20 Gauge on Elk

Discussion in 'Long Range Shotgun Slug Hunting' started by Shane Lindsey, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. Shane Lindsey

    Shane Lindsey Well-Known Member

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    I haven't ever hunted elk, (yet). But has anyone ever used a 20 ga on an elk?

    I took my first mule deer this year with an H&R 20 ga. Shot went through and through. I have a lot of confidence in this gun.

    Probably wouldn't go through an elk, but definitely into the boiler room right. An arrow surely doesn't have that much velocity and people hunt them all the time.

    Thanks Shane
     
  2. winmag

    winmag Well-Known Member

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    Well I just checked the Oregon regs. It doesnt say its illegal...... but wow. Your range is almost nonexistant witha slug in a 20ga. It would make a 30-30 look like an edge or an ax in comparison.
    I definately would not recomend it. However, under the right circumstances, and very limmited range, I dont see why it wouldnt work.

    One note tho;
    When comparing tools for harvesting game you have to compare like tools. Archery equipment is designed to kill by causing severe hemoraging, while rifles/handguns/shot gun slugs etc. are designed to kill with energy and disruption of the vital organs and functions.
    Two completely different but effective tools.
     

  3. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    The only reason I could think to do this, is you don't have a rifle or a muzzleloader.

    That said, within 80-100 yards, there is no reason it should not get the job done.
     
  4. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

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    I would buy a Stevens 30-06 and use that if I were you.

    Had a customer bring in a 410 last year, his kid was going to sit over a bear bait at 15 yards. Wanted the barrel ported so he could have his 12 year old shoot a bear with a slug.

    Well one shoulder shot rolled the bear and off he ran to parts unknown. Put the dogs on the track in the morning 3 miles later crossed a river and the track was lost. I've seen whittails puched with 12 gauges in the shoulders, go a very long way. Way further than I would want to see an elk run. I would only go for a rib cage shot thru the lungs, only reliable way to get a thru and thru.
     
  5. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    Agree.

    Inexpensive - but completely usable - new rifles are available for prices almost unheard of previously (Marlin XL7, Weatherby Vanguard, etc). Mate them to a very usable scope (Pentax 3-9x40 demos from cameralandny for example) and I have no idea why you'd use a 20 gauge unless you really want a challenge. :D

    Find the best slug you can, that's for sure. Check out the new Hornady or similar; you're still limited to about 80 yards, however.
     
  6. johnp034

    johnp034 Well-Known Member

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    Don't know about your H&R, but the new Savage P220 is a fantastic 20 gauge slug gun. MOA accuracy and I believe the energy levels from a 20 gauge, 265 gr. saboted, copper jacketed bullet are equal to, or exceed the energy of a .50 cal. muzzle loader at the same velocity. I would not be afraid to take an elk at 125-150 yards. Also, I have shot Whitetails thru both shoulders with centerfire rifles and had them run off into the sunset, so it isn't always the caliber of the weapon that dictates dropping an animal in its tracks.

    jm2c
     
  7. johnp034

    johnp034 Well-Known Member

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    P.S. Shane, try this new 20 gauge 3 1/2" bombshell. You can have H&R rechamber your 20 gauge to handle it. It has as much muzzle energy as a .300 win mag. 2 1/4" high at 100 is 0 at 140, -8" at 200. Not to bad for a 410 grain slug!

    The New 3 1/2" Laser - Accurate Sabot Slug. Too New To Chart

    [​IMG]
     
  8. dirtboy

    dirtboy Well-Known Member

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    I dont know if I would roll on an elk hunt with a slug gun, especially if I was having it guided. Weatherby has that $299 or 399 deal with thier vanguard rifle. You can get a 300 weatherby mag that will plaster pretty much anything. I think the package with the scope, case, mounts, rifle is under $800.00lightbulb
     
  9. Buano

    Buano Well-Known Member

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    I have hunted with a 20 gauge & am very aware that it will kill game — if everything else works perfectly. Although it's POSSIBLE to kill an elk with a 20 gauge, IF EVERYTHING WORKS PERFECTLY, why would anyone want to? An elk is a HUGE animal and a large elk is many times the size of the largest whitetail.

    I've put a 165 grain bullet fired from a 7mm Rem magnum into a large elk's shoulder at all of 9 yards away & not even broken the leg — thankfully my first bullet took out the lungs. An elk deserves to die quickly & not suffer for a week or two waiting for infection to kill it. A conscientious hunter used enough gun to be reasonably certain of a quick humane kill. I can't see that being the case when using a 20 gauge on an elk more than 20 yards away.

    If you are going elk hunting, please get a more fitting weapon. Borrow or buy, it doesn't matter, but get something more befitting the magnificent animal you are talking about hunting!

    A .270 is in my mind, the bare minimum cartridge for elk hunting & I would like to see elk hunters carrying at least a .30 mag, be it WSM, Win or Weatherby. I can also tell you that none of the guides I know would take you elk hunting if you were to show up carrying a 20 gauge.
     
  10. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    The new Federal Premium Barnes Tipped Expanders at .625 oz (275 grains) and 1900 fps in the 20 ga 3 inch version with 1005 fps endergy at 200.

    My Encore shoots 3 into 1.5 inches at 100. They are 12" low at 200.

    That is more than comparable with the muzzleloaders shooting sabots.

    New slugs especially in 20s are equal to if not better than many/most muzzleloaders.

    BH
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010
  11. Buano

    Buano Well-Known Member

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    Saying the best 20 gauge slugs are comparable to many muzzle-loaders does not elevate them to optimal elk loads. Most muzzle loaders are NOT powerful enough for the average hunter, in most elk hunting situations, to be reasonably certain of a humane kill on an elk.

    Would I ever hunt elk with a muzzle loader? Possibly, but I would not take many shots that the average hunter might take and I would use one of the most powerful muzzle-loaders available. I consider myself very experienced and that experience has shown me when I can go "under gunned" if I am willing to accept that I will not be able to cleanly kill animals I might otherwise be able to. What I can't cleanly kill I do not shoot at.

    A 20 gauge slug into the shoulder of a large elk will likely not reach the heart/lungs. An animal hit this way will die, but likely several days later. The animal will die a slow painful death & the meat will be wasted.
     
  12. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    Based on that "optimal" logic, archery hunters and muzzleloader hunters should not hunt elk at all?. They certainly will never meet the "optimal elk killing load, what ever that is!

    However, then maybe not 95% of the hunters can qualify under those limitations and then only using a 500 nitro with 500 grain slugs?

    IMO saying that modern 20 ga slugs will not penetrate is not based on any relative facts unless there is some study done that shows that other WAG speculation when we know factually that lighter muzzleloading sabots kill elk every year without anymore issues than a similar shot from a 300 Win Mag.

    I would certainly not plan on a 200 yard shot, but just like any other situation, it depends on the angle, shooters ability, guns grouping etc before you pull the trigger. However, I certainly would not be afraid to pull the trigger if it lined up right. I know that slug will not get stopped by a shoulder.

    This mindset is from being uninformed and not familiar with the current lineup of slugs. The "old lead pumpkin balls from a full choked bird gun is 30 years" in the past. The current slug guns use rifled barrels, accuracy that rivels many rifles and sabots with jacket bullets that are heavier and yet as fast as muzzleloaders, which no one questions IF they are shot within reasonable limits and experience of the shooter.

    BH
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010
  13. Rimfire

    Rimfire Well-Known Member

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    This is funny, I have yet to see a slug not exit on a shoulder shot deer, BUT some of the bullets used on elk by people on this site I have seen blow up on a deers shoulder. If you cant kill an elk with a 20 gauge slug then you cant kill one with a handgun.
    Wounded Hogs, Wounded bear etc. often times the weapon of choice for going after them is a slug gun (870 etc.) so why not for one before it is wounded. Within reason there is no question it will work. Not my first choice or even 2nd, but some like smoke sticks some like handguns. Just know the limit of you and your firearm.
     
  14. Buano

    Buano Well-Known Member

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    The original post asked whether a 20-gauge was appropriate for elk hunting. At least that's how I interpreted it. The author also stated he was new to elk hunting.

    I grew up hunting deer with slug-guns. I have a very accurate rifled-barreled slug-gun in my safe that I'll uses for a week in November. I'm not ignorant of what a slug can do. A modern slug gun can take animals harder to kill than elk — if everything works right.

    The question is, "Should a new elk hunter enter the woods carrying a 20-gauge?" To THAT question I say, "No!". Let the new hunter carry a weapon suited to the game he is pursuing. Once he is experienced chasing elk he can make an intelligent decision as to whether he wants to hunt with a more primitive weapon, whether that is a bow, muzzle-loader, or slug-gun.