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Shot size


Lunker

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I'll be hunting pheasant a little more this year hopefully, and was wondering what the best shot size is for lead, and the best size for steel. Using a 12 gauge. Also, I have an adjustable choke, what would be best for pheasant

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What I use is 1 1/4 oz to 1 1/2 oz of #6 Lead and Steel I use 1 to 11/8 oz of #2.
In the early season you would want to use Improved Cyl Choke because most of the shots will be fairly close.
That's just my preference-- I'm sure other guys here will share what they use.
If you go to Remington's website they have a pretty good reference chart for steel.

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Lunker,

I'll try to expand just a bit on B-bear's good advice. A modified choke is a pretty good all around choke for pheasants, but like Bear stated, early season birds can many times be close range shots-- which doesn't mean you have to TAKE them close... some find it better to take their time on roosters... unless you hunt with aggresive and competitive partners smile.gif !! Having a more open choke like an Improved Cylinder can also benefit when shooting steel shot, as steel patterns a lot tighter than lead shot. I'd suggest running different loads of both lead and steel through your gun so you can find the best choke/load combo and shot size.

As far as the shot size goes, I find that lead 5's are a GREAT all-around shot size. 6's are great early season loads, but will almost always be my first shot (regardless of what time of the season)... followed by either 5's or 4's. Lead 2's, and also 3" shells can also come into play for many late season situations where birds are running more, and spooking at longer ranges. In these cases, I'll use them only as my second or second and third shots.

Steel shot is also a whole other ball game. Since they lose energy fast at longer range, dropping 2 shot sizes is recommended (6 lead = 4 steel, 4 lead = 2 steel). Most of my steel pheasant loads are 3" to make up for lost pellet count from dropping pellet size. One tip for you that works great for me, is to have two different pheasant vests... one loaded with lead, one loaded with steel. If you hunt like me, you're on private land for one drive... public for the next couple, etc.. It sure makes it easier to comply with regulations, and eliminates a lot of hassel to just switch vests according to the land you're hunting. Pockets, of course, are seperate for each shot size (i.e: left vest pocket has my 2's or 4's... right pocket has my 5's and 6's). This way-- no confusion of fumbling when the quick follow-up shots are needed during those flurries when birds are getting up all over! Not that that always happens smile.gifsmile.gif

That's just my 2 cents. May be basic... but that's how I do it out in the field.

Good Gunnin'

Duck-o-holic

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Duck is right on the money. You may want to go with a Mod choke if you are hunting alone or are out of practice etc.. This way you can take your time with the shot and let the birds get out there.

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Duck-O, thanks a ton for the info, that helps a lot. Do you hunt any public land around the cities or within about an hour of it? Just curious. [email protected] if you can pass on any tips. Thanks

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Bigdog
I can attribute the fact that I use #2 Steel to the exact study you speak of. Have used #2 ever since. Seems to work the best for me.

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Some good advice given up above. There was a study completed in North Dakota a couple years ago on the effectiveness of steel shot on pheasants. They gave teams of hunters blind ammo, either #6, #4 or #2, all 1 oz loads. They documented the ranges birds were killed at and then x-rayed to determine hits, etc. The main result was that #2 stell was by far the most effective steel shot size. It did not ball up with feathers as bad as #4 or #6 and thus got better penetration. Note that this study was for steel shot size only and does not apply to lead.

If shooting steel, I use a 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 in a modified choke. For lead I prefer #5 and go to #4 later in the season. Use modified and sometimes a full choke. I have had some sucess with #6 but only in 1 1/2oz loads. I know allot of folks like #6 but I think the #5 gives better penetration.

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Lunker... you have mail.

bigdog-- thanks for the informative info on that steel shot study! I found that interesting, and it confirms my thoughts on steel for pheasants.

There is a new shot out this year by Kent, and it's called Diamond shot. It's a lead shot... but I think it's a premium lead shot. The claim is that penetrates AND patterns better than standard lead. I'll be excited to try THAT this fall!!

Good Gunnin'

Duck-o-holic

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I got the federal High velocity, 2 3/4, 5 shot for pheasant as someone told me this is an excellent pheasant load, and why not, If I'm going to buy shells, why not have a little of that money go to Pheasants Forever eh?

What are your opinions on this load?

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The Pheasants Forever load is the copper plated premium and they are nice shells. GM has them on sale at a few different locations, I know they had a bunch at St. Cloud last week.

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For pheasant hunting I shoot 6 sometimes 7 1/2 shot lead, and 5's and 6's steel all 2 3/4.

You guys shoot 2's and 4's?? is there any breast left to eat? Wow that seems like an offly big load.

Duck o holic you must carry a heavy vest with all those shells in your pockets... You can only shoot 2 birds.

Pretty intresting topic!

----------------
RiverTown Guiding
Mississippi River Pools 3-4
http://www.geocities.com/wish_i_was_fishing2002

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Brian Sander--

I don't think I mentioned how many shells I kept in my vests. Not sure what you mean in your post?

7 1/2 shot lead??? Can you eat those birds without chewing more leadshot than meat?

As I stated in my post... different shots sizes for different types of pheasant hunting (early-season vs. late season). I also hunt behind flushing dogs, and not pointers. If you wanted to post something constructive, maybe you could have pointed out something like: "I hunt behind pointers, and have found 6's to be ample for most of my hunting situations."

As stated in my previous post... Just my 2 cents!

Duck-o-holic

PS-- My 2's and 4's may not have ruined any meat... but they sure do kill the birds smile.gif

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Brian,

I also hunt behind flushing dogs and have not had any troubles with shooting up birds with #4 or 5 lead and #2 steel. When I have tried #6 lead I did notice an increase in cripples with a 1 1/4 oz load although other folks seem to do all right with them. If I hunted behind pointers I would be more likely to try a more open choke and a smaller pellet size in lead. However, with steel shot it seems difficult to get good penetration with #4 or smaller shot, regardless of the range, this becomes more of an issue later in the season as the feathters get thicker on the birds. But if the smaller shot works for you I certainly am not going to argue with you sucess.

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Not trying to pick on you D o h !
Just saying wow you guys use some big shot
for pheasant hunting. I have accadently useed my duck shot on pheasants and opps! big holes shreeded meat.

Look at the picture on your box of sheels atleast most boxes there is usally a pheasant on pheasant load, and 2 and 4's well I have always seen ducks and geese and thats what I shoot at ducks and geese, Well most the time on geese I shoot 3 1/2 shells but thats geese.

To much lead in the meat with small shot, I have not had that problem very often but yes it happens. But A few pebbles of lead is better then missing half a breast. I think.

Oh and I dont just hunt behind a pointers Many of times I run labs, Labs are what I started hunting with. The type of dog doesnt change the load I use the type of bird does.

Sorry If I rubbed you the wrong way Maybe I need to reword my post.

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Duck, the two vests sounds like a good idea. I hate switching back and forth from lead to steel, plus I hunt a lot of WPA's and would hate to mistakenly get a lead mixed in. Consequently, in Minnesota, I use 4 steel early on and then go to 2 steel. Lead is not even in my truck.

Been hunting South Dakota the last few years and have taken the opportunity to shoot up some of the 4 lead that I had stock piled. Used to love that load for pheasants, it had good knockdown power for late season birds, break a wing and that bird is mine with the help of my labs.

Now I'm out of the 4 leads, could buy some more but theres a reason that they made us swap to steel. Invariably when you're pheasant hunting, you're by water, some of that lead gets shot over water. Even the lead shot up on land is sitting there for other birds to eat as grit. Thinking that I'll just buy a case each of 4 steels and 2 steels.

One question for you guys, how do 3 inch shells fit into your equation? In the past I haven't had to worry about it, my old 870 was only chambered for 2 3/4, but had it bored out to 3 inch, mainly so I can use the bigger goose loads, but how do they fit into the duck and pheasant hunting.

One more thought, I've used 7 1/2 lead in the past as a first shell, they work good in the early season, but it got to be a hassle keeping them straight after awhile when you're loading and reloading. Now I go with the 4's and 2 steel, and if a bird gets up close I try to restrain myself, its wait, wait, shoot, - I've found the waiting has made me a better shot.

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D o h, I just want to make sure you are not offended. Im not going to edit my post it makes sence to me but you oviously took it a little out of wack.
I guess if you shoot an over under and you have 6's and 7's first shot and your 2's and 4's second shot makes sence.
The long shots you take with your 2 shot I have learned to let the bird go watch it drop and go kick it up agian til I have a good shot. --- The long shots are where I have seen you end up getting your cripple wounded birds.
I have learned that if your going to shot make sure its a kill shot not a hope shot.
Sorry again, I hope this is constructive enough for you.

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