what shotgun model and gauge do you hunt deer with?


Staff member
I've used at least a dozen different shot guns in areas requiring shotgun only hunting,
and I've had mixed results, now if you've ever been limited too using a scatter gun on deer you know buckshot looses most of its effectiveness past about 35 yards and slugs need to be used past that short range.

I started with a mossberg 500 pump




compare your shotgun or rifle or handgun twist rate to the calculated ideal twist rate

which at least in my case , repeatedly had small parts break, it broke the safety button,several times, and had numerous other problems,
(I gave that one away for FREE to a friend)
Id AVOID buying or using THAT SHOTGUN

if you step back mentally and analyze, what your trying to accomplish and under what conditions your trying to do so it helps.
In my opinion buckshot limits your range too much too be a valid and useful ammo, choice, for deer hunting.
double 00 buck shot's potentially devastating at under 30-35 yards, but both energy and ever increasing projectile spread causes lethality too rapidly drop off past that distance.
an accurate slug gun with a rifled barrel can more than triple a shotguns effective reach over the best buckshot loading's.

THIS SAVAGE IS AN EXCELLENT and reliable and accurate SHOT GUN
these bolt action shotguns have rifled bore designed to stabilize slugs

I think thats the reason (LOWER RECOIL) that I've heard,most people select the 20 ga
I own the 12 ga version, and most of my friends have purchased the 12 ga version, but from what I've read the 20 ga seems to be more popular
if you hand-load the lyman slugs seem to work rather well, if you select the loads that provide the higher velocitys,, loads that push the velocity up as they stabilize the 20 ga version best at the faster velocity levels in several of my friends experience


12 Gauge = Bore Diameter of .729 inches. 16 Gauge = Bore Diameter of .662 inches. 20 Gauge = Bore Diameter of .615 inches. 28 Gauge = Bore Diameter of .550 inches.

if you notice the 58 caliber mini ball mold cast projectile, has the correct diameter to be loaded in a 20 ga plastic shot cup in a 20 ga too effectively work as a slug

this does not seem to be an issue with the 12 ga version,keep in mind these slugs are loaded inside a plastic shot-cup,
that compresses and grips the slug, and rifling, in the shotguns bore,
(if its a rifled bore designed for slugs)
as its forced down the bore, the slug itself never touches the shotgun bores rifling , which acts as a sabot thats discarded as it leaves the bore.
you can buy a mold and cast your own at a considerable cost savings if you reload.






if your restricted to shotgun only areas , your not in as bad shapes as you might at first think!
these rifled slug guns do a really good job on deer out to about 140 yards,
(in experienced and practiced hands, and assuming good ammo)

my late uncle, used his savage slug gun to kill several large black bears,
and while the average range was under 75 yards he stated it slammed them so hard they rarely did more than spin, fall and twitch


http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/i ... 0152654112



keep in mind these slugs are loaded inside a plastic shot-cup,
that compresses and grips the slug, and rifling, in the shotguns bore,
(if its a rifled bore designed for slugs)
as its forced down the bore, the slug itself never touches the shotgun bores rifling , which acts as a sabot thats discarded as it leaves the bore.
you can buy a mold and cast your own at a considerable cost savings if you reload.



This is load data for the 525 Gr. Lyman Sabot Slug. Its tough to format for the forum but the list reads of follows.

Powder Charge Primer Wad Velocity Pressure

Federal Gold Medal

Univ. Clays 36.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1503 10,100
WSF 34.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1482 11,300
Herco 32.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1389 11,100
SR 4756 44.0 Win 209 WAA12R 1585 10,500
800X 31.5 Fed 209AWAA12 1459 10,700
Blue Dot 46.5 Win 209 WAA12R 1544 9,900
571 42.0 Fed 209AFed 12S4 1429 10,700

Federal Plastic Hunting

Univ. Clays 35.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1442 9,300
34.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1421 9,200
Herco 30.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1297 9,100
SR 4756 40.0 Win 209 WAA12R 1439 8,300
800X 30.0 Fed 209AFed 12S4 1403 9,800
Blue Dot 44.0 Win 209 WAA12R 1408 7,300
571 42.0 Fed 209AFed 12S4 1405 9,900

Fiocchi Plastic

Univ. Clays 34.0 Win 209 WAA12R 1478 10,100
WSF 31.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1383 10,000
SR 4756 37.0 Win 209 WAA12R 1396 8,700
N3SH 36.0 Win 209 WAA12R 1486 9,700
Blue Dot 44.0 Win 209 WAA12R 1476 8,800

Remington RTL (Premier)

Univ. Clays 29.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1386 10,800
Unique 23.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1269 11,100
Herco 25.0 Win 209 WAA12 1249 11,300
SR 4756 34.0 Rem 209PWAA12R 1448 11,100
SR 4756 35.0 Win 209 WAA12R 1462 10,900
Blue Dot 41.0 Rem 209PWAA12F114 1475 11,000
Blue Dot 43.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1501 11,200

Remington Unibody SP

Univ. Clays 32.0 Win 209 WAA12 1416 9,900
WSF 32.0 Win 209 WAA12 1434 11,400
Herco 30.0 Win 209 WAA12 1336 10,600
SR 4756 37.5 Win 209 WAA12F114 1468 10,200
800X 31.0 Win 209 Fed 12S3 1440 10,700
Blue Dot 45.5 Win 209 WAA12F114 1482 9,300
Blue Dot 46.0 Win 209 Fed 12S4 1532 10,600

Winchester AA

Univ. Clays 29.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1358 9,700
Unique 23.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1271 11,100
Unique 22.5 Win 209 Fed 12S3 1231 10,500
WSF 30.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1393 11,000
WSF 28.0 Win 209 Fed 12S3 1332 10,500
Herco 25.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1273 10,900
SR 4756 35.0 Win 209 WAA12R 1378 8,800
N3SH 30.0 Win 209 WAA12F114 1372 10,100
Blue Dot 44.0 Win 209 WAA12R 1474 9,200

I swapped to an Ithaca pump 12 ga and had that work really well for close in brush hunts , WITH BUCKSHOT BUT WAS NOT GOOD WITH SLUGS SO IT LIMITED THE RANGE IT WAS EFFECTIVE TO ABOUT 35 YARDS
but it was not until I swapped to a H&K super 90

that I found a really effective semi auto shot gun, that thru both buckshot and slugs reasonably well, but I eventually bought a SAVAGE bolt action with a rifled barrel, designed for slugs, (useless for buck shot)

I can recommend the savage 12 ga model 210, its what Ive found to be a very accurate slug gun with a decent 4x scope,
try to find one in 12 ga even if its used but in good condition, a sabot slug can be very effective in these guns. in 12 ga., but the standard foster slugs don,t tend to be all that accurate in my experience

with a rifled barrel that shot slugs accurately to over 100 yards, once Id sighted in a good 2.5x leopold scope, I felt really well armed.

what have YOU used?
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I have a 12 ga H&K riot gun, and a remington, riot gun, that can fire off all the magazine load of shells in rapid succession, its also darn effective at about 20-35 yards with federal 2 3/4" 00 buck, which Ive found to be the best load.
but they are clearly becoming useless much past 35-40 yards. Ive used them for several decades , but IM also really well aware of its limitations. before you go out expecting your shot gun to be effective Id ask you do an easy test, cut out a life size deer or hog silhouette and staple it on a full 4ft x8ft sheet of 3/4" plywood, lean it against a old stump or fence and mark off the range at 10 yard intervals out to about 80 yards then fire a load of buckshot from each 10 yard interval as you move closer, but mark the impact points before you shot from the previous shot before each shot, if buck shot fails to penetrate thru 3/4" plywood, its unlikely to do so on deer, or hog so your past the range your consistently reaching the vitals, if you can,t place at least 3-5 buckshot,pellets in the deer or hogs vitals, your past the range it will prove to be deadly and your very likely to have deer or hog run off and die later, random body hits are not what your after its consistent multiple hits in the lung, neck and heart that will prove to be mortal hits.
yes you might occasionally drop a deer or hog at extreme ranges with a lucky hit, but your far more likely to wound.
I think your going to have a different view on the guns effective range if you do the test, its damn effective at across the room ranges, but losses power with range rapidly.
this is the reason I tend to use SLUGS on most deer and hog hunts with shotguns,
a smooth bore shotgun that shoots slugs consistently, easily extends the range 2-3 times or more,
a slug gun with a rifled bore and the correct matched sabot slogs adds,
an additional 50-70 yards,
but of course buck shot become useless in a rifled bore
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notice that even a shotgun slug at close range is not instantly fatal
but a slug is far better than buckshot, and just like when you use a rifle,
precise shot placement and a good knowledge of the games anatomy,
is critical to producing quick results
btw I've owned several mossberg pump 12 ga shotguns over the years, in my experience,
Id suggest you avoid them,
as every one, I've ever owned, eventually had reliability issues.
H&K, BENELLI , Ithaca winchester, and remington ,
all make dependable semi auto and pump 12 ga shotguns

anyone that thinks buck shots a great option for bear or elk, really should stack up three sheets of 2 ft x 2 ft square sheets or 3/4" plywood ,
and place a target on it , staple a sheet of typing paper 8.5" x 11" horizontally as a representative kill /vital zone
place the target stack of plywood out at 50 yards
fire two quick shots , with buckshot, if you do have buckshot hit the kill zone look at the rear of the plywood for buck shot pellet exits
your not going to find any...now repeat the process with slugs, in most cases they both hit the kill zone and exit the stack of ply wood, think that over
your potentially going to get out and look for that bear, do you want a dead bear or one highly motivated to get revenge on the cause of his injury.

now I use an ithaca mag 10 ga for most of my duck hunts

but I can assure you that a great deal of the FELT recoil can be REDUCED through the use of a vest with a decent shoulder pad sewn into it.
no matter what gun you sellect I would think thats a worth while option as it spreads and softens the impact noticeably
you might not be shooting 2.25" loads of shot from a 3.5" 10 ga. but no mater what shotgun youve selected a proper recoil absorbing shoulder pad might be a good idea!



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I still have a Ted Williams 12 gauge auto I bought in 1976 from Sears for $79.00. Made by Winchester and has killed hundreds of deer using OO buck shot out to about 50 yards, max.
Still rather hunt with black powder, or compound bow.

I'm sure its just me, but,
I found it a bit irritating that this guy never bothered,
too adjust his shotgun sights to place the guns ,
shotgun slug, group, impact center over the target.
with the load he was testing,
this could have been done in seconds with a screw driver.
maybe he has it sighted in for a different brand of slug.

if you find one of these in old stock or in a pawn shop you can frequently get a deal on the price, and most will have seen little use.
Ive helped several younger people start hunting, Id suggest you take a hunter safety course
(most state game/fish departments have them)
rent , borrow or buy a dozen related firearm care, and proper use,and training videos,
buy and watch a game processing videos
rent borrow or buy a couple dozen hunting tips videos, ideally find an experienced mentor.
obviously you need to become familiar with weapon care, maintenance, proper use and proficiency.
I would not buy a rifle or shotgun,until youve tried several types and calibers/ gauges,
and become rather familiar with and at least become proficient with a few.
get out and walk the local game management areas.
youll need a freezer to store a great deal more meat than the average kitchen refrigerator/freezer holds,
you may be thinking only about a rifle, but a used 870 12 ga shotgun can be very useful and theres millions of them out there,
you should have zero problem finding one used or on sale fairly reasonably priced, under $300 and with slugs,
for deer/hogs and properly sized bird shot for small game
its fully capable of keeping the freezer full in semi competent hands
just as a reference
many smooth bore slug guns with a rifle scope will keep a 6"-9" 100 yard group off a good bench rest
many rifled bore slug guns with a rifle scope will keep a 2"-4" 100 yard group off a good bench rest
both are easily capable of killing deer at typical 50-80 yard ranges
but a good rifled bore slug gun with a rifle scope can keep 4"-5" 200 yard groups off a good bench rest
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I use a marlin 512 when I hunt around home. My father in law owns 130 acres in the upper penninsula of Michigan, if I hunt there i use my Rem BDL 7mm mag. The pic below is from the Marlin website, but it is the same Marlin 512 I use. It holds 1 3 1/2" slug in the chamber and 2 in the clip. Very accurate
at 100yrds.


  • marlin.jpg
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I reside out in the country and have enough land that I designed a rifle range that is capable of a 250 yard shot safely. I brought in 800 yards of free fill and shaped it into a u shape for a backstop. I installed posts and 2 sheets of plywood in front of the mound to give a 4' x 16' long wall that has white Tyvec house wrap stapled to it. we then staple targets on over the white house wrap. If you missed the target, that white Tyvec would show where you hit easily. That Marlin 512 would drive tacks at 100 yrds! For deer I only use the 2 3/4" sabots
at 1 1/4 oz. Found that the 3 1/2" would ruin to much of the animal. lol
yes a 1 3/8th oz 12 ga, slug at close to 1900 fps is vast over kill on any deer inside of 100 yards

I OWN A SAVAGE 212 BOLT ACTION, one of my neighbors purchased a savage 220
I don,t think theres a dimes worth of difference in accuracy but the 20 does recoil less
neither of us would swap,
both devastate deer and both are best at under 140 yards
sight in 3" high at 100 yards and your about on at 120 and about 3"-4" low at 150 yards


an accurate slug gun with a rifled barrel can more than triple a shotguns effective reach over the best buckshot loading's.
THIS SAVAGE IS AN EXCELLENT and reliable and accurate SHOT GUN
these bolt action shotguns have rifled bore designed to stabilize slugs


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