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Is there any reason to not use a scope when hunting deer?

This is a discussion on Is there any reason to not use a scope when hunting deer? within the General Hunting and Conservation forums, part of the Hunting category; Once upon a time I bought a shotgun for deer hunting and it had a rifled barrel and a scope. I was enthusiastic about the ...



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Old 07-11-2020, 06:15 PM   #11
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Need to factor in ammo costs in sighting in etc.

Once upon a time I bought a shotgun for deer hunting and it had a rifled barrel and a scope. I was enthusiastic about the potential for being able to hit deer at 125 yards. So I bought slugs for the gun and they are expensive. First you need to zero the scope which can take a bunch of shots, then you need to shoot a bunch more to be satisfied you know how they group and where they shoot to. And of course you need to do this with 4 or 5 different brands of slugs, which can mean starting over again with sighting in. What an economic disaster it was. I think I spent more on ammo that pre-hunting season than I did on the shotgun and scope. Lesson learned, never again. Go back a few posts to my first post on the subject.

Prompted by the post below, the slugs I got were slugs designed to be used in a rifled shotgun barrel. Thank you Jack, my bad on nomenclature. By the way, I generally know what I am doing and if I had to do this over again, I would be a lot smarter. To begin with, I would decide what slugs to buy and stick with them, without spending the money to compare. I guess I was trying to make a rifle out of a shotgun. Accept the limitations of the gun and ammo and modify your hunting style to be successful.

Last edited by David Lee Valdina; 07-12-2020 at 12:04 PM. Reason: Clear up any misunderstandings.
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:36 AM   #12
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Rifled slugs are for smooth bore barrels. You'll NEVER get peak performance with those in a rifled barrel. Rifled FOSTER slugs for smooth barrels.

Saboted slugs for rifled barrels.

Save your self a bunch of time and money. Start out with a Remington gun, rifled barrel and a couple boxes of Winchester sabot slugs.

IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU are doing, you'll have five slugs left when it is dialed in and at the very LEAST, darn near the best accuracy you'll get from that gun, AND all the slugs you need for a season of deer hunting.
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Last edited by Jack Ryan; 07-12-2020 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 07-13-2020, 11:13 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by David Lee Valdina View Post
Once upon a time I bought a shotgun for deer hunting and it had a rifled barrel and a scope. I was enthusiastic about the potential for being able to hit deer at 125 yards. So I bought slugs for the gun and they are expensive. First you need to zero the scope which can take a bunch of shots, then you need to shoot a bunch more to be satisfied you know how they group and where they shoot to. And of course you need to do this with 4 or 5 different brands of slugs, which can mean starting over again with sighting in. What an economic disaster it was. I think I spent more on ammo that pre-hunting season than I did on the shotgun and scope. Lesson learned, never again. Go back a few posts to my first post on the subject.

Prompted by the post below, the slugs I got were slugs designed to be used in a rifled shotgun barrel. Thank you Jack, my bad on nomenclature. By the way, I generally know what I am doing and if I had to do this over again, I would be a lot smarter. To begin with, I would decide what slugs to buy and stick with them, without spending the money to compare. I guess I was trying to make a rifle out of a shotgun. Accept the limitations of the gun and ammo and modify your hunting style to be successful.
You would not need to rezero with each slug selection to see it they shoot well in a particualr firearm either rifle or shotgun. If you zero with on and a different one is that far off a target then you have other issues.

You should be able to get on paper with one and then shoot just looking for group size or see if there are any fliers or other anomilies with the others. Then once you have chosen one you like you do a final zero with that one. Might have an initial cost but it is something that needs to be done with all firearms upon purchase.
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Old 07-13-2020, 11:53 AM   #14
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Nope, you don't "need" to do that ...

It is not like I am new to this. I have been shooting/hunting since grade school and am 78 years old now. Whether you believe it or not, in the early days of shotgun rifled barrels and specialized slugs for same, they did shoot to very different places at 100 yards. If memory serves me, I think I bought two boxes each of five different slugs. And when I was all done, I was angry at myself for spending the money and not having the good sense to just realize in the New England woods there are plenty of places to get shots on deer at 25 - 75 yards. And I already had two shotguns which were smooth bore that could group the slugs for it reasonable well out to 75 yards, and 50 yards was way better.But I have been a gun slut for a lot of years and did what I did for whatever reasons seemed right to me at the time. Older and smarter now.
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Old 07-13-2020, 05:52 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by David Lee Valdina View Post
It is not like I am new to this. I have been shooting/hunting since grade school and am 78 years old now. Whether you believe it or not, in the early days of shotgun rifled barrels and specialized slugs for same, they did shoot to very different places at 100 yards. If memory serves me, I think I bought two boxes each of five different slugs. And when I was all done, I was angry at myself for spending the money and not having the good sense to just realize in the New England woods there are plenty of places to get shots on deer at 25 - 75 yards. And I already had two shotguns which were smooth bore that could group the slugs for it reasonable well out to 75 yards, and 50 yards was way better.But I have been a gun slut for a lot of years and did what I did for whatever reasons seemed right to me at the time. Older and smarter now.
BTDT, you are absolutely right. If you unfolded a refrigerator box and put an X dead center and aimed at it every single time from 100 yards firing one of every available commercial slug with out ever moving the sights I'd be surprised if half of them hit the card board from 100 yards.

ESPECIALLY back in the day when the first rifled shotgun barrels came out.
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Old 07-14-2020, 11:08 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by David Lee Valdina View Post
It is not like I am new to this. I have been shooting/hunting since grade school and am 78 years old now. Whether you believe it or not, in the early days of shotgun rifled barrels and specialized slugs for same, they did shoot to very different places at 100 yards. If memory serves me, I think I bought two boxes each of five different slugs. And when I was all done, I was angry at myself for spending the money and not having the good sense to just realize in the New England woods there are plenty of places to get shots on deer at 25 - 75 yards. And I already had two shotguns which were smooth bore that could group the slugs for it reasonable well out to 75 yards, and 50 yards was way better.But I have been a gun slut for a lot of years and did what I did for whatever reasons seemed right to me at the time. Older and smarter now.
Not stupid for trying different ammo to see what shoots best. The way I read it you were zeroing each time. No need to zero each time to see which ammo will shoot smaller groups in a specific firearm.

Not stupid for getting a better firearm. We owe it to the animals we hunt to harvest them in the most efficacious manner possible. If you can hit the spot you are aiming at and reduce the suffering of the animal that is a good thing. If you can extend the range at which you can humanely take an animal that is a good thing.

Being able to add a scope to a slug gun rather than relying on irons can extend the range and also give older eyes a break.

Ammo is usually the cheapest part of the hunt. If you spend a bit more on ammo to better and more humanely take an animal or to ensure you are able to shoot the tightest groups and allow you to be confident that the animal will go down you are doing the animal justice.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:19 PM   #17
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Sabot slugs increase ranges substantially in shotguns. Scopes are beneficial for early morning and evening shooting when it is difficult to see against brush and woods. A deer standing still is much more easily seen with a scope.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:25 PM   #18
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I use a Remington 11-87 20 ga with Winchester 3" sabot slugs. The 2 3/4 " sabots are not accurate in the 3" chamber. Just stick with the one slug that is accurate. Different sabot slugs from the same and different manufacturers can shoot to completely different zeros.
Ever see the deer hunter with a handful of old mixed slugs? He never hits a deer. Some are just too cheap to spend the $$
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Old 07-16-2020, 04:34 PM   #19
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Living in Illinois, the shotgun is the primary long gun for deer hunters.

When I still used a shotgun on Illinois deer, I never saw a reason for a red dot or scope as the distances were short and most shots were quick which a scope would interfere with. As someone else already recommended, a 20 gauge is a much better choice for deer. The longest shot I ever took was 103 yards and that was with a Hastings Rifled Barrel on a 20 gauge Remington 1100. I would invest in the rifled barrel before a scope for Illinois deer hunting.

Today I use a Ruger Super Blackhawk 5 inch .44 magnum with a red dot for Illinois deer.

When hunting deer in other states, the distance is much longer. I use a .270 Winchester out of a Sako topped with a Leupold 4.5x14 scope.
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