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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Never used it before. However, on the land I hunt, I usually do a mini-drive at the end of a morning hunt to move the deer hopefully to my guests. Opening weekend, nothing moved and nobody had a shot, I did my drive and busted nine deer in the rain. Pain in the butt to get a scope on them and don't like lobbing slugs around at running deer. I got an extra 12 gauge 3" magnum that I have been thinking of taking to carry when on my drives. Need help on three things. 1. Best load, I know there's a lot out there. I want to drop the deer and not track it as the property is only 80 acres and the neighbors are unfriendly. 2. Best choke for the load, will full choke restrict it too much? (I can try a couple and pattern them, just looking for experience, gun is a Remington 870 pump) 3. Most important, range limits and where to aim. Am I going for the head, or the shoulder? I'm thinking head, since they are usually running away from me. All help appreciated, Mark
 

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I use an old 870 and prefer triple ought (000) buck through a full choke at 40 yards. I aim for the heart and lungs but have cut them down on the run with neck and spine shots. I am not fond of the rear end shot and have always passed on it b/c I don't believe it's a killing shot. I am interested in hearing how others handle that situation and what kind of success they've enjoyed.
 

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The best load is going to be the one your gun likes the best. I myself dont care too much for the #1 or #4 loads that some prefer. I choose penetration over pellet count. For that reason 000 or 00 is my preference. I shoot 00, but have had alot of success with 000 in the past when I was shooting a gun that shot it better than 00. My gun I shoot now just shoots 00 better. So, if you go on what I'm saying that narrows it down to two sizes. You've now got 3 or 4 manufacturers to choose from. Your gun will most likely prefer one over the others, but you may get lucky and have one that'll shoot them all. The only way to know is to pattern each load. If you have any buddies that shoot buckshot maybe you can talk them in to giving you a shell or two to pattern or chip them a buck or two so you dont have to buy a whole box of shells that wont shoot good. Buck Kicker and patternmaster are two really good chokes to try if your gun doesn't throw a good pattern. Full choke isn't too tight. It may even shoot looser than your modified. You wont know until you try. The tighter the better really. A single 00 or 000 can and will kill a deer if it hits the right spot, but buckshot kills with multiple wounds. The more you can get in the right spot that penetrate to the vitals the better. A going away shot is a tough one. Not much to aim at and if it's a nice buck you stand a good chance a busting his rack up pretty good. Especially with buckshot. Every circum,stance is different, but I'd say I'd probably pass on a straight going away shot with buckshot.
 

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If he's running put it on his nose... Effective kill Range will top out around 65-75 yards but, try to keep it under 50 (adjust lead accordingly but at most your lead would need to be no more than a foot or two in front of his nose due to the limited shot distances)

Whatever you do, Pattern your gun. Don't assume full choke will have the tightest pattern. Find a load you want to shoot and shoot it in all of your chokes. Hunt with the tightest one.
In my 11-87 my IC choke throws a much tighter pattern than Full with my particular load of choice. 3in Winchester High Velocity 00 buck if you want to know.

As far as Total range... Don't let it being a shotgun load fool you... These pellets travel jack! I wouldn't shoot buckshot with anything beyond my target up to 200 yards. I know I have heard them tearing through the tree limbs all around me. And when I found out where the other hunter was I couldn't believe it...

Shoot for the shoulder and AVOID the running away shot. You will wound too many animals. A deer with a tore up back end is not a pretty sight and gives a lot of fuel to the anti's.
Good Luck and happy hunting
 

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For me #4-Buck is my all-time favorite. A Full choke or Extra Full. I'd pattern your gun with both chokes to make the right call. I'm a big Federal #4-Buck Copper Coated Granulated Buffered 3" 12 ga (Vital-Shok P-158) fan. If you can get a shot load or 2 or 3 into the ribs, lungs and heart area. He/she will not go more than 100 yards. If it's running low on Oil and Air it can't go far:yes:. As far a deer going straight away, it's not a ethical shot, but if you were going to do it. I'd use 00 or 000 Buck for breaking the hind legs then running up and finishing the job to the head. But again it's not an ethical shot at all. But shooting #4-buck 12ga 3" shells you have 41 pellets in 24 cal. coming at you at one time. Now that's got to hurt :eek2:.

I talked to a policeman buddy of my dad's many years ago. He said the VA Beach Police Dept did a study and found #4-buck to be the best shooting load for Ft.Lbs. of energy put into a target at 75 yards. This even bets a .44 mag Pistol. He was surprised I guess which load was the best before he told me. It's only because I have taken a many of deer and geese (back when lead was legal) with #4-buck before our conversation.


Try it you'll like it!!!!!!!!!!!

Density of Pattern over shot size any day!!!!!!!!!!
 

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invest in a good buckshot choke for the 870. I have the exact same gun but haven't used it in years . You won't have a problem killing a deer at 60 yards with it at all if you hit it in the zone. Good Luck
 

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I am a huge fan of the knock down power of the unplatted OOOB or OOB winchester (gray box) I used to shoot the plated (black box) but have switched and had even better luck. I like a really tight choke, if I am standing I will actually use a turkey choke, its a Kicks. If I am driving dogs I will use a full choke. All with a 870. If you are shooting them right on the jump go with the OOOB, but I typically stay away from the running straight away shots. Alot of times they will run away at more of an angle vs directly away, that makes somewhat of a better shot.
 

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3 or 4 years ago I passed on a running rear end shot of a buck, but instead of watching his tail wave goodbye I crouched down and started sneaking along after him at a pretty quick clip. The best angle I had to make up ground on him happened to put me upwind of the deer. oh well, my heart was pumping and I just wanted to close the ground between us (there was decent cover to where I felt like I could sneak up on his assummed position pretty well). like most deer, he ran for ~125 yards before stopping to figure out what to do. When he realized I was sneaking up on him, he decided to turn and run UP wind which let him cross straight across in front of me at ~60 yards. Needless to say that decision proved fatal in a hurry... what I'm trying to say is, just because you're looking at the a$$ end of a running deer doesn't mean you've missed your chance to give him an ethical dose of 000 "lead poisoning." That's the advantage of being on the ground instead of up in a tree. it can make for a VERY exciting hunt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Va

Northern Loudon County, Neersville, right at the border between the three states. Gonna get a few boxes of buck and pattern them after Sat. hunt. Thanx for all the replies. Mark
 

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I shoot an 870 as well, I like #4 buck up the pipe and 2 00 bucks behind it. I shoot the standard rem choke full. I like the #4 I have had more clean kills with the #4 than any other load, and if isn't clean it sure breaks em down good for the follow-up.
 

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actually you can use it in Dorchester county "Deer hunters using shotguns must use a pumpkin ball, rifled slug or sabot. Buckshot may not be used to hunt deer except in Dorchester County, where #1 size buckshot or larger may be used. The use of shotguns smaller than 20 gauge for deer hunting is not permitted. "
 
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