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Shot Size?

38 posts in this topic

What shot size do you guys like to use for roosters?

Steel early season I like 4's and 6's, late I will switch to 2's and 4's

How about lead? I have th oppurtunity to hunt some private land this year.

What should I use?

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1 3/8 oz of plated #5's all season. I've used it the last 2-3 years. I have had more birds dead in the air than I've ever had and the one's that come down alive don't seem to go near as far from where they landed.

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Copper plated lead ...6-5 or 4's.....

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I hand load 1 1/4 oz 5's at 1400 fps. I used to load nickel plated shot, but I haven't found any differences except price as compared to high antimony lead.

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All I shoot is 5's. I'll use a heavier load later in the year.

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Number two steel for me. no lead, I hunt a lot of public land and don't like having to worry about having lead in the vest. Plus what does that do for your shooting, your lead, if you keep swapping from lead to steel and back again? By shooting the same Federal two shot steel I hope to be consistant.

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5's for lead and 2's for steel.

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copper plated 4 & 5's seem to do the trick, 6's seem to wound to many.

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A couple of years ago I believe a study was done in North Dakota on steel shot for pheasants. The report indicated that #2 shot was the only way to go if you are using steel. It didn't seems to rip the birds up and the kill percentage was good, I can't remember the exact numbers. On the flip side, number 4 steel was terrible and when using it there were a lot of wounded birds.

If I remember correctly they equated #2 steel to #5 lead in terms of performance. I would take #5 or #6 lead any day but in certain areas you can't or shouldn't use lead.

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Thanks for the info, very interesting.

In the past I have used #4 on my first shot and #2 on my second and third shot. But according to this study it doesn't matter. I think more of my problem has to deal with me hitting them.

Heading to LeBlanc's Rice Creek tomorrow for some more practice.

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I use the #5 copper plated lead also. I use #4 steel - if you hit them, they go down.

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last year 2nd day of season i shot my two birds with 7.5 shot game loads. the young roosters were holding very tight to point. usually i use kent #5 lead in regular and heavy, as well as whatever high velocity steel is in my blind bag when on public land.

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Quote:

Steel early season I like 4's and 6's, late I will switch to 2's and 4's


I'm curious. Why do you upsize later in the season?

Bob

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Not 100% sure but,,,,I think as birds mature they are harder to bring down.. as the feathers mature the become harder to penatrate...bones get stronger and are harder to break,so larger shot does more dammage. If you hit a wing with 6's it may not break but with 4's it may....and steele, well I never use it for pheasants, because I don't usually hunt WPA's and the one time I did I couldn't get a bird to flush in range....late late late season...Keep in mind you don't gain any speed or distance by going up in shot size....That depends on the weight of the load and amount of powder in the load.....Totally different subject!!!! And one that I'm not quallified to talk about......Hunt hard... Shoot fast..uplander

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Quote:

Keep in mind you don't gain any speed or distance by going up in shot size....That depends on the weight of the load and amount of powder in the load


Shot Size

Actually you get greater downrange energy with larger shot so you do get improved range. It's the weight of each BB that matters, not the weight of the load. A heavier BB will retain more energy downrange. A 1.5 oz. load of 8's and a 3/4 oz. load of 8's will have the same energy at 40 yds. At 40 yds. a 1 oz. load of #5's that patterns well will be vastly superior to the same load of 7.5's. At 40 yds those 7.5's will bounce off (I've actually witnessed this) but the 5's will kill. This is why I love that 1 3/8 oz. load of plated #5's. Big enough shot to kill cleanly and enough shot to have a dense pattern but not too much to blow the pattern.

Less is More

Some will argue that a lighter load patterns better and therefore kills better. Also a lighter load recoils less so you may use better technique because you're not worried about getting pummeled and will therefore shoot better. If you are picky about your shots then "less is more" can work beautifully for you. I've killed alot of pheasants over the years with 1 1/8 oz of 7.5's using this way of thinking.

More is more

On top of every 1 1/4 oz load is riding a 1 oz load. That 1 oz of shot will pattern the same whether there is a 1/4 oz of shot behind it or not. The extra 1/4 oz has got to go somewhere and some of it will stay in your pattern and will improve it. This seems particularly true for the larger shot sizes. If you can take recoil then the "more is more" philosophy is good for you... up to a point. At some point "more is more" is just simply overkill. You don't need a turkey load to kill a pheasant. The last few years I've used the "more is more" way of thinking and I am convinced that for me at this point in my life that this is the way to go. It just simply works and leaves more margin for error, which I need.

Personal Observations

Too many people are magnum happy. You don't need a 1 3/4 oz. load to kill a pheasant. To me this is the overkill part of the "more is more" philosophy. Essentially there comes a point where "enough is enough". The only thing that is getting hit harder is your shoulder and face. They'd be better served by going to a 1 1/4 or 1 3/8 oz. load and going to the patterning board.

Also the vast majority of hunters, including me, have no business shooting at birds that are out beyond 40 yds no matter what load they have in. We just aren't good enough to cleanly kill a pheasant on a consistent basis at long ranges.

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I hate to shot steel out of my over/under! does anyone else feel the same way or feel that it's a lot harder on the barrel. Been out of Minnesota for a while so no more lead on all public lands, only steel???....

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Quote:

I hate to shot steel out of my over/under! does anyone else feel the same way or feel that it's a lot harder on the barrel. Been out of Minnesota for a while so no more lead on all public lands, only steel???....


Lead is ok for the majority of the WMA's, however there are a couple that need steel shot. All WPA's need steel shot.

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Good post gpsman!! Good info!!

Where does the difference between 2 3/4 inch and 3 inch shells figure into this equation?

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To my understanding and please correct me if I'm wrong, using 3" shells typically only gives you more shot to fill the pattern. The added powder used is merely to push the added load weight of the shot so you typically, but not in all cases, don't gain any muzzle velocity and in some cases may lose velocity. More shot in the pattern can improve kill potential for those of us that aren't very accurate.

Bob

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I keep track of every shell fired at roosters and I can tell you that the Federal copper plated 1 3/8 oz #5s are the best I have came across. they fly at 1500 fps and pattern great in my gun. You hit a rooster with these and they dont run. They are hard to find, but are available at Gander in Blaine right now.

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Quote:

To my understanding and please correct me if I'm wrong, using 3" shells typically only gives you more shot to fill the pattern. The added powder used is merely to push the added load weight of the shot so you typically, but not in all cases, don't gain any muzzle velocity and in some cases may lose velocity. More shot in the pattern can improve kill potential for those of us that aren't very accurate.

Bob


You are correct; in fact, most 2 3/4's are faster then the 3" shells.

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Lead #5 and #6's

Steel 3-inch #2s and #3's

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Quote:

Where does the difference between 2 3/4 inch and 3 inch shells figure into this equation?


I dunno. For lead shot I think 3" mags are way overkill. I think a 1 3/8 oz load is enough.

For steel, in order to get enough #2 or #3 shot into the pattern one may have to go with 3" mags.

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Fiocchi Golden Pheasant in a #5 is first choice. Federal used to make a load with the PF logo on them. Couldn't find them anymore and switched to the Fiocchi. Can tell stories of this load knocking birds dead when the correct lead is a pickup length. Not exactly sure what this range is but shot a crossing bird in windy SD conditions that I paced off at an even 100 yards. Was up there pretty good so probably 20-30 yards gained in the fall after impact. Have also shot birds with trap loads that were shot up too bad to clean. Got kind of a hair trigger sometimes. One ND bird was a head, two wings, remnants of one leg, and a tail. 5 parts with a AA Super Handicap round. 3" #3's when steel is required.

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