View Full Version : Rifled barrele or smooth bore for deer slugs?

October 11, 2012, 05:40 PM
If I hunt deer near where I live, I have to use a shotgun instead of a rifle. Please forgive me for this newbie question but is there an advantage on using a rifled barrel shotgun with sabot slugs rather than a smooth bore shotgun with standard slugs?
There seems to be many more selections of standard (smooth bore) slugs than there is in rifled sabot slugs.

October 11, 2012, 06:41 PM
some people say the accuracy is better with the rifled barrel and sabots but i prefer a smooth bore and a normal slug and works just fine out to 100 yards and maybe a little beyond with a scope

Brian Pfleuger
October 11, 2012, 07:46 PM
In theory, there's an advantage to sabot slugs. In practice, I found their range with a acceptable accuracy to be marginally better than smoothbore slugs. They shoot flatter, but the groups are no smaller.

On top of that, even the theoretical range increase is rarely relevant. The VAST majority of deer I've killed have been inside 50 yards. I'd say 95% or better.

Add to that a price of $9-$20/5 for sabots while regular slugs TOP OUT around $9/5...

Well, I no longer think sabots make sense for most hunters.

October 11, 2012, 07:52 PM
There are always trade-offs and the claim the rifled barrel are more acccurate, is generally true. However, as seansean1444 you will kill deer in the "normal" ranges of our Midwest. Most of my shots have been in the 60yd. or less range. I had a BPS with rifled barrel and a smooth bore 1100. Both killed there share of deer but eventually settled on my smooth bore and sold the BPS. ... ;)

Your money, your call. ... :)

Be Safe !!!

October 11, 2012, 07:57 PM
From my experience with slug guns, Smooth bore with standard slugs is fine for ranges around 100yards or so. Rifled barrels and sabots are a little bit better for accuracy out to around 150~ I personally wouldn't take a shot any further. It all boils down to where you plan to hunt and the distance you will be shooting. for me its a smooth bore 870 with walmart cheapo slugs ;)

Old Grump
October 11, 2012, 08:36 PM
is there an advantage on using a rifled barrel shotgun with sabot slugs rather than a smooth bore shotgun with standard slugs?
Not unless you are hunting in fairly open country and have a rifle sighted or coped gun and a potential for 150 yard shots.

Smoothbore and a selection of chokes in the gauge of your choice gives you the option of using everything from #9 shot for dove to slugs for deer, bear and hogs. I scoped my 20 gauge put in an IM choke and its good for turkey with #4 shot to 35 yards and with slugs on deer out to 100 yards using 2 3/4" shells.

16 or 12 gauge same story, my slug barreled gun sits in the rack collecting dust because my smooth bores do the job and does it cheaper

October 11, 2012, 08:50 PM
Until recently I would have said that not much separates smooth from rifled shotguns. I recently got a Savage 220 bolt action with a scope. It performs much better that any other shotgun I have used for slugs and is much more like shooting the rifles I grew up hunting with. We only used shot guns for birds back home. But rifles are generally not allowed for deer in the sate I live in now so I have tried to get used to using shotgun slugs. The Savage is the best I have found so far. The disadvantage is I can not use it for birds, but I have other options for that.

October 11, 2012, 11:20 PM
What Chaz88 said is what I've heard from other hunters...

A gun designed from the very beginning to be a slug gun (with a rigid bolt action and a good trigger) tends to outperform do-it-all shotguns with any kind of barrel screwed on.

If I were going to buy a shotgun that would ONLY be used for deer hunting, I'd say something like the savage 220 makes sense. But if I already had a field gun with a smooth barrel, I wouldn't feel too compelled to buy an extra rifled barrel.

October 12, 2012, 12:15 AM
You could also consider something like the Remington 870 Express Combo.

October 12, 2012, 06:09 AM
I havent use my rifled barrel in years. my 28" smooth bore with a cylinder choke is all I use for deer. just regular slugs. Every deer I take these days are well inside of 100 yds. I tried sabot slugs years ago with my rifled barrel. At 100 yds, i couldnt tell a difference. Havent touched that barrel since. I better go make sure its not rusting away;)

October 12, 2012, 05:29 PM
Depends on where you hunt. In my case I have and use both. If I set up in a dense area with brush & shrubs, having a limited line of sight, I opt for the short barrel, iron sights, and Brenneke slugs. If I set up elsewhere, say on a ridge overlooking a creek or meadow down below, I use my Savage 220 bolt action with a scope + sabot expecting and knowing it will hit the spot at a much greater distance. The short barrel with iron sights is easier to carry and quicker to shoulder to be on target in pines and scrub oaks. The longer barrel Savage 220 with scope may be slower, but you see a deer at distance and might have more time to pick it up, shoulder it, and find your target in the scope.