buckshot range for deer


February 15, 2013, 10:37 PM
I hunt in Central and South Texas, we use centerfire calibers cause some distances may be hundreds of yards, we can hunt close with bows and pistols some too. I got a real nice spot with some really good bucks, but there is a house about 400 yards away and dont want to use a rifle. What is the max effective range with 00 12 gauge that will drop a good buck in its tracks. also looking at other buckshot or maybe even slugs. I aint ever killed a deer with a shotgun, kinda alien thought to me, just see some real nice bucks that need to be taken out.

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February 15, 2013, 10:50 PM
Here in VA we use lots of shotgun loads for deer. I would say, with the right choke, you are good for about 35-40yd with 00Buck. You will here people tell you that it is good out to 60yds and they might kill the deer at that range, but not reliably. I can't tell you how many buckshot I have picked out of meat as I dressed it after killing it with a bow. Slugs are another matter. The Forster slug in a smooth barrel is good for about 75yd. The saboted slugs in a true rifled slug barrel are a solid 125yd load. I use a cheap Maverick 88 pump with a rifled barrel and regularly get 3.5" groups at 90yd. More than good enough to bring down a buck. The main thing is try to keep the angle downward to eliminate any backstop damage. The best slugs I have found are made by Hornady and shoot a 300gr powerpoint bullet at 1350fps or better, depending on the barrel. Good shooting.

February 16, 2013, 12:13 AM
i say 50yds max. i generally save it when im hunting brush and i know i wont even have a chance at a shot over 75

February 16, 2013, 12:37 AM
I recently sold a rifled bolt action slug gun that would have been perfect for you:) I've never used buckshot farther than around 35-40 yards, but it's good at those distances. You could go farther but i've not had to try it yet:)

I don't really hunt deer anymore because I don't have a lease. I do buy a license and make meat in season but it's more targets of opportunity.

Hope ur keeping warm tonite:) I'm just down the road from ya.

February 16, 2013, 07:54 AM
Personally I wouldn't use it at all. If forced to I'd not feel good about any shot farther than about 30-35 yards, 25 is even better. Doesn't mean it might not work farther away, but I'd feel better about my odd's at under 35 yards and consider a kill beyond 40 yards more luck than anything else.

February 16, 2013, 08:11 AM
I'm kinda with most everyone else on buckshot. It's about bow shooting distance, 25-35 yards. And I will just about guarantee, that an amped up buck will run a goodly distance when hit. Go with a slug, at close range you couldn't ask for anything better IMO.

February 16, 2013, 09:07 AM
I live in southern MI. We have been a shotgun only zone for a very long time.
My advice, dont use it at all.Whitetails are pound for pound the toughest deer type animal to kill. I have personally seen over a dozen deer that had been shot by buckshot only to run away. To drop a buck in its track with 00buck,you probably would have to shoot him in the head!At the close ranges mentioned above, any 1oz slug will do a much better job even out of a smooth bore slug gun.A house 400 yards away is in the danger zone of both slugs and buckshot,
in my opinion.

February 16, 2013, 09:27 AM
I would have to agree that buckshot is not of much use on bucks. If you have to use a shotgun slug is the way to go. I have also hunted within range of houses with a rifle too. I get in a tree and shoot down. If you have to hunt from the ground, know where the houses are and don't shoot that way. That was one of the first things taught in hunter safety, if you don't know what is beyond your target you don't take the shot.

Sav .250
February 16, 2013, 10:02 AM
"drop a good buck in it`s tracks." You better re-think what your asking.

".....there is a house about 400 yds away................" Go with a slug and the house is safe.

February 16, 2013, 10:08 AM
Another vote for the slug. I've eaten plenty of slugged deer and the danger zone is much much shorter than a rifle, that's why many counties have slug-only rules. Don't even monkey with the buckshot. At the minimal ranges that I would trust it, it wouldn't expand much wider than what a slug's aim point is anyway. So go for the .73 caliber 1oz piece of lead that's hitting with 1200 fps and you will be satisfied. And the deer will be quite dead.

February 16, 2013, 10:43 AM
I've killed about 10 deer with buckshot and twice as many hogs. None got away BUT I don't shoot more than 35 yards with it. (Rem. 870 12ga. with full choke and 00 Mag buckshot)
I always aim for the tip of the nose on moving deer and the load centers in the head-neck area. About half of the buckshot will be in that area and the deer will go down quickly. These have mostly been driven deer so they are already alert and moving.

If you have a shotgun barrel that shoots slugs well, you can stretch that about double (70-75 yards). If it's a fully rifled barrel, it's good to 130-150 yds.

February 16, 2013, 11:25 AM
Limit yourself to archery distances and you can knock down just about any animal on Earth with 00 buckshot. My personal limit is approx 35 yards. I' get best patterns with FULL choke.


double bogey
February 16, 2013, 01:48 PM
I don't like it because if they do run, you usually won't have much of a blood trail. I hunt with cousins in Ala. with dogs some, and I can tell you that when they are trotting at you at 10', buckshot puts them down like a sledgehammer.

February 16, 2013, 04:09 PM
just wondering, what is the ballistics as far as trajectory of such a slug, how much does it drop at 100 yards. like I said I ever hunted with buckshot, just keep my pump shotguns loaded with it around the house for self defense.

February 16, 2013, 07:34 PM
I've killed two at about 45 yards with #1 buck.

Plenty of places in this country where you hunt with buckshot or you don't hunt at all....or you get fined or arrested by game wardens...

February 16, 2013, 08:05 PM
Lots of deer in VA have been shooting them with 00 buck for 20 years probably shot over 100 at this point hunting on damage permits. 150 pound bucks shot at over 25 yards are going to run. Hit them in the spine and they will go down. If your buck is bigger than that you may not find him. I have never seen a deer that was hit in the lungs with buck shot that went more than 200 yards more than likely without a blood trail till they stop. I'm with others I've shot deer with my 20 guage savage rifle barreled shotgun out to 100 yards with 3" magnum sabots it drops them like a can of tuna. If you want them to drop that's the way to go. Muzzle loaders are good in confined areas as well.

February 16, 2013, 08:23 PM
Even with something as rude as my Saiga-12 I can hold 6" groups with 1oz slugs at 100m, and Federal flight control 00-buck will hold to the size of deer vitals out to about 40 yards.

If you get a choked long barrel shotty or actual slug barrel you should be able to do considerably better. Houses, trails, roads close by is the same reason I have to hunt one of my areas close to home with shotgun only.

February 16, 2013, 08:37 PM
In my 870 with a modified choke, at 25 yards I keep 7 pellets out of 9 on a standard piece of paper. Never been able to hunt deer with it due to the laws here, but that's what my 12 gauge patterns with 00 buck.

Hope this helps,

February 16, 2013, 09:08 PM
20 year ago we had a dog club lease some land around us and we hunted with them. Buckshot was the only option. No slugs, no rifles. The most deer they ever killed in one day was 103 on a morning hunt at a quail plantation. I can't say if it was OO-OOO or Obuck but a lot of deer died. I have personally witnessed a buck killed at 100 yards with OOO buck. The deer was standing broadside and a guy took a shot-DRT.

I agree that average archery distances is probably best with 50 yards being a stretch. When I was in HS and college we had what was called "doe days" for a few days after Christmas when everything brown was legal. We often made drives and used buckshot and I don't remember having a lot of deer wounded that were not found. Blood trails are lighter generally but we normally found the deer.

February 16, 2013, 09:14 PM
The trick to shooting in areas with houses nearby is to shoot down. If you are just 8' above the deer the bullet will hit the ground about 10' behind the deer. I have a Mossberg 500 equipped with a rifled barrel. It shoots as good as any 30/30 with the right sabots out to 150 yards. I have a 4x fixed power scope on it. I can hit a 2 inch target every shot at 70 yards.

I have hunted deer with dogs quite a bit. We only used buckshot, except in fields. I have seen deer killed with buckshot at 75 yards or more. I have also seen the dogs trail the wounded deer for a half mile before they bayed the deer. Quite often once the hunters went to the dogs a finishing shot was required.

February 19, 2013, 08:24 AM
I've killed a lot of deer with buckshot. I've also lost a few.
Mostly, I now use buckshot I load and as such test different chokes/load combinations for best patterns.
Recommendations for buckshot deer hunting:
1.Try to keep shots under 30yds.
2. Use a modified or improved modified choke. The larger the shot, the less constriction you want. Full/Extra full is excellent with #4buck. Modified is better with 00/000buck.
3. Use largest # of shot you can get. 12pellet 3" 00buck has more pellets than 9pellet 2-3/4" so it's more effective.
4. Do pattern your load. It may not center to your aiming point. This is biggest problem with shotguns; slug or buckshot.
5. Aim for head/neck. A single pellet to the brain/spine is all it takes. It may take numerous pellet hits to bring down a deer quickly with a torso hit...
6. Be prepared to shoot repeatedly..... With buckshot, it's a "numbers" game. Pellet distribution is largely a matter of chance. More pellets/rounds, more likelyhood of hitting vitals.

Buckshot penetration deminishes rapidly as velocity falls off rapidly. I personnaly watched a deer dropped at over 100yds with a load of #4 buck from a 3" mag 12ga. But it was sheer luck as only 3pellets hit the deer, one between the eyes.... Other two were not effective hits (leg and chest w/o penetration).

Pattern different brands/loads. Find which gives best patterns/closest impact to point of aim.
Shoot close and often... it works...

February 20, 2013, 03:23 AM
Personally I'd use the bow. With good broad heads and practice you can shoot through nearly any big game out to 40 yards. While I hated the hype, I tried Rage broadheads this year. First night out had a doe come in to 12 yards and shot high... broke the spine and it dropped on the spot. The more I hunt the more I understand that the bow is the way to go when you do your homework.


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