Beauty gets it's butt soundly beaten by the beast
A little history is in order first. I bought a Marlin 512 Slug Master the very first year they became available some 17-18 looooong years ago. I had the muzzle crowned, and the action glass bedded, and did my own trigger job. The result was a slug rifle that shot the also new around the same time 12 gauge 2.75" Winchester Partition Gold sabot slugs into 100yrd 3-shot, 1.75-2" groups with boring regularity. I became quite proficient with my new 12ga rifle and killed more than 20 deer, over a dozen of them at ranges from 150 to 205 yards, almost all distances were confirmed with a laser range finder.
I should have been happy and left well enough alone. But then Browning came out with it's 12ga A-Bolt and I fell in love like Romeo as I had convinced myself that a rifle that in the world of firearms was the equivalent of a stunning trophy wife just HAD to be better deer killing machine than my 512, but the A-Bolts price was the dreaded Montique's of this story. So I did not buy one. Low and behold Browning discontinued production and after a two year search I found one for sale at Guns America for $550. I bought it. It shot superbly with three slug types no less, Remington Core-lockts, Lightfields IDS Commanders, Federal Barnes Tipped Expanders, and to a slightly lesser level of accuracy, Winchester PG's. As fate would have it, as soon as I went through the Remington's in that lot# the next bunch shot only so-so, as did every successive lot#, the Lightfield IDS slugs became impossible to find at a reasonable price, and I found out to late that the Federal Barnes Tipped Expanders went out of production, Leaving me with less than 100 in my inventory. That left me with Winchester PG's as my last best choice as I can still get them at a reasonable price.
Fast forward to today. Went shooting today with my lifelong friend and hunting partner to DBL check the zeros of our slug guns. Shot my A-bolt first with the Federal/Barnes load from a new production lot # that comprises my remaining stock. Much to my displeasure couldn't buy a 3-shot 100yrd group under 2.5", when past groups consistently were 1.5" never smaller, but NEVER larger.
Just for the sake of shaking the dust off a old hunting friend buy firing it, I had brought the Marlin 512 along. I also wanted to try out some of the 300+ Partition Gold's I had bought some years back that my A-Bolt never shot much better than 2.25-3" for a 3-shot 100yrd group. Seeing as my day wasn't off to a great start, I figured give the 512 a try.
My 512 is topped with a Luepold 2-7x33mm shotgun scope so I can't see my groups all that well. I took three well executed shots and looked through my spotter. I about soiled myself when I saw two touching and one almost. I then took 3 more shots at a different target and was gifted with the near same exact accuracy results. I'm talking back to back 1-3/8", 1.5" 3-shot 100yrd groups, and this was in a although not that strong, but constant cross wind that angled from right to left.
Went to the 200yrd range and with the 512 sighted in at 3" high at 100 I was hitting 6-7" low at 200. My 1st 200yrd 3-shot group was 3-3/4" , my next 3 shots opened the group up to 4-1/2", but considering the wind I was more than happy.
So in the end my slug rifle I have had the longest that has helped me kill slightly more than half of my deer and made my longest shots, that I had forsaken for more than the last 10 years has once again become my slug rifle of first choice.
My $244 when new, 512 is no where near as pretty or as elegant looking as my A-bolt, but it kicked my vastly more expensive A-bolts butt hands down.
Call me never been happier to have A-Bolt egg on my face.