Who regularly hunts deer with a shotgun?

I took a few deer with my buddy's 870 (cantilever/scope) prior to rifles in IN and one in IL with my Benelli Nova (smooth bore, ghost ring) but since rifles of one flavor or another are legal everywhere I hunt now I will not go back to slugs.....no reason too. For folks doing the straight wall rifle thing there are 2 camps it seems. Those that want the bolt gun accuracy and those that like the convenience, reduced recoil and adjustability of ARs. The sweet spot for bolt guns are 350 Legends and 450 Bushmaster (WITH the break) in Ruger Americans. In straight wall states I am covered by my son's 44m Handi Rifle.
 
I took a few deer with my buddy's 870 (cantilever/scope) prior to rifles in IN and one in IL with my Benelli Nova (smooth bore, ghost ring) but since rifles of one flavor or another are legal everywhere I hunt now I will not go back to slugs.....no reason too. For folks doing the straight wall rifle thing there are 2 camps it seems. Those that want the bolt gun accuracy and those that like the convenience, reduced recoil and adjustability of ARs. The sweet spot for bolt guns are 350 Legends and 450 Bushmaster (WITH the break) in Ruger Americans. In straight wall states I am covered by my son's 44m Handi Rifle.
My Pennsylvania-native grandfather was born in 1908 and was raised in northern California since age 5. He once deer, duck, grouse and pheasant hunted in California sometime before 1964. Just before I came along. He had two CF rifles of his own and he would use borrowed shotguns for occasional feathered-game hunts. He told me when I was 7, a rifle is for deer and a shotgun is for duck and other critters with feathers. He said a 22 was for rabbit and my father thought somebody who would fire a 22 at deer to be an idiot. California used to be part of the "free" wide-open American West. There was a time a shotgun for deer/big game would have been considered unfathomable west of the Rockies. Both my 1935-South Carolina-born father and granddad thought scopes on hunting rifles were cheating. I once asked my grandfather what he thought about bow hunting in 1978. There were features about it in 1970's Outdoor Life magazines. He said something like, "Go on kid, get lost!" My father and grandfather both thought muzzle-loaders crude and old hat. Both my father and grandfather were modern enough to drink beer from cans and not bottles. My father and grandfather were into coastal fishing in the time I was born. I asked my grandfather if he would ever hunt deer again. He told me that he was "too old" and that there is too much hiking involved. My grandfather would sometimes get venison from a friend from work who went hunting. In California, game deer were either blacktail or mulies. No whitetails/Virginia deer out there.

My 1925-born Southern paternal uncle insisted that you never refer to DUCKS as BIRDS. In Southern sportsman parlance, a web-footed feathered critter is never a BIRD.
 
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I went through the whole deer hunting shotgun development starting in the early 70's hunting in IN & IL:
  • Started with smoothbore bird guns a vent rib and bead shooting rifled slugs
  • Then the Ithaca Deer slayer smoothbore with rifled slugs and good open sights.
  • Drilled and tapped the receiver and mounted scope on the Deer slayer
  • Stepped up to a Remington 870 with rifled barrel and sabot slugs and scope mounted on receiver
  • Pinned the barrel to receiver to minimize that movement
  • Got a Cantilever rifled barrel for 870 so no longer had issue of movement between receiver and barrel
  • Switched out to a Savage bolt action which is what we are using today.

Now the trick is finding the sabots that shoot well. Always liked the Federal Barnes copper expanders but they are no longer made.
Have settled on the Remington Accutips which can be difficult to find, but I've got a ten year supply.

Now they tell me IL is going to straight wall rifle cartridges. I'm going to stick with the Savage shotgun for now, it's good to 150 yards no problem.
 
I have hunted here in Illinois for the past 20 years or so. I started with a Mossberg 500 in 12g with a rifled barrel and slugs. Stepped up to the much lighter TC Encore in 12g with slugs. That didn't last long. It punished you with every shot. I traded that barrel off for a 20g rifled barrel and never looked back. I started shooting Hornady SST sabots and it was a game changer. I have hunted with my Encore in 20g for years now and it is a deer slayer. But then I got the bug. All of my hunting buddies went and bought the Savage 220. After shooting it I was sold. It shoot the Hornady SST's good, but it really likes the Remington Accubonds. Now this year here in Illinois we can hunt with a single shot strait walled case round. A 460 S&W or 45-70 may be in the mix.

blacksheep
 
I have hunted a slug zone in MN since the mid eighties. I also hunt a couple of small public areas where no centerfire rifles are allowed here in ND. I have been through several different guns/scopes through the years. I also hunted with a muzzleloader for a few years. It has been mostly 870's with an 11-87 in there at one point. I bought a Hastings barrel for it and just couldn't get anything to shoot well through it. I liked the old Remington Buckhammer slugs. They really shot well for me and I don't have any shots over 100 yds.

I now have an 870 with a 2x7 Leopold shotgun scope and the heavy contour barrel. The trigger was worked on by a place called "accuracy Speaks". It is not just the weight of the trigger the creep also sucks. I did a little camo job on it myself and got one of those gel-type Limbsaver recoil pads. When I first used it I used Hornady SST's then went to light recoil SST's. I had a problem with one kind of disintegrating one year on a deer. I saw others had this problem as well. I have been using Federal Trophy Copper since. They really seem to perform nice on deer. Slug shooting seems to be mostly about punching a big hole through the lungs and they run 50 to 75 yds and go down. It shoots about as well as my 220, that I seem to loan out most years.

The Savage 220 has the same scope, less recoil, and the Accutrigger. Mine likes the 2.75" Remington Accutips the best. The 2.75" Federal Trophy Copper don't shoot quite as well but once again I like how they perform on deer.

I keep hoping that MN does something to reform their slug zone. So far they don't even allow straight wall calibers like a lot of states have. It would allow people a more affordable and lower recoil way to hunt.
 
I have hunted here in Illinois for the past 20 years or so. I started with a Mossberg 500 in 12g with a rifled barrel and slugs. Stepped up to the much lighter TC Encore in 12g with slugs. That didn't last long. It punished you with every shot. I traded that barrel off for a 20g rifled barrel and never looked back. I started shooting Hornady SST sabots and it was a game changer. I have hunted with my Encore in 20g for years now and it is a deer slayer. But then I got the bug. All of my hunting buddies went and bought the Savage 220. After shooting it I was sold. It shoot the Hornady SST's good, but it really likes the Remington Accubonds. Now this year here in Illinois we can hunt with a single shot strait walled case round. A 460 S&W or 45-70 may be in the mix.

blacksheep
Dead on. If you can shoot slugs or a 3 1/2 mag out of a Moss 500 you can shoot anything! I was a kid at the time and still remember my shoulder being sore. I also shoot the 220. I’ve preferred the the performance of the Accubond over sst but shoots both well. Really like the accu trigger when shooting slugs.
 
My first deer, indeed my first shot at a deer, was with a bead sighted double barrel 20 gauge shooting foster slugs. Through the heart at 100 yards - better to be young and lucky than good. Would never take that shot now, but anybody that says a 20 gauge slug is too light for deer I say has no idea what they are talking about. It would be fine for black bear and elk too.
 
I took a few deer with my buddy's 870 (cantilever/scope) prior to rifles in IN and one in IL with my Benelli Nova (smooth bore, ghost ring) but since rifles of one flavor or another are legal everywhere I hunt now I will not go back to slugs.....no reason too. For folks doing the straight wall rifle thing there are 2 camps it seems. Those that want the bolt gun accuracy and those that like the convenience, reduced recoil and adjustability of ARs. The sweet spot for bolt guns are 350 Legends and 450 Bushmaster (WITH the break) in Ruger Americans. In straight wall states I am covered by my son's 44m Handi Rifle.
A deer hit with any shotgun slug will drop quickly. I have shot countless ones and that huge hole causes tremendous blood loss. You don’t notice recoil when hunting but when shooting off a bench put a thick rubber pad between you and the gun
 
Dead on. If you can shoot slugs or a 3 1/2 mag out of a Moss 500 you can shoot anything! I was a kid at the time and still remember my shoulder being sore. I also shoot the 220. I’ve preferred the the performance of the Accubond over sst but shoots both well. Really like the accu trigger when shooting slugs.
I have a nutmeg laminate stock on it from Boyds and a Leupold 3-9x40 SABR scope on it. I love the way it looks and it shoots awesome.
 
I started hunting with slug gun in late 60's in upstate NY with smooth bore 870. Close range dictated by if you could hit a paper plate. Rifled slug barrels were not around then PLUS not legal which was crazy to start with. Eventually everything changed.

Fast forward a life time and I shoot a 870 3", 24" bull barrel Hastings, Remington thumbhole stock set, Timney trigger spring conversion (2.5lb). Even though straight wall allowed, I still hunt with this set up. Why? I hunt swamps on public land and want the buck DRT which my slug provides best opportunity for that.

I have been reloading the Hammerhead slug for close to 20 years from Rich Knoster (RIP my friend) and it is incredibly accurate. My set up will shoot HONEST 2" groups at 100 yds with his 1 1/4 oz slug. The load is a crisp 1450 fps so it hits like freight train too. I bought several hundred so still have enough for a while. Reloading slugs insures you never have to worry about lot to lot consistency. Plus tune accuracy to your slug gun. No different than metallic reloading. Unfortunately his passing resulted in company closure. However the good news is it was bought and reopening in TX soon. I hope.

Last decent buck killed on MI public with this set up in 2019. Been hunting IN rifle lease since then.

The ironic twist to me still shooting slugs is I authored the straight wall rifle for MI in May 2009 though it took 5 freaking years to get it into NRC due to DNR opposition.


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I hunted in shotgun only Wisconsin 50 years ago. I used a Browning A-5, with a steel Weaver 1x4 scope with a mag extension and the barrel cut to 18". It shot Remington 1 oz. slugs the best, I shot a truckload of deer with it. I still have it as a bedside gun, replaced the scope with a red dot.
 
My first shotgun for deer was an Ithica 20 gauge. For pumpkin ball slugs the Ithica’s were the best made. I still have that shotgun although since they allow rifles in my area it is now relegated to small game hunti. It would hold a 4” group at 75 yards which was plenty foot for deer. When rifled barrels came on the scene I got a mossburg trophy slugster with thumb hole stock and cantilevered scope mount. Made my longest shot on a deer (shotgun or rifle) with it. 162 yards. Was also my biggest buck a 152” 206 lb dressed behemoth that was aged 7 1/2 by DEC personnel. That deer was taken with a Remington copper solid slug.
 
....You point a shotgun, and aim a rifle.....

Gotta sp10, 10g 3.5"-most overall kills
Gotta 1187 12g-for the easy days
Gotta 1100 20g-for nostalgic days
Gotta 870 20g-for the sleeting days
Gotta few in between and beyond, some o/u's that go to the trap&skeet fields, and a Tristar 20g that lives in the truck. All kill game yearly except the o/u's.
 
The term "brush gun" is silliness. Any object between you and your target will likely deflect the bullet in some fashion. Use whatever weapon is legal in your area and gives you the best chance to ethically harvest an animal.
 
The term "brush gun" is silliness. Any object between you and your target will likely deflect the bullet in some fashion. Use whatever weapon is legal in your area and gives you the best chance to ethically harvest an animal.
Context.

Ghost ride a scwhinn and a truck down a hill, report your findings.
 
I started here in Michigan with a single shot 16 gauge and foster slugs when I was 12. This area of Michigan (the Thumb) was a shotgun only area and a smooth bore was the only way we could hunt deer here.
I graduated to a 12 gauge 870 smooth bore with rifle sights that rattled my teeth when I shot it (paper plate at 100 yards).
I shot lots of deer with it. I then went to a Savage 220 with Accutip sabots (2 inches at 100 ). I shot some deer with it here in Michigan and in Ohio.
I now hunt here with a Ruger American 450 Bushmaster (moa at 100 yards).
I mostly enjoyed them all.
 
Reading.
  1. Testing the Brush Gun Myth
  2. Myths About Bucking Brush
If you want to take unethical shots with obstructions between your rifle and the target, that is your business; until you wound an animal, and then you've make it the animal's business.
Jesus h christ you dweeb. We're talking twigs and branches, environments that are not wide open paper punching shots, and we ain't talking shooting blind into brush like we're whacking our way through a disco bar in the 70s.

Hence the point vs aim. Like bird hunting, it's over your head.


You articles, I stopped reading when the author got to writing this:

"Now, I don’t do a whole lot of hunting myself. I’m not in any position to offer much advice about that topic."
 
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