Shotgun Slugs: 20 Gauge vs. 12 Gauge – Part 1

Adam Scepaniak

Hello everyone! I'm the C.M.O. and Manager for The Guns and Gear Store of Rogers and Waite Park, MN. Also, I'm a Smith & Wesson Certified Armorer, Glock Certified Armorer, a guest writer for Sierra Bullets, an avid pistol shooter, reloader, and have an addiction to classic double-action Smith & Wesson and Colt revolvers. I love the challenge of hunting different game whether its elk, black bear, feral hogs, whitetail deer, or prairie dogs. What can I say? I love my firearms, the great outdoors, and I have a wonderful family to do all of this with!

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11 Responses

  1. Nick D. says:

    I have killed plenty deer in both and both out of a smooth bore slug barrel with rifle sights. Both do the job very well. Must shoot to sight it in and be condfident to place the shot. I shoot a Winchester 1300 12ga scoped smooth bore now and 150yds I can keep a 3 shot group in a pie plate.

  2. Just returned from Illinois for my first deer hunt in a slug gun only state. Used my 20 gauge remington 870 with 18″ rifled slug barrel. Had 3″ group at 100 yds. with a Vortexx 3.5 x 10 scope mounted on cantilever. Was using the Hornady 250 gr. SST slugs as they seemed to provide the best group. Tried shooting 163 yard target at camp and found I had about a 4-5″ drop from the 100 yd. target and with elevating the shot 4″ could shoot a 4-5 in. group. The second day of my hunt while after passage of a blizzard, shot a 140 class mature buck weighing 300 lbs. at 173 yards. Aiming about 2″ below the top of the shoulder the slug enter the right shoulder shattering the right leg, passet through the deer at top of brisket nicking the heart, and exiting lower shoulder shattering the left leg before exiting the deer. Dropped in his tracks. . Unbelievable what that slug did to that large deer at that distance. The guide and outfitter were reluctant in us using the 20 ga., however when we left they stated they had no problem with using that gauge on their lease. My son also using the same gun and slug took a 10 point at 150 yards on the last day. I’m a firm believer in both Hornady and the 20 ga. for a deer slug gun.

    • That’s awesome to hear that you had such a successful hunt! We’ve had a lot of customers giving similar reports that they’re switching over from 12 Gauge to 20 Gauge and are having very successful results! Congratulations to you and your son on such nice deer you harvested this year!

  3. Immanuel says:

    The 20 gauge is better. Go with Winchester Super-X hollow points. They have more stopping power than Remington and Federal (more accurate too). They do slightly more damage then Hornady, which would be my second choice. I shot a young buck last gun season and the damage was horrific. The Winchester slug went through the top of the longs, blowing a 4-5 inch chunk out of the spine, completely gone. It dropped to no surprise and stopped kicking 8 seconds later.
    Go with the 20 gauge

    • 20 Gauge is definitely the way to go if you are in a slug zone. And I would have to agree with the Winchester slugs, they make potent stuff!

      • immanuel says:

        anybody have any experience with remington sluggers?

        • I personally have not shot them through any of my slug guns, but a lot of our customers tend to like them because they’re affordable and shoot decent.

        • Jake says:

          I have been using remington 3″ sluggers for 32 years for a controlled shotgun hunt in Ont. Shooting out of a 1985 Remington 870 Express Magnum, 20″ cyl bore barrel. Have harvested over 15 deer with it. 6″ groups at 100 yrds off a bench with open sights. Sluggers were the best match for my barrel. Feds and Win. Were 8″ and 10″ groups at 100 yrds.

  4. Jbic says:

    I’ve killed deer with both only had a 20 gauge slug make a complete pass through 1 time if you are taking shots over 100 yards 12 gauge all the way

  5. No Bs. says:

    Shot many qualifications with the 12 gauge Remington sluggers. Offhand at 50 yards, touching holes weren’t that uncommon. No rifled barrel, just an old 870 Remington smooth bore with front and rear sights. Recoil even with 2 3/4 shells were unpleasant. We never shot anything but sluggers so I have nothing to compare them to but they certainly performed well.

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