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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having hunted deer way out west previously, my tool for deer only has been the rifle. Many more-easterly American states have some degree of restriction against rifles. A few states ban them altogether for deer. Ok offers some areas (namely OLAP properties) that allow shotguns but no rifles during gun seasons. I think if I get up to speed with shotgun knowledge in terms of deer hunting, it might be a boon to my success. It opens up another door for deer opportunities. I have a new Mossy 500 12 on order for pickup soon with both a police barrel and a field (fowl) barrel and an older Remington 870 police pump 12 that I am planning to sell. There are aftermarket slug barrels with iron sights and cantilever kinds for scope mounting. I think of a shotgun for woods hunting and would want the best iron sight system I can get.

I have never gotten into archery or muzzle-loaders but since I own at least one pump shotgun already I might as well make the most of this weapon type. They are not just for ducks, burglars and doves anymore. :p

Is there a good aftermarket iron sight system with a peep adjustable rear sight for slug guns? I love peep sights on rifles. I gather the rear sight for most slug barrels is an open type.

What are the best legal 12 ga. slug loads for Ok deer?

What is the maximum practical range for slug-gunning deer? It is certainly closer for a shotgun than for a rifle.

What MOA groups can we generally expect from a slug gun and what accuracy is acceptable?
 

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I have never tried shotgunning for deer but can’t say it sounds like a bad idea. I don’t see the range being much more than what you could get out of archery.
 

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I'm not a shotgunner for deer either but do know a little. Check the regs and see if sabot slugs are allowed in OK. If so, you'll want to order a barrel that's rifled. If using regular slugs, I believe you want a smooth bore barrel. Just checked and no restriction on type of slug used. For a slug 12 ga, I'd say like BSITW it'll be similar to archery - 50 or 60 yards maximum. UNLESS, you buy a really high end shotgun and mount a scope. With iron sights, I don't think ethically I would try to shoot any further. As for MOA or acceptable accuracy, I think that's in large part attributed to the person behind the gun.

Let me know what you might want for the 870 when ready to sell.
 

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The first deer I ever shot with a firearm was with a shotgun and it was a special experience. 96 yard shot, standing free handed, with my grandfather's Stevens 16ga shotgun. This was a pump action with a front bead and 26" field barrel, shooting a 16ga rifled slug. It was also a doe with buttons. Shot her right at the base of the neck and she dropped like a sack of potatoes. I was hooked and thought shotguns were all a sportsman needed at that point, switch barrels and hunt everything in the woods. It was that way for another 5-6 years before I bought my first rifle.

Years later, I even built up a "slug gun" at one point; it was a Rem 870 with 24" rifled barrel with adjustable rifle sights shooting 3" shells with Hornady 300gr SST Sabot Slugs. It was accurate enough out to 150 yards, but about ripped your arm off sighting it in. I've since sold that barrel and all my sabots. At $3.00 per shell I couldn't justify feeding it when my .30-30 could do the same thing for $0.75/shell with half the recoil.

I still have a shotgun with 18" cylinder bore barrel and dozens of rifled slugs, but I haven't taken it out of the safe in years.

If you like using a shotgun, or it's all you've got, use it. But for me, since we can shoot all kinds of rifles here in OK, they just make so much more sense from a practical standpoint, and cheaper to shoot, generally speaking.
 

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Shot gunning for deer it mainly an upper Midwest and back east thing as you said. Again in many areas rifles are not allowed so shotguns with slugs and or buckshot is all you have for a gun season. It’s a matter of population density for the most part when it comes to that regulation.

When I was stationed in VA a muzzle loader, bow and shotgun with nothing smaller than #4 buckshot was allowed for hunting the bases in and around the Norfolk/ VA Beach area. We also had to hunt from a tree stand at least 15’ up. A bow was the only exception for ground hunting.

My first shotgun deer was a buckshot doe at about 30y. I remember I was using #4 Buckshot and fell in her tracks which happened to be a 1’ puddle surrounded by Cyprus knees. That was fun getting her outta that.
A week later I took my first slug doe at about 15y in NC while hunting at Camp Lejeune. Virginia, NC and many other states use dogs for deer drives and deer hunting. Most of these types of hunts a shotgun with buckshot is used. I took part in one such deer/ dog hunt at Camp Lejeune. It’s was buckshot only and folks had all sorts of fancy shotguns to use. They take shotgunning very seriously.

A very good buddy of mine in Ohio has to use a shotgun with slugs to gun hunt in his area. The law doesn’t allow for rifles. He uses a pump with rifles barrel that’s scoped. I was just talking to him about that the other day.

With a shotgun your very limited on range, especially with buckshot to 50-60y depending on the buckshot size and choke used. They make specialty shotguns with rifles barrels for slugs. Most can all be fitted with a scope. Most already have rifle style sights attached. A scooped setup will get you to 200y with the right setup. Open sight your limited to 100y or so. If you’re hunting thicker cover and up close then a shotgun is a great tool to use.
Keep in mind you do have more bloodshot and meat loss with a shotgun. With buckshot you have up to 12 holes depending on shot size. A slug leaves a massive hole and will destroy a shoulder bone.

As with anything, practicing your shooting and patterning the gun is a must.
 

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I’ve killed A BUNCH of deer here in east TX with buckshot but never with a slug. I’ve shot a bunch of slugs but never hunted with them. Federal makes a slug that shot really well out of my guns, but I’ll have to dig around to find a box and give you the specifics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Shot gunning for deer it mainly an upper Midwest and back east thing as you said. Again in many areas rifles are not allowed so shotguns with slugs and or buckshot is all you have for a gun season. It’s a matter of population density for the most part when it comes to that regulation.

When I was stationed in VA a muzzle loader, bow and shotgun with nothing smaller than #4 buckshot was allowed for hunting the bases in and around the Norfolk/ VA Beach area. We also had to hunt from a tree stand at least 15’ up. A bow was the only exception for ground hunting.

My first shotgun deer was a buckshot doe at about 30y. I remember I was using #4 Buckshot and fell in her tracks which happened to be a 1’ puddle surrounded by Cyprus knees. That was fun getting her outta that.
A week later I took my first slug doe at about 15y in NC while hunting at Camp Lejeune. Virginia, NC and many other states use dogs for deer drives and deer hunting. Most of these types of hunts a shotgun with buckshot is used. I took part in one such deer/ dog hunt at Camp Lejeune. It’s was buckshot only and folks had all sorts of fancy shotguns to use. They take shotgunning very seriously.

A very good buddy of mine in Ohio has to use a shotgun with slugs to gun hunt in his area. The law doesn’t allow for rifles. He uses a pump with rifles barrel that’s scoped. I was just talking to him about that the other day.

With a shotgun your very limited on range, especially with buckshot to 50-60y depending on the buckshot size and choke used. They make specialty shotguns with rifles barrels for slugs. Most can all be fitted with a scope. Most already have rifle style sights attached. A scooped setup will get you to 200y with the right setup. Open sight your limited to 100y or so. If you’re hunting thicker cover and up close then a shotgun is a great tool to use.
Keep in mind you do have more bloodshot and meat loss with a shotgun. With buckshot you have up to 12 holes depending on shot size. A slug leaves a massive hole and will destroy a shoulder bone.

As with anything, practicing your shooting and patterning the gun is a must.
The meat loss and bloodshot seems like the bad news for shotgunning deer as well the punishing kick to sight the thing in. The punishing kick can be lowered with a good shoulder pad like a PAST. I was wondering if a neck shot was possible with a rifled slug barrel and a scope setup or even an accurate iron-sight setup with a rear peep assuming you are close range as in a forested scenario. I figure a neck shot might save meat if the hunter has the marksmanship to achieve it. I'm OK with up to 100 yards with a rifle-slug-barrel shotgun; out west I only shot deer up to 100-yards in wooded cover with a scoped bolt-action rifle anyway: weapons overkill. It sounds like sabot slugs might give the best range and accuracy out of a rifled barrel.

I'm not sure yet if I am game for having a scope on a shotgun. If I owned a Savage 99 lever rifle, there would definitely by no scope on that gun either but the rear sight would be a good peep like those from Skinner Sights. My army M16 had a rear aperture and I shot Expert for qual. My Remington Nylon 66, my first rifle, a 22, had an open rear sight and I was never a good shot with this type rear iron sight. My eyes can only aim precisely with a rear peep or a scope. I have to decide which slug barrel I should order; one with iron sights or one with a cantilever mount. In those shotgun-only gun season areas as some Oklahoma OLAP properties, I feel I would need to restrict my terrain type to the woods as opposed to open fields or plains. But then again I would not use a Savage 99 lever gun with iron sights on the open plains also. That type of hunting would be reserved for a scoped bolt rifle. I love woods deer hunting much better anyway. I will also see if any aftermarket rear peeps are available for a Mossy slug barrel. I have to then decide between a conventional aperture or a ghost ring. Stock iron sights on slug barrels and rifles tend to be rear open, I believe.

I haven't given shotgunning for deer much consideration until reading ODWC, WMA and OLAP regulations and restrictions lately. Just for fun, I checked for a special video on the subject and found this:


The man in the above video says Dave Henderson is the guru of American deer shotgunning and one should read his book "Shotgunning for Deer" to get the whole modern-day lowdown on taking your "dove" or "duck" gun out for venison. Just by watching that short video I have the feeling that deer shotgunning is a specialized science and I feel I need to forget everything I already know about rifle hunting when approaching a scattergun with Bambi in mind. There is complex and expensive shotgun ammo. It seems that a sabot slug through a rifled barrel, however, will give the tightest groups consistently.

I just received a copy of George Laycock's "The Deer Hunter's Bible" but that is an older publication from 1986. There is one chapter devoted to "deer" shotguns. Out in California, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizaona, Utah or Idaho a guy might get ribbed to death by other deer hunters if he dare bring up the notion of harvesting deer with a shotgun. A Wyoming-native guy once laughed at me in Idaho for suggesting a 12-ga. pump shotgun might make for good bear protection in the woods. Of course, I had slugs in mind when I said that, not bird or even buck shot. In eastern America, the more I study up on things, I'm finding out the shotgun seems the rule and not the exception.
 

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I shoot a Rem 870 pump with slugs and buckshot as a service weapon at work. The kicks not bad at all and we shoot slugs at 50y for certification. Has rifle sights on it.
I put a SIMS butt pad on my single shot ROSSI 12g and it kicks like a .22 now. Before it was like a jackhammer. Even dislocated my shoulder once with it shooting a slug. But I have killed deer with it.

You can take a neck shot with any gun if you have the confidence in doing so. A slug or buckshot will certainly kill it dead with a neck shot.

A long barrel 28-30” and a modified or improved cylinder choke and you can kill deer or any critter for that matter all day long. Lots of coyote hunters carry a shotgun for close up shots.
 
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My son killed every deer he shot at with a Mossberg 600-AT police issue shotgun equipped with iron sights out to 100 yards give or take.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
More of my study of shotgun ballistics by watching youtoob has demonstrated shotguns with buckshot loads can be questionable for taking deer humanely and reliably as near as 50 yards. A 12-ga. tactical shotgun load with 00 buck will typically be fired at a threat human target within 25 feet. I think Oklahoma even bans buckshot for deer in the game regs. Slugs seem more prudent to fire at big game anyway. Paul's video looks flawed for a test because that deer target is way smaller than life size.Take online guns and hunting videos with a grain of salt.

 

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I have 2 3/4 in 00 12ga 9 pellets. They are effective within 40 yds. anything over that the pattern tends open up more. I would use them for hogs, coyotes and self defense but not for nothing else.
 
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If you don't want a scope on your shotgun, I'd recommend a hooded crosshair front site and something like a Marbles tang rear sight. It'd be like an M-16 rear sight aperture with a cross hair front. But a simple 4x scope wouldn't take up much room on the shot gun or even a red dot.
 

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I don’t know that I would use buckshot on deer that far. Seems like a lot of trailing. But I would never put down anyone else’s choice of taking one heck maybe someone can use it more efficiently than I could. I have seen some deer drives and honestly I think it looks like fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you don't want a scope on your shotgun, I'd recommend a hooded crosshair front site and something like a Marbles tang rear sight. It'd be like an M-16 rear sight aperture with a cross hair front. But a simple 4x scope wouldn't take up much room on the shot gun or even a red dot.
Because of stiff shotgun recoil, one has to put on a special shotgun scope so an ordinary rifle scope doesn't get ruined from the punishment. The M16 had a simple front sight post with two wings and a leaf aperture rear with one peep for sighting in and another peep to be used once battelsight zero was achieved. I like the idea of a front post with a rear peep or perhaps even a ghost ring. I'm committed to using slugs where legal for deer. From what I've learned so far, sabot slugs out of rifled barrels seem most promising. I now have a Remington police pump at home with 12-ga 2 3/4" 00 buck shells but those are for home defense ranges, 25 feet max, maybe. 18 1/2" cyl. barrel and front bead. A new Mossy 500 on mail order will eventually replace that 16-year-old Remmy. Just about any American pump shotgun can have a special slug barrel ordered for her. There is no more versatile weapon than the 12-ga pump shotgun. Truly a gun for all seasons.
 
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