Slug Guns

Dear Sir;

Any ideas why I can’t find anything on the net about shooting slugs in shotguns? I live in Ohio & we can only shoot deer with shotgun slugs. Any & all help is greatly appreciated!

Sincerely, Greg

Dear Greg,

I have taken some deer with slugs, but I am far from an expert. To talk to people who are better informed about slug hunting than I am, you might try rec.hunting and rec.guns newsgroups. The chat groups at might also be helpful. Most of slug shooting at deer has been within 50 yards in the woods, so a standard bird gun with any kind of slug is plenty accurate. I shot my first deer with a Vitt-Breneke slug and a Cutts compensated Model 12 pump- which shows you just how uncritical my deer hunting is. My wife is from Coldwater, on the western side of Ohio, and I know the open ground and longer ranges you have to deal with.

I have heard reports of surprising slug accuracy using pump and semi-auto shotguns with rifled chokes. I figured that the completely rifled barrels would always be better, but it hasn’t necessarily tested out that way. The rifled choke tubes from Browning and Remington seem to also produce excellent results. Some people are getting under 3″ at 100 yards, which is as good as many rifles do, particularly the old 30-30. This accuracy is generally with the new sabot slugs, not the old Foster-style finned lead jobs. Browning, Remington and Mossberg all make excellent pumps and autos with rifled barrels/chokes and cantilevered scope mounts or iron sights. Personally, I would find a Remington 870 pump set up for slugs hard to beat.

I can’t tell you which brand of gun would be more accurate any more than I could tell you which rifle will be more accurate out of the box. Some of it depends on the luck of the draw, some on the slug you select. The guns often very much prefer one sabot to another. Unfortunately, it gets expensive to test all the brands.

One thing is for sure. Don’t try to stretch this stuff out too much over 100 yards, no matter how tempting it gets. These are basically shotguns, not centerfire rifles. The new premium slugs (Federal’s “Barnes Expander Sabot” comes to mind), may add another 25 yards to that. Zeroed at 100 yards, these sabots drop another 3″ at 125, but still have about the same energy that a 30-30 does at 100. Face it, if you can’t get within about 100 yards of your buck, it’s time to learn to hunt, not just shoot.

Shotguns are the way deer hunting is going in many areas. It’s nice to see that in the past ten years, rifled barrels/chokes and sabots have converted what used to be a 50 yard gun into a legitimate 100 yard deer getter. Put a nice little four power scope on that cantilever slug barrel and you are in business.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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