal trap shooting? Particularly how does it react with buck shot or slugs? Do the shot patterns deteriorate that much because of the shorter barrels? I want to get and justify one pretty badly, but want to be able to have it versatile enough to use it for these tasks including hunting for birds (including the clay kind), and perhaps for shooting the occasional deer (in Ohio we aren't allowed to use rifles). I'm just trying to understand how versatile of a weapon this would really be, or if it would end up another safe queen...


Bill DeShivs
March 17, 2009, 12:54 AM
Doubles were used for over a hundred years to do exactly what you described. They stil work fine.
Pattern your gun so that you know where, and how, it shoots.

March 17, 2009, 06:17 AM
Do the shot patterns deteriorate that much because of the shorter barrels?
Shot patterns for any particular load, in general, open at the same rate for all gauges and barrel lengths. So you wouldn't notice the difference between a pattern from a 20" barrel vs. a 28" bbl.
I say "in general" because each gun is a little different; that's why it's important to pattern the loads that you use.

March 17, 2009, 06:30 AM
One day when we were out shooting clay targets over the cornfield for fun, we decided to see how we did with the 20" slug barrel in my Mossberg instead of the 28" modified it usually wore. Seemed to do just fine... couple guys liked it better, just pointed better for them.

March 17, 2009, 07:13 AM
I use a 20 inch pump for jumping deer in dense woods. The round in the pipe is 00 buckshot backed up with slugs. I wouldn't use it past 40 yds. or so with slugs and around 20 with buckshot. Mine does pretty well on clay pigeons but not as well as a full length barrel. Most coach guns have cylinder bores.

Major Dave (retired)
March 19, 2009, 01:46 PM
First, consider which chokes are in your 2 barrels. They should be Open Cyllinder or Improved Cylinder. If yours is equipped with choke tubes, it's no problem to just buy/use the correct sluggin' chokes. If you have fixed chokes in the barrels, don't shoot slugs thru Mod, Imp Mod, or Full chokes.

Next problem - since the barrels on a s/s are "Regulated" to have the same Point Of Impact (POI) at a given distance, you have to pattern it to find out what distance that is. 30 yards? 40 yards? Since most coach guns are inexpensive, you may find that yours isn't regulated with precision, so that one barrel may shoot higher, or lower, than the other, no matter what the distance.

No matter how poorly regulated, the barrels will shoot slugs that "cross over", somewhere down range. This is a certainty with s/s actions simply because the right barrel is angled to the left of center, and the left barrel is angled to the right of center. So, if you shoot at a deer that is closer than the crossover range, it's no problem in windage, but high/low (if your gun patterns that way) will require you to aim accordingly. However, if you shoot at a deer that is at a GREATER distance than your crossover point, then you must aim right of the target with the right barrel, and left of the target with your left barrel. How far to hold off will depend on how far beyond the crossover distance the deer is. Practice at 50, 60, 75 yards, etc.

The next problem for sluggin' with a s/s is, what do you do about sights? Using a "bird bead" as a front sight is bad enough, but with no rear sight, you are up the proverbial tributary without means of propulsion!

My first attempt to make a rear sight for my s/s slug gun involved a fishing rod guide duct taped to the center rib, about 6 inches from my eyes. Kind of a home made "ghost ring", so to speak.

Got a 175 B&C gross buck with that rig, with a single 40 yard shot Have to admit it was beginners luck - both to see something that big, and to hit it with that setup.

Much better sight arrangement for your s/s would be to buy one of those turkey hunting sight sets. The front sight screws into the threaded hole your bird bead is screwed into. Just unscrew the bird bead, and screw in the turkey sight. The rear sight is designed to clamp onto the center rib, after selecting the correct width. (Measure your center rib width, and select the sight adapter for that width. The sight set comes with 3 different width adapters for your center rib). Only costs about $20, as I recall.

Good luck.

Bill DeShivs
March 19, 2009, 02:43 PM
You can use slugs in any normal choke.

James R. Burke
March 21, 2009, 11:49 AM
Major Dave (Retired) is right. You can shoot a slug thru any barrel, but some work better than others as he pointed out. Also you may mess up the choke if it is to tight, but it will work.