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I know the 12 ga. vs 20 ga. debate has been discussed many times before and I have no intention of starting it again.

But I really need someone to clear something up for me.

Anyways, here's the scenario:

A 2-3/4" 12 ga Barnes Expander 438 gr slug with a MV of 1450 fps has 1428 lbs of energy at 100 yards.

A 3" 20 ga Barnes Expander 260 gr slug with a MV of 1900 fps has 1420 lbs of energy at 100 yards.

Now, I've learned that depending on the weight of the gun used, the recoil could be more or less in the 20 ga. shooting the 260 gr/1,900 fps slug as compared to a 438 gr/1,450 fps slug out of the 12 ga. So recoil can be somewhat subjective.

But what I really want to know is if there's a substantial difference in the damage done between a 260 gr. and a 438 gr slug when the energy of the two are virtually the same?

Shot placement being equal, can I assume that the 12 ga. by virtue of it's size would do more damage and after the larger 12 ga. slug expands it might do much more damage, thereby being more effective?


I've read many times that approximately a 1,000 lbs. of energy is necessary to ethically harvest a deer. I've never read though that a 20 ga. slug, despite being smaller requires any more. And maybe I've just answered my own question, but after using nothing but a 12 ga. I've been very cautious before possibly switching to a 20 ga. and need all the assurances I can get before doing so.

Would appreciate to hear anyone's comments.
 

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MIS,

You pose some interesting questions and there are numerous answers that could be made using a blend of logic and physics based on results from shooting inanimate materials. While there is some merit to energy levels, unfortunately no one really knows how energy and physiology are tied together to say conclusively that xx ft-lbs will always cause a humane kill if the critter is hit in point A vs. B. There was an interesting and comprehensive study done by a game agency in Africa years ago which shed some light but still the questions remain.

I pack a 12 gauge since I shoot trap a lot as well but, as with anything else, shot placement is all. My father used a 20 gauge with Foster slugs for deer damage control on the farm (he hated recoil) and it did the job. Personally, I'd have no qualms carrying a 20 in the woods

Safe shooting.
 

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Right out front, I've never shot a deer with a 20 gauge slug. Plenty with 12's but never with a 20.

Having said that, my grandfather regularly shot deer with an ordinary bead sighted 20 gauge Winchester Model 12 pump shotgun using plain old low-tech 20 gauge Foster slugs. One shot, one kill. He never had a problem. I witnessed this myself in person on several occasions. The deer I saw hit either dropped or ran less than 50 yards before piling up.

Sure, this is anecdotal information, but the new hi-performance sabots in 20 gauge will most certainly have a lot more accuracy, range, and energy than what my grandfather shot.

Beyond the statistics and ballistics tables, I don't think there's a measurable difference in performance between what you describe above as it relates to WELL PLACED HITS on the average deer.

My 2 cents.
 

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My personal belief is that foot-pounds of energy has almost nothing to do with killing power, as most big game animals are very, very bad at mathematical calculations. :)
A factory laoded .220 Swift with a 50 grain bullet has the same muzzle energy as a 405 grain .45-70. Which is a better big game gun?
That said, the 20 is plenty medicine for deer, the 12 is even more so.
 

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I have used my wifes Ithaca 20 guage Deerslayer on 2 deer and it worked fine. Neither went more than 50 yards before dropping. I still prefer the 12 guage though as it definatly makes a bigger hole and better blood trail if needed. I have also found that her 20 would shoot more accuratly than my 12 guage did.. That is why I bought a rifled barrel for my gun.
 

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12/20

My experience has been with 20ga, .45-70 and .44-40, all put a BIG hole in the animal, up to 250lb feral hogs, all did well at 50 yds, the rifles were longer range, 100 for the .44-40 and 200+ for the .45-70, past 50 yds the smooth bore was really not that accurate, but I might try a shot at 60-80 yds if I had shot the load a bunch.
I load 430gr .575 minies in 20 ga shotcups, 1400fps, about the same as the factory 12ga, really hits with a whack.
 

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Shot placement being equal, can I assume that the 12 ga. by virtue of it's size would do more damage and after the larger 12 ga. slug expands it might do much more damage, thereby being more effective?
They only real facts that we know really are quite simple...each bullet although equal in terms of energy...will leave very different types of wound channels.

The 12ga would be less likely to pass through, and more likely to cause large amounts of internal damage. On the other hand the 20ga is more likely to pass though and less likely to cause a great deal of internal damage.

Personally, I believe the 12ga would be a much better projectile at that distance. The reason is simple, at 100yds you don't want a deer running off a greater distance and having to follow a bloodtrail. The ideal scenario is one where the deer is dropped with the first shot. The more internal damage that occurs, the more likely an animal is to drop on the first shot. That means to me..the 12ga would be the prefered projectile.
 

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The 12ga would be less likely to pass through, and more likely to cause large amounts of internal damage. On the other hand the 20ga is more likely to pass though and less likely to cause a great deal of internal damage.
I think you have it backwards..with all the deer I've shot with slugs while living most of my life in a shotgun only state..and just in the past 5 years moving across the river to Missouri and can now hunt with rifles...I can say honestly I have never had but 1 12ga slug stay in a deer I've shot..and that was after destroying most of the deer's spine shot front to rear...but I have had several foster type 20 ga. slugs stay in after hitting heavy bone..

With the 12ga.....most often,you will do more damage to the deer than any 20 ga will do...and I am not taking anything away from the 20ga..it's a good caliber for whitetail..but...

The 1000 foot pounds of energy comes from having a rifle bullet going x fps to expand...and has very little to do with a shotgun slugs makeup..the shotgun bullet jackets have been thinned and skieved to make them expand easily..this is on a copper jacket/lead core style bullet..and the solid copper types have been pre-split to aid in expansion....forster type slugs will expand nicely unless your using the hardend type like the Brenneke's..

Both calibers will work well...and will kill a-lot further than the majority of gun-writers agree on....the problem has been up till recently the lousy accuracy of most slug guns..but with the bolt actions,NEF's Ultra Slughunters,Tar-Hunts,Brownings & the like..that has changed significantly..my 12ga NEF would consitatntly shoot MOA or just slightly larger with the original Lightfield Hybrid slugs...these were exceptionally hard hitting slugs on both ends....and would give bang flops out to 125yards easily..

This is where I think the 12ga shines over the 20ga..While the 20 kills them..I haven't ever gotten a bang flop with them..and when hunting public areas..I need them to drop and not walk or run off..the 12ga has always given me this..

If you already have a good shooting 12ga..and the recoil isn't a factor..I wouldn't trade it off or spend the money on a 20...unless of course your just wanting something new.. :wink:

Mac
 

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I didn't read all the posts because it is 4 in the morning and I have to leave for work, but I will give my quick 2 cents on the matter

Energy does not kill animals! Doesn't hurt, but it doesn't kill the animal. Shot placement and bullet design kill animals. A 20 ga barnes bullet in my opinion would be better than a 12 gauge standard slug. Is just a better designed controled expansion bullet.

That being said, with the two rounds you are talking about since the energy levels are fairly equal but the weights vary the heavier slug will have more momentum possibly having better penitration. Both are more than enough for deer sized game out to 100 yards though.

Good luck.

Paul
 

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Mac11700 said:
The 12ga would be less likely to pass through, and more likely to cause large amounts of internal damage. On the other hand the 20ga is more likely to pass though and less likely to cause a great deal of internal damage.
I think you have it backwards..
Mac
Sorry Mac...

It looks like you are letting your personal experiences cloud your thoughts concerning the ballistics discussion that was occurring.

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As I understand it, the original discussion centered around the ft/lbs of energy. Very simply the author wanted to know the likely effect of two similar scenarios.

#1). a heavy blunt object moving relatively slowly...
#2). a sharper lighter object moving faster...

In both cases the projectiles are carrying identical amounts of energy...what are the potential effects of each projectile?

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MAC,

Which projectile do you think will penetrate deeper, and which do think will leave a wider path of destruction?

Remember, they both have the same amount of energy to expend, it can only be spent vertically,(penetration) or horizontally, (damage).

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(put another way..going back to the actual original question)

"But what I really want to know is if there's a substantial difference in the damage done between a 260 gr. and a 438 gr slug when the energy of the two are virtually the same? "

The question centers around the wound cavity. Which bullet is likely to leave to leave a longer, thinner wound channel, and which bullet is more likely to leave a shorter, wider channel?


JC
 

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I've shot more than 2-dozen deer in recent years (mostly does) with a 20-gauge slug gun (TCR-87 single shot with a custom heavy barrel). I used the Winchester 260 gr sabot bullets at 1900 fps for all but two deer. Five were at rangers over 150 yards. The gun weighs 8-1/2 pounds with scope and the reduced recoil makes it easy to shoot from any position without fear of "scope-eye". The deer go down right away or run up to 100 yards. The deer I shoot tend to be in open areas (corn fields) and I don't shoot running deer. I can usually see them go down so a good blood trail is not as important as in a wooded area. However, the slugs usually do exit on broadside shots. I just don't have a need for a larger slug gun although I have used a 12-guage in the past and shot one with a 10-guage (it ran 50 yards). Also, I am not paticularly recoil sensitive as I usually hunt pheasants with a 10-guage double-barrel. I use a 10-guage because for pheasants because for me it is more effective. I don't think I would gain anything with a 12-gauge slug gun. - DON
 

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hmm...

looks like the 20 gauge has better ballistics than the .44 magnum. Plenty of deer and hogs go down every year to the .44. I picked the 20 for my kid (NEF Ultra youth model) and liked it so much, I bought another for myself. See no reason to put up with the weight and kick of my 11-87 12 gauge, when I can shoot that sweet little 20. It's more accurate and kicks less too. I even did the research and bought the slowest and lightest slugs I could for her to shoot (if I remember right they are 260 gr at about 1350 fps). That's more than a .357 mag and about like a .44 mag. As long as we stay under 125 yards... shouldn't be a problem. Now I'm not a deer killin' machine like some, but I've never taken one over about 40 yards anyway... it's all sittin' in the safe waiting for us to come home from Germany for deer season...


slide-flipper
 

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I have shot deer with 12 ga fosters, 20 ga foster, .54 cal. round ball, .50 cal round ball, .50 cal power-belts (muzzleloaders), and am an avid (rabid, some might say) bow hunter.

Most of my 12 ga kills were bang flops, only one was a long tracking problem - AND it was a good heart/lung hit! All of my 20's were bang flops, my 54 and 50 cal were +/- 40 yards DOA's, and archery-wise, - well an arrow kills by hemorrhaging.

All deer were taken < 80 yards, and I have yet to find a slug inside a deer. All were pass throughs. The power-belts turned into shrapnel and exploded out the other side. Shot placement was the key.

Neither my patched round ball, nor my arrows have 1000 pounds of energy, but were and will be just as effective in this upcoming season (I hope...I hope...)... You just have to be sure of your shot, and make it count.

kb
 
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