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Slug Gun for Deer Question: Does barrel need to be rifled???

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Redcoat3340, Aug 30, 2021.

  1. Redcoat3340

    Redcoat3340 Member

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    My son wants to take his son deer hunting. But it's shotguns only.

    He's thinking of 20 gauge with slugs. But the only "youth" models are non rifled.

    So my question is: must the barrel be rifled to shoot slugs accurately out of a shotgun?

    And I guess: how much difference is there in recoil is there between 12 and 20 gauge (for slugs) Maybe buying a 12, cutting down the stock and then adding a honking big recoil pad (suggestions please) to lessen the recoil, and then restocking as he grows out of the cutdown?

    Suggestions for modestly priced guns gratefully accepted.
     
  2. dawei

    dawei Member

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    @Redcoat3340 A 20 ga would be far better for your grandson to use. The barrel only needs to be rifled if shooting the very expensive "Sabot Slugs." "Rifled Slugs" are for use in regular smoothbore barreled shotguns. I would not hesitate to take a 100yd shot with a rifled slug. A rifled barrel is suitable for shooting sabot slugs and THAT IS ALL. A smoothbore barrel can shoot ALL SHOTGUN AMMUNITION.

    Take a look at a Mossberg® or Maverick® 20ga pump gun. They are inexpensive and very versatile. For ammunition, I recommend Remington® Slugger™ rifled slugs as they are very accurate in every 20ga I have ever shot them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
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  3. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I've not shot slugs a lot, but have found that standard slugs in a smoothbore barrel with just a bead is accurate enough out to 50 yards. You need to practice and figure out exactly where it will hit in relation to your hold. I have a smoothbore barrel along with rifle sights and would feel pretty good at 100 yards.

    The fully rifled barrels along with modern hi-tech slugs will extend that range out to about 200 yards. You'd probably need optics to take advantage of them.

    This depends on the gun, and the kid. Everything being equal 12 will recoil more, but most 20 ga pump and single shots are a pound or more lighter than a comparable 12. That goes a long way toward equalizing recoil. I started my son at 10 and was initially looking for a 20 pump. But ran across a deal on a 12 ga Mossberg 9200 semi auto. The forend was split and I got it dirt cheap. I called Mossberg and they mailed me a new forend at no cost. Since it was a gas operated gun and my son was big for a 10 year old it worked fine with field loads. No more recoil than a much lighter 20 ga pump.

    But if in doubt go with a 20 and make sure it has a 3" chamber. Almost all do anymore. He won't need the 3" chamber for slugs, but it makes it more versatile later on. With todays modern shells a 20 can cover a lot of ground that overlaps 12. It can still be a gun that he will grow with. The 12's don't start having a huge advantage until you start shooting steel shot at waterfowl. I even use a 20 for turkey hunting anymore.
     
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  4. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    Yup, rifled slugs like Remington Slugger or Brenneky KO are designed to work fine out of a smoothbore. Personally my limit with them is 70 yards though. I could probably keep all the shots on a pie plate at 100 yards, but bench conditions are different than hunting conditions.

    And there's a pretty significant difference in recoil between 20 and 12 ga. And a 20 ga 7/8 oz ball of lead is more than enough to humanely kill a deer.

    Mossberg 500 or an older 870 express is probably the gold standard. Or an 11-87 if you want some recoil reduction from a gas gun.
     
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  5. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    A 20ga savage 220 is the best there is if you're going to buy a slug gun. Spend a little bit more and have a good one from now on.

    A 20ga is entirely suitable for whitetails, but bead sights are not much use beyond 50 yds. A smoothbore will do, and can be pretty accurate, but you'll get more fliers out there at 70yds. At 50yds and beyond you're going to want a scope. If you're going to scope a field shotgun, you'll need a mount.... , also you're going to want a open choke like a improved cylinder or skeet.

    If you can spare the $$, it might be easiest to just go straight to the savage 220.
     
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Mossberg 500 , 12 ga 2 barrel combo . Wood stock can be cut. Use low recoil slugs.

    No. 54243 12 5+1 28", 24" Vent Rib (28") Accu-Set, Fully Rifled Bore Dual Bead, Cantilever Scope Base 13.875" Blued Wood (Dual Comb) 47.5
    https://www.mossberg.com/category/application/combo-shotguns/?tab=m

    You can shoot forster or sabots out of a full rifled barrel. I have. https://www.midwayusa.com/s?searchTerm=Low+recoil+slugs&perPage=48 Federal.

    The setup will work well for kids or any adult.

    20210830_204210.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2021
  7. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    Hunted with slugs for 30 years. Most everything above is good advice. Get a smoothbore. A rifled barrel is kind of a specialty thing -- it only works correctly with slugs. Firing any shotshell ammunition in a rifled barrel produces horrible unusable patterns. Every smoothbore I've seen over the years is deer capable accurate out to at least 75 yards with basically any slug ammo, even the sabot stuff that's made for rifled barrels will still be relatively close to point of aim out to at least 50 yards.

    Also, youth guns are generally exactly the same dimensions as adult with a smaller stock, so they are lighter = more recoil. Break actions are even lighter. I generally recommend a pump for a first shotgun. Most pumps fall into 2 models: the 870 and 500, or clones thereof. The designs are proven and usually work well in any weather conditions. You can block the tube to 1, 2, or 3 shells for hunting to control ammo when dealing with novices. Even better you can find a new gun on sale at the big box stores for under $250, sometime half of that. 20 had become more popular recently as fewer people hunt multiple species and focus more on deer. I tend to recommend sticking with 12 and finding low recoil slugs if you think may try other species like turkey or geese/ducks/pheasants in the future.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2021
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  8. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    The sabot will do 4" 5 shot groups @100 yards. The forster slugs do 8" @ 100 yards. Scoped Cantilever on 7 power.

    I also tested Foster rifled slugs using a 20" turkey barrel with a I/C choke installed. The scope was mounted on the receiver. If the barrel is removed, it will need to be sighted in again. Accuracy was ok for deer sized game to 50 yards. I dont remember group size.

    For a new young shooter, the scope is a big help for hitting what they are shooting at.

    $507. When in stock. https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1020321014?pid=243272
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2021
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  9. Cvans

    Cvans Member

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    For a new shooter I would try and stay with open or red dot sights. Much easier for them to acquire the target when there is a cluttered background.
     
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  10. grampster
    • Contributing Member

    grampster Member

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    I've killed deer with an old 20 gauge double barrel and an Ithaca XL900 semi auto with a slug barrel with iron sights. I used Brenneke rifled slugs. The 20 gauge is a fine weapon for deer hunting in certain terrain. It is also a fine small game weapon as well, especially for younger hunters. I ran across a guy once in the woods who mounted a small scope on his shotgun. Hunting below a declared line in Michigan rifles are not allowed. I'd agree that perhaps inside 70 yards would be best.
     
  11. BillTell

    BillTell Member

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    I was at the range today with my Remington 870 Magnum, in 20ga., with a rifled slug barrel with a cantilevered scope mount. I have a Leupold Vari-X III atop it, that is a 2.5-8X. The most accurate slugs I've shot are Federal V-shoks, with the "Tru-ball". (last time I bought them was 2 years ago, and paid $6.50/box). I was able to consistently hit a bowling pin swinging on a wire at 100 yards. Remington 870 is my recommendation. A great reliable gun that you can get all sorts of configurations for, from Youth stocks to home defense stocks, pistol grips, whatever you can think of. I went to the range in the past with over $200 in slugs ranging from $3/box, to $25/box, and what shoots best from MY gun, is the Federal Tru-balls. If you want to hunt birds, just pop off the slug barrel, and put on a bird barrel. Why would you handicap yourself with a smoothbore, when you can double your accuracy with rifling? I've had 4 or 5 Mossbergs over the years, and I just find them to be cheap guns. Cheap designs, cheap mechanics. I had problems with every one, and got rid of them all, and have not owned one in over 20 years now. I think they are only popular because of their price. Some older 500's are probably well made guns, but I will NEVER buy another Mossberg. Just pick one up at the store, and compare it to a Remington, Benelli, Browning, Savage, etc., and you can immediately see and feel the difference.
    Don't make the kid try to hunt deer with a bird gun. Do it right the first time. The 870 in 20ga. is light, accurate, and has a good recoil pad. The 220 would be another fine choice. Get a dedicated slug gun. Forget the iron sights and make sure you can add a scope or a red dot. I personally love the Vortex Viper. Burris Fastfire is another fine choice. Bottom line is once you decide what you're going to shoot, put an effort into finding an ammo that will work well in YOUR gun, whatever the choice is. The differences are dramatic. I stay away from Brenneke, and magnums, as they seem to have higher pressures resulting in more recoil and less accuracy. You have to find what works in the gun you have. It won't be the same, even if your neighbor has the same gun. And practice! I was out practicing today, even though I haven't shot a deer with a shotgun in over 20 years. I'm a handgun hunter, and sometimes blackpowder. But I practice with ALL my guns so that if it's a rainy day, and I want to walk instead of stand, I'll take the shotgun. I want to know I'm able to hit what I aim at.
     
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  12. ChanceMcCall

    ChanceMcCall Member

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    My Illinois deer long gun is a shotgun because that is what the law requires. (I also use a 5" .44 magnum Ruger Single Action at times.) For a number of years I have used a Remington 1100 with a Hastings rifled barrel using Lightfield sabot slugs in 20 gauge. I once took a running deer at 103 yards once with a single shot, and I have taken several standing deer at 150+ yards.

    There is very little recoil and I also use polymer in place of wood. The gun is lighter and has a slightly shorter LOP than the original wood.

    Be very aware that the Hastings barrel only functions with sabots and rifled slugs might ruin the barrel and possibly the shooters day.
     
  13. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I use a dedicated slug gun. Bushnell 1.5-4x. Winchester sabots(yes the expen$I've ones).
    I have fired four shots in the last two years. Two on paper to verify, two through the heart. 20191124_135818.jpg
     
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  14. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

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    3541D84C-71D1-4610-9C83-9D4D2F84C4CC.jpeg A10BB79A-D05D-4F47-AEE5-AE4A4BA727E6.jpeg

    This was 50 yards off bags. Remington Express Youth 20ga. smooth bore, improved Cylinder choke with 2 3/4 Remington foster style slugs.

    Top pic was first group of 3, then I shot again and centered the bead on the cardboard after shot #4. That's 2 in one hole.

    This is from a vent rib (Smooth Bore) barrel with a bead sight by the way. It can be done and would say it is an option for your grandson.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021
  15. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    Foster slugs thru a smooth bore have taken a lot of deer in all gauges, but a sabot thru a rifled barrel is definitely more refined.

    If you can handle the cost I’d go with a scoped 20 shooting lightfields or Hornady SST
     
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  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    If getting a dedicated slug gun, I will agree with Armored Farmer; get the Savage 220 in 20ga. If you are get a shotgun that can be used for everything, the Remington 870 20 ga. Youth combo and the Mossberg 500 20 ga. youth combo would be your best choices. If outfitting a currently owned 1100 or 870, a Hastings cantilever scope mount barrel is the way to go. I had one on my 870, and cloverleafs at 100 yards were the norm. My Dad had one on his 1100, and dropped a doe that another guy had gutshot with a regular barreled shotgun and Foster slugs (at @ 15 yards, we watched him shoot) at 220 yards. She would have got away from the other guy. Dad let him have the doe, he just didn't want it wasted.
     
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  17. armedwalleye

    armedwalleye Member

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    While I myself followed Armored Farmer's advice and bought a 220 Savage and scoped it (mine is a left hand model) finding Sobot slugs is the current, and ongoing dilemma.

    In any event, regardless of firearm choice, either the slug is rifled with a smoothbore, or the barrel is rifled with a Sabot slug.
     
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  18. BillTell

    BillTell Member

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    Armored farmer, I love it! This is MY .357 Magnum heart shot. ( I think mine's slightly more centered) (again, I'm mostly a handgun hunter)
    That being said, armedwalleye, I have to disagree with you. "Rifled" slugs, (aka Foster type) only have ridges to fill and fit the smoothbore barrel. Sabots are grabbed by the lands and grooves. Whether or not the "rifling" actually imparts any twist on the slug out of a smoothbore has been debated over the years, and at last that I heard, really does nothing. I believe it was started by Remington, and everyone thought it was a "rifled" slug, and Remington never desired to correct anyone on it, and the myth perpetuated. To this day. No cost marketing. I actually shoot "tru-balls" out of my rifled barrel. The "ball" behind the slug supposedly opens the hollow in the rear of the slug UNIFORMLY, and the slug can then get a better seal in the barrel, and grab the lands and grooves better. I can't argue with a swinging bowling pin at 100yds. Download361207131809.jpg
     
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  19. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    i have not killed any deer with my H&R 12ga rifled barrel yet, i have carried it in heavy brush but no shot s. it is very light less than 6 lbs and kicks like a mad mule. i can hit a quart can at 75 yards with no trouble untill recoil gets to me.
     

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  20. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I was under the impression that the “rifling” on rifled slugs (Foster slugs) was originally designed to get the slug spinning after it left the barrel by the rifling catching the air

    Like fletching on an arrow.

    Either way, as @BillTell stated, there is debate as to whether foster slugs ever spin with any sort of significance before or after they leave the barrel.
     
  21. Barnfixer

    Barnfixer Member

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    I had a smooth bore slug barrel for my 20ga 1100. With the rifle sights I had no problem hitting a paper plate at 75+yards off a bench. Back then my stand only had shots of 50 yards or less. Had one slug not quite make it through a deer, the hide on the back side stopped it. Kinda bumped out the hide. 20ga slugs do the job.
     
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  22. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I used to think that Foster slugs used nose-heaviness to fly in a line (like a badminton shuttlecock), and I’m sure there is that action helping the slug along. I always thought the “rifling” was just window dressing.

    But, these guys show that the slugs really do spin enough out of a cylinder bore shotgun to stabilize. It’s a nearly 8- minute clip, but their high speed camera work is surprisingly good. Now I’ve changed my tune and think it’s a combo of both.



    As for the OP’s question, the guys above have given a few excellent ideas depending on what the ultimate goal for the gun is. Both dedicated slug guns, and seasonally-versatile convertible birdshot/slug barrel guns, will knock down a deer with a well placed 20 ga slug every time :thumbup:.

    Good luck to your grandson!

    Stay safe.
     
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  23. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    The spin is secondary, the purpose of vanes is to allow the slugs to pass safely through full choke guns, or so I read.

    FWIW Brenneke works the same but uses a base wad for stability.
     
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  24. SOAB

    SOAB Member

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    Op,

    to answer your question, no.

    Rifled slug barrels can lend to better accuracy at farther ranges with more expensive Sabot Slugs.

    Smoothbore barrels, with rifled slugs have taken too many deer to count over the years. Albeit at shorter ranges.

    20 gauge is a great start, and you can have the receiver drilled and tapped for a rail and scope for hunting season, take the rail and scope off during normal season, and you can use that same youth 20ga as a clay gun if you so choose, if not, just make sure to check zero and get range time every so often so the memory is fresh In mind when deer season comes along.

    Or go old school, beads work fine , so long as you take the time to sight your gun at 25-75 yards so your grandson knows where to hold to make a shot at those distances.

    No matter which way you cut it, if you can hit a 10" paper plate at 50-75 yards consistently, you can hit the vitals of a deer at those same distances, and you're good to go.

    If you're dead set on having a 12 gauge to fill the role, I can safely suggest a Maverick 88, or a Mossberg 500. I have had quite a few over the last 8-9 years, and I personally have had little to no issues with any of them. I shoot a lot of shotgun, and they just keep eating everything I give them, even my higher round count guns. I'll probably do an updated thread on my Mossbergs, both budget and flagship, but that's another story all together. They have a few different styles available, at different price points.

    Another good choice is a Remington 870, or 1100. These are also proven designs, but, as of right now, they're more of a used market, seeing as Ruger is still in the process of reintroduction of Remington products after they were sold. And the used market is pretty dried up currently.

    Any of the above shotguns are great choices IMHO, but what I highly recommend, is not to cut down the stock.

    Buy a Magpul SGA for the 500/590 or 870(make sure to choose the right model for your shotgun). This stock is solid, and has spacers that allow for you to adjust the length of pull as your grandson gets older. It's a very simple thing to do, and allows for the correct fit, which is the most important part of recoil control in shotguns.

    As always, get out, be safe, shoot, and have a great time out there! Your grandson is in great hands.

    ~Leo
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
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  25. BillTell

    BillTell Member

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    Only a guess, but it looks like that was shot at ABOUT 25yds. He DID say it spun "about 90 degrees". Regardless of whether it was 25 or 50 yards, that's really not much. A slug shot out of a Rifled Barrel is going to spin at the rifling rate. Let's say 1 in 12 for ease of math. At 25yds, that's 75 rotations. Which is more stabilized? A slug making 1/4 of a turn or 75 turns? This is EXACTLY why we rifled barrels in the first place! A lead ball coming out of a smoothbore musket was no where near as accurate as one coming out of a Kentucky Long Rifle! They knew this back in the 1700's!
    Just think people, it's a SMOOTHE BORE. The "rifling" on the slug SLIDES down the barrel. Is there enough friction to impart a spin? Apparently so, but it is quite negligible. Lands and grooves BITE into the projectile, and SWAGE a conical spin onto the projectile.
    Let's be real here. There's ALWAYS gonna be somebody who used some ratty smoothbore with only a bead on the front to kill the buck of a lifetime. But in the real world, when you want to teach a young adult the proper way to hunt, give them the proper tool. At MINIMUM you should have a FRONT AND REAR sight. I believe just a bead is irresponsible. It's simply not a consistent sight . Raise or lower your eye just a hair, and you're way off. I believe the "Paper Plate" method is a reliable measure. If you can keep ALL your shots in a paper plate, that's the range you should hunt at. If you can't go beyond 50yds, then keep your shots to 50yds.
    And again, I say the "rifling" was only there to fill the diameter of the barrel without building up too much pressure. And when I first started hunting, there was no such thing as "Sabot Slugs". Basically Buck shot and Foster slugs, or Pumpkin Balls, but here in NY, all I could use was Fosters. Rifled Shotgun barrels were unheard of as well. So guess what? EVERYBODY that hunted in shotgun only areas used Foster slugs out of smoothbores. THAT''S ALL WE HAD! But just like I don't use the dial on my phone downstairs any more, we got rifled shotgun barrels. I only put bird shot down my smoothbores now. But I have shot "rifled" slugs out of a rifled barrel....
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
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