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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here in Maryland, deer shotgun seasons starts the day after Thanksgiving. I just bought my very first shotgun, a Borwning Citori Field 26" 12 Ga O/U. Can I shoot pumpkin' ball slugs from it. I know pumpkin' ball slugs are designed for a smooth bore barrel. My barrel is smooth bore, is it not? Can someone clarify this a bit more. Also, I went to a sporting good store and asked if he could show me some pumpkin' ball and he said they do not sell it and that you can not buy it any more though my friend recently bought a package of 5 pumpkin' ball slugs for $9.00. Can someone also shed some light on this as well?

Thanks once again!

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I also had this same topic thread going on in the General forum. I would like the close this thread with the following:

I would like to thank you all for your excellent advice and words....

To finalize this thread I started up. I found this great article on Field & Stream web site. See below article:

Shotguns for Whitetails by Philip Bourjaily

Like everyone else who lived in a "slugs only" state, I made due with Foster-style slugs and a smoothbore bird gun pressed into once a year "deer rifle" service. A maximum range of 50 to 75 yards was standard for most slug guns.

The short range of shotgun slugs and buckshot compared to centerfire rifles makes them theoretically safer in populated areas. With more and more parts of the country filling with people and switching to "slugs only" every year, gun and ammo makers have gotten serious about improving deer hunting shotguns.

Deer guns and ammunition began to evolve in the 80s and continue to improve today. A modern slug gun with a rifled barrel and the right ammunition can be a genuine 125-yard deer shooter.

The slug revolution began in the mid-1980s, when Californian Bob Sowash bought the patent to an hourglass shaped .50 caliber slug encased in a 12-gauge plastic sabot. He improved it, and caught the attention of the shotgunning world in 1986 by recording the first one-inch group at 100 yards made with shotgun slugs. The feat sparked R&D efforts among ammo makers. Just as important as the slugs Sowash shot, however, was the gun he used, a scoped Benelli autoloader fitted with a custom, fully rifled barrel.

Today's Deer Guns
Rifled barrels, first available as custom items in the early 80s, then as aftermarket products offered by Hastings of Clay Center, Kansas, went mainstream in 1987. That was the year Mossberg introduced its fully rifled Trophy Slugster pump. Today almost every major manufacturer produces rifled shotguns.

There are three ways to go in choosing a slug gun. Pump guns like Remington's 870, Browning's BPS or Mossberg's 500 offer serious reliability and can easily be converted from slug to wingshooting duties. Both rifled and smoothbore barrelled models are available.

Second, you may choose a gas-operated autoloader like Browning's Gold Deer gun or Remington's 1100 or 11-87. Gas autos kick noticeably less than fixed-breech guns. By bleeding off expanding gases to work the action, a gas gun spreads the recoil sensation, changing it from a sharp kick to a firm shove.

Finally, you may opt for the increased accuracy potential of a solid-framed gun. Most deer guns, being built on bird gun platforms, have removable barrels, which introduce varying amounts of play into what should be a rigid action. This is not to say that take-down guns don't shoot, because many do, but a solid-framed, dedicated slug gun like the Ithaca Deerslayer II or the bolt-action Tar-Hunt eliminate the variables wobbly barrels throw into the accuracy equation.

Slug Types
While BRI set the standard for slug accuracy 15 years ago, it was not the last word in slug design. Winchester bought out BRI in 1990 and began loading their own version of the sabot slug. Federal followed with an excellent sabot slug. Thanks to their superior aerodynamic shape, they shoot much flatter than Full-bore Foster slugs.

Three years ago, Federal showed the way to the next generation of shotgun slugs when they introduced their Barnes Expander Slugs. Incorporating a .50 caliber, 1-ounce Barnes expanding bullet inside a 12-gauge sabot the Barnes slugs expand like premium bullets upon impact. Remington's Copper Solid uses an all-copper bullet. Winchester and Hornady have taken the premium bullet idea to its logical extreme, loading lighter bullets into sabots at increased velocities. The new Supreme slugs, for instance, weigh 385 grains and generate a muzzle velocity of 1900 fps. Slug shooters can virtually forget about holdover all the way out to 125 yards.

In the meantime, Foster slugs -- what we all call "rifled slugs" -- have improved as well. All of the Big Three have fattened up their Foster slugs closer to bore diameter, making them much more accurate. Foster slugs are cheap and work very well in smoothbore guns.

In 1998, the German Brenneke slug marked its 100th birthday. It features an attached wad that adds length and stability not unlike the stick on a bottle rocket. Unlike American slugs that are designed to expand, the Brennekes are hardened so they penetrate, leaving a 12-gauge hole in one side and out the other for better blood trails. Brennekes have taken game from deer and boars right up to African buffalo.

Another slug, Lightfield's Hybred, is a .63 caliber attached-wad, 1 ¼-ounce slug in a 12-gauge sabot. Lightfields have proven extremely accurate in rifled guns. New from Lightfield this year is the IDS Commander, a slug encased in a one-piece sabot that stays with the slug until impact. The one-piece sabot allows the slug to stay stable at extremely high (by shotgun standards) velocities up to 2,000 fps.

Slug Shooting
Generally speaking, if you shoot a smoothbore, there's no point in spending the extra money for sabot slugs or Lightfields. As a rule, sabot slugs won't shoot much better than Fosters in a smoothbore gun. With Fosters, you'll spend less money and shoot the same size groups. Brenneke slugs are another good choice for smoothbore shooters. With Foster slugs or Brennekes you can expect 1 ½-inch groups at 50 yards, possibly 4- to 5-inch groups at 100 yards.

Rifled barrels deliver the best slug accuracy. To take advantage of their accuracy potential, however, you're going to have to shoot saboted slugs or Lightfields. Although rifled guns and sabot slugs have printed MOA groups, you should be delighted with any gun that groups slugs into 2 ½- or 3-inches at 100 yards.

Outside of 125 yards even the flattest-shooting slugs begin to drop quickly and destabilize. Range estimation remains critical to accurate slug shooting. If possible, take a range finder with you into the field.

Make sure you pick clear shooting lanes, too. Just because a slug weighs an ounce or more doesn't mean it will blast through brush any better than any other bullet.

Beware of wind if you try to make long shots with slugs. Even the fastest slug may drift 5- to 6-inches at 100 yards in a 10 to 15 mph crosswind. To save frustration at the range, do your sighting in at 50 yards where the wind doesn't have time to blow your slugs all over the target.

Buckshot
Buckshot -- where legal -- remains the best choice for hunters who take their shots at close range, moving whitetails. Buckshot loads have improved in recent years, as have buckshot chokes to shoot them through. Where Improved Cylinder was once the standard recommendation for buck, choke makers have learned how to make the big pellets behave in full and extra full constrictions. "A lot of my customers don't use rifles anymore," says Charlie Boswell, maker of the Comp-n-Choke. "They've found they can kill deer out to 60 yards with a tight choke and buckshot." Headquartered in Georgia, Boswell sells the majority of his buckshot tubes to southern hunters, many of whom hunt deer in the close quarters in lowland swamps.

Premium buckshot loads featuring hard, copper-plated, buffered pellets easily outperform standard shells. Hunters who want the heaviest payload possible -- 18 OO pellets -- should try Federal's Premium 3 ½-inch 12-gauge loads. An aftermarket Full or even X-Full choke like the Pattern Master or the Comp-N-Choke can consistently put 100% of a buckshot load into a 20-inch circle at 40 yards.

Shotguns will always be short-range deer weapons compared to centerfire rifles, but today's guns, slugs and buckshot are far more effective than the deer guns of just 20 years ago.
 
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