I'm a new member to this forum and also a NY hunter. Thought I would share my expierence with slug guns.
I have a Rem. 870 12 ga with a hastings slug barrell purchased 15 years ago. I experimented with different slugs when I first purchased the hastings barrell, standard winchester 3" sabots worked the best - been using them ever since: 1.5" groups at 50 yds, 2.5" groups at 100 yds.
My brother has the exact same gun and barrell and has almost identical results, except I am a better shot [;)]!!
We tried the partition gold slugs - the standard winchester sabots worked better and are cheaper.
We like the 870's - very reliable - between the 2 of us we have got 35+ yrs of service from them with 0 issues.
When my daughter turned 12, I purchased her a .243 NEF single shot rifle to hunt in Pennsylvania with me. When she became old enough to hunt deer in NY, I sent reciever back to the factory and had them put a 20 ga rifled slug barrell on it. Wow is that little gun accurate! She uses the same winchester standard sabot slugs as me. 1.5" groups at 100 yds.
We have a friend turning 50 next month, and for his birthday, we are getting him a NEF single shot 12 ga with rifled barrell. He is currently using a mossburg. He hates it.
I have read many comments in this forum about hunting with shot gun slugs.
Here is my opinion: any slug, 12 or 20 ga will kill a deer if the shot is properly placed. Accuracy is the most important factor. Practice is the most important aspect of accuracy. If you can't handle the recoil of a 12 ga, then get a 20 ga. As far as type of gun and type of slug - use what gets accurate results for you!!
The largest deer I ever saw in person was killed by a 70 yr old man hunting with an old JC Higgins single shot shotgun!
Big deer are taken by hunters, not guns and ammo!