MTNTOUGH - Use promo code RANDY for 30 days free

Who regularly hunts deer with a shotgun?

TomTeriffic

Active member
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
388
Location
SW Oklahoma
I'm now reading The Deer Hunter's Bible by George Laycock. 1986. Doubleday

I'm now on the chapter on shotguns. For thick brushy cover and in the South with traditional hound pushes, they make all the sense in the world. Teddy Roosevelt even said the shotgun was the ultimate weapon for brush country deer. Dog-drive deer often bound out of the woods into the hunter's stands and there is no time to monkey around with the precise aim a rifle needs. Autos and pumps are ideal but double-barrel guns are not for deer. They tend to fire criss-cross from one barrel to the other. The gun has to be quickly mounted and swung as on birds. The neck is the prefered target for the load of buckshot on a running deer. I really don't understand the method of lead used when swinging on deer. When buckshot is used for gettting venison, how should loads be selected for hunting and what choke should be used? Is patterning a scattergun even needed for deer season? The book says that the ideal deer shotgun gauges are 12 or 16 and that 20 might not be adequate even for Foster slugs. George's book is a tad outmoded so these days there is the wonderful Savage 220 bolt slug gun in 20 ga. for effective deer shooting in bushy cover and woods as opposed to open fields, but with soft recoil like a .243 rifle. Speaking of .243 Winchester rifles, the book in the previous rifles chapter says they are for open shooting and not in brush as the 100-gr. bullet is frangible if it strikes low, thick vegetation. .243 can be used in woods, as forests and groves, where low cover, since it doesn't exist there, won't get in the way of a clear shot between tree trunks. But I digress. Scoped 12 ga. pumps with slugs can be punishing however. What sucks is that shotguns in Iowa are not even allowed until after the 1st of December unless one has a disability permit to shoot any weapon earlier on for the season. If that were the case, I would opt for a slug gun like the Savage 220.

Here is a video for an Iowa deer 1st Shotgun season hunt in DECEMBER without any snow on the ground yet! Even cold-sensitive me could handle that as long as the earth ain't covered powder white. During Iowa "shotgun" seasons, even .350 Legend rifles are allowed.


1680737568705.png
 
Here are two pages of text from George's book, pp. 48-49. They tell a lot about deer hunting with a shotgun, but not more up-to-date stuff:

Most of the gun people, hoping to improve the shotgun as a deer hunting weapon, have concentrated on the ammunition. Only in recent years has there been a conscious effort to build a better shotgun for handling rifled slugs. Two manufacturers, Ithaca and Remington, have shotguns directed at the deer hunting Market. Ithaca led the pack with the development of its Deerslayer which, logically enough, had its birth in the frustrations of a hunter who failed to bag his deer with slugs from an old standard shotgun.

Ed Thompson, head of Ithaca’s service department, told of the neighbor who dropped by one evening with a sad tale of how he thought he had missed the biggest buck had ever seen. He had a shot at the buck at 100 yards right out in the open. He knew, as any shotgun hunter of experience knows, that this was too far for a shot with a slug. But the temptation was great and he lined up on the buck. The buck bounded off and the hunter figured he had scored a clean miss. But he hadn’t.

The following morning he went up to the ridge with his hunting companions to search for the deer. In a fine old stand of pine, they found the 11-point buck down on a bed of needles. He had settled there and never lifted himself. The hunter stood over the magnificent animal and said sadly, “I wish I had missed him clean.” His slug had hit the buck far back and low in the paunch, the kind of shot that often kills a deer but only after sending him so far away that the hunter may never find him.

The fact that this is fairly common among shotgun hunters set Ed Thompson to thinking. He and his neighbor took turn shooting the unhappy hunter’s gun. It consistently shot far to the right of the mark.

It couldn’t get the episode off his mind, and the next morning, he was back in his shop. The company began a project of building the best gun they could design for commercial rifled slugs. After several years of trials and detailed scientific laboratory checking, they came up with their Deerslayer. And test firings by an independent testing laboratory, the Deerslayer, shooting at 100 meters (or 109.4 yards), grouped five slugs in a pattern with a vertical spread of seven inches and a horizontal spread of 4 ¾ inches.

The new shotgun performed equally well in a numerous other tests and has been making a reputation for itself in the field. In Hobart, Oklahoma, the family of radio sports editor Wayne Robison used this gun to bag three deer the very first year they had it. They killed the first one at 75 yards and the other two had slightly more than 100 yards each.

Development of such guns as this and Remington’s special versions of the Model 1100 and the Model 870 pump for slugs gave deer hunters more confidence in the old smoothbore as a big game weapon. One reason for their greater accuracy is the special boring that makes us the entire length of the barrel fit the slug, with none of the usual choke near the muzzle.

Few shotguns are bought for deer only. Its use during the deer season may be a minor part of its annual duties.

There are several styles of shotgun, all of which are used for deer hunting. They can be classified as single and double barrel. Double barrels come in two Styles, the old side-by-side and the over-and-under. Among the single barrels or are the loaders, pump guns, bolt-actions, and break open singles.

The auto loading shotgun utilizes gases from the explosion to eject the empty shell and slide of fresh one into the chamber, all with a single pool of the trigger. The auto loaders commonly offered on the market are made for three or five shells. Some states require plugging them to hold a maximum of three shells for deer hunting.

The pump gun, most popular of all scattering guns, ejects the empty shell when the shooter slides back a lever beneath the breach. The forward motion runs another shell into the chamber. An experience shooter accomplishes this with lightning speed.

Bolt-action shotguns are less expensive than other repeating type shotguns and somewhat slower to use. The old break open single shot is the least complicated, one of the safest, and the least expensive. It’s a good gun for a boy to start with.

If you’re setting forth to purchase a new shotgun especially for deer hunting, choose a single barrel. You can cite more accurately with it then you can with a double barrel using slugs. Double-barrel, side-by-side shotguns have a tendency to cross over in their shooting. The load from the right barrels tend to cross over to the left and the one from the left barrel wanders to the right. If you use a double barrel without some special sighting device, you shoot by guess and instinct. If you’re guessing instinct or good, you may score.

If you’re going to use a shotgun for deer, the problem of gauge is important. Shotguns commonly come in 12, 16, 20, 28, and .410 gauge. You can get rifle slug ammunition in any of these sizes. But not are all suitable deer guns. The only two that should really be used on deer are the 12- and 16-gauge. The 20 gauge is in the doubtful range as far as power and energy are concerned, and if you’re headed for the deer woods the 0.410 is a peashooter that should be left at home. True, you can kill a deer with a .410. You can also kill one with a croquet mallet if you get close enough and smack him in just the right spot often enough.

For comparative purposes take a look at the ballistics figures on various shotgun ammunitions. A 16-gauge, shooting 2 3/4 inch shells, throws a slug having more foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards than a .410, shooting a 2 1/2 inch shell, develops at the muzzle. The .410 develops only 650 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle with its 0.20-ounce slugs. The 20- gauge, developing only, 550 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, does take a fair number of deer every year. But the slug’s energy dissipates rapidly along its trajectory. Any shot 35 yards is a long one for 20-gauge with rifled slugs.

The 12-gauge, with a muzzle velocity of 1,600 feet per second, develops a walloping 2,485 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, at 75 yards the slug still rips along with 1,040 foot-pounds of energy. The 16-gauge, only slightly under the 12-, has the same muzzle velocity, using slugs from shells of the same length, and it packs 2,175 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The slug in a 16-gauge shell weighs only an eighth of an ounce less than the one-ounce slug from a 12 gauge.

Rifled slugs expand a little when they hit an animal, but from the larger-gauge guns they hit with a smashing impact that, properly placed, will bring down far bigger animals than deer. (Think moose and elk.)

Barrel lengths don’t have a lot to do with how successfully your shotgun will perform for you in the deer woods. In these days of smokeless powder, the shotgun packs about the same power whether its barrel is 26, 28, or 30 inches long. The longer barrel develops somewhat less muzzle blast. The shorter barrel, logically enough, is easier to manipulate in a heavy brush, where a lot of the shotgun deer hunting is done.

Don’t worry about rifled slugs damaging the choke in your shotgun. Like a load of shot, slugs constrict as they pass through the narrower part of the barrel, whether the choke is in the barrel or added in a choke device.

The gun stock should be comfortable to you. Your gun dealer can help you pick one that is. It should swing into place smoothly yet have a stock long enough to keep the recoil from bringing your thumb back against your nose.

What about the gun weight? A light gun with a heavy loads let your shoulder absorb too much of the recoil. But because you won’t shoot very often while deer hunting, recoil isn’t highly important. You don’t want a shotgun so heavy you can’t carry it all day with ease. Strike a happy medium between weight and recoil.
 
I've used shotguns (shooting slugs) for many years. Frankly, I wouldn't even bother reading the chapters on shotgun hunting from a book that was published in 1986. Slug guns today are a completely different creature from the ones made in the early 1980's. And that isn't taking into consideration the leaps and bounds slug ammunition has improved over the past few decades.
 
I've used shotguns (shooting slugs) for many years. Frankly, I wouldn't even bother reading the chapters on shotgun hunting from a book that was published in 1986. Slug guns today are a completely different creature from the ones made in the early 1980's. And that isn't taking into consideration the leaps and bounds slug ammunition has improved over the past few decades.
This is very true.
 
I have not used a shotgun in years for deer but used to use them in NY before rifles were allowed. Could only shoot slug, buckshot was not legal. People talk about rifle recoil but a 30-06 is a kitten compared to shotgun recoil shooting 1 ounce + slugs.
Agreed. I used to think I was very recoil shy. Then I quit shooting shotgun slugs and realized hunting rifles weren’t all that bad.
 
I shoot a Remington 11/87 with slugs. Semi autos greatly reduce the recoil and it’s accurate. Changed the trigger spring to reduce trigger pull.
 
Had a neighbor that used to use a 10 gauge 3 inch slug for deer hunting. OUCH. I'm now using a 20 gauge instead of a 12 gauge. Its the savage bolt action 220 series. Shoots extremely well with the right sabot slug. I'd rather shoot my 338 win mag vs a 12 gauge slug gun
 
I shoot a Remington 11/87 with slugs. Semi autos greatly reduce the recoil and it’s accurate. Changed the trigger spring to reduce trigger pull.
I have the same gun. With the rifled barrel and cantilever scope mount it was a tack driver.
 
I have a browning a-bolt 12ga. Bought it when browning first introduced them back in the nineties. I shoot 3" Winchester BRI sabots from it. Its killed alot of deer. Illinois just approved straight wall cartridges so I bought a 350 legend so the slug gun will be a safe queen I guess.
 
I have the same gun. With the rifled barrel and cantilever scope mount it was a tack driver.
If you haven’t changed the trigger spring try it. It’s cheap and all you do is change the spring. Look it up. You can easily find it online.
 
If you haven’t changed the trigger spring try it. It’s cheap and all you do is change the spring. Look it up. You can easily find it online.
I've put it in the corner as a "critter killer" these days. Once I got my muzzle loader I never went back!
 
Had a neighbor that used to use a 10 gauge 3 inch slug for deer hunting. OUCH. I'm now using a 20 gauge instead of a 12 gauge. Its the savage bolt action 220 series. Shoots extremely well with the right sabot slug. I'd rather shoot my 338 win mag vs a 12 gauge slug gun
The magical Savage 220 is the definitive "woke" and "geek-tech" way to fly in the 2020's if the state's game gestapo dictates you must absolutely fling shotgun slugs, but no rifle bullets or buckshot, at deer to kill them. .243 Winchester kindness to your firing shoulder coupled with minute-of-doe-or-buck accuracy within a football field. You won't have very far to shoot in those shotgun-only/straight-wall states anyhow.

The Savage Axis in .350 Legend seems the best choice in straight-wall/.35-caliber+ rifle states where your .243, .30-06, .257 Roberts or .308 would not be allowed. Savage has you covered every which way for those dang-blasted eastern or cornbelt states.
 
Last edited:
I have a browning a-bolt 12ga. Bought it when browning first introduced them back in the nineties. I shoot 3" Winchester BRI sabots from it. Its killed alot of deer. Illinois just approved straight wall cartridges so I bought a 350 legend so the slug gun will be a safe queen I guess.
That’s a very nice shotgun. No way I’d relegate it to “safe queen” status.
 
I typically use my Browning Gold 20 gauge with a 2-7x Nikon when I stand hunt and shoot sabot slugs with consistent success. Remington greenie weenies shoot on the same zero inside 50 and I often carry a couple if I need to take an up-close finisher, it costs less than four or five bucks a shot.

My 11-87 has a slug barrel that gets use on deer and turkeys since it has Rem chokes. It has punched many a tag and been carried on many drives through the briars. No trouble to get deer level accuracy inside 80 yards with any of the cheaper traditional Foster slug offerings.

Foster slugs remain consistent sellers throughout shotgun country and work well when used within their limits. Better performance will be repeated with a rifled barrel, a solid scope, and premium slugs. And if you go with a 12, use legit scope rings to handle the recoil. You'll do well inside 125 yes, but the right combo will stretch that to 200.

Buckshot plays differently in the field. Many aftermarket choke tubes claim high pattern density with the big pellets so try one on the pattern board, or see what the tubes that came with the gun can do. I prefer 3" loads and had good luck with #4 and #1 on the last hunts I carried buckshot. Again, if your ammo inventory is limited, but you find a load that patterns well, go hunt with confidence with what you have. The 12 has the most variety in loads and if you shoot a 3 n a half inch chamber they will all work. Keep shots inside 40 or 45 yds and you ought to do well.
 
PEAX Trekking Poles

Forum statistics

Threads
111,424
Messages
1,958,217
Members
35,173
Latest member
240shooter
Back
Top