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Is a 20-Gauge Enough for Deer?

Mike Hanback puts the question to you, his loyal Big Buck Zone readers. Do you feel comfortable shooting a deer with such a small load?
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I admit to being a slug-gun newbie. I can tout the ballistics and virtues of the .270 all day. But a shotgun for deer? Hah. I know nuth-tink! (Trivia?) I just figured nobody in his right mind would use a pip-squeak 20 when you could go with a big-stocked, thick-actioned, 12 with the heaviest chunk of lead you could sling at a buck.





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Comments (4)

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from marlinman2008 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

A 20 is better than a 12 at distance,due to its higher velocity,and flatter trajectory.Down here it aint very uncommon for someone to kill a deer at 200 yards.If it aint a gutt shot they drop on the spot.Cant wait to get me one of those Savage bolt slug guns in 20ga.

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from mrm125 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I use the Federal Premium P209XT1 in 20 gauge. Check out their ballistics. Muzzle energy is 3400 ft lbs and remains above 2100 ft lbs at 120 yards. They are expensive and require a 3" chamber. They are far more accurate than my 12 ga smooth bore and have both greater range and more killing power. They group at 150 yards. With a 1.5 - 9x scope, I can have the gun sighted at 25 yards and stay in the kill zone from zero to 150 yds. My 12 ga now sits on the rack waiting for turkey season because its whitetail days are over.

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from comode-sense wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Hello, think McFly, think. Whitetails are taken with bows and arrows. So somebody explain to me why a 20 slug is not enough power to do the job. That's what I thought.

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from 20 gauges rule wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

not true at all. I killed my first deer with a youth model 20 gauge singleshot with a 2 and 3 quarter inch slug. i dropped her at 75 yards with open sights. i've hunted with both a 12 and 20 gauge, but i prefer the 20 over all other gauges of shotgun. it is more accurate and has dropping power at about 120 yards. the 12 is good if you like brute but the 20 is better if you like accurate.

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from 20 gauges rule wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

not true at all. I killed my first deer with a youth model 20 gauge singleshot with a 2 and 3 quarter inch slug. i dropped her at 75 yards with open sights. i've hunted with both a 12 and 20 gauge, but i prefer the 20 over all other gauges of shotgun. it is more accurate and has dropping power at about 120 yards. the 12 is good if you like brute but the 20 is better if you like accurate.

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from comode-sense wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Hello, think McFly, think. Whitetails are taken with bows and arrows. So somebody explain to me why a 20 slug is not enough power to do the job. That's what I thought.

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from mrm125 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I use the Federal Premium P209XT1 in 20 gauge. Check out their ballistics. Muzzle energy is 3400 ft lbs and remains above 2100 ft lbs at 120 yards. They are expensive and require a 3" chamber. They are far more accurate than my 12 ga smooth bore and have both greater range and more killing power. They group at 150 yards. With a 1.5 - 9x scope, I can have the gun sighted at 25 yards and stay in the kill zone from zero to 150 yds. My 12 ga now sits on the rack waiting for turkey season because its whitetail days are over.

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from marlinman2008 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

A 20 is better than a 12 at distance,due to its higher velocity,and flatter trajectory.Down here it aint very uncommon for someone to kill a deer at 200 yards.If it aint a gutt shot they drop on the spot.Cant wait to get me one of those Savage bolt slug guns in 20ga.

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