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View Full Version : Best Shell for pheasant hunting??



anytimeanywhere
01-23-2009, 07:54 PM
I am an avid White tail hunter for more than 25 years, did my first Turkey hunt in 2007, and now I'm going Pheasant hunting. Seem like there are very knowlogable people here, so I would like to ask a question....

I have a Berreta Extrema, I am going Pheasant hunting at a farm in Ohio next weekend, I have been told by some to use a 3" #5 11/2 oz shot, others said that is overkill and suggest a 2 3/4 shell #5 shot. Any advice???

KansasGsp
01-23-2009, 08:25 PM
I shoot a 2 3/4 #5 shot most of the time. I have shot #4 when the birds are getting way up ahead, but 90% of the time I use #5.

JMBZ71
01-23-2009, 09:10 PM
I have a Berreta Extrema, I am going Pheasant hunting at a farm in Ohio next weekend, I have been told by some to use a 3" #5 11/2 oz shot, others said that is overkill and suggest a 2 3/4 shell #5 shot. Any advice???

Now you've opened a can of worms. :D

OK, I'll take the bait... The 3" 1.5oz. shells are overkill. You should never need more than 1.25oz. of shot to kill a pheasant, particularly released birds. Let the games begin. :p

bobeyerite
01-23-2009, 11:26 PM
Welcome to the forum, This a strange way to introduce yourself. You do it with a question? I would suggest read the board First and put your questions like this in the Proper Subject Forum Board.

For many years, I mean like 50 years or so. The standard 12 gauge upland game shell has been 1.25 ounces of shot going out at 1330FPS. That shell has killed a lot of pheasant. If I was going pheasant hunting like you are, I'd use those shells in a #5---Bob

birdshooter
01-24-2009, 03:19 AM
First off welcome to the board.

As far as Pheasant hunting in Ohio, are these preserve birds? If I'm not mistaken doesn't the state release birds for the hunting season?

IMO you won't need the roman candle shells for pen raised birds. In fact standard load of #6's in either 1-1/8 or 1-1/4 oz (12GA) will be more than enough for those imposters. True wild birds I would follow what the others are saying about #5 shot.

rwigg
01-24-2009, 05:40 AM
Hey, Welcome to the forum! #6's will be plenty for pen raised! Good question though. You're gonna like it here, alot of good info and discussion!:cheers:

gracierator
01-26-2009, 01:04 PM
Welcome another Michigander! where are you from?

crockett
01-26-2009, 01:09 PM
You might want to consider hard shot as well shell length/load/shot size (copper plated, for example). I hunt wild pheasants with 2.75" #5 early season, #4 late season.
-Croc

kansasbrittany
01-26-2009, 04:57 PM
I'm sure I'll be the only guy on the site to post this choice, but I use a high-brass 1 1/4oz, #7 1/2 for the first couple of outings IF there are plenty of young birds for the dogs to point. Shooting them within 20 yards doesn't require a large load. It doesn't take long to start breaking out the #5's, and by January (or even warm days in Nov. and Dec.) I'll use 4's. #4's are great if you don't want to have to chase em'! I regularly run across roosters while I'm hunting quail in E KS. I hunt quail with low-brass 1 1/8oz #7 1/2 or #8 and if a rooster jumps up within 20 yards, I never have a problem taking him down (a member of this forum can back me on this one!!) and I've done it that way all my life. NO 30+yd attempts whatsoever though.....you'll likely only cripple them. Only quick, close range shots....

If I were hunting pen-raised birds, I wouldn't think twice about using high-brass 7 1/2's exclusively. It only takes one BB in the head and they go down and there are a lot more BBs in a 7 1/2 than there are in a 4. Let's face it, if a kid can kill em' with a 4-10 with a #6 in it, a 12gauge with a heavy high-brass 7 1/2 should be able to get the job done.

There it is guys....jump all over it;)

swellcat
01-26-2009, 05:41 PM
All the replies are reasonable and logical.

South Dakota suggests #4s in its pheasant hunting info package. That sort of turned my head since South Dakota must know what it's talking about in the pheasant department.

Pheasants are not invincible, but they are tough: if they aren't dead or devastated, they will run like race horses.

Dakotazeb
01-26-2009, 06:06 PM
Pheasants have probably been killed with everything from #8 to buckshot. However, #4, #5 & #6 are probably the most used and everyone has there own preference. I personally like #5's and use them from the opening weekend to close. The one probalem with 7 1/2 shot is that I hate picking all the pellets out of the meat. Any good or premium 2 3/4" shell with 1 1/4 oz of shot with a muzzle velocity of 1,300 to 1,500 fps will work fine. I like the Federal Premium Pheasant Forever loads. 2 3/4" with 1 1/4 oz of copper-plated shot at 1,500 fps.

kansasbrittany
01-26-2009, 06:28 PM
It is nice to have the extra speed! I too enjoy using anything that is 1500fps, but I don't like paying for them:eek:

Dakotazeb makes a good point about having to pull more shot out of the meat. When I'm out on a pheasant/quail combo where either one might be getting up at anytime, I don't like having a #4 in the chamber:D

Boomer-IN
01-26-2009, 08:23 PM
I agree with Dakotazeb on the Federal Premium Pheasant Forever loads. 2 3/4 "#4 with 1 1/4 oz of copper-plated shot at 1,500 fps. It is all I ever shoot when hunting wild birds in SD!

I've witnessed guys traveling all the way to SD and buying cheap bargain shells...and then wondering why the roosters fly away!

Many of your shots are of roosters flying almost straight away from you and so you are shooting them in the rear end. When you go to clean birds....with the copper plated 4's at 1500 fps you often find shot that has entered into body cavity and stoned that tough rooster!

Pen raised, close flushing birds....a whole other story!

JMBZ71
01-26-2009, 11:34 PM
I agree with Dakotazeb on the Federal Premium Pheasant Forever loads. 2 3/4 "#4 with 1 1/4 oz of copper-plated shot at 1,500 fps. It is all I ever shoot when hunting wild birds in SD!


Ditto... 2 3/4" #4 Federal Premium PF 1 1/4 oz loads are all I've shot the last two seasons as well. I'm sold on their killing power but I still wonder if the increased recoil of the 1500fps loads are the best choice when used with lighter guns (< 7 lbs.).

chadsbritt
01-27-2009, 12:18 AM
You guys have got it right. I too use mostly Federal Premium PF loads in 4 or 5 shot. I love the 1500 fps they deliver. I did use Kent fast lead this winter when I couldn't find any of the Federal Premium ammo. The 3 inch mags did pack a punch though. It worked well, and I chose it because I use fast steel when I duck hunt and have been impressed with it.

If your hunting pen raised birds, 6 shot is all you need.

Toad
01-27-2009, 01:12 AM
Cabelas didn't have the Federal PF loads. This year I bought and shot Winchester Super-X hi-brass #5. 2 3/4", 1 1/4oz.

I thought they were awesome. I had been shooting another brand (Fiocchi golden pheasant) of #6, and was much more impressed by the Super-X #5s. Not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison since it was two different shot sizes, but I was more than satisfied by the Winchesters.

How come nobody shoots Winchester? I shot Federal PF loads years ago, but not recently enough to make a comparison. FWIW, I didn't care for the Fiocchi's. I had several gun jams in the first box. None with the Winchester.

bobeyerite
01-27-2009, 03:31 PM
Toad, I shoot Remington and Winchester on occasion. Reason being because I like to reload for my 20 gauge. I like to load a 1 ounce shot. And with the pressure at what it is. I can only make them go 1220FPS. But they kill just as well as the 1300 and 1500FPS factory stuff. So I am happy. Then too I load shot sizes That are not readily available in the stores.

On the South Dakota recommending 4 shot. The dog of choice for most hunters there is a Flushing Lab. It is a proven fact the heavier shot retains its' killing power at longer distances. I am surprised they don't recommend an Improved Modified or Full Choke Barrel. For 30 to 40 yard shots I understand are common there.

anytimeanywhere
01-27-2009, 08:10 PM
Thanks to all, for the great information, it seems to be the general oppion is that #5 or #6 shot is the best for farm (pen) raised birds with 1300-1500 fps is the best round for this type of hunting. Before I posted this thread I bought 3",#5 1350fps, copper coated shot - shells, I will use those on Saturday and give you all my opinion. Again, thanks for the guidance.

20thunderjet
01-27-2009, 10:17 PM
Welcome to the site!! My 2 cents worth is you do not need a 3" shell for pheasants, especially pen raised. I shot nothing but 20 gauge all year long and do well out to 40 yards. As important if not more is the choke you will be using. I would recommend a skeet or I.C. choke if shooting preserve birds. Enjoy yourself............

kansasbrittany
01-28-2009, 10:12 AM
Good point about the choice of choke!

NE Vizsla
01-28-2009, 10:00 PM
#6 Federal Copper Plated with a IC choke is what i use all season long, works for me.

FCSpringer
01-28-2009, 10:35 PM
I like the federal premium # 6 1500,fps 2 3/4" 1 &1/4 oz. You can take birds out at a very long range with these and they don't require much if any lead for the shorter shots. I also use Low base Kent diamond shot lead 7&1/2's, they cut out there at 1450 fps. And will suprise you with the Knock down power, in a lowbase 2& 3/4. The speed kills. And the kents are only about 8$ a box, prety good for a shell that fast. It works well in an OH gun to have one of the kents first and back it up with the fed premium.:thumbsup:

DennyJ
02-01-2009, 02:44 PM
For quite a few years I was using the federal PF shells too in my beretta Extrema and it really seemed to help my shooting deficiency. Last year for my birthday I bought myself a 16g O/U and this past summer I also bought a reloader and an electric trap thrower and spent some time working on my shooting ability.

This season with the 16ga reloads of 1 1/4 4 and 5 shot I never felt I was missing anything(Except maybe the 3rd, 4th and 5th shots sometimes):D.

For me leading far enough is always my achilles heel

ole_270
02-23-2009, 10:04 PM
I used to use the 1 1/4 high speed 5's, but as I slow down or maybe the birds get wilder, I've switched to Fiochi golden pheasant 1 3/8 oz of 5's with a modified choke in my 391 Beretta. Got to be careful if you get a close flusher, but they sure help at the ranges I seem to get more shots at.

KansasCowboy
02-23-2009, 10:20 PM
I like to use high brass 6's because of the amount of quail where I pheasant hunt. I kind of know which bird to expect in some places but who knows some times. I just don't want to blow quail up to much and I don't have a problem knocking pheasants down with high brass 6's. If i get into a covey of quail while pheasant hunting I normally have some #8's in the vest that I change to. Or sometimes I put a #8 shot in the chamber and then #6's in the magazine to back it up if a big rooster was to come out.

Dakotazeb
02-23-2009, 10:22 PM
Now that I'm in the process of buying a new Browning Citori White Lightning 16 ga. what do you guys think is the best 16 ga. load for pheasants in both lead and steel?

For lead I'm thinking about the Federal PF 1 1/8 oz. load at 1,425 fps or the Fiocchi Golden Pheasant 1 1/8 oz. load at 1,310 fps. Both in #5 or # 6 shot. Only concern I have about the Federal is the added recoil with the increased velocity.

I'm quite undecided with steel.

I probably hunt an equal amount of private and public land so maybe I should just find a really good steel load and stick with it whether I'm hunting private or public land. I just have a tough time not using lead when i can.

Prairie Bird Hunter
02-23-2009, 10:24 PM
I like 1.25oz of 5 shot. To many people make a shot selection a big deal. Shot straight and it doesn't matter. I know easier said than done :)

UGUIDE
02-23-2009, 11:31 PM
I'm with you PBH,

I used to shoot the Federal PF's and would like to have shot the Kent Fast Lead baby mag's BUT one day I went to Ganders and those suckers were $17 bucks a box. I said no more.

Then I switched back to federal hi brass #5's early in season and then #4 after week 3. Modified choke all season long.

More and more I like the #4's as they kill better, less holes in bird and I have killed some birds at ranges that astounded me. Even these are $9-10/box.

I also like a load with a little less whallop as when hunting in groups it is a safer round since the shot is traveling with less velocity and loses it quicker too reducing potential accidents.

bobeyerite
02-24-2009, 02:35 PM
PBH said it, Shoot Straight and does not matter. I shot 2 guns on pheasant a 20 gauge and a 28 gauge. In the 20 I like Winchester 1500 fps 6 and 5 shot, 1 ounce of shot. But in my baby the 28 O/U I load my own. I have straight 7 shot in the first barrel and 6 shot in the second. That seven shot is some interesting stuff it sure hits with a wallop. At 3/4 ounce of shot one must shoot straight to get them. Yes, that little gun kills them very well Thank you.---Bob

FCSpringer
02-24-2009, 07:19 PM
I'm with you PBH,

I used to shoot the Federal PF's and would like to have shot the Kent Fast Lead baby mag's BUT one day I went to Ganders and those suckers were $17 bucks a box. I said no more.

Then I switched back to federal hi brass #5's early in season and then #4 after week 3. Modified choke all season long.

More and more I like the #4's as they kill better, less holes in bird and I have killed some birds at ranges that astounded me. Even these are $9-10/box.

I also like a load with a little less whallop as when hunting in groups it is a safer round since the shot is traveling with less velocity and loses it quicker too reducing potential accidents.

Check with the local Wal Marts, This time of year last year I found the Pheasant forever prm's 1500fpsers for 9$ a box, And hauled home 40 cases. yes cases, when we took all we even got some for 8$. Only certain wl mts had them.

pheasantaddict
02-24-2009, 09:16 PM
FCSpringer, you got any boxes you can sell me $5, you should be able to afford that with all the money you saved on that purchase. Hell, I'll even pay the shipping less you want to deliver them.

BritChaser
03-29-2009, 11:12 AM
I am an avid White tail hunter for more than 25 years, did my first Turkey hunt in 2007, and now I'm going Pheasant hunting. Seem like there are very knowlogable people here, so I would like to ask a question....

I have a Berreta Extrema, I am going Pheasant hunting at a farm in Ohio next weekend, I have been told by some to use a 3" #5 11/2 oz shot, others said that is overkill and suggest a 2 3/4 shell #5 shot. Any advice???

I don't even use 3" shells on turkey. I have shot 2 3/4" shells with 1 1/4 oz. of no. 5 on pheasants for many seasons. That's plenty ammo in my view.

BritChaser
03-29-2009, 11:14 AM
I am an avid White tail hunter for more than 25 years, did my first Turkey hunt in 2007, and now I'm going Pheasant hunting. Seem like there are very knowlogable people here, so I would like to ask a question....

I have a Berreta Extrema, I am going Pheasant hunting at a farm in Ohio next weekend, I have been told by some to use a 3" #5 11/2 oz shot, others said that is overkill and suggest a 2 3/4 shell #5 shot. Any advice???

I don't even use 3" shells on turkey. I have shot 2 3/4" shells with 1 1/4 oz. of no. 5 on pheasants for many seasons. That's plenty ammo in my view. It's what I use on turkey too, only through an extra full turkey choke. Knocks 'em dead on their tail feathers.

BritChaser
03-29-2009, 11:18 AM
I like to use high brass 6's because of the amount of quail where I pheasant hunt. I kind of know which bird to expect in some places but who knows some times. I just don't want to blow quail up to much and I don't have a problem knocking pheasants down with high brass 6's. If i get into a covey of quail while pheasant hunting I normally have some #8's in the vest that I change to. Or sometimes I put a #8 shot in the chamber and then #6's in the magazine to back it up if a big rooster was to come out.

Excellent strategy in mixed bag country like we hunt in Kansas. I always have 8s in the vest too. When a covey of quail flushes, I might score with the 5s, then break the gun, shove in two 8s, and go after the singles.

bobeyerite
03-29-2009, 11:37 AM
There is a shell I reload and I understand you buy them. They are I believe Kent English 6 shot which is 6.66 in their shot size. The key to these shell is look for true English shot shells. I load 7 shot for my 20 gauge at 1220 FPS. 1 ounce of shot. I love that shell for it will kill a pheasant better than you think and if I should run into quail. They are fine enough to give a pattern on the them also. I always have a 7 in my O/U first barrel and a 6 shot in the second. In the late season that 6 is replaced with a 5 shot.---Bob

Flush 'Em Hard Rocky
03-29-2009, 01:15 PM
And they also recommend #2 steel shot. That also surprised me, seems like a lot to me.

onpoint
04-01-2009, 05:23 AM
How about Fioochi Golden Pheasant loads in #5 or #6

I always liked Remington Express extra Long Range or Nitro Mags in #5 or even #4s for far flushing birds

Merlin
04-01-2009, 11:45 AM
I agree with much of what has been written. Some friends & I go to So Dakota a couple of times a year. These are wild birds and very robust, I've had luck with 4's & 5's in a 16 ga.

On public ground (in SD) steel is required and I shoot 2's.

I know guys have had success with 7.5 shot (using skeet chokes) on preserve birds and in Iowa I have gone thru many boxes of 6's but now prefer the 4/5 shot.

Hub
04-03-2009, 02:44 PM
I'd shoot a preserve bird with any old shell I had on hand at the time. They don't take much killing. I've killed plenty of penned roosters with 7/8's oz of 7.5's out of my twenty gauge. A wild bird is a horse of a different color. I wouldn't shooting anything less than 1 1/8 oz of 6's. I prefer 1 1/4 oz of 5's at 1400 fps for wild birds.