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huntnfish

Shotgun Scope?

19 posts in this topic

I am thinking about putting a scope on my shotgun for deer. I don't usually hunt the shotgun season, so I'm not completely outfitted with the things that I want. I am also going to get a smoothbore slug barrel for it. I'm not looking for something with more than 2 power because a lot of the hunting is done in some thick brush. I have looked at some of the dot types and thought they looked pretty good and would be functional. Anyone have any ideas?

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I've hunted with a shotgun for 25 years with a lot of different combinations. My advice on a barrel - if you're going to get a slug barrel and use a scope, spend the extra and get a rifled barrel with a cantilever scope mount. There is no comparison between that and a smoothbore barrel. Anything out to 125 yds. is as sure as a 30-30. There are sabot loads and barrels available now that are even better than what I use. One huge advantage is the scope always stays sighted in since it remains on the barrel. As for a scope, I just use a Simmons shotgun scope with a dual x - nothing special and can see it in brush adequately.

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I'm not really worried about the price of the barrel, but the price of those sabot shells. I have thought about the fully rifled barrel, but don't care to pay 2-3 dollars a shot. I didn't think about the scope not staying on with the mount. That is a good point and I will have to keep that in mind. What kind of shells do you shoot through your gun? I have heard that sometimes it can be tough to get a barrel that shoots consistent patterns. Some people that I have talked to said they had to go through about 3 barrels before they found one that was consistent. That is what they said and I don't know what the variables were.(ie, ammo, and conditions) Thanks for the input.

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I don't hunt with a slug gun, but I'll throw out a comment on the scope. First of all, if you can afford to spend a little money, go with as much quality as you possibly can.

The biggest reason for this is your scope's ability to "gather" ambient light. Large objective diameters help with this, but what is more important is the quality of coatings on the lenses inside the scope. Cheap scopes have lesser quality coatings (or less numerous coatings) and this greatly affects the clarity and brightness of your scope.

There is certainly nothing wrong with a fixed magnification scope, but don't forget about a variable scope either. Several good manufacturers make low magnification variable scopes like 1.5X-3.5X or something similar. A variable scope just gives you a few more options...especially during low light levels when you really need to zero in on an animal to determine if, indeed, it is a buck, etc.

I have been very happy with Leopold products, but Nikon has a Buckmaster line that compares fairly well with lower-end Leopold scopes. Of course, if you want to spend more money, Swarvoski, Zeiss, Leica and higher end Leopolds really set the standards of quality in the market. But, we're talking hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for some of those models.

A quick comment on shotgun hunting....rifled barrels with sabot slugs are really the ticket. I helped someone sight in a new scope for their new rifled barrel. They used the sabot slugs and I was absolutely shocked at how accurate the outfit was. I was also suprised at the extended range of the sabot slugs.

If I were going to slug hunt, there is no doubt in my mind that I would get a rifled barrel and shoot sabot slugs.

We all spend so much money on hunting--clothes, boots, scent killers, stands, misc. gear, gas, food, lodging, etc--why not spend some extra money on what becomes the most important factor during the moment that we all strive for: a shot at a deer?

Good luck!

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It can be a little expensive starting out - testing different rounds, sighting the scope in, etc. - probably shot 6 boxes to get set, but after that, it's very minimal. I've never shot more than 1 round at any deer with my present gun which is a Mossberg 20 ga. pump - cheap gun, but very accurate. I just had too many occasions with a smoothbore barrel with rifle sights on a Rem. 1100 where I missed what should have been easy shots. Missing or gut shots are much more expensive than buying sabots!

Remington Copper sabots is what I've done best with so far. I will still experiment with new rounds to see if I like something better. The selection of sabots is definitely much more limited with a 20 ga. 3" Federal premiums didn't shoot well at all through this barrel. Have done really well with Brenneke 12 ga., but last I knew they didn't make a bullet for a rifled 20.

Above comments about scope are well put. I probably need to upgrade!

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I have a Bushnll (yeah, I know) Trophy series 1.5-4.5 on myshotgun and really like it. I compared it to a like Lepold and liked it better. About 150 bucks if I remember. I still shoot a smoothbore as it's just a backup, but if you decide to go sabot/rifled the increased distance/accuracy you gain will benifit greatly from a little more magnification.

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How do you like the 1.5-4.5 scope, traveler? I would think that would be perfect for shotgun hunting. I used to use an old Redfield on my turkey gun that was 1.75-4.75 (if I remember correctly) and I loved it for that purpose (rifle/shotgun over/under turkey gun...used in another state).

Also, I don't know much about Bushnell scopes...I've really disliked the Bushnell binoculars that I've owned, so I didn't even consider that brand when I bought a new scope to years ago. I wanted a scope that I will have for the rest of my life and decided on a Leopold....and I went with one of their mid-range models. Even I, the big, high quality talker, settled for a mid-range scope!

In my research on scopes, I found that there is a glass company in Japan that makes lenses for a variety of popular brands. Most of these lenses end up in mid-range scopes ($175-$250). If I remember correctly, a few years ago, brands like Tasco, Nikon and Bushnell began taking lenses from this factory. There was some concern that the quality of these lenses was lesser than the lenses previously manufactured in these companies' own facilities.

Leopold was one company that hadn't yet made that change (although I think they have since I bought my scope), so I decided on that brand.

I'm sure that's more than any of you wanted to know....

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First off I will say that you would have gladly paid more for the sabot's when you miss that buck of a lifetime shooting a smoothbore. Currently I hunt up Nort' with a rifle but spent all of my first years slug hunting in the back yard of the family farm ironically enough with my mother while dad was up north hunting. Most of those years have been with a smooth bore slug barrel, of which I have shot a fair share of deer. A couple of years ago we upgraded my mothers rig (she still loves getting out) with a fully rifled barrel, cantilever scope mount on the barrel, and a Bushnell Holosight scope. In my opinion the absolute elite rig for slug hunting hands down. We run 3" sabot's through it and even though she doesn't mind the kick shooting at deer I usually end up sighting things in for her and letting her take one shot to make sure she is on with it.

First off with the sabot's I can group pattern at 100yds within 4". I have shot it at 200yds and patterned groups within 6" (shoot low obviously but are grouped together). Not that I advocate plugging away at 200yds with a slug, but it was astonishing to find that out. I guess the point being that I am confident with this rig that if a shot presents itself and operator error is non-existent that the gun will shoot very true.

Now the Bushnell Holo-sight. I was skeptical at first with this but in using it am convinced it is the way to go for a slug "scope". It actually isn't a scope. It is a larger unmagnified window that gets a "dot" projected up onto it. Like I said the window is large and lets you really get a wide view of your projected target. My mom would testify that it works well in brushy conditions to pick up your target. Anyway just my 2 cents worth. Get whatever scope you feel comfortable with but it is definately worth the extra couple of $$ to get the fully rifled barrel. Good luck

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What kind of gun does your mother shoot? Also, what kind of slugs? After posting this question I am now leaning toward getting the fully rifled barrel, but am still unsure if a scope will be atop my 870. I have looked at the hollow sites and they are nice, but a little out of my price range. I am buying the all season deer license this year, just because I miss the feeling of opening day.(I usually hunt the muzzleloader season) The only reason that I was unsure of the fully rifled barrel was because I have heard of people having trouble with them shooting consistently. I do like the power and the expansion of the sabots, though. Thanks for all the input and keep it coming.

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I have 4 slug guns, the best is an Ithaca Deerslayer II. The barrel is threaded to the reciever so the scope is mounted right on the reciever.The scope is a Simmons 1.5x4.5 power. Twice in front of witnesses I've shot one hole groups at 75 yards. I'm not that good, so it must be the gun. I keep the scope set at 1.5 power while hunting to pick up moving shots better. Over the years I've shot the guts out of two scopes on slug guns. They do kick a bit.
A friend has the cantilevered scope mount rifled barrel on his 870 and loves it. He shot a five shot group of about 3 inches at 100 yards with it. And between each shot, he removed and reinstalled the barrel to see if it affected the point of aim. No affect.
I use Federal sabot slugs in my Ithaca. They're costy, but they hit where I aim and they're devastating on game.

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huntnfish...sounds like your getting close to having a decision made. Hope eveything here has helped. One last thing. If it was my choice I would try to use the semi-auto for shooting slugs. This is especially true if you think there is a chance that you may be slug hunting for years to come. It is well worth it to stick a few extra bucks in to get a good rig set up.

Other thing is that with a rig like that, and if you ever needed to wander up North to hunt for a year or so, is that you could use that and not have to purchase a rifle. This is at least where I hunt and most of our shots are 100yd max. In my opinion you will never regret spending the extra $$ on a set up if you can. You may regret it however if you don't. Good Luck!
WW

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I have been hunting with slugs since I was old enough to hunt deer. I am going on my 22nd. year. In that time, I have seen a tremendous amount of improvements for slug hunters. I sterted with a 30" smooth bore barrel on a Springfield model 67 pump. Any shot over 50 yards was a "cross your fingers shot" I now use an 11-87 Remington with a cantilever fully rifled slug barrel topped with a Tasco propoint 4 red dot scope. I use Federal 3" sabot slugs. I am always looking to improve my chances with a more accurate or better shooting gun. I have been so happy with the red dot, I hate to change. I am going to anyway. The only reason for it is because without any magnification, I am limited to my shot groups because the dot is too large and the target is not clear enough at 100 yards. I will be purchasing a variable scope and will try the new Hornady slugs that I have read so many good things about. Hornady boasts 1900FPS with those slugs and claims only a 3" drop at 150 yards and a 6" drop at 200 yards. While I agree with most that my shots are normally under 100 yards, I want the confidence to be able to take a 200 yard shot just in case. I hunted with a saddle mount scope on a 870 rifled barrel for a few years. It was not very accurate, but better than the 30" smooth bore. the barrel moved too much on the receiver to be as accurate as it could have been. Go with the cantilever barrel and a variable scope is my advice. if you can't afford the scope this year, just do your best with open sights and save for one next year. Also, I know the sabot slugs cost more, but to me they are worth it. I am not going to get out of bed at 4 AM and sit in a cold tree all day and then miss my opportunity. Just my 2 cents.

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Huskminn, the tophy series is Bushnells most expensive I thnk, and the only one I would look at. Usually I lump bushnell in with Simmons/tasco quality, but the trophy series I like. Like I said, I took it outsde and compared the quality of optics to a leopold and liked the bushnell better. Before any leopold guys jump on me, I'll say Leopold is the brand I usually buy, got 'em on both my deer rifles at present. And I'm sure in low light the leopold is probably better at gathering light. Bu8t for that low power variable I bought the tropy and have no regrets.

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Myself and my mother each started with the 870's. I had a smooth bore and she had a "semi-rifled barrel" (riflings only last 3" or so). I admit there is a good "kick" with 3" slugs. You don't really feel it in shooting at deer but definately do at targets. Wanting to ease this some for mother dearest we opted to move her up to a Browning gold (gas operated) shotgun that absorbs some of this shock. I know others that have shot an 870 with a fully rifled barrel and agree that it is a more consistant barrel. We usually have been running the Federal Premium Sabot's with great results. Not to say that other brands won't perform but if it isn't broke I am not switching.

As far as the scope again...the Holosight is a little high priced. At a minimum I would shoot for something in the mid-price range. I know people that have "cheaped out" and had things fall apart or not work right on their scope.

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I think I am now going to go with the fully rifled and the sabot slugs. It is only money right, can't take it with you. I have a Winchester Super X2 that I would like to use, but barrels are hard to find and when you do, it is about half the price of the gun. I shot some 3" slugs a few years ago not thinking they would be much different than the magnum waterfowl loads that I had been shooting, but there is quite a difference in the kick. Hopefully it won't take 5 boxes to get it shooting where I want it to. Any more comments?

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Traveler,

Hey, I'm not going to jump on you. You compared what was out there and got what you liked best. The scope market is so confusing anyway because each manufacturer has so many different levels of quality. I probably missed out on something by only comparing a few brands when I bought my Leopold.

Funny thing, though....the scope I replaced was an old Weaver Classic straight 4 power. In the 70's, I think, Weaver made a stab at the high end scope market and this was one of those models. Great scope...never had to touch it for the 14 years I used it and it took some pretty hard whacks over those years. However, the Leopold I got is a 3X9 and is much brighter. I am happy with it.

After all this discussion, I suppose the most important thing no matter what anyone shoots is this: know your scope, know your shotgun/rifle, know what you can do with it and what it will do for you. Get out there and practice--make shooting your rig second nature. That will bring you more success than the most expensive rig outthere.

Man.....can't wait for deer season! Good luck everyone!

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I got to put my 2 cents in for what it is worth.

I grew up using an old Ithaca pump for deer hunting. No scope, just a single brass bead and rifled slugs..I missed lots of deer.....and wounded a few that I'm not so proud of too.....

At a 100 yards, I was happy if I could hit a 5 gallon pail 3 out of 5 shots.

Then I upgraded throughout the years.

Now, I shoot an 870 with a Hastings 24" cantilever scope mount barrel. I have a Simmons, 4x scope. I shoot 2.75 in Federal barnes sabots.

I will challenge anyone with a 30-30 at a range up to 200 yards.

Yes, I've done alot of shooting over the years, and also spent some time in the military, where I focused many hours shooting, so I have some practice.

But I will end with this.....
Today's modern slug gun setups are astonishing. Accuracy is a 2" group with 5 out of 5 shots.

Yes, $2 a pop isn't cheap for a slug, but what the heck is $40 at the range and in the field, when it comes to play with a buck of a lifetime??????

2 seasons ago, my dad and I (during deer hunting) got permission to hunt a prime area. We went on a Wednesday afternoon to scout out the area, making plans for a weekend attack. As we were leaving, a 10 point (green score of 165 BC) showed up with two does. I dropped him @ 175 yards, square in the boiler maker. I didn't raise my scope on the deer. My gun is sighted in @ 125 yards, shoots 2" high at 50 yards, and two inches low at 175 yards. I have a 6 inch drop at 200 yards.

Compare those numbers to a 30-30 and there isn't a whole lot of difference......

You get what you pay for and I know this.....If I wouldn't of invested in the time and money for that setup I have, I wouldn't of gotten that buck.

Since I've gone to this combo, I have not only not missed a deer, but I haven't missed the vitals..........

Go with a good scope and a quality rifled barrel..........you won't regret it when the times comes that you need it..........

Good Luck!!!!
(From someone who learned spent too much money, time, and too many broken hearts learning the hard way!!!!!!!!!)

Gary

------------------
Let 'em go so they can grow!!!

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Big G,

I think your testimonial really says it all.

Nice buck, by the way!

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I agree with Big G about not scrimping on the ammo. After spending money on license, equipment, etc., not to mention time, its false economy to use cheap ammo. Saw a guy in a gunshop that bought a Remington with a scope and a rifled barrel. He picked up a five pack of Forstner slugs. I told him that mine liked sabots better, so he bought a five pack of them for hunting and a pack of Forstners as practice ammo. That leaves more deer for the rest of us.
A trick I use the last month before season , if you don't have little kids around, is to leave my slug gun in the corner by the picture window, and every time I walk by, pick it up and aim at something in the backyard. By opening morning, the gun and scope feels like an old friend.

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