14 replies [Last post]
bitmasher's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
shotgunning for elk?

Anybody pursued elk with slugs before? If so what gauge, shell length, and slug weight have you used?

I never have hunted with slugs for anything, but am intrigued by the knock down power at close range. I'm thinking a 12 gauge, with 1 ounce slugs, 2 3/4 shells inside of 40 yards would be sufficient (muzzle velocity is around 1700fps). From a ballistics standpoint I think this would be similar to muzzleloading (in bullet mass, shot distance, muzzle velocities, and ballistic coefficient, in other words "big round lead balls"), although I have not used a muzzleloader before either.

Just for kicks I ran a few numbers at the muzzle to get an idea of kinetic energy and momentum.

KE 2814 (ft*lb)
MV 106 (ft*lb/s)

In this thread from awhile back I calculated various KE/MV for a 30-06 and 300 weatherby. As you can see the kinetic energy is down some from the 30-06 and definitely from the 300 weatherby (w/ 180 grain bullets). The slugs have a thunderous amount of momentum though, owing to the 438 grain slug. Those big fat slugs will lose speed fast, so I'm guessing that anything beyond 40 yards would be too risky. Anybody know of ballistic data for this on-line?

Anybody have any thoughts?

Offline
Location: Powderhorn, Colorado
Joined: 04/07/2003
Posts: 167
shotgunning for elk?

first of all I don't think it is legal to hunt for elk. sounds like a pipe dream to me.

bitmasher's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
shotgunning for elk?

I read the regulations on this, because I thought it might be an issue too (although it really shouldn't be, imo). Here they are:

a.) Must be 20 gauge or larger and fire a single slug
b.) barrel length must be min 18 inches with min overall length of 26 inches.

So the rig described originally is legal at least in CO.

Offline
Location: Wisconsin
Joined: 12/08/2003
Posts: 134
shotgunning for elk?

Winchester makes two newer slugs that are sabot shells and designed for fully rifled barrels. One uses a Nosler partition, 385 grains, at 1900 fps muzzle velocity. That creates over 3,000 ft/lbs. of energy. It would certainly work, I would think. They also offer a platinum tip, I think it's 400 grains at 1700 fps. Slightly less power to it. Winchester recommends a fully rifled barrel. Hornady also offers one called the H2K for rifled barrels, it generates 2900 ft. lbs using a 325 grain XTP. Any of these should work at the range you describe. If you can pick up each company's ammo catalog at a local gunstore, it has all the ballistics. Winchester's site has some info.

Offline
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
shotgunning for elk?

When I lived in Iowa I hunted deer with a slug gun. Now that I live in Colorado I hunt elk with a muzzleloader. I would agree with your assessment that they are fairly similar.

With my muzzle loading rifle I am confident on shots out a little past 100 yards. With the slug gun I don't think I'd have shot past 75-80 yards. On the other hand, I have taken several elk with my muzzle loader and so far none of the shots have been past 75 yards, so the slug gun would have worked just as well.

I'm not planning to give up my muzzle loader, nor try hunting elk with a slug gun just for the challenge, but if I were forced to hunt elk with a slug gun I'm pretty sure the freezer would be filled, if not every year, then at least from time to time.

bitmasher's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
shotgunning for elk?

Thank you for the info. The sabots sound interesting, I assume that the ballistics (energy loss due to wind resistence) is probably better with there conical shape that the rough round slugs, although with a 325 grain sabot your loseing a fair amount of momentum over more massive slugs.

I have thought about muzzleloading, the idea of hunting earlier and with less pressure is attractive. Have you ever had to take more than one shot, Don? If so how long does it take you to reload? Seems that it takes a good deal of patience to be an ethical muzzleloader.

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2003-12-15 22:37 ]

Offline
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
shotgunning for elk?

In fact, this year I took two shots, though I probably didn't really have to. Took a cow elk from about 40 yards. First shot went through the top of the lungs and broke the leg on the far side. She dropped like a stone, but didn't die any too quickly. I reloaded and put her out of her misery. The reload took maybe 20-30 seconds.

Maybe it's just my hunting style, but I've never considered the muzzleloader to be any kind of a handicap at all. The times when I've spotted elk that I could have taken with my .30-06 but were too far for my muzzleloader, I've never had a problem cutting the distance to less than 100 yards. Yes, it takes a little more patience and effort, but only a little more. And the truth is that the majority of elk I've shot were already within muzzleloader range the first time I saw them.

[ This Message was edited by: donmillion on 2003-12-16 10:28 ]

bitmasher's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
shotgunning for elk?

Thanks for the info Don.

Offline
Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1647
shotgunning for elk?

Some sabots will not expand too much and will hardly even change shape (like the lightfield). If you were using one of those I don't think there would be too much problem passing threw but they don't do a lot of damage. Some of the large lead slugs (like the remington slugger) I think would expand and break up before it got too far in and probobly not give an exit wound but, they do A LOT of damage! If given the choice I would use a rifle though!
Up to 75 yards is a good cut off point for thier efectivness. On a deer I would go 100 yards.
Some of the bear hunters I know prefer a shotgun slug to a rifle because of the shock power up close.

mcb
Offline
Location: North East Ohio
Joined: 11/05/2003
Posts: 32
shotgunning for elk?

I have never hunted elk, let alone with a shotgun but I have used a 12 gage slug gun all my life on whitetail. With todays modern rifled shotgun barrels and the modern sabot slugs the 12 gage is plenty of elk gun out to at least 100yds if not 150yds.

Elk killing accuracy should easily be achive out to 200 yds. Its pretty typical to shoot 2 inch or better groups at 100 yds and 4-5 inch groups or better at 200 yds. with the correct ammunition and gun combination. Just as with a rifle yah got to find ammo yer gun likes.

On top of the accuracy of modern 12 gage sabot/slugs they have plenty of energy out to at least 100yds. Many of the new sabot slugs and stabilize slugs will deliever over 1500ft-lbs at 100yds. Some of the sabot styles will deliever over 2000ft-lbs at 100yds.

The lightest 12 gage sabot slug is pushing at least 350 grains. Most slugs are in the 480-550 grain slugs. Unless you beleive hunting elk with really big african game rifles we got the mass and momentum thing covered. I personally have never recovered a 12 gage slug form any deer they always penatrate clear through even on quartering shots. I would have no doubt that in all but a Texas heart shot a 12 gage slug would penetrate sufficent on an elk to be very leathal if the shot is placed resonably well.

IMHO out to 150 yds with the correct combination of ammunition and gun a 12 gage slug gun would be just as good a choice as a 30-06. Even with good old foster slugs 100 yds should be doable with a smooth bore if you are practice with it.

JMHO
mcb

Offline
Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1647
shotgunning for elk?

That some pretty impresive shotin!
Howd ya do that?
Seriously, I havent had that kind of luck with my 870 w/hastings barrel. I have shot many different rounds from it and have settled on Winchester Platnum Tips. They give me a consistant group out to 80 yards. I have been shooting a long time and I'm pretty good but, thats the best my gun can do (with me operatin it). I can still hit a pie plate at 100 but, thats on the range with a rest. To me 100 in the field would be too far without a real good rest. I have heard companies boast that you can put 5 slugs "back in the box" at 125 yards but, have not seen it personally.
Maybe I need to keep looking for the right slug. I have seen a lot of differences in the ones that I have tried.

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
shotgunning for deersaskie907/15/2005 00:40 am
coyote huntbirdman2012005/23/2013 21:56 pm
Rifled choke tubejabba105/13/2006 13:28 pm
Shotguns for coyotes?muzzlfan812/10/2005 10:18 am
Shotgun Loads With Non Toxic ShotHal Fast003/21/2010 16:48 pm