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Hunting deer with a (cough) shotgun?

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by vart, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. vart

    vart

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    I'm moving to Iowa in December and high-power rifles are not allowed for deer.
    I have a choice of pistol, muzzleloader, shotgun, or bow. I lived there for a few years and went deer hunting once, with a muzzleloader.
    But, the season was only a week long, and bucks only. Plus, it's early in the year (middle of October) so the corn is still standing, providing ideal cover for the deer during the day.
    So, I was wanting to try using a shotgun.
    How much range and accuracy can I expect out of a 26" barreled 870 using slugs and a smooth-bore barrel?
    I saw a bolt-action Mossberg shotgun with a rifled barrel at Wal-Mart out there for $275. Is the increased accuracy and range worth it?
     
  2. isp2605

    isp2605

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    IL has the same restrictions. No rifles. I usually use muzzleloader but when the weather is really bad I'll take a shotgun. My usual deer shotgun is a 12 ga 870 with smooth bore and W-W 1 oz foster type slugs. My longest shot has been 137 yds and she dropped in her tracks. That's further than I would normally take a shot but conditions were perfect so I made it. Normally shots are 50-75 yds and I've killed deer as close as 15 ft when one walked directly below my stand. Try different brands of slugs before you go out. My 870 will print easy 3" groups at 75 and 100 yds with W-W slugs. With Remington slugs it won't keep them on a an 11" X 14" piece of paper at 50 yds. Federals group almost as good as the W-W. My other backup shotgun is a Mossberg 20 ga bolt action. It likes Federal best with W-W a close 2nd.
    If you make the hit you won't have any trouble dropping them with slugs.
     

  3. glockster96

    glockster96 Moderator Lifetime Member

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    Travis,

    Probably the best thing to do is take your shotgun and some slugs out to the range'ole and do some experimentation. Try several different brands and configurations. I think you will be happy with the results of at least 1 combination.

    Oh, and don't forget to shoot offhand or how you will shoot in the field; that could make a difference in your POI.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    ”How much range and accuracy can I expect out of a 26" barreled 870 using slugs and a smooth-bore barrel?”

    Bead sight, rifle sights, scope, what are we talking here? Assuming you have your gun & ammo matched correctly a scope will get you the most yardage with accuracy, next will be the rifle sights & the last one will be the bead sight. (I’m also assuming you’d like to get the most out of this set-up?) Sights have a pretty big impact on yardages!

    “I saw a bolt-action Mossberg shotgun with a rifled barrel at Wal-Mart out there for $275. Is the increased accuracy and range worth it?”

    A fully rifled barrel, 99% of the time, will always be more accurate (Assuming that the gun & ammo are matched.) then a smoothbore barrel given that everything else is equal.

    May I ask what distances you are trying to prepare to shoot at? A fully rifled shotgun may be more then you actually need… I can’t believe I just said that……. :)

    If you’d be happy with a slug only gun meant for medium to large game then that Mossy bolt-action would be a good choice. They are very accurate (Although not necessarily more accurate then any other fully rifled slug gun.) in my experiences with them! However, I’d personally prefer (If I wasn’t an auto shotgun guy!) & recommend a good pump-action gun over that limited (use wise) specialty Mossberg… if for nothing else but for the pump gun’s versatility with only a fairly inexpensive (comparatively) barrel swap.



    There are actually a few things for you to think about if you’d like to make the best decision.

    I set my brother up last year with a “custom” (I say “custom” because I put it together.) shotgun combo at a very reasonable price… it is sweet if I do say so myself! ;) I know he can hunt EVERYTHING in Michigan (Every season that requires a gun as well!) with that set-up & then some!

    (If you’d like to read more about that combo, just ask.)
     
  5. noway

    noway

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    I second the bolt action mossberg or better yet a Ithaca Deerslayer. When I was in IL, I ran across some brothers that had one of each and they could hit coke cans at 100yrds first shot everytime. Every year they bag deers. I also learned to be a good nieghbor and they gave me some vension on a few time.


    My deer slayer setup is a 870 with 20" hasting barrel and I also have a 24" barrel that I hardly used. On top of this current setup is a 4x Nikon scope and with sabot slugs it shoots very nicely. I do have to comment that rifle foster slugs don't shoot as good as brenneke or the sabots but the sabot shoots with much great accuracy. I like the Lightfield ( yellow box ) of Fedral Barnes expander.

    Off the bench I can do 3"-5"@100yrds groups and once awhile I have managed to pull some 2" groups ( on a good day ).
    :)

    Another good slug gun is the NEF Ultra Hunter (IIRC the name ) and it can be had as little as $200.00 in some areas. The only negative to this is, it's a single shot. So hit the deer with the first shot.
     
  6. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    It ain’t just an IL thing as both my brother’s & my shotgun can take 12oz cans of pop (That’s soda for you Southerners! ;)) @ 100 yards… biggest difference that I can see is that we drink Pepsi products instead of Coke. ;f

    (I’m shooting a Beretta 390 with a Hastings barrel & my brother is shooting a Mossberg 500 with a factory barrel… both guns are scoped via a cantilever barrel & both barrels are of course fully rifled. My gun loves Federal 3” Premium 1oz Barns Expander Sabots & my brother’s gun loves Federal 2-3/4” Premium 1oz “hourglass” Sabots… took a lot of getting beat up to find the right load for each! It was odd that both guns ended up liking a Federal load.)
     
  7. noway

    noway

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    {Premium 1oz Barns Expander Sabots & my brother’s gun loves Federal 2-3/4” Premium 1oz “hourglass” Sabots… took a lot of getting beat up to find the right load for each! It was odd that both guns ended up liking a Federal load.)
    }

    I find that strange that both of us agreed that the federal loads are damm nice. One thing on the lightfield slugs are they too are hourglass with a weird sabot carrier design. The sabot it's 2 piece that wrapps around the slugs that 1> either breaks up after exiting the barrel or 2> it travels with the slug downrange.



    Is the federal 1oz hourglass also the same?



    I would highly reccommend the lightfield, striaght out the box they where a big improvement. If you have a rifled barrel, these might be the thing to use. I only remember using 2 loads ( yellowish box and bluish box ) and the only thing with the blue (IIRC) it was rated a few more fps but kick the hell out of you.;)

    http://www.lightfieldslugs.com/lightfield/

    You can check out the slugs sabot on that page above.
     
  8. mpol777

    mpol777 Feral Member

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    I've taken quite a few deer with my Rem 870 smoothbore and a bead sight. One step above that is to add on some rifle sights. I have some clip on deals that work great and are windage elevation adjustable.

    I were buying a new shotgun just for big game it would definately have a rifled barrel. They fit the rules of being a shotgun, but are all rifle. The NEF Ultra Slugster is a great tool from what my uncle has told me. He mailed me a target a while back. The group was the size of my fist at 150 yards. Pretty nice for $200.
     
  9. noway

    noway

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    I agreed, that little NEF is quite a bang for the buck( no pun intended). I know a few guys with them that have shot Buffalo,Elk and deer with theirs. It is cheaper alternative than a full decked out slug shotgun or rifle but in the right hands it can nail most 4 legged animals with 200-100 yrds with ease.

    I've thought about getting it at one time and I 'm sure it's called the Ultra Slug Hunter which is the preimium slug gun just with a better stock and full rifle heavy duty barrel.

    If I was back in IL or any slugs only states, I would buy one without thinking about it.
     
  10. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy ********* Moderator Lifetime Member Millennium Member

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    My Benelli Nova SP (antipersonnel model, 18.5" barrel with ghost ring sights) using reduced or full blown slugs, preferably Remington, will put 3 for 3 in the head of a Texas DPS silhouette target from 100 yards prone. A longer barrel and scope, or rifled barrel, would improve that. This is from a short-barreled cylinder bore riot gun, with little practice..... crank a couple dozen off and no deer will be safe. :)
     
  11. 10mmman

    10mmman Super Genius Millennium Member

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    Iowa has 2 muzzleloader seasons, both of which are any sex for first ($26 resident) and antlerless for second ($11) tag. First season is Mid October for nine days, second is December 22nd to Jan. 10.

    First shotgun is Dec. 6-10, second is Dec. 13- 21. Tags run the same price. During shotgun seasons a hunter may use a shotgun (duh), muzzleloader, or handgun “Only the following centerfire cartridges may be used:

    357 mag., .357 max, .375 win, .38 Super, .40 S&W, .401 Powermag, 10mm Auto, .41 Rem Mag, .41 Action Express, .44 S&W Special, .44 Rem Mag, .44 Automag, .444 Marlin, .445 Super Mag., .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .45 Super Mag, .45 Win Mag, .45 Silhouette, 451 Detonics, .454 Casull, .45-70 Govt, .475 Widley Mag, .457 Linebaugh, .480 Ruger, .50 Action Express, .50 Linebaugh.”

    Please excuse our idiot rules, bureaucrats, legislators and morons- make them up- but, I repeat myself. – ‘Spose we have a lot o’folks hunting deer with a .401 Powermag?

    I use an 870 with a screw in rifled choke. I can get 3” or less at 100 yds with Federal 3” Premium sabots off a bench, and have worked great in the field. I use the same gun to hunt turkeys with a turkey tube in spring and fall. My son (14) took two bucks so far this year-his first buck ever- an 8 pointer during youth season, and a buck with 5 on one side and a stunted 2 on the other during early muzzleloader. Check out the web for the “Albia Buck” if you have any questions about our whitetails.

    We use Encore muzzleloaders. Stand and still hunting funnels after scouting is very productive, even if the corn is still in. I use an Encore and one of my 10mm’s during shotgun season. I’ve killed at least 4 deer with my M20. I’m not much on the drive hunts most deer succumb to here- just not my thing. There are a plethora of bonus/special hunts for antlerless deer, as we are overpopulated (and the DNR can make a ton of money on tags.)

    Pick up a cantilever 870 barrel and a red dot sight and you’re in bidness.

    Bon Appetite.

    X
     
  12. vart

    vart

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    My wife's grandmother lives in Albia and was saying something last week about some huge whitetail that was killed near there. I'll have to check it out.
    Now, I own two shotguns: A Winchester Defender 12 ga. that I had a gunsmith install a ported turkey choke on, and a Beretta Silver Snipe over/under 20 ga.
    Maybe I can just install a rifled choke on my Defender and stick to the 100 yd. ranges.
    My father-in-law has a NIB 870 that he said I could use all I want. I figured it would probably offer more accuracy than my Defender. He has no problem with me installing a set of rifle sights on it and any other mods for deer hunting.
    As far as ranges go, from my limited hunting experience in Iowa, I figure about 150 yds. or less is about the average range.
    Here in Idaho, I've shot deer from 40 yds. on up to 600 yds.
     
  13. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    No, it's a traditional sabot in the fact that the sabot surrounds the bullet & is discarded as soon as the ‘assembly’ leaves the barrel.

    For the record, many, many shotgun’ers are praising the Lightfield slugs up here as well. I tried them in both my set-up & in my brother’s set-up with very good results. They defiantly outperformed other slugs in the line-up for accuracy, but just didn’t end up being the best is all. I know my brother’s Mossy put 3 of them in less then a (good) 3” pattern @ 100 yards… mine did slightly better then that, but it was a few years ago now.



    You guys have got me a little pumped up with this thread now… my brother-in-law has a new 870 with a factory OEM fully rifled barrel w/rifle sights that I’m suppose to be sighting in here very soon. I’m planning to mount a temporary scope to it via a “receiver mount” just to find out what sabot it likes @ 100 yards… after that I’ll sight it in for 50 yards using the iron sights… (He’s planning to use iron sights…) of course I’ll shoot it a few times @ 100 yards just to see what I get, but I know the gun will be more accurate the I can be with those irons at that range.

    My brother-in-law & I have been collecting different sabots all year long. We’ve assembled every ‘common’ 2-3/4” (His choice (which I think is a good one) to shoot 2-3/4”.) sabot there is… that is except for the Winchester 2-3/4” 385-grain Partition-Gold, which I’ve had zero luck with out of several shotgun set-ups… it also has the biggest & badest punch (Yes, it was that noticeable!) to it out of all the sabots (both 2-3/4” & 3”) I’ve tried thus far.
     
  14. Egyas

    Egyas Troll Hater

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    Man, I'm a real noob when it comes to hunting, but I had NO IDEA that shorguns w/ slugs were that accurate!

    If that's the case, why would anyone want a rifile?
     
  15. 10mmman

    10mmman Super Genius Millennium Member

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    You may find that the short and ridged (due to the magazine tube brace) Defender with a rifled choke tube is the more accurate option. It sounds like it would be the least costly to set up. I prefer a red dot sight for shotgun deer hunting- had lots of moving shots that I think the dot helped with. I bought a Tasco for $30 at wall mart & it’s worked for 5 years so far- I think it has 4 turkeys and more than a dozen deer to it’s credit. I use a receiver mount, but would prefer a cantilever mount. I have found I need to re-zero it more than I should. I’ll leave the gun in the cold overnight, then crank the magazine cap down as tight as I can- then re zero it.

    Yes, a 150-yd shot is a rarity in my experience. Most are 30- 90 yds.

    Here’s a look at the Albia Buck- taken by a 15-year-old with a muzzleloader during youth season (possibly on the kid’s first hunt.) Photos are from last year- the taken rack is larger.
     
  16. 10mmman

    10mmman Super Genius Millennium Member

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  17. noway

    noway

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    {sabot there is… that is except for the Winchester 2-3/4” 385-grain Partition-Gold, which I’ve had zero luck with out of several shotgun set-ups… it also has the biggest & badest punch (Yes, it was that noticeable!) to it out of all the sabots (both 2-3/4” & 3”) I’ve tried thus far.}

    That has been my experience also. Winchester makes good handgun ammo and loads for birds, but when it comes to slugs or buck they fail. They only thing attractive with the partitionGold, is they have drop in their prices and are very easy to find on sale. I shot some of the 12ga stuff and it was just plain okay but where I found it to really shine is the lighter projectile in the 20ga offering, don't recall the weight but it was around 250gr (IIRC) A guy I know had a remington that he uses for deer and let me tried them out in his gun. Very impressive both rem and partitiongold, that combination with provide very good accuracy and with not to much recoil.

    He said all of the deer that he has shot with them stop like they where hit by a train and even on shot that he didn't get the best placement on. I do know they that he was looking at moving up the with a dedicated 12ga slug gun either with the 695 or the Marlin Slugmaster.

    {f that's the case, why would anyone want a rifile?}

    Because a shotgun with slugs is good for about 125-150yrds (TOPS) shots after that, to many factors comes in play with good accuracy. Just like with 10mmman said, the idea target range for slugs are in the 30-90yrds range and they are deadly if you hit the animal in a critical area.

    For state that have slugs only, the SG is more than enough effective on the 4legged animals, just don't try to make those 150yrds+ shot and you will be doing okay.
     
  18. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    A lot of it has to do with trajectory out to certain, longer ranges & then at that time you start getting into the accuracy thing… however, the “trajectory thing” is what stops you 1st is what I say… i.e. a shotgun slug does everything a rifle bullet does just in a lot less distance. For a ruff example, instead of having a 18 inch holdover @ 300 yards with an 30.06, you’d have a 5 foot “holdover” at the same yardage with the slug… see how that would be a problem? ;)

    I agree with this mostly, but I do know that I’m personally good for 200 yards with my slug-gun set-up. I also believe that others can achieve the same with the correct set-up & a little practice getting to know your gun & skills. (Nothing out of the norm here, you’d need to do the same for a rifle…) I took a doe through the cranial cavity :))) a few years back @ 164 yards… distance was laser rangefinder verified & yes; I actually meant to take that shot. It was late, it was cold, (New Years Eve) last day of the season & I had a great rest. (mound of packed snow) If I missed, I missed clean, if I hit, well… ;) Longer, ethical shots with modern slug-guns & ammo have defiantly increased.
     
  19. Egyas

    Egyas Troll Hater

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    Ok, having never dear hunter, what would you say the average shot range is? Are 300 yard shots common, or is the range normally shorter?
     
  20. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

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    All depends on where you’re hunting geographically.

    In Michigan, I’d say 50 yards or less on an average.

    General rule everywhere is: Get as close (or let them get as close) as you can.