This 600 pound Livingston eland was taken with a single shot using a 12-gauge Hornady slug and a Mossberg shotgun.
This 600 pound Livingston eland was taken with a single shot using a 12-gauge Hornady slug and Mossberg shotgun.

Slug guns are excellent for close-to-moderate range deer hunts, especially in flatlands and near suburban areas, where their heavy slugs drop more quickly than center-fire bullets.

However, if you think that you’re giving up performance by using a shotgun, let me quickly share an experience.

Two years ago, I tested Hornady’s new slugs and Mossberg’s THUG rifled slug gun. I was headed for Africa and stuck the shotgun in my double gun case almost as a lark. The shotgun and sabots performed very well on paper, but how about a wildebeest or other deer-size game?

Ironically, I stalked within 75 yards of a mature cow eland with a body size similar to a Yellowstone elk. I squeezed the trigger and the animal went just 75 yards as the slug passed through both shoulders and stopped just under the hide on the far side. I was astounded at the pinpoint accuracy and performance and penetration of the bullet.

You won’t be finding eland wondering past your deer stand, yet you should take steps to assure that your shotgun is at top performance. Bill Miller is an experienced outdoor writer and provides the tips you’ll need to be ready in this OutdoorHub post.

Slug hunting for whitetail deer has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years. Building a slug rig used to simply consist of swapping in a short, open-choked barrel with rifle sights on your duck or pheasant gun. We relied on molded rifling on the slug itself to impart spin to the projectile and create some resemblance of accuracy. These were 100-yard hunting rigs at best—often more like 50 to 75 yard rigs. That big “pumpkin ball” carried enough energy to bring down a deer farther out, but consistent accuracy just wasn’t there.

Then came rifled slug barrels, and the world changed. Today, with rifled barrels and sabots, we are shooting rifle bullets from our shotguns. Slug guns’ effective ranges have at least doubled out to 200 yards, and a well-built rig shooting a favored load can shoot accurately far beyond that. Slug hunters can now make good use of rifle scopes, and optics companies have developed long-range reticles calibrated to the drop of the big projectiles.

The only component of the system that hasn’t changed is the hunter. MORE