Firearms

Top 10 Meat-producing Sluggers for Under $500

Stevens 320 Pump shotgun

As the suburbs continue to encroach on deer habitat, game departments have become more restrictive about which bang sticks hunters may use when hunting in the deer woods. Whether you are looking to extend your season beyond archery and muzzleloader, or if sticks and strings and front stuffers are simply not what you are looking for, buying a slug gun does not have to break the bank.

Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, parts of Virginia and other areas all restrict their gun hunters to shorter-range firearms, and while muzzleloaders can offer more reach, they limit hunters to a single shot. Muzzleloaders have other drawbacks when it comes to unloading or when hunting in inclement weather. Meanwhile, due to recent advancements with slug barrels and load technology, shotgunners are no longer restricted to the imprecise 75-yard flight of a punkin’ ball. In fact, with today’s sabots and rifled barrels you can punch deadly groups at the range—and if you can control your nerves on a big buck—out to 150 yards.

Escort Semi Automatic Slug Cantilever Shotgun

Escort Slug Gun
The Escort slug shotgun features a built-in cantilever for scope or red dot sight mounting.

The Escort Slug Gun features a weather-beating polymer stock intended for sabot slugs only. Every Escort comes with sling swivel studs and stock adjustments shims. Standard features include a magazine cut off for loading single rounds and an easy to reach adjustment screw for changing from normal to magnum loads. Barrels are made of nickel chromium molybdenum steel. The Escort slug shotgun also features a built-in cantilever for scope or red dot sight mounting.

The cantilever also features a fiber optic rear sight in concert with a rifle-style fiber optic front sight. Escort Slug shotguns incorporate fast-twist rifled barrels made by Badger Defense. The Badger Defense cut rifling process assures the best uniformity of the barrel’s interior dimensions and is stress-free to the barrel metallurgy.
Price: $335

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Harrington & Richardson Tracker II Slug Gun

Harrington & Richardson Tracker II shotgun
Harrington & Richardson Tracker II is available in both 12 and 20 gauge models and is one of the most affordable slug guns in its class.

The H&R Tracker II is a slightly slimmed down version of H&R’s Ultra Slug Gun—a lightweight (5 ¼ pounds) with a 24-inch fully rifled Ultragon barrel, walnut-finished hardwood stock, sling swivel studs and recoil pad. It’s available in both 12 and 20 gauge models and is one of the most affordable slug guns in its class.
Price: $230

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Harrington & Richardson Ultra Slug Hunter

Harrington & Richardson Ultra Slug Hunter shotgun
Harrington & Richardson is known for its single-shot slug gun accuracy, and the Ultra Slug Hunter sits at the pinnacle of the performance and value.

Harrington & Richardson is known for its single-shot slug gun accuracy, and the Ultra Slug Hunter sits at the pinnacle of the performance and value. The Ultra Slug Hunter is unfailingly dependable, easy to carry and exceptionally accurate out to the farthest reaches of shotgun range. The Ultra Slug Hunter’s single-shot action offers a strong lockup and stout build to create an inherently precise platform.

Another major contributor to its ultra-tight grouping capability is the Ultragon Rifling. It uses six oval lands and grooves without the sharp corners of traditional rifling. This system imparts stabilizing spin on your slug without distorting the sabot jacket or exterior of your slug, leading to a better gas seal, higher velocities and more consistent flight characteristics.

The walnut-stained American hardwood stock has a Monte Carlo comb that allows better cheek weld and eye alignment with optics attached to the included scope mounts. Available in 12-gauge and 20-gauge (24-inch heavy barrel) models.
Price: $315

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Mossberg Maverick 88 Slug

Maverick 88 Slug Pump Action shotgun
Maverick 88 barrels are compatible with Mossberg 500 model barrels within gauge and capacity.

The Maverick 88 Slug Pump Action is manufactured under Mossberg’s watchful eye, and delivers solid pump-action performance. Available in 12- and 20-gauge with 24-inch barrels, the matte finished slugger boasts a grooved fore-end, synthetic stock and comes with adjustable rifle sights.

Maverick 88 barrels are compatible with Mossberg 500 model barrels within gauge and capacity and include a cross-bolt safety in front of the trigger for speed and convenience.

The choke tubes on the Maverick 88 are fully interchangeable with Mossberg Accu-Choke tubes. 88 model barrels are equipped with 3-inch chambers and handle factory 2¾- and 3″-inch loads and are capable of firing lead, steel or other non-toxic loads.
Price: $231

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Mossberg 500 Slugster

Mossberg 500 Slugster shotgun
To deliver the accuracy potential of modern sabot slugs, the 500 Slugster models feature fully rifled, ported barrels with a variety of sighting options that include an integral cantilever scope mount base.

Mossberg is certainly at the head of the pack when it comes to bargain-priced slug guns that ooze quality. The Model 500 Slugster is available in both 12- and 20-gauge models. To deliver the accuracy potential of modern sabot slugs, the 500 Slugster models feature fully rifled, ported barrels with a variety of sighting options that include an integral cantilever scope mount base. The dual comb combos add the advantage of quickly and easily changing stock dimensions between a high comb for scope sighting and the low comb for iron sights.
Price: $383

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Mossberg 535 ATS Slugster

Mossberg 535 ATS Slugster shotgun
The 535 ATS is the ultimate, all-around pump gun, loaded with features usually found on shotguns costing much more.

Rugged and reliable, the 535 ATS is the ultimate, all-around pump gun, loaded with features usually found on shotguns costing much more—all built into a lightweight design that’s easy to carry into the field. The Model 500 Slugster, which is available in both 12 and 20 gauge accommodates three-inch shells, holds six rounds (magazine plus chamber), boasts a fully rifled 24-inch barrel.

The 535’s “All Terrain” flexibility is best appreciated in the field. It’s chambered to handle 12 gauge, 2 ¾-, 3-, and even 3 ½-inch magnum loads, for maximum stopping power. The Uni-line receiver design assists in fast target acquisition. With the Trophy Slugster cantilevered scope mount system, barrels can be swapped without disturbing a well-sighted scope. The sleek barrel profile, coupled with a shortened magazine tube, provides a comfortable balance and swing.
Price: $350

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Remington Model 870 Express Synthetic Deer

Remington 870 Express Synthetic Deer shotgun
The 870 Express Synthetic Deer handles quickly in cover and is ideal for youth and smaller-statured hunters.

With a 20-inch barrel and weatherproof matte black synthetic stock, the 870 Express Synthetic Deer handles quickly in cover and is ideal for youth and smaller-statured hunters—thanks to the one-inch reduction to the Monte Carlo-combed stock length compared to the wood version. The Model 870 Express Synthetic Deer features adjustable, rifle-style open sights.
Price: $414

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Rossi Trifecta Single Shot Rifle and Shotgun Matched Set

Rossi Trifecta Single Shot Rifle and Shotgun Matched Set
Why buy one gun when you can get three for the price of one?

Why buy one gun when you can get three for the price of one? The Rossi Youth Trifecta Single Shot Rifle and Shotgun Matched Set has everything you need to get a youngster up to speed and shooting. Start with the .22 Long Rifle for cheap training and small game. Then swap barrels for either the .243 Win. or 20-gauge rifled barrel. The Trifecta features a black synthetic adjustable stock with removable cheek piece.

Each barrel has a custom front sight. The .243 Win. or .44 Mag. (different combos) barrel includes a scope mount base that accepts any standard Weaver-style rings. With the cheek pad in place, the stock is perfect for using the .22 LR barrel’s fiber optic sights or for the .243 Win. or .44 Mag. barrel with a scope. Drop the cheek piece and you are ready to use the shotgun barrel with the bead sight.
Price: $353

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Stevens 320 Pump

Stevens 320 Pump shotgun
The Stevens 320 Pump Security model with rifled sights can claim deer out to 90 to 100 yards using quality Foster-type slugs through its cylinder bore carbon steel barrel.

Double duty is great, but what about triple duty? We are talking about the Stevens 320 Combo, which provides both flexibility and economy by including two barrels in one reliable package. Incorporating an 18.5-inch barrel and 28-inch barrel utilizing bead sights, dual slide action bars and synthetic furniture.
The Stevens 320 Pump Security model with rifled sights can still claim deer out to 90 to 100 yards using quality Foster-type slugs through its cylinder bore carbon steel barrel. The 12-gauge is all matte, holds a total of five rounds, weighs in at just less than seven pounds and is as good a value as you’ll ever find.
Price: $228

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Weatherby PA-08 Slug Gun Combo

Weatherby PA-08 Synthetic Slug Combo shotgun
The PA-08 combo includes a 28-inch field barrel and a 24-inch rifled barrel with cantilever scope mount base with a lightweight, durable injection-molded synthetic stock.

The Weatherby PA-08 Slug Gun features a ventilated top rib and brass-bead front sight to aid in target acquisition. The vent rib works to dissipate heat in the barrel, promotes a smoother swing-through and gives the shooter an excellent sight line for acquiring fast-moving targets. The PA-08 comes with three application-specific, screw-in choke tubes. The combo includes a 28-inch field barrel and a 24-inch rifled barrel with cantilever scope mount base and a lightweight, durable injection-molded synthetic stock.
Price: $380

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (6)

  1. I hunt with an H&R Ultra Slug Hunter with a Nikon Slughunter scope (with Luepold rifleman rings (high, to clear the hammer))–this thing is essentially a one hole gun at 50 yards. Typical ranges in Southern, IL are 50-70 yards–though I have taken a deer at 135 yards with this. Have to tell you, if I miss, it’s not the gun… Could not be happier with this combination.

  2. Not quite on topic but got story of hunting moose with old Iver Johnson single12.
    As a youth only shoygun was the IJ but it did trick on all for me until moose cuz everybody said not enough oomph.
    Was an old indian feller, yes we still had indians and not native americans. Well anyways he was a pretty scruffy fellow and you could smell him before you seen him, the kind that decent folks would never want your kid around even if living in wilds of Maine 56 years ago.
    HE worked for small logging crews, the men were big but the crews were small, and after they logged he stayed behind to. Pilebrush until next job.
    His hootch was usually a hole dug in ground and covered with either tarpaper or canvas and he never gave a damn whose land he built iton.
    Lived mostly by fish and game and staples. No not the fn metal kind, he was tough but not that tough.
    In otherwors just the kinda fella a wild child wanted to hang around with, especially because hunting and fishing season were year round when around him.
    HE ran trap lines and his shotgun an IJ also.
    We were running his trap line. And I do mean running cuz there wrre game wardens even back inboonies and we had no permits and it sure as hell was not trapping seasonWell one day we heard a bull moose in rut bellowing so he hands me apumpkin slug he made his own and said lets see if we can call him inI didn’t see a moose call but he used his shotgunbarrel and blew through it.
    Damn bull would come crashing and thrashing but never left cover of swamp brush.
    That is untill time he came up and paused just 30 40 yards and then he grabed my canteenpoured water down barrel while wining as water hit on flat rock. Damned if the bull didn’t snort and come on intoopening I fired and him right behind I caught just front haunch but his dead center full on chest.
    WE dug out slug mine but his came out just above nut sack and lost.
    Come to find out he used old nickle and lead babbit for pumpkin balls.
    I thinkthats why I get a touch in shoulder now and then. Do’t know what wt. They werebut that. Old IJ kicked like hell with them.
    SCOUTS HONOR

  3. As to what constitutes a rifle versus a shotgun I do agree with oscar but I would exyend such line of thought to what are valled black powder weapons ( firearms).
    The scary part is this is the same logic used nby Brits Aussies and any other nation that is banning private owned weapons.
    My personal held belief in regards to black powder( now synthetic and pelletized) is no longer worthy of special status, as they first were alloeed and still are) as primative weaponry.
    Anyone who tries newer pellets rifled barrels and high tech caps with sabot bullets knows darn well they are good up to 300 uards. And I personally know of some who can pot deer over that.
    Also optics are allowed in some states.
    Care not what weapon of personal choice is but there is vast danger in each group of hunters clamoring over some percieved advantage by others.
    Thus giving wedge issues to all anti gun or hunters.

  4. When a shotgun has a rifled and ported barrel it is in essence a rifle. Those sabots are basically rifle bullets. They just say it is a shotgun to get around the 50cal limit on rifles. The ammo is different in that it has a plastic hull instead of a brass casing.

  5. My Windham Weaponry AR is by far the best AR15’s I have ever owned. I now have Three of them. I have owned a few Colt’s and several other Brand’s, but I think my Windham Weaponry is the Best hand’s down. I have never had any fte’s or ftf’s out of any of my WW AR’s. I have shot alot of rounds. If you do not have one you should.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit exceeded. Please click the reload button and complete the captcha once again.

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.