How good can you track? I have harvested many deer with a shotgun, both buckshot and slugs. I would say more anchoring shots are delivered by a well placed slug, Buckshot will sure get the job done but lacks some of the knockdown power at longer ranges, meaning you might have to track your deer.
Remember one thing....at close range, a heavy load of OO or 000 buckshot is one of the deadliest small arm rounds in the world. The key is the range. I live south of the rifle/shotgun line in Michigan, meaning if I want to harvest a deer locally it must be done with a shotgun or muzzleloader. I have never used a scope on either weapon, but know many folks that do.
I just personally dont have the need for a scope at shotgun and muzzleloader ranges. Doesnt make me right or wrong, just never used one...a GOOD scope will set you back almost as much if not more than another gun (depending on the gun)
Personally, I'd stick with the slugs. It's hard to imagine that a load of buckshot at 20 yards will do more damage than a solid hit from a slug at the same range. I've seen deer run an awfully long way with a few pellets of buckshot in them. Sure, they can be wounded with a slug, but the chance of doing so seems less, given that there's only the one projectile.
Never have needed a scope, because I don't take shots with a shotgun at ranges more than about forty yards. Just my ethic, only applies to me, not saying you should do likewise. I hate tracking wounded deer, who don't seem to deserve the extra pain. I know--it's kinda sappy, but that's how I feel.
a slug causes a lot of damage, no doubt. But at every point a projectile enters the body there is cavatating wounds. The severity of these wounds is determined by the speed and weight of the projectile in question (weight x mass = velocity, I think)
Buckshot causes multiple smaller wounds instead of one big one. At 40 yards if you know your pattern and hit your mark, they wont run far, if at all.
If your shotgun will hold a pretty tight pattern at the max range you would shoot, then I would use buckshot. I dont know many guns that will do that. 50 yards is pushing it with buckshot.
The bad thing about buckshot is, if your pattern spreads outside of the deers vitals, then a pellet may strike a gut, and if this happens, well, its kinda messy and smelly when field dressing, and it will ruin meat. If I am hunting in thick woods, I take buckshot. If I am in woods that are not that thick then I use slugs with truglo Magnum gobble dot pro adjustable sights on my vent rib. I will usually put a slug in the barrel and buckshot in the magazine. If I miss with the slug, I can point in the direction of that huge B&C deer and hit hit as he runs off with the buckshot.
Here you see the virtue of the Shotgunworld.com forum. We have three different opinions, and you get the benefit of hearing what people think and making your own decision.
I'd never tell you "don't use buckshot" or any such nonsense. (As long as it is legal where you hunt, of course.) I just don't use it myself. The others are right about its wounding capacity--and I've also heard the rather compelling argument that because buckshot causes extra wounds it actually makes tracking easier, thereby lessening the chances of losing a wounded deer entirely.
SGW is a friendly place where people can explain their differing practices freely and learn from others. I've definitely changed some of the stuff I do since I began coming here. If you like the idea of having a forum where you can hang out, learn, and give back by helping others who are newer than yourself, I hope you'll register and check in every so often.
PS Actually, I do use buckshot for one purpose--I have some low-recoil #4 buck in my home defense shotgun, and the first man dumb enough to break into my house at night and get between my family and the door is going to find out all about what buckshot can and can't do :twisted:
The only reason I stay with my opinion on buckshot is I used to be an urban paramedic...I have seen about every type of wound you can imagine, (and some you dont want to imagine). We were trained in ballistics and wound channels, etc. and I will tell you from seeing enough wounds both on people and deer/bear that buckshot is the LAST thing I would want to get hit with at under 50 yards, especially in 3" mag loads
I really like this forum too....nobody is rude or mean
I would see what pattern you get with each choke tube. I am definately not an expert shotgunner, but I can kill deer and bunnies. You will have fewer pellets with 000 than with 0, but the pellets will be larger, carry more weight and pack more punch at a distance.
For home defense I would use the smaller buckshot, because all your shots would be close range, and most likely one shot will be fatal if it is center mass of the perpetrator.
good luck hunting
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