Inexpensive Scope for Deer Slug Gun


November 5, 2007, 05:52 PM
Hey all...

So here is the situation: I'm a late bloomer and have decided with the recent gift of a mossberg 500 and the fact that i live in michigan, I want to try deer hunting. I love venison and figure this will kill all three birds with one stone. I'm just looking for a doe to get the meat and to see if i like hunting.

Gun: Mossberg 500 12ga 8 shot w/ 20 inch cylinder bore barrel (i have the dowel to limit the capacity)

Environment: Mid-michigan woods. The friend i'm hunting with says that 50-75 yds would be the max range.

Now, i ONLY want to do this if i can do it right. I want a good, accurate gun/scope that will put the slugs where i need to if i do my part.

I tried a crappy Accushot/leaper's scope from my AR but it was set way too high off the gun. After taking it off, using just the bead front sight and some help from the rangemaster, i was able to get 5 straight slugs in a dinner plate sized target at 50 yds using Bennoke KO slugs. (tried some win super x and rem sluggers but couldn't get all 5 in that area). After that, i was getting a quite a flinch (25 slugs fired over < 45 minutes) and decided to call it a day.

So, i'm thinking that the Bennoke's are the slug for my gun.

Scope: Here's where i need your help. I am a BROKE grad student. I need to cut all corners here. I have the following questions:

1) What is the BARGAIN BASEMENT cheapest i can get away with? It doesn't have to last forever. I'd rather buy cheap, have it last 1 season to figure out if this is something i want to do more. If so, i'm gonna go for a rifled slug gun w/ a longer barrel.

2) My mossy is pre drilled w/ 4 holes on top and i've got the weaver rail on there now. Can i get away with a red dot scope? I only ask b/c some of the ones i looked at already accept the weaver rail without having to spend more $$ on rings (which are at least $20, it seems)

So, thank you very much in advance for all your help. I totally understand if you buy cheap, you get cheap. I just want the bare minimum i can get away with while not disintegrating on my first shot. I hope this makes sense.

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November 5, 2007, 06:40 PM
You might want to put a $ definition of cheap. Cheap varies from person to person.

The cheapest red dot I'd buy-

My brother has it, and it's very nice, takes normal (AAA) batteries too.

Burris makes a red dot now that is <$200. I bet it's decent since burris makes decent stuff but I don't have any personal experience with one.

Another thought-

Less than $200 you can get a barrel/scope combo, or a barrel with rifle sights. If it were me I'd think hard about the barrel with rifle sights, plenty accurate for 50-75 yards.

I think a cheap scope for a shotgun is a lot to ask for. I had simmons shotgun scope on my 10/22 for awhile and the reticle started to rotate. I sent it back and simmons replaced it, I had to pay some shipping. I wasted time and ammo sighting the thing in before it broke and then sighting in the new one. On my 10/22 it didn't bug me too much but I wouldn't want to go through it with a 12 gauge. I also wouldn't want a scope to fail me while hunting.

Do you want to set up a stand and spend hours waiting for a deer, finally see one and then realize your scope or dot isn't working? How about see a deer and then look through your scope and see the crosshair canted at 45 degree angle and wonder where that slug will go. Do you want to track a maimed animal for hours because of your scope?

Also keep in mind that if you buy a decent scope or dot and decide you don't want it you will be able to sell it and take a minimal loss. On the bushnell maybe $25-$50. Realistically you can try a quality optic and sell it for about the same price as buying a junk optic and breaking it or throwing it away.

November 5, 2007, 06:53 PM

thank you for the reply and that is some excellent advice.

under any other situation, i'd take your advice. i guess what i'm hoping for is something that can get me through the next 3-4 weeks for < $50.

I realize just how ludicrous that sounds as i type it. my options are this:

1) try to find such a scope for that little $$

2) put that money toward ammo and try to get out daily to the point where i can consistently put that slug "on the plate" with just the bead sight. not really sure if i'd trust this route. as much as i want to hunt, the last thing i want to do is take a bad shot and cripple a deer and have it suffer.

3) scrap everything and not shoot this year. go out and sit w/ my buddy to learn the ropes, etc.

Now, i'd REALLY like to do option 1. Not sure about option 2... figure i can try for option 2 and end up doing option 3. just see how i'm feeling that day and how it plays out.

thanks again.

btw, stopped by the local dick's. guy behind the counter offered up a simmons 3-9x40 or something for $39.99 saying that it'll last maybe a year if i'm lucky. i asked if it'd hold up to the 12 gauge and he said "limit your shots" which wasn't very encouraging. is this at least feasible?

November 5, 2007, 07:15 PM
You could just figure out what range you can always hit the pie plate with your bead sight and then limit your shots to that range.

A $50 scope may be OK, you never know. It's just that it seems like things fail at the worst times. You could try and find a 4X fixed power scope. I'd bet a fixed power would be more reliable than a variable (the 3-9) and you don't even need magnification for 50-75 yards. You certainly don't need 9X.

I'd at least buy a permit and hunt.

November 5, 2007, 07:20 PM
smooth bore or rifled?
if you have rifle sights use those
a bead limit shots to a comfortable range, take your $50 in scope money and buy ammo to practice

bushnell for a under $100 scope

November 5, 2007, 09:17 PM
bofe and mike-

thanks again for more good advice. the rifle is cylinder (smooth) bore.

any thoughts on these bushnell scopes:

pretty much cheapest there is:

little more $$, is the "low light coating" worth? Not sure i can swing it

not a terrible price, free shipping. if they can get her here this week, i can get her outfitted this weekend. gonna have to find some rings, too. probably getting a little rich for my blood but that's what plastic is for, right?

Part of me wants to try the bead sight... if i had 1-2 more months to get some practice in and my confidence up, maybe. I may still go that route... i'd just feel terrible if i bungled my shot.

November 5, 2007, 09:48 PM
You're are obviously young and have good eyes.:D Try the bead sight and see what you can do. You might surprise yourself. I hunt in Michigan as well and shot my last deer at about 40 yards - which was about as far as I could see in the brushy creek bottom I was in. A shotgun with good slugs and a bead sight would have done just fine there. Cheap scopes are usually a waste of money. Just about the time you have it sighted in, things go screwy as the internals fall apart. For a .22 they would work fine but the recoil of a 12 gauge with slugs will destroy them just when you need them the most.

November 6, 2007, 06:08 PM
Hey guys!

Guess what i go on ebay?

It's a Bushnell trophy 1.75-5 x32 mm shotgun scope gloss.

Coming my way for $52, New in box.

Gonna need some rings for it but figured that was gonna be the best i could do.

Did i "do good"?

November 6, 2007, 06:37 PM
Make REAL sure that it's fog proof/waterproof. To test, put the scope in your fridge over nite, then pull it out and see if it fogs. A bad scope is worse than no scope.

FWIW...I got my first deer when I was 17 (forty years ago). 11 pointer, 213# field dressed. That was with a 16 gauge bolt action at 65 yards. I could hit a pop can at 30 yards with that gun. There was no such thing as a scope for a shotgun. Plain old bead. Nailed him dead center.

November 6, 2007, 06:57 PM
I don't know, everyone has their own financial situation and what's expensive for some, ain't for others, but I don't think the words "inexpensive" and "scope" or "optics" go together real well. Figure $200 and up for acceptable quality, won't break or fog on you, decent, usable optics. Just in my experience. Never put a scope on a shotgun, though, that's a little weird.

November 6, 2007, 07:54 PM

In michigan, you can't use a rifle in the southern half of the lower peninsula for safety reasons. So, slugs and shotguns it is.

November 6, 2007, 08:10 PM
In my zone here in Northeast Arkansas, we can only use slug guns, muzzle loaders or centerfire pistols with at least a 4" barrel. Alot of guys are going to scoped shotguns. I was going to, but most of my shots (if I see a deer) will be 50 yards or less. I'm going with a fully rifled barrel with rifle sights. ( Remington 1100 20 gauge). A couple of years ago I killed my first deer. A doe at 25 yards with a Winchester 1300 12 gauge ( bead sight) with a sabot slug choke tube. Hit her in the neck when she stuck it out from the thicket she was hiding in. Last year I missed one with the same 1300. Good Luck!

November 6, 2007, 10:20 PM
Part of the problem is that i'm trying to play catch up here. If i had a couple more months w/ the bead sight or a fiber optic, i would probably be good to go as is. Scope is probably overkill but i want to make a good shot or not shoot at all.

November 7, 2007, 02:03 PM
Just check the fogproof thing.

November 7, 2007, 07:52 PM

I have two of these, one on a Remington 870 cantilever and one on an H&R Ultra Slug Gun and they are a good scope for the money.

November 8, 2007, 04:48 AM
That scope Retail will run $99.95 from the cheapest online store I know of so the price you paid is very good. Most Bushnell scopes are now filled with Dry Nitrogen so they won't fog up on you.

The specs on your scope look good: (from the Bushnell site)
Trophy Riflescopes
Engineered with Amber-Bright™ optics that quickly help you distinguish between a brown tree and a brown critter, the Trophy® riflescopes have been heralded by hunters as the ideal scope for the autumn deer woods. With multi-coated optics for increased brightness in low-light conditions, the avid inner hunter in you will be most satisfied. No question about it, they're designed to excel during the day's most important times.

# Multi-coated optics
# Amber-Bright™ high contrast lens coating
# One-piece tube
# 100% waterproof/fogproof/shockproof construction
# Dry-nitrogen filled
# 1/4 M.O.A. fingertip, audible / resettable windage and elevation adjustment
# Fast-focus eyepiece

November 8, 2007, 08:51 AM

Thanks for the vote of confidence! i can't wait til she gets here (today or tomorrow).

I'll say this... i took out a crappy Leaper's/Accushot scope to try on the shotgun on monday. First off, it was way too high off the barrel to really do anything.

And... i was about 1/4 inch from getting a black eye or lacerating my eye socket when i pulled the trigger. I can laugh about it now but boy, could've gone the other way with that.

Really happy this new scope has better eye relief.

2 more quick questions, guys:

1) Why sized ring do i need for this? (says it's a 32mm tube?)

2) Glancing at the scope rings at the local store last night, there's 3 options for mounting: Low, Medium, High. Which do i want? (to clarify, this will be going on a weaver rail that's bolted right to the top of my mossberg 500 receiver)

Thanks again for all the help guys!

November 9, 2007, 12:04 AM
The 1.75-5 x 32mm doesn't mean it has a 32mm tube, that's a 32mm objective lens. The scope is a 1.75X powder to a 5X powder. Most scopes will have a 1" tube unless they specifically tell you it's a 30mm tube. Here ( is the direct link you your scope on the Bushnell site.

November 9, 2007, 12:37 PM
When you get your scope from eBay check it out, if it says "Made in Japan" you got a gem of a deal. Bushnell switch production of those scopes to China (or maybe it was the Philippines) a few years ago. Price came down but quality went out the door. The street price on the version with Japanese glass was closer to $120. Even at that it was a heck of a deal. Nice bright scope, high build quality, super wide field-of-view, long eye relief, and totally fog proof. I've got three of them.

For hunting, if you're shots are limited to 50 yds I'd recommend keeping the scope on 1.75x. No more than 3x. Big rookie mistake: hunting with a variable power scope with the power cranked up to high. When hunting field-of-view and brightness are far more important than magnification (especially when the target is something as large as a deer).

You'll probably want the low rings. By design shotgun stocks have a very low comb. Meaning your eye will be low relative to the scope. To bring your eye up they make special "Monte Carlo" style stocks for slug gus. But that'll set you back $100 plus. For nothing you can build up the comb with an old mouse pad or carpet scraps. Hold it all in place with duck tape. Bubbafy it, baby!!!

Does your shotgun take screw in chokes? If so a rifled choke tube will set you back about $40 and improve your accuracy with slugs about 1000%. It will also allow you to shoot sabots. They're more expensive but take you to a whole new level of terminal performance. -- Kernel

November 9, 2007, 05:36 PM
thanks for the info again guys. hoping to go home and find the scope on the door step.

unfortunately kernel, it's a smooth bore with no choke options (unless i were to send it off somewhere, i think). still, seems pretty dead on at 50 yds w/ my novice hand so i think she'll get the job done. scope should seal the deal.

November 10, 2007, 02:58 AM
unfortunately kernel, it's a smooth bore with no choke options
Don't let that stop you... There are many barrels available from Mossberg for your rifle and they're not as expansive and the ones for the Remington 870 either. Might I suggest a Ported Slug barrel with an Integral Scope Base? They are available in 24" with a fully rifled bore so no choke is necessary to shoot Sabot slugs. The 20" barrel you now have is more suited for Security than Deer hunting anyway. You will turn your shotgun into a multi-purpose shotgun that will do both jobs like having 2 dedicated shotguns.

Here is the link to the Mossberg Barrel Page ( Even though the prices on the page are $148 the same barrels cab be found for between $75 and $120 on the net for the 500.

November 10, 2007, 08:26 AM
I have used this (
Holographic sight on my AR at 50 &100 yds. It fits in your price range. I have two holo's, a red dot and three tube scopes, this one has been the best bang for the buck.

November 11, 2007, 06:36 PM
arch angel-

i have the 8 shot model so it's not so easy to swap out the barrels, unfortunately. not sure it's worth all the trouble to change the magazine tube.

November 11, 2007, 11:28 PM
When you get your scope from eBay check it out, if it says "Made in Japan" you got a gem of a deal. Bushnell switch production of those scopes to China (or maybe it was the Philippines) a few years ago. Price came down but quality went out the door. The street price on the version with Japanese glass was closer to $120. Even at that it was a heck of a deal. Nice bright scope, high build quality, super wide field-of-view, long eye relief, and totally fog proof. I've got three of them.

hmmm... just got it today and it says made in korea. I'm assuming that's where they moved production to from japan?

Jeff F
November 12, 2007, 09:46 PM
I have never gone the cheap route when it comes to scopes. I have some glass on a few of my rifles that cost more then the rifles themselves. A good quality scope will last and last and hold zero. Theres so much difference looking through quality glass, its like night and day.

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