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20 Gauge Load of #3 Buckshot for Deer

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Jerseycitysteve, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. Jerseycitysteve


    Nov 11, 2004
    I'm going to be hunting deer next month with Dogs in Southhampton County Virginia. We have to use buckshot and I've never killed a deer with a shotgun. I'd like to use my Beretta 391 Urika 20 gauge which I prefer to my Mossberg 500 12 gauge. Without going into details, the Beretta is a finer gun. If I can hit quail and dove, Deer should be no problem. However, a deer is a much larger animal and a clean kill is a necessity.

    Anybody use a 20 gauge for deer. What ammo? What choke?

  2. chevy01234


    Jul 19, 2004
    Go with the 12 gauge bud, leave the 20 gauge for quail and dove! Get you some 00 or 000 buck shot and a good choke and go to town. I would definitely go pattern your gun though, don't just take it out there not knowing how it will shoot. Take both guns to the range see what patterns best and use it. I don't hunt with dogs or a shotgun so my advice is limited other than use the larger of the two gauges.

  3. I've shot exactly 1 deer with buckshot, It was 12 ga 3" magnum, distance was 50 yards.

    It took 4 loads of buckshot to put him down.


    If you are going to use the 20 ga I say keep the shots under 35 yards or so. But teh 12 ga would be much better.
  4. Jerseycitysteve


    Nov 11, 2004

    I get your point--or shall I say 8 point.
  5. A 20ga would not be my gauge of choice on a deer. Use a slug if you must go 20ga, I think both remmington and winchester still have smoothbore slugs for a 20ga.
  6. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    Sound wisdom Amigo !

    Buck shot is just not a good idea on deer. If shotgun, go 12ga. and go slugs. It is quicker and more hummane. I've seen buck shot shooters even with 12ga, pump way to many rounds in to get deer down.........

    Stick with the slugs....

  7. Jerseycitysteve


    Nov 11, 2004
    True enough! A modern rifled slug will hammer down the biggest buck who ever prowled the woods. However, only buckshot is allowed in Southampton County, VA.
  8. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    Whoa. Not a good law down your way man. Sorry to hear that.
    I guess in that case I'd have to wait for a different season. ;)

    Good shooting

  9. Then get in close or let them come to you. Not to pick on vafish but his 50yrds example, is way to far for buckshot to be effective on a deer. Buckshot on deer imho should be 25-30yrds tops.

    If you stuck on using buckshot, then look at the top prime loads and try it out, at the ranges you expect to be shooting at see how it works.
  10. sourdough44


    Jul 23, 2007
    Unless you have great control to wait for the ultra close shot all you will do is pepper the deer to go off wounded. Yes I have even hunted deer with dogs in MS.
  11. Not picking on me. I thought 50 yards was OK for buckshot. I have heard stories of buckshot working out to 70 yards on deer. Those guys must use a different yard stick than I do.

    I learned a valuable lesson about buckshot that day. Won't make the same mistake again.

    I was very lucky that the 2nd blast had 1 pellet hit the spine or I probably would not have recovered him.

    There are quite a few counties in VA that are buckshot only. Treat a shotgun with buckshot like a bow and arrow.
  12. lethal tupperwa

    lethal tupperwa

    Aug 20, 2002
    60 yds 1 shell dead deer 12g OO buck.

    worked for me I hit it in the neck.

    Same yard stick just a tighter choke.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
  13. people shooting at 25yards plus with shotguns, do you have any ideal of your pattern at that range?

    And then the drop of those .33 cal buckshot?

    Whatever floats your boat, I also use the treat the shotgun as a bow, when hunting.
  14. 357glocker


    Oct 28, 2002
    Never personally shot a deer with 20ga buckshot, but have done so with a Mossberg 500 12ga 3" 00buck. It was a very close shot, 12yrds IIRC, and performed a very abrubt end to that deers life.

    Given your two choices, go with the 12ga and keep your shots close.
  15. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    Nice buck man. Sorry about the way it went. I know it was not pleasant for ya, but it a blessing to me, that you learned something. Shoot, we're all learning. You fiished the job, and that is a sign of a true hunter.

    Unless i missed it. It made ya sick though... Some time I'll tell ya about the buck I had to drown in the beaver river to end it all... horrible story. here is a pic of him here on the ranch, on a little island in the beaver river. Killed him with a knife, after a bad bow shot (semi bad at least) long story. In fact only the hands on the ranch, and a couple close friends know about it... very :embarassed: story. ha..... BTW. thanks for the encouraging words over on the "other forum." ;)

    Enjoy the venison. !
    nice rack......

  16. shot1


    Apr 14, 2009
    East TN
    Speaking from MUCH experience killing deer with buck shot here. The problem with most people is they don't pattern their shotgun. You need to find the choke and the size buck shot that patterns tightly in YOUR gun. Once you find the the load and choke that patterns tightly out to 40 or 50 yards you will not have any trouble killing a deer. No the deer will not drop in it's tracks most of the time but if you put 2 to 25 or so, depending on size of buck shot, into its lungs and heart it wont go too far. I have killed truck loads of deer with Number 4 buck shot out to about 70 yards. The only shotgun I was able to own for years was a Rem. 1100 12 ga. that had a 30 inch full choke barrel and the only buck shot load that it would pattern tight with was the 2 3/4 inch Rem baby mag that had 27 pellets of #4 buck. It would put them down. I lived south of where you will be hunting just over the VA NC state line in Northampton CO.
  17. Mouth


    Aug 9, 2009
    Wierd, buckshot is illegal for deer hunting in Kentucky. A slug is a must around here. Of course I prefer a rifle.
  18. Jerseycitysteve


    Nov 11, 2004
    Ah well, I ended up borrowing a friends ancient Mossberg 12 gauge semi-auto loaded with the his preferred 3 inch 00 shells. He also told me one no longer needs a magazine plug anymore when deer hunting in this county.

    I'm sorry to leave my beautiful Berreta at home in favor of a clunky old Mossberg but sitting in a stand isn't the same as walking the uplands.

    So far