I'm interested in picking up my first slug gun for deer firearms season here in NJ. I saw a deal on a 870 field/deer package for $410 but I'm thinking of just getting a Savage 220 or 212 instead. I read lots of good things about the Savage both here and from friends. I feel like I'm better off getting the Savage for slugs and Beretta/Benelli for turkey/waterfowl rather then getting the seemingly awesome deal on the 870 with both barrels.
I'd love the flexibility of possibly using it for hogs as well. So I'm also trying to decide if the 12 or 20 gauge would be better. Everyone loves their 220 for deer but I'm wondering if that's enough to drop hogs as well.
I can answer these questions for you. First the 870 is not in the ballpark for accuracy, it does both slugs and bird shot well but not great. I currently shoot an h&r ultra slug Hunter deluxe. Shoots better than my savage did. Not by much but thats all it takes cause I hunt everything with a slug gun for the challenge. That being said it is a single shot. Yet I have yet to need a second make the first count. I would go with a 20 gauge all day I struggled for a long time between the two and ended with 20 gauge. As for hogs no problem ive killed lots with 20 gauge using Remington accutips and never needed a second shot. In fact last year I had a friend shoot it through a 160 pound pig and kill a baby behind it and that one at 119 yards. Hopefully this helps.
I had the Savage for 1 season. A few things to be aware of: 1) The ammo is really expensive ($3/round like a 50 BMG and you can't even reload !!!) Sighting in a scope with 20 rounds = $60.
2) The magazine only holds 2 rounds + 1 in chamber = 3 max at best
3) when chambering a new round, you have to pull the bolt all the way back smartly, else the spent shell will not eject or you might not pick up the next round.
Given that the legal season for this weapon is only 2 weeks a year, I felt it was a waste of money and now hunt with my muzzleloader. It has virtually the same performance, possibly even better now that I am shooting 45 cal 250gr Hornady SST's in sabots (2000fps MV). Of course you only get 1 shot, unless you are really fast at reloading... So far I have not needed more than 1 shot. I have a conceal carry license and have my 1911 with me if a coupe de grace is needed (it is also hunting legal).
If I had been able to reload, I might have kept my Savage. It is a pity that Savage chose to give the rifle a 3" chamber where in fact mostly 23/4" ammo is available. The bullet has to make a HUGE leap to get into the rifling, so I am actually amazed they are as accurate as they are...
The 20ga is more than enough. Get the 12ga if you want to hunt elk or moose...
Not when you are trying 3 different types of ammo, all that was available on the market at the time. That is just over 6 rounds each or 2 groups of 3. Murphy was active, the round that grouped best I couldn't get in stock anywhere and had to settle for one of the alternates. Factory recommended 3" shells, but they were not in stock anywhere, all was 2 3/4.
Sounds like I should strike the 870 from the equation and either go with the Savage 220 or a muzzleloader. I don't know much about muzzleloaders in terms of which manufacturers people recommend or how the price point compares to the 220 though. I guess I'll read up a bit on that before I make my final decision so I can make a better decision which is the way to go.
The ML is less expensive and ships straight to your door - no FFL needed (unless your state law requires it).
Look at the TC inline muzzle loaders. The CVA's apparently do not play nice with Blackhorn 209 powder without getting a replacement breech plug.
Get blackhorn 209 and CCI full strength 209 primers, not the special weak Muzzle loader version of the 209 primer. Blackhorn 209 required good strong 209 primers.
I am using Hornady 250gr 45 cal SST bullets in the red 50 cal sabots. They were priced a lot better than the powerbelt bullets I shot previously and I believe the ballistics will be better too, given the same weight in a smaller diameter bullet with a polymer tip.
With Blackhorn 209 you can clean up with Hoppes #9 and the powder is completely non corrosive. Even so, I strongly suggest you get a stainless muzzle loader. The risk of corrosion with them is always higher than with a smokeless powder weapon and stainless reduces your risk significantly.