The Slug Guns
Home Up The Black Hole Literary Review Wm. E. Allendorf, Prop.

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You'd think, being from Ohio, I'd spend a lot more time afield with 12 GA slug guns.  The fact of the matter is that I haven't hunted Ohio's Modern Weapons Season in almost a decade. My freezer is usually filled two weeks before the Opener from hunting Kentucky.  Still, there is a soft spot in my heart for my slug guns.  The Remington 1100 has been with me for over 25 years.  I took it out the first time, shot a box of 12 GA Remington Sluggers at a pie plate at 50 yards and made a nice cloverleaf.  I never worried about it after that.  I still think it is a superior gun for stalking deer in tight cover, such as the cedar thickets we have at the farm.

The Shaman's Myth of the Brush Gun-- the real one

You're right in the end: the brush gun is really just a myth. On the other hand, I can pick up my 1100 and a fresh box of Sluggers and walk into the cedars and something magical happens. The deer are sniggering as much as ever, but for one brief Saturday afternoon I'm away from the shaving mirror and me and the brush gun can slip into the woods. I can stalk the deer and when I look down that 1100 is still as bright and shiny as the day I bought it. The Remington Sluggers are just as green, and as long as I stay along the ridge, and maybe angle downhill a little bit and don't try to go back it can be like twenty-something years ago back in Hocking Hills on Opening Day. The only thing missing is the stray shots zipping through the tree tops. Those I don't miss at all.

Of course the 1100 is starting to get a little dented, but I'm not wearing my reading glasses. I don't see the wear on the stock, or the lines on my hands. Along about sunset, I start trudging back up the ridge and as long as I do it slow enough the myth keeps working. Finally, I get back home, and put my brush gun up on the rack next to Moose's Garand and Angus' Mosin Nagant-- my sons don't seem to mind the weight. They'd schlep a boat anchor through the woods if they thought it would get them a deer.

Once in a great while I catch some deer laughing a little to hard or too long out there in the cedars, and it makes the trip worthwhile by reaffirming the myth and topping off the freezer. KY rifle season ends, and I don't feel bad about not buying an Ohio tag and joining the orange army the next Monday for the start of shotgun season. I put the 1100 away and don't think about it until next year.

 

Over 20 years ago I decided I needed a dedicated Turkey Gun.  I found a Mossberg 500 Viking in 12 GA in the scratch and dent bin at Dicks really really cheap.  The 28" barrel was a little bent, and was shooting about 18" high and to the right.  Mossberg replaced it.  Then I was at Walmart and found a rifled deer barrel for it that was grossly mis-marked.  I asked the manager if he really intended to sell that barrel that cheap and he looked at me like I was stupid.

I tried Remington 3" Copper Solids through it. Those shot pretty well.  However, the Brenneke 2 3/4" slugs put them through the same hole at 50 yards.  That was that. 

I really don't have any great stories to tell about either slug gun. I didn't get my first deer with one, I haven't gotten my last .  One thing I can tell you about 12 GA slug guns is that there is really no better performance on deer at close range-- think normal archery ranges and a little beyond.   I've seen deer thrown down, tossed down, bowled over and plastered.  Beyond that, I'd prefer a center-fire rifle. The biggest problem is they are expensive to operate, due to the cost of the ammo.  I know other people can get 100 yards out of theirs. Some get 200.  I just never had the need to go much further than 50.  In a quarter century of deer hunting, I have only had to pass on one nice buck that was out of range of my slug gun.

My opinion on slugs is that the laws that require them are a bit old and stupid and out of date.  I know that years ago, shotguns with slugs were made the required method of hunting deer, because the lawmakers were worried that rifle rounds would travel too far and do to much collateral damage to life and property.  The morbidity statistics that we have now after 2 generations of deer hunters do not bear this out. The fact of the matter is that shotgun-only states like Ohio do not have a bigger problem than states like Kentucky where centerfire rifle is legal.  I believe that Hunter Education has had a lot to do with that.  If you're observing a modicum of proper firearm safety both shotgun and rifle are probably equally safe.  If you are not being safe, having a shotgun is not going to make you any less dangerous or less negligent or less stupid.

I do have one really good story about hunting with a slug gun.  It happened years ago:

Outrunning the Deer

 


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