I've read that in some states buckshot is legal for deer.So I got kind of curious--I put a big cardboard square behind a life sized cardboard deer target.I was shooting a Savage 12 gauge model 179TD pump,with a 30 inch barrel and fixed modified choke. I placed a bright red sticker in the center of the vital area to use as an aiming point. Two shots at 30 yards with the standard 2 and 3/4 inch Remington 00 buck load put 3 pellets into the deer's body with each shot --none in a vital area,along with a few in the legs. backing up to 40 yards (and aiming high) put 3 in the body,none in the vitals. I had read that the Hornady "TAP" defense loads produce super tight patterns --so I gave 'em a try. At 40 yards--2 shots put only one pellet in the vitals--and a few in the guts.Moving in to 30 yards--two shots put 4 or 5 pellets into the vitals with each shot. Now of course,a different gun/load/choke combination could give different results. I'd always heard that IC was best with buckshot--yet my 870 with a 20 inch IC choked barrel shoots doughnut hole patterns beyond 20 yards--hitting pretty much everything except where you aim. Incidently--the Hornady load (fired from the Savage) put all 9 00Buck pellets in the vitals at 20 yards.