I shot my first deer with a SKS. One shot, dropped the deer in it's tracks.
I bought the SKS because it was cheap ($99) and ballistically equivalent to a 30-30.
I'm left handed and finding an inexpensive left action bolt is darn near impossible.
After that, I upgraded to a Remington 7400 in .30-06. Used with scope/case/sling/etc. it was $300.00. Still handy for a lefty with no bolt to work. I took about a dozen deer with that rifle. All with one shot each.
It's the person pulling the trigger. Not the gun.
BTW, the idea that shotgun slugs are much safer than rifle bullets is not really true. Read this: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...3/ai_n20512665
"the big surprise comes at 0-degrees of elevation which would be more or less a typical shot at a deer on level terrain. Here the rifle, shotgun and muzzleloader projectiles travel 1,408', 840', and 686' respectfully plus ricochet distances of 3,427', 4,365', and 3,812' respectfully. Now the total distances traveled by the projectiles are 4,835' for the rifle, 5,205' for the shotgun and 4,498' for the muzzleloader