Slug barrel and full size stock for my old 20 gauge
I started throwing slugs with my 20 gauge this summer. My 20 gauge is a youth model Remington 870 express magnum with a 21" barrel. I got it when I was in 4th grade and the first time I shot it, the recoil scared me (I was recoil shy when I was younger). It probably wouldn't have happened if the first shell I ran through it wasn't a pheasant load (between a heavy rabbit load and a light turkey load).
Anyways, I'm about to start saving for a rifled slug barrel and a full length stock for my "old firecracker" (a 20 gauge with any length barrel is actually louder than a 12 gauge with the same length barrel). I would hunt with my '94 Marlin (.41 magnum) but the ammo is more expensive than it should be (decent hunting ammo is almost impossible to find and cast lead ammo is $1.25+ per round). 44 magnum isn't much better. Just about all I can find is shotgun slugs and most of them are $15+ for 5 shots.
I would rather pay $45 for 3 boxes of slugs I can find regularly and hunt with a slug gun over $50 for 1 box of hsm bear loads I got to go to Cabela's in Michigan to buy.
Long rant short, here are my questions :
1. Do any of you guys have any experience hunting with 20 gauge slugs?
2. How bad is the recoil of 3" 20 gauge sabots compared to 2 3/4" 12 gauge sabots (2 3/4" 1 ounce Fosters out of a 12 gauge doesn't bother me.)?
3. How bad is the recoil between 3" 20 gauge sabots compared to 3" 20 gauge brenneke magnums?
4. If I put a scope on my 20 gauge, what is the minimum eye relief I should have (I prefer Simmons over tasco)?
I don't mind the range limitations that comes with the 20 gauge, I like a challenge ;)
People are hunting deer with a 20ga. I wouldn't go after any dangerous game with a 20 ga, that includes moose. You are going to have to have the 870 drilled and tapped or use a side saddle mount. It is hard to find cheap barrels for a Remington. Sabots will have less recoil than a Brennekee slug because they are lighter. You are not going to find the wide variety of slugs for a 20 ga that are available for a 12 ga. `
I saw a Mossberg 930 with a slug barrel for $450. By the time you buy a barrel, scope mount and a stock you will be well into the cost of a 12 ga dedicated slug gun. 12 ga sabots are on par with 45/70 hot loads . There isn't an animal in North America you cannot down with a 12ga slug.
You won't feel the recoil of the 12 ga when you are shooting game animals. You really don't needto shoot the shotgun a whole lot to stay in practice. You can take your practice with a 22. A 22 wmr has close to the same trajectory as Hornady SST slugs. Regular rifled slugs have about a 75 yard range. Federal Fusion sabots are about the same price and they have twice the range.
If you try to buy sabots in gun shops unless you are in a slug only state you will go nuts. Just order sabots online and save your gas. You will get better prices and you won't go on all these wild goose chases. There are gun shops that will say yes we have anything you ask for just to get you in the shop.
I came across this deal. I want a dual comb stock for my mossberg. They are not cheap. http://www.tombstonetactical.com/catalog/mossberg/500-slug-shotgun-12-ga-24in-rifled-wood-dual-comb/
I am a 12 gauge fan because I want the security of BIGGER. But I saw a video (Youtube?)comparing power out and recoil for 20 vs 12 gauge and some how the recoil is about the same and the power is less as the shot/ slug is less.
I personnaly use Brenneke slugs exclusivly in my 12 either the 2 3/4 and/or the 3" chamber, my preference is Black Magic, then Rotwieler, then Classic Magnum. The Fish & Game and State Troopers use Classic Magnum for the Moose and Bear disposal here in Alaska. That fact was verified by Breneke giving me the sales outlet for the state and me contacting them with inquiries of various rounds and got that piece of info passed to me
Here in the Anchorage area $8.00- $10.00 a box of 5 for Classic Magnum by Breneke.
Possible conversion for the 100 yards and in rig:
Rifled choketube for the field bbl.
Clamshell scope mount (the Weaver plastic one sits lowest).
Bushnell TRS 25
Test for 2 3/4" sabots.
Cousins husband ran a M37 in 20 gauge (deer model) for years.
Back in the old days, before the internet and energy drinks.
Think kids were tougher back then.
Recoil recoil recoil.
if you are getting popped, put a soft pistol case between you and the gun.
Shoot from a proper bench, and from proper position. That stuff helps keep recoil down.
I have 2 12 ga. slug guns, a Marlin 512 bolt action (kicks like a .45-70) and a Mossberg 835 with a cantilever mount rifled barrel, nearly as accurate as the 512 with less felt recoil.
I just picked up a used Mossberg cantilever/rifled barrel for my old 500 20 ga., it came with a 3X9- 40mm Bushnell Banner scope incl. for $129. Now I've got $259 wrapped up in the gun and I can't wait to see how this rascal shoots.
CVA, as to a longer stock, check around on the net, and see if the local smith has any at his shop. You may luck into a good used one for not too much money. The barrel OTOH, you might get lucky on eBay, Gunbroker, or one of the other auction sites, but I wouldn't bet on it. See what the same smith can come up with. My old LGS in NY used to get trade in parts all the time for 870s.
Now, I am not going to say "Don't go that route", but I am going to say that competent hunters and marksmen have been dropping deer just fine with old smoothbore 20 ga. shotguns for far longer than you and I both have been alive. Most of the shotguns used were pretty much as the factory made them, good all purpose firearms that need a few tweaks to become excellent _________ guns. I have an easier, and far less expensive option, that with a little bit of commitment from you, will net close to the same results for about 1 to 2 C-Notes.
Step 1: Find an old J.C. Higgins, Marlin, Mossberg, etc. bolt action 20 ga. shotgun. This is where you biggest savings will be, and since the barrel is permanently screwed into the receiver, it will be a good, solid, base to build from.
Step 2: Pick your sights. The most basic set up is the front bead only, and it is a good "Do most of it" sight. A scout style mount with a LER scope would work well for those who "must" have optics. Your other choice is a peep and post set up. Replace the front bead with a post of the same diameter, and put either an adjustable peep sight or ladder type sight on the rear of the barrel\receiver.
Step 3: Since it is non-rifled, you will need to buy a few different brands of foster style slugs, most likely, all 2.75 inch as the shotguns i listed above mostly do not come in 3 inch models. During your 3 to 5 shot grouping tests DO Not adjust the sights! All you are checking is how tight and where the groups are on the paper. Find your best performer, sight in with it, and stick with those slugs. Practice with them, and make sure they are what you take afield.
If you follow those instructions any deer within 70 yards (irons) or 100 (scope) is on the dinner table after you pull that trigger.
My grandfather's both used BA shotguns for deer (1 in 20, 1 in 12) for over 40 years. I have been using a BA Mossberg 185-d with a Redding Peep on the reciever for 20 years now, and I can say that I have dropped deer out to 70 yards with it more than once but most shots on a whitetail are going to likely be less than 40.
What you have will work. You can upgrade your $300 shotgun for about another $2 to $400 and still have a good shotgun for many types of game. It's your money, and your call. Or, you can go out, buy and older shotgun most would not even look at twice, and build that "antique" into something that puts most modern field shotguns to shame for about a quarter of the overall costs of upgrading yours. Take it from someone who has won several tri-county slug shoots with a 65 year old shotgun, there are few things that are more fun than embarassing thguy next to you in line when he has a $900+ slug gun, and you cut a tighter group with an "$80 Special". ;)
The youth bbl is choketube and short, and short bbls are preferred when shooting slugs.
Less time of flight in the bore means less shooter input/variability.
Try fosters with Imp Cyl and Mod choketubes. Buy a rifled choketube if wanting to exp with sabots.
Low scope mount, plastic Weaver style.
Slap an optic on it...........maybe a Bushnell TRS 25 reddot.
Plenty of eye relief on those I hear ;)
Barrel fitment.........check for tightness of bbl to receiver. if there's slop degrease bbl area and tape up bbl flange with masking tape. layer as needed. I had to run two layers rubbed on hard, to make my 870 P decent. Insert bbl by tapping on the muzzle with wooden block. Simple. Leave the gun together during testing/hunting.
Rifled choketubes can load up with fouling fast, but they're easy to clean. Just remove, scrub, and screw back in.
Stock ? Should find one cheap on auction site or a decent gunshop should have a full sizer in the back. So many folks want camo, or synth............old birch stuff just collects dust. OP could just make a spacer and run his stock worst case.
I don't need to make a spacer for my 20 gauge. I bought a length of pull kit / recoil pad by BEARTOOTH at gander mountain that helps the gun fit me better and helps slug and turkey recoil. The only reason I want the full size stock is so the gun feels more solid.
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