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Is There Such Thing as a Classy Slug Gun?

Does anybody make a slug gun that isn't ugly?

When I was a kid my family did a lot of deer hunting with shotguns. Back then a hunter took his favorite shotgun, put some slugs in it, and hoped for the best, because a slug fired from a smooth bore isn't the most accurate projectile in the world.

These days, shotguns with rifling have come into vogue and slug accuracy has improved ten-fold. The modern rifle-barreled shotgun shoots far better than any smoothbore hunter could ever hope, but I do have one little problem with this new breed of shotgun: they're ugly as a mud fence.

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The smoothbores I hunted with in my youth were sleek, pretty bird guns that leapt into your hand. They had lovely wood and seamless joints. Comparing a modern slug gun to a classic bird gun is like setting a tractor next to a Ferrari.

Thankfully, not all slug guns have to be ugly. In the last few years the Ithaca Gun Company has been revived and is once again turning out the classic Model 37.

While the 37 has always been an American favorite, the new Ithacas might be even better than the originals. The company has adopted CNC machining it improve tolerances on their clever bottom-ejecting shotguns making the new 37s far tighter than they ever were before.

The 37's design also allows for its barrels to be machined out of a single piece of steel. This "solderless" barrel system makes the barrels stiffer for greater accuracy and, of course, the owner never has to worry about solder cracks.

Ithaca offered the first really slug-specific shotgun, the Deerslayer, and now they're offering it again. This time around, though, Ithaca's slug gun is considerably more dressed up.

The slim receiver is still machined from a single block of steel with attractive scrollwork, but now you have the choice of three grades of dried American black walnut for the stocks and a solderless rifled barrel brings it all together.

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This combination forms a slug gun that looks more like an upland bird rig and will be readily at home in any gun rack full of fine smoothbores. The Deerslayer II comes with a slightly lighter barrel and is equipped with express sights while the Deerslayer III wears a scope mount and a heavier fluted barrel.

Both of the Deerslayers are eye catching and can be counted on to deliver two inch groups at the 100 yard mark.

Neither of these shotguns are exactly low-priced, but if you've never been happy with a slug gun that looks like a tractor it might be worth your time to do some Ferrari shopping on Ithaca's website.


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Is There Such Thing as a Classy Slug Gun?