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Thread: .410 slugs for deer?

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    Default .410 slugs for deer?

    Went to the gun shop today, and found a sweet little Mossberg .410 over/under. Thing just about points itself. They had some 110 gr. slugs for it, and the box says 1775 ft/sec. Now, I know most of you guys shoot bigger stuff than deer, but for those in the know, is this an appropriate load for shots on deer under 50 yds or so? I know the slug is heavy enough, but what about the velocity? One of the guys at the shop was saying that the 410 slug trajectory is better than that of a 12 gauge slug. That right? I don't have a lot of experience with scatterguns.

    I like the idea of having a gun I can use for deer in thick bush, for birds, and also something the kids will enjoy shooting as well.

    Appreciate any input.

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    I'm originally from Ohio where the only legal firearm for deer used to be shotguns with slugs. (pistol can be used now) No one I know ever used anyting less than a 20 ga. However, a .41 caliber slug at close range, broadside shot should be ok. Make sure you know where its going to hit, as in drop at different ranges and don't shoot very far, as you stated, 50 yards or less. Slugs loose velocity and energy rather quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    Went to the gun shop today, and found a sweet little Mossberg .410 over/under. Thing just about points itself. They had some 110 gr. slugs for it, and the box says 1775 ft/sec. Now, I know most of you guys shoot bigger stuff than deer, but for those in the know, is this an appropriate load for shots on deer under 50 yds or so? I know the slug is heavy enough, but what about the velocity? One of the guys at the shop was saying that the 410 slug trajectory is better than that of a 12 gauge slug. That right? I don't have a lot of experience with scatterguns.

    I like the idea of having a gun I can use for deer in thick bush, for birds, and also something the kids will enjoy shooting as well.

    Appreciate any input.
    It was a hot topic about 30 years ago, with lots of opinion and ballistic talk, but very few people actually doing it. I think the bone of contention at that time was whether or not it was a suitable kids gun. Kind of along the lines of whether or not to give a kid a 20 gauge or a 410 for bird hunting. In the hands of a cool shot and within its range limits, yeah it could be effective. In the hands of a kid, not much margin for error in the face of their inexperience.

    I shot a fair number of them through four different 410's and never got them to shoot well. I was lucky to keep all shots on the target paper at 25 yards, much less hit the bull. Flat trajectory was meaningless because at 50 I couldn't hit the paper most of the time, and at 75 couldn't hit the backstop. From my seat at the table, the accuracy problem seemed to stem from the fact that most 410s are tightly choked, while Forster type slugs work best out of open chokes or cylinder bore. I happen to be a fan of 410s for birding and rabbits, but never could bring myself to try it on deer due to the accuracy issues. I've whacked deer successfully with most handgun calibers (other than the 25 auto), and can say with certainty that deer are pretty frail animals when hit in the right spot, even with a low power round. I'd have confidence in that slug if I COULD land it broadside in the heart/lungs. But I'd be passing up a lot of shots and shooting really close with any shotgun I've tried them in.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Its one of those things that can be done but why do it. Just about everything out there is a much better choice and shows more respect for the game.JMHO

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    Went to the gun shop today, and found a sweet little Mossberg .410 over/under. Thing just about points itself. They had some 110 gr. slugs for it, and the box says 1775 ft/sec. Now, I know most of you guys shoot bigger stuff than deer, but for those in the know, is this an appropriate load for shots on deer under 50 yds or so? I know the slug is heavy enough, but what about the velocity? One of the guys at the shop was saying that the 410 slug trajectory is better than that of a 12 gauge slug. That right? I don't have a lot of experience with scatterguns.

    I like the idea of having a gun I can use for deer in thick bush, for birds, and also something the kids will enjoy shooting as well.

    Appreciate any input.
    Where I'm from most hunt deer with shotguns. The consensus here is a definite no.

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    I grew up squirreling with a .410 (still have it, a beautiful firearm) and have grown to agree with Chuck Hawks that it fits both ends of the experience spectrum, but not so much the middle. I would never hunt a deer with it except in a survival situation.

    http://www.chuckhawks.com/410bore.htm

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    Thanks for the input, guys. The consensus seems to be what I figured, but I thought I'd ask. I have a few favorite deer calibers, and will stick with those, but the idea of being able to hunt grouse and deer with the same gun sort of appealed to me.

    Thanks again.

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    Default Terry

    I have a rem 1100 410 with a mod choked barrel. I have shot 3 brands of 2 1/2 in slugs for fun through it and unlike Brown Bears post mine is a tack driver at 50 yards. Off hand 3" groups are very common. Choke could be a big part of that like he eluded to.
    I don't think I would take it deer hunting as a plan - however I sure would not hesitate to have a couple 5 paks along in the wilderness for a survival load that I think would be more effective on deer than a 357 magnun and I have killed a few deer with that very easily....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    I have a rem 1100 410 with a mod choked barrel. I have shot 3 brands of 2 1/2 in slugs for fun through it and unlike Brown Bears post mine is a tack driver at 50 yards. Off hand 3" groups are very common. Choke could be a big part of that like he eluded to.
    I don't think I would take it deer hunting as a plan - however I sure would not hesitate to have a couple 5 paks along in the wilderness for a survival load that I think would be more effective on deer than a 357 magnun and I have killed a few deer with that very easily....
    That's interesting Smokey, and runs along the lines of what I was guessing. I might be tempted to get a single shot, hack off enough barrel to remove any choke, then mount rifle sights just for pure curiosity. And I'm with you on the effectiveness of a well placed 357 bullet on deer.

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    A Federal Rifled 410 slug weighs about 109 grains. Federal claims a muzzle velocity of 1775 and a 50 yard velocity of 1337. Both rather optimistic compared to my chronograph testing which shows about 150fps less.
    So at 50 yards it would be like getting shot with a 38 Special +p. On a good day.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
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    That's about what I figured would be going on. And comparison with a +P 38 is pretty good too. Having successfully whacked several deer with +P 38's of various description, I've got a pretty good idea there, too. Not my first choice by any means, but doable with careful shooting.

    As an aside, I've been shooting roundballs in smoothbore muzzeloaders lately, and I'm more than a little impressed with their accuracy at 50 yards and closer. I'm not saying I'd recommend a 410 slug for hunting, but that it could be done, and it sounds like in the right gun, with some degree of accuracy.

    It reminds me of my original intent for buying 25-20's. I use reduced loads for ptarmigan and rabbits, but with a change to a hivel load I've got a marginal deer caliber requiring very careful shooting. So far only two deer killed in two shots with the hivel loads (86 grain jacketed bullet @ 1800fps), but it worked well enough to wonder why the military ever loaded the 22 Hornet into survival rifles. None of these are ideal deer rounds, but can be made to work fine with careful shooting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    So at 50 yards it would be like getting shot with a 38 Special +p. On a good day.
    A 38 Special with a small very soft wad cutter unless you are talking about some hard cast 410 slug I have never found. I shoot 158jhp and heaver hard cast in my lil 38s.

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    Iowa is a shotgun hunting state and the 410 is not legal for deer here. Just not enough poop for the average joe to kill deer with!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGuyNamedMike View Post
    I would never hunt a deer with it except in a survival situation.
    That's about my thoughts to a T. I grew up hunting deer in Ohio with shotguns among other things and they stink. I'd take a centerfire or muzzleloader any day. In fact towards the end of my time in Ohio I quit using them all together in favor of my muzzleloader which was much more accurate, had a far better range, and came with much better projectiles available (Barnes all copper!!). Shotguns shooting slugs even in the 12 gauge variety leave a lot to be desired in terms of ballistics and performance. You pretty well reduce yourself down to the days of the late 1800's when a large bullet at slow speeds was necesary to gain adequit penetration because the bullets of the time were crap and they didn't have smokeless powder. That said using a .410 with slugs takes a disadvantage and makes it worse in EVERY way! If you do decide to shoot slugs at deer for the love of all that is holy get a side mount and put a scope on it! At the very least a barrel with sites! Accurate shooting with a bead past 30-40 yards is a joke at best!

    Brett

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    Brett,

    Have you ever looked up the ballistics of a 12 gauge slug? The 2009 Remington catolog lists muzzle energy up to 3232 ft-lb at the muzzle. That's in a similar range as a 300 winchester magnum at the muzzle. I find your statment entirely inaccurate and generally lacking merit. I guess that you are entitled to an opinion. Please take the time to have some understanding of what you are talking about before making vague and inaccurate statements. I have shot deer while in college in Michigan with a 12 gauge slug. They fell dead in their tracks immediately. For what they are, slug guns are excellent short range deer guns.

    Sean

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    Quote Originally Posted by seant View Post
    Brett,

    Have you ever looked up the ballistics of a 12 gauge slug? The 2009 Remington catolog lists muzzle energy up to 3232 ft-lb at the muzzle. That's in a similar range as a 300 winchester magnum at the muzzle. I find your statment entirely inaccurate and generally lacking merit. I guess that you are entitled to an opinion. Please take the time to have some understanding of what you are talking about before making vague and inaccurate statements. I have shot deer while in college in Michigan with a 12 gauge slug. They fell dead in their tracks immediately. For what they are, slug guns are excellent short range deer guns.

    Sean
    Sean, You are right when you say for what they are they are excellent short range deer guns. However in this part of the world the hunters try to stretch the range in which they can effectively kill deer with a shotgun.

    I lease 40 acres of the best timber in this part of the state. I bow hunted it right up until the 4 day shotgun season started last year. I pretty much camped out in the timber those 4 days of shotgun season so as to keep the tresspassers out (its part of the lease agreement). Durying the 4 days I watched more wounded deer amble through the timber than you can imagine. At the end of the 4 days I walked the major trails in this tract of land and every one of them was red with blood trails. In all I found 6 dead deer that were shot on adjoining land and wandered onto my lease to die. I also jumped a couple more (including a 180 class buck) that were basicly dead on their feet but didn't know it. I found the buck 2 days later.

    There are shotguns that with the right slug are good to a hundred and fifty yards. However much beyond that is a hope and a poke and that muzzle energy equal to a 300 mag is null and void. The truth is the average shotgun hunter mentality around here is to drag ole bessy out the weekend before season and see if it will still group the size of a pie plate at 50 feet. I have heard hunters say "If you throw enough lead at them then they're bound to run into one sooner or later. I have witnessed guys with shotguns parked on the gravel road shooting at deer standing on a hillside 250 yards away.... probably the same ones I found dead on my lease. In all reality but contrary to law I would rather see these guys use a rifle or magnum in line muzzleloader which is capable of a clean harvest at that range (my inline will shoot <8 inches at 250 yards)!

    Like Brett, I too have given up the shotgun for the muzzleloader. My little lease is surrounded on three sides by open grain fields in which the deer come to feed. A 200-250 yard shot is very likely and the shotgun wouldn't cut it here. However in your case (at close range) it's a great choice! It's one of those situational things and I think Brett is eluding to a different shooting scenerio than your facing!

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    "For what they are, slug guns are excellent short range deer guns."

    I agree. But probably more adequit than excellent, but short range is the key word. However I do know what I'm talking about. I've shot 30 deer over the years with the gamit of weapons and seen lord knows how many more deer killed by family and friends. I'm quite familiar with modern slug ballistics. The problem with your assertion is that you can't take muzzle energy as a one to one analysis between cartriges without some further critical thinking. Muzzle energy is a measurement made up of two components: bullet weight and bullet velocity. If you increase one or both muzzle energy will increase. You can even increase one enough to offset decreasing the other and still have an increase in muzzle energy. So as you increase bullet weight muzzle velocity can derease.

    The problem with this is that at some time the velocity is decreased to a point of loosing affectiveness even with large bullets in comparison to lighter faster moving bullets. To demonstrate this: At some point if you increase the size of an object enough it could be moving 100fps and sill be producing the same muzzle energy as a .300wm. To use your bench mark of 3,232ft/lbs and my 100fps I used the muzzle energy equation to calculate that the projectile would need to weigh 20.8lbs. So using your bench mark any gun capable of shooting a 20.8lbs. bullet at 100fps would produce 3,232ft/lbs of muzzle energy and therefore be a wonderful deer gun! Obviously that's rediculous and certainly not what you were saying, but you may want to consider more than muzzle energy in the future and think about what it actually means.

    Lets analyze muzzle energy in the other extreme. Many African countries have a minimum muzzle energy required to hunt large dangerous game. The establish bench mark is 4000ft/lbs of muzzle energy. So if you take a 10 grain bullet and make it go fast enough you can produce 4000ft/lbs of muzzle energy. So a gun capable of shooting a 10 grain bullet at 13,422.88fps would produce 4000ft/lbs of muzzle energy and therefore be legal! Again this is absurd.

    My point is that muzzle energy should never be taken as an absolute. Critical analysis must be used and more factors than muzzle eneregy alone should be used when comparing cartriges. In the late 1800's before the advent of nitro cellulose the only rifles that could be trusted to penetrate enough to kill elephants were large slow movers like the 4, 6, 8 bore, and paradox rifles. These there imediately thrown by the wayside with the advent of nitro cellulose and the Nitro Express and other high speed center fire cartridges that followed them. Did the old 4 bores and such still work? Of course! But that hardly meant they were as good as the new cartridges available. The shotgun slug still works on the same principal. The bullets are poorly made (jacketless) and slow moving, so they have to be large to gain adequit penetration.

    The other consideration is that there's more to a hunting weapon than muzzle energy. Range, sighting, weight, length, calibre, quality of available ammunition, ect, ect. My suggestion that other weapons were far better suited for deer hunting was based on a combination of all of these. At no point did I advise against a shootgun with slugs in general. I did advise agianst a .410 and I did suggest there are better options than shotguns in general. So perhaps you need to back off the caffene!

    Brett

    PS. "They fell dead in their tracks immediately."

    Deer only do that for one of two reasons with any weapon
    (shotgun included):
    1. A direct hit to the central nervous system.
    2. A direct hit to the heart when full can cause a blood pressure surge in affect causing a stroke.
    In no way has it anything to do with the awe enspiring power of the shotgun slug!

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    Sean, You are right when you say for what they are they are excellent short range deer guns. However in this part of the world the hunters try to stretch the range in which they can effectively kill deer with a shotgun.

    I lease 40 acres of the best timber in this part of the state. I bow hunted it right up until the 4 day shotgun season started last year. I pretty much camped out in the timber those 4 days of shotgun season so as to keep the tresspassers out (its part of the lease agreement). Durying the 4 days I watched more wounded deer amble through the timber than you can imagine. At the end of the 4 days I walked the major trails in this tract of land and every one of them was red with blood trails. In all I found 6 dead deer that were shot on adjoining land and wandered onto my lease to die. I also jumped a couple more (including a 180 class buck) that were basicly dead on their feet but didn't know it. I found the buck 2 days later.

    There are shotguns that with the right slug are good to a hundred and fifty yards. However much beyond that is a hope and a poke and that muzzle energy equal to a 300 mag is null and void. The truth is the average shotgun hunter mentality around here is to drag ole bessy out the weekend before season and see if it will still group the size of a pie plate at 50 feet. I have heard hunters say "If you throw enough lead at them then they're bound to run into one sooner or later. I have witnessed guys with shotguns parked on the gravel road shooting at deer standing on a hillside 250 yards away.... probably the same ones I found dead on my lease. In all reality but contrary to law I would rather see these guys use a rifle or magnum in line muzzleloader which is capable of a clean harvest at that range (my inline will shoot <8 inches at 250 yards)!

    Like Brett, I too have given up the shotgun for the muzzleloader. My little lease is surrounded on three sides by open grain fields in which the deer come to feed. A 200-250 yard shot is very likely and the shotgun wouldn't cut it here. However in your case (at close range) it's a great choice! It's one of those situational things and I think Brett is eluding to a different shooting scenerio than your facing!
    Excellent post and to the point. I've shot deer at 100 and 130 yards with my slug gun. That's at the reasonable outer edge for sure. I agree that 150 yards should probably be the absolute limit if scoped and the hunter knows where it's shooting at that distance. I had an uncle shoot a buck many years ago while running across an open feild at well over 150 yards. The slugs that hit between ribs went through. Those that didn't bounced off! I agree 100% with the "dust old bessy off" mentality. I've seen and heard it more times than I care to remember. And I garantee the majority of those dead and wounded deer you and I both have found came from hunters who just use the shotgun bead without sights or a scope. When I lived in Ohio I frequently hunted areas where 100-250yards shots were common. I switched to a savage muzzle loader and have taken deer at 164, 206, and 220 yards. I used TC bullets until they fragmented on the 206 yard shot. My thought was what happens at 20 yards? I switched to the Barnes all copper bullets and had a pass through on a frontal quartering shot at 220 yards last year. Needless to say I highly recommend them.

    Brett

  19. #19

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    Brett,

    Thank you for the long and cumbersome dissertation of well know facts that I have read many times over from other reference books. It was a very interesting read.....yawn.

    I would like to again point out several of your inaccurate statements.

    Shotgun slugs are well made. You can buy factory loaded jacketed projectiles, copper solids and sabots. Again, please take the time to read a little before you make vague and inaccurate statements.

    13,000fps....This demonstrates your general breadth of knowledge of modern powder and attainable velocity. I personally don't know anyone who hunts with a rail gun.

    I have shot slug guns which group better than at least three Kimber rifles which I have owned. Slug guns can be fairly accurate out to reasonable distances. I would draw the line at 150 yards with a slug gun. I don't know that I would trust some rifles which I have owned to shoot even that far. I'll let you guess which brand they were.

    Bouncing off ribs? You can't be serious. Ribs are brittle stuctures. It only takes minimal force to break them. Again, please try not to dissiminate such inaccurate information on the internet. I suspect that your poor results on deer with shotgun slugs may have more to do with shot placement.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Sean

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    Quote Originally Posted by seant View Post
    Brett,

    Thank you for the long and cumbersome dissertation of well know facts that I have read many times over from other reference books. It was a very interesting read.....yawn.

    I would like to again point out several of your inaccurate statements.

    Shotgun slugs are well made. You can buy factory loaded jacketed projectiles, copper solids and sabots. Again, please take the time to read a little before you make vague and inaccurate statements.

    13,000fps....This demonstrates your general breadth of knowledge of modern powder and attainable velocity. I personally don't know anyone who hunts with a rail gun.

    I have shot slug guns which group better than at least three Kimber rifles which I have owned. Slug guns can be fairly accurate out to reasonable distances. I would draw the line at 150 yards with a slug gun. I don't know that I would trust some rifles which I have owned to shoot even that far. I'll let you guess which brand they were.

    Bouncing off ribs? You can't be serious. Ribs are brittle stuctures. It only takes minimal force to break them. Again, please try not to dissiminate such inaccurate information on the internet. I suspect that your poor results on deer with shotgun slugs may have more to do with shot placement.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Sean
    XYZ . . . your youth (or lack of real world experience) is showing!!

    You may want to take your own advice and not speak on things you only think you know.

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