What load for deer? 16 ga full choke

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by wheelgunslinger, Jul 20, 2014.

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  1. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    So, I have a 16 with 28" barrel and full choke.
    It's an old bolt action mossy. So, I'm interested in maybe using it on deer this year, and what load might be best.

    There's all kinds of stuff about slug vs full choke on the interwebz.

    So, I'm asking. I hunt in areas without a lot of long shots.
    Distance is 0-100 meters. I'm a good shot.
    No optics. Just factory sights.
    #4 buck, 00 buck, slugs? What's the theoretically best load for the gun's limitations?
     
  2. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    I don't think you will have a "good experience" with slugs out of a full choke barrel.

    Personally I'd go 00 buck for the mass per pellet.

    But, that said, 100 yards is going to be quite a shot with that combo. Try it on the range and see how many pellets you can keep on a 4' x 4' sheet of cardboard.
     
  3. rule303

    rule303 Member

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    I would try a few rifled slug loads to see if it will hold a group. Conventional wisdom says you will get better results from a more open choke, but most shotguns had full chokes in years past and hunters killed plenty of deer with them.
    I used to hunt with an old timer who shot a full choked model 12 with slugs, and it was deadly out to about 75 yards. He claimed that the choke squeezed down the slug to make it more accurate, and I wasn't going to argue with him.
    Buckshot wouldn't be my first choice if you are allowed to use slugs. I have no firsthand experience with it for deer hunting though, since it is not legal anywhere I have hunted.
     
  4. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    I know nothing about sixteen gauges, but it should be somewhat similar to twelves.

    If they are allowed, I would suggest the rifled slugs given the specified distance you gave. Keep in mind it will most likely not be very accurate when compared to a rifle. Minute of deer is what you look for anyway. Slugs will drop considerably after fifty yards, but will still be plenty efficient for a deer at a hundred yards, but something like five inches lower than at fifty. A common twelve gauge slug produces approximately a thousand foot pounds of energy at a hundred yards. That is enough, but you should not shoot much further.

    Buckshot is not very good passed fifty yards.

    Try different brands before you hunt with one so you can pick the best for your own shotgun. I am still in that process. I just received my new scope for the twelve gauge shotgun in the mail today.

    I cannot wait until Wednesday, which will be shooting range day.

    If you can use a rifle where you are and can have access to one, use it instead of the shotgun. I would think anything .243 and up would be better than a shotgun for deer hunting. I might be wrong. I personally use a .270 for that, the shotgun is more a cheap backup solution in progress for me.

    Good luck!
     
  5. B-man '06

    B-man '06 Member

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    I'm voting for rifled slugs. my mod choked remington groups 5" at 50yrds with them, your milage may vary. also based on my experience with 12ga. 00 buck I would limit the 16ga. #1 buck to about 25yrds, with a long wait before pursuing the deer. also, the old rifled slugs were designed to be shot out of any choke. the exception to this might be european shotguns, they tend to be choked tighter.
     
  6. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Are you not allowed to use rifles?
     
  7. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    Using a shotgun for aimed shooting like slugs is really hampered by the sights. Working off beads is just guessing your point of aim past 25 yards. Adding a set of rifle sights will make a drastic improvement in your effective range. If the gun has a vent rib you can easily add williams sights that lock on the rib. A local gunsmith can add a set to a non-ribbed gun for not much money. Any foster-style rifled slug will work fine from a full choke. With good sights expect softball sized groups at 50 yards. 100 yards is really pushing the limits of smooth bore slug shooting. Do not attempt to shoot sabot style slugs through a full choke. Accuracy will be terrible and on an older gun it might damage the barrel at the choke.
     
  8. RMc

    RMc Member

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    "I have a 16 with 28" barrel and full choke. It's an old bolt action mossy."

    Some observations:

    - Bolt actions Mossberg shotguns (other than special slug guns) have simple fixed open sights. Not much different than dangerous game express sights - a shallow V rear and a bead front sight.

    -16 gauge commercial buckshot ammo selection is limited to 12 pellet loads of #1B these days.

    - 16 gauge slug selection is also rather limited these days. As far as I can determine there are no rifled 16 gauge slug guns or sabot slugs on the market.

    - Foster type common "Rifled Slugs" are soft lead thimbles. The only solid part of these rifled slugs is the reduced diameter nose. A fixed choke bolt action Mossberg will not be harmed by a soft lead thimble slug.


    Now to my suggested answer the OP's question: Buckshot or slug ammo for deer hunting in brush country?

    Easy, effective test protocol to find acceptable deer hunting ammo:

    - Aquire three 5 round boxes of 12 pellet #1B - one box from each of the big three, Remington, Winchester and Federal.

    - Aquire the same in 16 gauge rifled slug ammo.

    - Aquire some large bullseye type targets - I like the 50 yard slow fire pistol targets as they are large enough to pattern buckshot and defined enough for slug targeting.

    - Retire to the nearest available outdoor range and set up your target frame at 25 yards.

    - Fire at least three buckshot patterns on three separate targets with each buckshot load. (That's 9 targets total) Use a 6 o'clock sight picture for a repeatable point of aim to establish center of pattern. The loads that fire a 10 inch or less, total pattern diameter close to the point of aim are the only ones worthy of further testing at greater distance. I would consider the distance your shotgun can average 8 of the 12 pellets in that circle to be the maximum effective #1B range.

    - With Rifled Slug ammo, a three shot group with each load on a single target (3 targets total) at 25 yards. Bore brush out any lead buildup between three shot groups. Use the 6 o'clock hold to establish if any load shoots to POA. In later testing with the best load, I would consider the range at which your shotgun could no longer average a 6 inch three shot group to be the maximum range. This allows for some shooter aiming error under field conditions.

    This should establish if your shotgun patterns well enough or is sufficiently accurate enough to consider using it for deer hunting with buckshot or slug. After narrowing down the best loads you can then focus on finding the maximum effective range of your Gun/Choke/Load(s). Then you can make an informed decision on the use of buckshot or slug ammo under your hunting conditions with your shotgun.

    I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  9. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    You may be a good shot, I don't know. But you aint a good enough shot to be shooting at deer with a 16-gauge loaded with buckshot at 100 meters. Believe that.

    If you go with a 16-gauge #1 buck, dial that range back to 0-40 meters. Past that, you're gonna wound a lot of deer.
     
  10. RMc

    RMc Member

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    Pattern density is the primary limiting factor for using conventional buckshot ammunition for thin skinned light big game. Patterning then quickly quickly establishes the maximum range for any particular Gun/Choke/Load combination. Quality patterning work may indeed establish a maximum range of only 20 yards or patterns may establish a maximum range of 40 yards - it all depends on patterning results. Anything else is just speculation.
     
  11. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    Slugs

    The full choke will handle them fine. The accuracy depends more on the individual gun then it does the choke. I know that slug barrels are generaly IC but before they made dedicated slug barrels most shotguns were full choke, and deer were shot with slugs out of them.
     
  12. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    It is not speculation to say that people shouldn't shoot deer at 100 yds with #1 Buckshot. It is just fact.

    And before someone chimes in about their great great grandpa killing a deer at 125 yds with buckshot, one lucky incident doesn't make something smart.
     
  13. RMc

    RMc Member

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    You missed the point.

    Shotgun buckshot pattern density determines effective range. Moreover, shotgunners who pattern test their Gun/Choke/Buckshot combination quickly understand range limitations.

    Your assertion that the OP was not "... a good enough shot to be shooting at deer with a 16-gauge loaded with buckshot at 100 meters.", implied the problem of long range buckshot effectiveness was one of shooting ability rather than inherent range limitation.
     
  14. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    :banghead:

    The point was that buckshot should not be used at 100 meters.
    And I am well aware that it is patterning that is the issue. That was my point. No matter how good a shot you are, it doesn't make up for the fact that no shotgun will pattern reliably enough at 100 meters to be a good choice for deer hunting at that distance.

    I don't think we're disagreeing here. I just think I implied something that didn't translate to written word well.
     
  15. RMc

    RMc Member

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    OK. I think we can both agree that range testing first is the way to go.
     
  16. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    Thanks for the responses, guys.

    Yes, I'm allowed to use a rifle, but I'd like to do some hunting with this old shotgun. So, I'm interested in the optimal setup for shells.

    Good info. Thanks.
     
  17. shooter1

    shooter1 Member

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    Past thirty yards I have more confidence in voodoo than buckshot to reliably take deer. The humane kill area on the average deer is about a foot square. What ever range you can reliably put at least three of the eight OO pellets into is your max range with buckshot. The same principal holds true with slugs. Full choke guns shoot slugs just fine. Some much better than more open choked guns. With practice, and you should practice a lot. You should be able to make decent hits out to sixty yds or so. Don't rely on throwing one out there hoping to get lucky. The firearm you describe is far from optimal. Any chance you might find a more suitable firearm?
     
  18. B-man '06

    B-man '06 Member

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    one other point to consider with buckshot is penetration. my first deer was a hundred pound doe shot at 45yrds, broadside, with 3" 12ga. 00 buck. the entire pattern entered the deer but penetrated no farther than into the lung closest to me. it was fatal to be sure but not speedy. i waited a half hour before going to look and she still took off and went a half mile. the other two buckshot kills i know of were lucky hits, one a pellet to the spine and the other a pellet to the skull.
     
  19. shooter1

    shooter1 Member

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    Ooooooops, my bad. Forgot the gauge is 16. #1 Buck it is. Basic principals still apply. There's lots of good advise on patterning in this thread. Hope you're receptive to it.
    str1
     
  20. LT.Diver

    LT.Diver member

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    100 meters is too far no matter which load. Do the deer a favor and get closer or get a rifle.
     
  21. RMc

    RMc Member

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    I would note that both buckshot pattern density and slug accuracy are indeed self-limiting maximum range determinant factors.
     
  22. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    Thanks for clarifying why a slug is not usable at such a distance. I have not tried to shoot that far away yet. I will try it anyway on paper to see what it does. I maintain a thousand foot pounds of energy is sufficient to kill a deer humanely, but we still have to reach the vitals!
     
  23. RMc

    RMc Member

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    In the "for what its worth" category:

    Take a look at this film of a NW Florida deer taken with a 20 gauge using #2B (nominally .27"/30 grain pellets). The shot comes just after frame 3.25 . The range is not specified, but from the looks of it the shot could not have exceeded 30 yards. The twenty gauge, like the 16 gauge, has not seen the advances in factory buckshot rounds that can be found in the 12 bore.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvDMN4PlcZA
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
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