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Best for Hunting: Muzzleloader vs Slug Gun

by G&A Staff   |  August 24th, 2011 13

Dick Metcalf and Wayne Van Zwoll discuss which is best for hunting, a slug gun or a modern muzzleloader?

What are your thoughts? Which do you use for hunting?


    both, good marksmanship and its in the bag, don't be afraid to use black powder shot guns with buck shot either ,70-90 grains 9-12 pellets 00 or 27-32#4 and 40-50 yards and meat is in the pot.

  • terry

    i shoot a smokeless muzzleloader- 200 grain sst (.400 cal.)

    at 2900 fps it hold .75 to 1 inch at one hundred yards.

    which would you use if you could shoot with this???

    yeah it has harvested deer every year with one shot kills to 283 yards. use a savage .50 caliber smokeless muzzleloader and 250 grain sst and you can easily shoot it to 250 yards with extreme accuracy. these guys in the magazines for some reason dont like us that use smokeless muzzleloaders, thats why you never see anything written about them.

  • Jim

    I shoot both. I have a 50 cal muzzle loader and a 12 GA Rem 870. If I am sure I will be shooting stationary targets in good weather the 50 is good. If on the other hand it is a bouncing whitetail in the woods or a rainy day the 870 gets the nod. That 870 will do 3 inch groups at 150 yds with a 385 grain Winchester Platinum doing 1900 at the muzzle. Plus the 5 rounds are comforting to have when that deer busts out like a rabbit.

  • Tom Smith

    i have used the black powder muzzle loader for the last 14 yrs 1 shot 1 kill and last year was out at 247yrdsit's a 50 caliber white rifle a 400 grain bullet extremely accurate rifle.

  • Ed

    We have a separate season for muzzle loaders. I hunt restricted counties with shotguns during the regular deer season, hunt with centerfire rifles in unrestricted counties, and hunt with muzzle loaders during the specific season we have.

  • Rick

    Personally i feel both are more than adequate for taking deer,bear etc. size game. But what i do not agree with is the unfair comparison of only two makes & models actually one make/Mfg. and two different models. There should have been a wider range of makes & models to give a more Fair assessment of Slug Gun Vs Muzzle loader. I have use both and with equal results. In any event if i were going with either i would have no reservations about using either one. Just would like to see a much broader range of comparison being done. Savage model 210 in 12a is one awesome accurate slug gun as well as it's new version the model 220 in 20 ga, it has the same weight sabot and energy of a 45/70 load which was posted some time back in a major gun magazine. It was Super accurate and hit hard. One needs to look beyond just the two that were showen in this film clip. As for the quicker loading of the shotgun, remember it's the first shot that really counts and they may not be a second.

  • JodyStomper

    In Iowa, frontstuffers are legal during the shotgun season, but not the other way around. So in order to get more hunting opportunities with less of a hardware investment, and to also gain better familiarity with just one gun, I opted for the muzzleloader. I can't really say I made a better choice of gun, but the muzzleloader gives me more time in the stand than I could get with a slug gun. This choice is based on legislation and regulation, not performance or pride of ownership. I'd like to add that accuracy, ease of cleaning, and the simple pleasure of being able to see more clearly in front of me after the shot have all recently become part of the regular "non-smokeless black powder replacement" muzzleloading experience since I first tried Blackhorn 209 powder. The Savage 10ML still beats all other production frontstuffers under $1k when using Savage-approved smokeless propellants, but I am satisfied with what Blackhorn does to push a Hornady SST-ML out of my H&R Sidekick (equipped with an aftermarket, carrierless 209 breech plug). It took me quite a while on the range to achieve something like the consistency demonstrated in the above video, but once I found that magic combination of the right primer, bullet, sabot, and charge weight, I don't see where I'm missing anything in first-shot performance in a legal deer gun for all the other-than-archery seasons in Hawkeye Country. I suggest that whether it's a new slug gun or a late-model muzzleloader, both types of guns now shoot well enough with quality components or shells to deserve high quality optics where legal. I spent more on my scope than I did on the gun, and I don't regret one penny of the price!

  • Basil

    Love that answer "but you have to reload"

    I have used both and agree that with the available ammo today there is not much difference

    Personally I love the challange of the precusion black powder .50 cal Thompson

  • Steven

    A rifle would be my first choice, but I’m in a muzzleloader & shotgun only area. My go-to choice is a Savage smokeless muzzleloader. The Savage is more accurate – 1 MOA, more powerful – 300gr XTP@2300 FPS, and allows an extended hunting season; I use the muzzle loader for both the primitive and shotgun season.

  • Rick Petrekovic

    I started 35 yrs ago with 45 ca CVA external percussion cap. That was a challenge in snow and rain. My Thompson 50 ca is much more reliable. I hunt elk and deer with it. I hunt the shotgun and muzzleloader seasons with my muzzleloader here in MN. My experiences 40 years ago with slugs in shotguns were almost as bad as the M – !6 I was issued. Even if they are better I am sticking with my Thompson 50 ca smokepole.

  • deepsky

    I have shot muzzleloaders for slug season in Ohio for the past 10 years, currently using the Savage 10ML SS. I bought a Savage 220 20ga this year, although I may not get it wrung out in time for deer season. It claims to shot less than MOA with the Remmington Accu-tip. Problem is I can't find the ammo(thank you Remington), even writing Big Green about it.
    That's OK though, because my Savage will shoot 0.79 groups, and I have never seen a slug gun do that!
    One shot, one kill, if it runs it will only die tired.

  • Midwest Monsters

    I will take a Inline Muzzleloader any day of the week to a deer hunt scope that & good to go rifle is over kill who needs to shoot from a mile away or can in the field I can't. Modern slug guns of any type just cant do what modern muzzleloaders can & cost more to shoot & buy most shotguns have follow up shots for a reason. Now if I was after something that could kill me like a bear I want a follow up shot & shotguns shine here for close range stopping power always have that's why cops use them. If I made a bad shot at dangerous game with a muzzleloader. I would be dinner before I could reload it can happen to the best of the best even pros.

  • EXFDNY44

    In the dense brush where I hunt, most of the deer that I’ve taken were shot at 40-50 yards, so hitting a pie plate at 150 isn’t that important to me. My muzzleloader is far more pleasant to shot than my 12 ga loaded with a slug, therfore I can shoot it better. While the first shot is indeed the most important, it is nice to be able to take a second; have you ever seen a badly wounded deer down and screaming bloody murder?

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