Slugs In 390S

Dear Technoid,

I gave my son a Beretta 390 and presented it to him for Christmas. He promptly went out and shot an 18 at trap…his best ever.

Now he is questioning whether this versatile instrument can be used to shoots slugs, presumably at deer and not little discs of clay.

Might we tap your great wisdom of all things shotgunning (at least modern) on this weighty issue?

Thank you, and may your choke tubes always remain with you.

Dear JE,

The Beretta 390 instruction manual makes no mention of slugs. I haven’t run slugs through my 390, but I have used them in my B-80 auto (really a Beretta 302 more or less) and it did just fine. Just make sure to use an OPEN choke, no more than Sk and better CYL. Don’t use slugs with tight chokes. You will want to experiment with different brands of slugs to get the combination that shoots most accurately for you. Yes, it is expensive to test fire a selection, but there is no other way. I found a tremendous variation in accuracy between the Brenekes and the Winchesters in my gun.

I have shot a few deer with slugs, but not a whole bunch. Out of a gun with a standard smooth bore and brass bead front sight, you ought to be able to hit a deer in the lungs at 50 yards. My B-80 with SK choke and Winchester slugs would group about 4″-5″ at 50 yards. Not great, but plenty good enough for shooting in the woods. Rifled barrels and rifled chokes may be available through Cabela’s, but until you add an optic, you really aren’t going to improve practical killing range. 50 yards is plenty for most deer anyway. For more than that, get a rifle, a dedicated slug gun or wait for a closer shot.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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