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Location: Steve
Joined: 12/10/2002
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Shotgun slugs/tips for deer hunting? HELP

Who better to ask than the experts. I have a Browning semi-auto 12gauge shot gun that is over 30 years old. It does not have an adjustable choke. I am almost embarrassed to ask but...I have been hunting with a rifle for 25 years. Now, this year, I am going to hunt in a county that requires a shotgun. I want some advice on what slug I should use. Also, if there are any shooting tips you can give me on shooting with a slug, how far, aiming, any tips you think might be helpful would be appreciated. I am a decent shooter and a very serious hunter. I have used the shotgun for grouse and small game many times, including shooting my first turkey.

Thanks a bunch!

[ This Message was edited by: Cameron County Slayer on 2003-11-24 13:49 ]

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
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Shotgun slugs/tips for deer hunting? HELP

I grew up hunting whitetails using an old Remington Model 11, which ought to be pretty close to your Browning, depending on model.

Given your configuration, I'd recommend rifled (Foster type) slugs. Sabots seem to have taken over the market, but they work best in rifled barrels. In terms of accuracy, I don't know if you'll gain anything firing sabots in a smoothbore. Not that it can't be done, but I don't know if it'd be worth it.

I don't know what other posters will say, but I'd stay inside 50 yards with slugs if possible -- especially since I assume you're aiming with a bead. Go beyond that and you start getting into two problems. First, the slug's inherently rainbowed trajectory starts kicking in, making it increasingly difficult to estimate the correct holdover at longer ranges. Second, slugs (especially in a smoothbore) don't pattern nearly as tight as a rifle. Hence, large patterns associated with slop in the bore and ballistics tend to get large even faster, which makes "aim" an increasingly relative term. Even under the best conditions at long range, it becomes increasingly difficult to consistently get into the kill zone -- not due to lack of skill, but due to equipment and the laws of physics. So by the time you get to long ranges, skill is rapidly dropping out and luck is starting to rule the day.

In terms of aim, the gun club I used to belong to had a running deer target at the range. That tended to be valuable, since deer were generally running when encountered at close range. After watching lots of people shoot at that target, I discovered that most people taking a 50 yard shot at a running deer with slugs tend to hit high and over the butt. What seemed to work was aiming about two feet in front (at 50 yds) about level with the bottom of the breast bone. Tried it in the field and it worked. After checking the math, a deer running 30 mph will move about four feet in the tenth of a second it'll take your slug to cover 50 yards.

[ This Message was edited by: expatriate on 2003-11-24 16:27 ]

Location: Steve
Joined: 12/10/2002
Posts: 8
Shotgun slugs/tips for deer hunting? HELP

Great!
Thanks for the info Expatriate. The shotgun I use is a smoothbore. I have several boxes of old slugs I was going to use. (But, they are at least 10-20 years old) If there is any extra edge I can get by buying and using something else better,I want to take full advantage of it.(As an example, I upgraded my ammo on the 30-06 two years ago from my grandfathers old reloads to new ammo and 2 years in a row the deer I shot dropped in their tracks at 150+ yards!)

Also, I try not to shoot at running deer if at all possible. If I take a shot, I want it to be a kill shot. I usually hold my 30-06 rifle just back of the front shoulder to hit the vitals. This might sound stupid, but if the best opportunity is a 50 yard shot (standing still broadside) with the shotgun would you hold on the same spot? Or, aim further back trying to center on the entire deer?(By the way, I can't use buckshot.) I am hoping to take my gun the gunclub to try it out if at all possible. But, just in case, I wanted some clues.
Again, thanks all in-advance for the help.

[ This Message was edited by: Cameron County Slayer on 2003-11-24 17:09 ]

expatriate's picture
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Shotgun slugs/tips for deer hunting? HELP

Best bet to figure holdover for a 50 yard shot would be to take the gun to the range and check it out. There's a lot of variables in terms of barrel length and load that kick in. Find out what the gun is capable of and it'll tell you what shots you can take. Good luck!

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
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Shotgun slugs/tips for deer hunting? HELP

Other than the fact that it is a short range gun with a lobbing trajectory, you shoot a slug gun the same way you shoot a rifle. So, on a deer aim, just as you would with a rifle, just behind the front shoulder. Obviously, it shoots one big slug and not a scattered pattern of shot, so you need to aim it such that the slug goes into the "vitals" of whatever animal you're hunting.

Location: Steve
Joined: 12/10/2002
Posts: 8
Shotgun slugs/tips for deer hunting? HELP

A few more dumb questions. Do you really think these Sabot slugs I read about would make a difference in accuracy in my smooth bore? I read about a "Winchester Supreme 12 Gauge Plantinum Tip Sabot slug". ??? Also read that there are slugs with more grains and 3 inch vs. a 2 3/4. What are your thoughts??
Thanks again.

mcb
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Joined: 11/05/2003
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Shotgun slugs/tips for deer hunting? HELP

Sabot slugs are not going to help you any with a smooth bore shotgun. In fact they might actually be slight less accurate then a foster type slug in a smooth bore. Most sabot rounds require spin to stabilize the slug and a smooth bore does not provide any spin as you already knew. If you look on most boxes of sabot slugs they say for fully rifle barrels only, some will also include use in guns with rifle choke tubes.

It would be interesting if one of the gun manufactures actually came up with a high velocity fin stabilized sabot for a shotgun. It should work well if the sabot and project is designed correctly. The military gets great accuracy from fin stabilize projectiles for smooth bores all thought those tend to be slightly larger bores. I would think with a light (200-250 grain projectile compared to the usual 437grain fosters slug) finned projectile in a smooth bore shotgun you could get some much higher velocities while still be as accurate or more so than a regular slug. If done right it could extend the effective range of the shotgun. Hmmm… got a little off topic sorry.

As for 2 3/4 or 3" I know with good old Remington Sluggers (a foster type slug) the difference in muzzle velocity is only about 80 fps and both the 2 3/4" and 3” fire the same 1oz (437 grain) slug. Not much different in trajectory there. Remington’s web site has lots of good data on slugs. http://www.remington.com/ammo/ballistics/shotshell/slugs.htm

As for weight I would actually go with a lighter slug if it shoots accurately in your gun. The recoil of a 12 slug IMHO is far worst then most rifles. I would rather shoot my friend’s 416 Rigby over 3” inch slugs in my BPS any day. Not that you feel recoil hunting but you have to sight that gun in and you will get punished by slugs even in a semi auto shotgun although the semi auto helps alot. Remington makes a new buck hammer at 1 ¼ oz. (ouch the recoil has to be nasty.) the traditional foster type rifle slug is 1 oz and Remington also offers a high velocity foster slug that weight only 7/8 oz. (the HV should have about 10% less recoil in the same gun as a 1 oz slug.). All of these foster type slugs have muzzle energy approximately equal to a 30-06 and push slugs that weight well over twice a typical 30-06 bullet. Even with the lightest 12 gage slug penetration is never an issue. I have seen twelve gage slugs shoot though both shoulder blades of an average size whitetail and the slug kept on going. At 75 yards or less a 12 gage slug is devastating and your biggest issue will be accuracy not killing power.

If I were you I would get a box or two of several types and brands of foster type slugs (Winchester and Remington are both good and offer a couple flavors of foster type slugs) and go to the range and give them a try. I would stay away from the sabots, but there are some other types of slugs that are not foster or sabots that work well in some smooth bores. Many have some type of stabilizer on them, usually a plastic fin section attach to the slug. Read the back of the box and see if the slugs are recommended for smooth bores if they are think about giving them a try. I have always has my best luck with Remington slugs.

If your gun has a rib on it you can find rifle style sights that will clamp onto the rib. This helps a lot in having a consistent sight picture.

What type of Browning Semi auto are you using? Is it an A-5? My dad started deer hunting a few years ago with his A-5 and rather that shooting slugs through the 30 full choke barrel (full choke is not very accurate with slugs, improved cylinder is your best choice but you can shot slugs through any choke short of some of the new extra full turkey chokes) he bought a new 28 inch barrel with choke tubes and bought a rifled choke tube for it. He gets great accuracy with Remington sluggers. Depending on what model you have you may be able to find a fully rifle barrel or a barrel with choke tubes. The choke tube would make for a very versatile gun.

Just some suggestions
mcb

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Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
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Shotgun slugs/tips for deer hunting? HELP

Here is a link that I posted on another thread here about a month ago. A friend sent it to me some few months ago when we were debating the finer points of shotgun for deer hunting. I found it very useful and I hope you do to. Good luck.
http://www.angelfire.com/tx/ShotGun/

[ This Message was edited by: JTapia on 2003-11-26 16:31 ]

[ This Message was edited by: JTapia on 2003-11-26 16:32 ]

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3207
Shotgun slugs/tips for deer hunting? HELP

Ditto on the recoil comments. I picked up some Federal 1-1/4 oz 3" mags some time ago to try out in my 870. Eight rounds later my shoulder was purple. They're not pleasant. 1 oz 2-3/4 slugs ought to do the job just as effectively without so much abuse.

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