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Old August 2, 2016, 08:47 AM   #1
bspillman
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Using a pump 12 gauge for deer?

Hey folks I own a Stevens 320 12 gauge and it faired well for turkey season. I'm thinking of using it for deer season too but the state of TN doesn't allow the use of buck shot. It has a modified choke on it now, what choke size would y'all recommend for rifled slugs? Thanks.
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Old August 2, 2016, 09:56 AM   #2
TimSr
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Modified or Improved will work fine. the more open the better. The key is try a variety of slugs and find which brand is a good match for your gun. Stick with Foster types, and stay away from sabots.
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Old August 2, 2016, 10:22 AM   #3
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Shotguns can be EXTREMELY picky with slugs. One gun will like one brand of slugs and a different gun will shoot terribly with that brand and will shoot fine with a different brand. You'll have to experiment to find the combination that works best with you.

One thing to consider. Since your shotgun is a smooth bore, don't waste your money on high-dollar sabot slugs. Those are only for rifled barrels and will likely shoot poorly in your smooth bore plus they will wear your wallet out.
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Old August 2, 2016, 12:18 PM   #4
bspillman
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Thanks guys that's what I was looking for. I'll just use the factory modified choke and try some different rifled slugs. For a shotgun that's under 200 bucks it's been a good one.
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Old August 2, 2016, 12:43 PM   #5
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First slug I would try to find is a Brenneke KO. They have a reputation of shooting well in a wide variety of barrels and they aren't terribly expensive.
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Old August 2, 2016, 01:29 PM   #6
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"...TN doesn't allow the use of buck shot..." That's a good thing. Buck shot is unreliable stuff past 30 or so yards. A slug is not.
Exactly what TimSr says except the slug doesn't have to be a Foster type. It does have to be a rifled slug vs a sabotted slug though.
And, like Doyle says, you'll have to try a box of as many brands as you can to find the ammo your shotgun shoots best. Accuracy can be kind of astounding too. Two or 3 inches at 100 is not unusual, even if you have just a bead. It's also accurate enough for deer. Plus you will have to sight in. With a bead that's more about knowing where a particular slug hits at 100.
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Old August 2, 2016, 01:53 PM   #7
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Have faith in what you have !!!

Quote:
Since your shotgun is a smooth bore, don't waste your money on high-dollar sabot slugs. Those are only for rifled barrels and will likely shoot poorly in your smooth bore plus they will wear your wallet out.
An excellent point. .....

Whenever I see a post like this or the question comes up, I try to envision the environment that is being hunted. As mentioned, your shotgun, choke and basic slugs, should work well. My usual Midwest hunting distance is 60yds. or less. For number of years, I used a fixed Full-Choke barrel and still had great performance. The furthest shot I ever took, was 80yds. and still knock the deer down. .....

Good Luck and;
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Old August 2, 2016, 03:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
"...TN doesn't allow the use of buck shot..." That's a good thing. Buck shot is unreliable stuff past 30 or so yards.
I don't agree. I live in the steep wooded mountains of Virginia within 50 or 60 miles of the mountains of NC, WV, TN and KY. Due to the steep mountains, trees and undergrowth, there is seldom a need to shots beyond 25 or 30 yards because you can't see the deer or other animals you are hunting. Where I live, I've never seen anyone that didn't use 00 buck shot when hunting deer with a shotgun. If they didn't hunt with 00 buck shot, they used a 30-30 rifle or similar. What's the point of using a shotgun with their poor sights when you only have one chance of hitting the deer?
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Old August 2, 2016, 08:10 PM   #9
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I would like to add, that I did alot of slug testing with my NEF Pardner protector 18" Cylinder bore. I tested a good many rifled slugs that I could find locally. I even tested a bunch of hand loaded home cast Lee 1oz Key drives. I did note through all my testing that 2.75" loads was the way to go as I wasn't gaining much more from a 3" shell other than a sore.....er shoulder. In the end it was a regular old 2.75" Winchester 1oz rifled slug that did the best. I was ASTOUNDED by the accuracy to boot. I could put all shots into a cheap dollar store 8" paper plate with only a front bead site at 100 yards.

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Old August 2, 2016, 08:15 PM   #10
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And SOME folks can stretch it out a bit further. But not all of us are Hickok45
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNTyCcip-ks
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Old August 4, 2016, 03:20 PM   #11
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slugs

I'm going to pass up the suitability of buckshot for deer and try to stay on topic. Slugs are potent deer medicine, and the standard variety Foster slug so commonly sold will do fine. The issue is the guns,specifically the sighting system, used to launch them. The standard single bead on most round barrel field guns is barely marginal for shooting a single projectile like the slug.

If at all possible, look into some type of attachable rifle sights for your Stevens. A vent rib makes it easy, but it seems as if I have seen some types that will adapt to a plain round barrel as well.

Free tip....sights will make it a better turkey gun too!!
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Old August 4, 2016, 03:41 PM   #12
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story

I'll tell a brief story while I'm at it.

I had a crusty old District Ranger that I was frequently a source of conflict. One of episodes involved shotguns. We had a mix of shotguns as patrol shoulder arms at the time; some older 18" bead sighted Winchester 1200's were being phased out, and 20" rifle sighted 870 Remington s were taking their place.

I was in discussion with another Ranger regards the process, and had voiced my opinion over my preference for the Rem with its rifle sights, and my intention to keep it loaded with slugs. The DR jumped in on that, stating in his not so subtle way that the best arrangement was bead sights, and to " fill it up with OO buck and forget about it......you can't hit a (explicative!) thing past 50 yards with slugs anyhow." He had just before that outburst indicated he was staying with the old Winchesters and their bead sights.

Eventually I learned not to challenge the old rascal, but in this instance I was still young and learning "the way" and stated that I believed I could likely do passable work with the Remington and slugs back to 100 yds. Well the he stated he'd like to see me try.

So....at then end of all formal shooting , I posted a clean B-27 type qual target, , backed off to the farthest point on our range, about 90 yds or so, and took five slug shots, resting off a tree trunk for support. All five landed in or cut 10 ring and could be covered with a spread hand.

The difference was not so much the gun or my ability, but the sights. The DR's experience was with the stubby tube older guns and bead sight. Rifle sights on a slug gun turn it into a very formidable carbine in most instances once the preference for fodder is determined.

The DR picked up the next rifle sighted 870 available.
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Old August 5, 2016, 01:59 PM   #13
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I don't have a lot of slug or buckshot experience. But could keep 3 slugs inside of of about 4" at 100 yards using a rifle sighted smooth bore shotgun when I did experiment with it. That is good enough for me if i ever had to use it.
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Old August 7, 2016, 10:25 PM   #14
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With a smooth bore shotgun you should try different brands of Foster slugs to find the most accurate for your shotgun. Years ago I bought a Rem 870 with a rifled barrel and scope mount. It is much more like a rifle. On my first hunt with it I took a very nice 10 pt. walking at more than 100 yards with one shot.
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Old August 10, 2016, 07:33 AM   #15
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I don't use a shotgun for many deer, but I have taken around 7 or 8 with my trusty Mossberg 500 and 2 with a benelli nova. i mostly used cheap Remington rifled slugs. they seemed to work the best with my shooting patterns. i got a 7" group with them at 125 yards just with bead sights and an improved cylinder choke tube. i have never used buckshot of any kind to kill anything really. i used 5-6 shot for turkey and squirrel and slugs for deer or old household appliances that needed disposed of. i did kill a deer with 5 shot out of the mossy 500... i was walking through the woods hunting turkey and jumped one up about 10 feet from me and i didn't have time to think so i aimed and shot at the noise lol dropped him dead. but your shotgun will do fine up to 150 and maybe even 175 yards. all depends on the shooter. most people will only credit the slug a 100 yard maximum, but i have taken a nice doe at 130 out of a tree stand with the same bead sights. it was a little easier to accomplish due to the dual bead sights. i also owned a stevens 320 hd model when i was in high school. i let my little brother have it for a good truck gun about a year ago. i only had one problem with it. the spot welds on the pump broke loose due to a steady diet of slugs.
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Old August 11, 2016, 10:42 PM   #16
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I forgot to state that I was using Remington Copper Solid Sabot slugs - definitely a great shotgun slug for rifled barrels. (I have not tried any other brand of slugs since I began using Remington Sabot slugs.)
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Old August 12, 2016, 07:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
I did note through all my testing that 2.75" loads was the way to go as I wasn't gaining much more from a 3" shell other than a sore.....er shoulder. In the end it was a regular old 2.75" Winchester 1oz rifled slug that did the best.
I'll second that. The velocity gained from 3" is minimal, and I found them less accurate in the guns I tested.

My Winchester 1200 with the 18" "Defender barrel" best liked Federal. They shot low, but grouping was tight. My son's youth 870 20 gauge with Improved cylinder choke didn't like anything until I tried Brenneke.

Maybe I'm biased and nostalgic, but Ohio was a shotgun only state for decades, and before all this fancy rifled barrel, saboted high velocity, long range accuracy, telescopic sights shotgun stuff hit the market, and guys just shot slugs from the gun they hunted rabbits with all year, they seemed shoot deer a lot better.
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Old August 14, 2016, 10:04 AM   #18
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I've only killed two deer with a shotgun and both were with 3" 00 Buck. As long as you pattern it so you know your limit and keep ranges short, there's nothing wrong with it. All guns have limits and its up to the hunter to know what's ethical. My best patterns were from a ported turkey choke.
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Old August 21, 2016, 06:11 PM   #19
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I got good results within the limitations of buckshot using a 30" full choke barrel. I've never taken a shot at a deer with slugs, because by the time I was old enough to be allowed to have a high powered rifle, there was no turning back....
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Old August 21, 2016, 09:46 PM   #20
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I have taken a few deer with a 12ga 870 with a slug barrel .The 870 shot fairly well out to 100yds or so. The few people that I have seen use a regular barrel to shoot slugs didn't do very well. Now that Wi has done away with the shotgun only zones most people use rifles here.
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