I can’t explain it, but it is an indisputable fact that some of the biggest whitetails are shot in states that only allow shotguns during their firearm deer seasons. Don’t believe me? Just look at the record books. Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, parts of Wisconsin, and shotgun-only urban zones back East are well represented.
If you’re gunning for the record books in one of these areas, or just meat hunting where shotguns are mandated, slugs trump buckshot in both the accuracy and performance categories. From fin-adorned Foster-style slugs to felt-backed Brennekes and sleek saboted bullets, there are a myriad of offerings on the market, all of which have their place.
Which are the best for big Midwestern bucks? The answer: It depends. A lot of factors go into the ideal bullet, from shot distance to shotgun selection.
I have, however, tried to make the buying process easier by selecting four of our favorites to fit a variety of situations.
- Tested: 12-gauge, 3-inch, 1 oz. For 2014, Federal has added a 3-inch shell in both 12 and 20 gauge to their popular TruBall line of rifled slugs, asserting that size does matter for some deer hunters. Pain-tolerant pump gunners shouldn’t mind the additional recoil the extra powder delivers, but these shells really shine when fired from an autoloader. Just like their smaller siblings, the 3-inch shotshells offer some of the best accuracy available out of smoothbore shotguns, flirting with, but not breaking, the 2-inch mark at 50 yards. Packing a 1-ounce Foster-style rifled slug, the 12-gauge load speeds along at 1,700 fps and delivers some serious energy downrange. The 20-gauge version is loaded with ¾ ounce of lead. Bottom Line: Our choice for the accuracy-obsessed, or as obsessive about accuracy as one can be when shooting slugs from a smoothbore. Price: $5 per five