I use the standard winchester rifled slugs in my 20 gauge. My buddy has started using the sabots, he shoots a mossberg 12 gauge, and uses 2 3/4 inch rem. sabots due to the lesser kick back of the smaller load. He has the gun scope sighted to shoot out 200 yards. I'm kinda conserned about how ethical that kind of shot is while hunting deer with a shotgun? He says he can shoot through a car battery at 200 yards, and can hit the targets every time. Seems to me that kind of shot is too far for ethical deer hunting with a shotgun. I'm not trying to talk down to anyone who uses the new bullets, I'm just digging for information that could allow me to switch over to the new sabots. I guess after next weekend I'll know how well the sabots really perform after he shoots a deer.
I've been using the Winchester Partition Gold sabots for quite a few years now, and have found that they are the most devastating sabot slug I have ever seen as far as tissue damage. They hit so hard that they cause hydroscopic shock damage. The furthest deer I've killed with them was 145 yards, and it mushroomed perfectly (I recovered the slug) with great results.
I do know first hand of a deer that was killed at 210 yards with one, and she went right down as the slug struck where it was supposed to go.
Now.......I would never sttempt a shot that far with that or any slug. Not because the Partition Gold won't perform at that range, but because I can't confidently do my part consistantly at that range with a shotgun, and quite frankly I don't think anyone can. As you said, they are STILL shotguns, even though the 12 gauge Partition Gold is still supersonic at 175 yards, and still has over 1000 ft/lbs of energy....plenty for killing a deer.
But it's not for lack of bullet (and that's what it is really) performance!