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View Full Version : Federal 20ga ammo: Lighter/faster or heavier/slower?



jflewis88
06-15-2010, 10:19 AM
Just picked up a Beretta Silver Pigeon III 20ga. Have been carrying around a very heavy auto 12, this thing's light as a feather in comparison. Looking forward to having less arm fatigue this coming season!

I've been using the Federal Pheasant Forever loads in the 12ga, have been super happy with their patterning and performance.

Looking at the Federal loads for 20ga, I see two options that might fit my needs: One is their Wing-Shok Magnum (P258), 3", 1-1/4oz shot, lists 1300fps. The other is the 20ga version of the shell I've been using in the 12: the Pheasants Forever (PF204), 2-3/4", 1 oz, 1350fps.

Long and short: Take the extra 1/4 oz of shot and sacrifice 50fps? Or go lighter load, but slightly faster?

Anyone have an opinion?

Thanks!

cheesy
06-15-2010, 03:22 PM
Your title brought me into this thread, I was immediately going to say lighter and faster, but then I see your loads are only 50fps different.

Two years ago my wife went pheasant hunting for the first time, I'd bought her some 3" 1 1/4" Fiochhi Golden Pheasant loads, can't remember the speed, but they weren't fast by any means. She was hitting birds but not killing them on opening day. That night we went to walmart and bought some 1 oz loads that were a couple hundred fps faster (at least that is how I remember it) and the next day she was killing birds cleanly. Could have been the difference in days, but I think it had a lot to do with the speeds.

Dakotazeb
06-15-2010, 04:03 PM
Not sure how you hunt pheasants and the distances that you will be shooting at but I would lean toward the 2 3/4 inchers. You could always buy a box of each and see which ones perform the best for you.

Just one word of caution. I'm not sure what the Silver Pigeon III weighs. But if it is extremely light, recoil can be an issue even in a 20 ga. Before you stock up on too many shells you may want to shoot a few to see if the recoil is a problem.

A few years ago I bought a used Benelli Legacy 20 ga that was very light at under 6 lbs. Bought a box of standard 2 3/4" loads and shot it a few times. Darn thing kicked more than my 12 ga. Montefeltro with 3" shells. I no longer have the Legacy.

jflewis88
06-15-2010, 04:36 PM
Your title brought me into this thread, I was immediately going to say lighter and faster, but then I see your loads are only 50fps different.

Two years ago my wife went pheasant hunting for the first time, I'd bought her some 3" 1 1/4" Fiochhi Golden Pheasant loads, can't remember the speed, but they weren't fast by any means. She was hitting birds but not killing them on opening day. That night we went to walmart and bought some 1 oz loads that were a couple hundred fps faster (at least that is how I remember it) and the next day she was killing birds cleanly. Could have been the difference in days, but I think it had a lot to do with the speeds.

Thanks, Cheesy! I'm really thinking of going with the 3", thinking being that having 25% more pellets flying will be of greater benefit than having them move 50fps faster...

jflewis88
06-15-2010, 04:44 PM
Not sure how you hunt pheasants and the distances that you will be shooting at but I would lean toward the 2 3/4 inchers. You could always buy a box of each and see which ones perform the best for you.

Just one word of caution. I'm not sure what the Silver Pigeon III weighs. But if it is extremely light, recoil can be an issue even in a 20 ga. Before you stock up on too many shells you may want to shoot a few to see if the recoil is a problem.

A few years ago I bought a used Benelli Legacy 20 ga that was very light at under 6 lbs. Bought a box of standard 2 3/4" loads and shot it a few times. Darn thing kicked more than my 12 ga. Montefeltro with 3" shells. I no longer have the Legacy.

The Pigeon is light, but I'm not that concerned with kick. I hunt Colorado and I don't put enough rounds through the gun on a given day to get sore. Might feel it a little during practice, but that's okay. I'm 220 lbs and absorb a fair bit of kick with no issues.

Thanks for the heads-up, tho!

Dakotazeb
06-15-2010, 04:50 PM
Thanks, Cheesy! I'm really thinking of going with the 3", thinking being that having 25% more pellets flying will be of greater benefit than having them move 50fps faster...

I would suggest that you test pattern each load to see which performs best in your gun. Sometimes trying to force more shot down a barrel can actually blow the pattern and put fewer pellets in the killing zone. I have found this true on more than one occasion with turkey loads. Sometimes the shells with less shot actually put more pellets in the target. Just another FYI. Good luck.

jflewis88
06-15-2010, 05:02 PM
I would suggest that you test pattern each load to see which performs best in your gun. Sometimes trying to force more shot down a barrel can actually blow the pattern and put fewer pellets in the killing zone. I have found this true on more than one occasion with turkey loads. Sometimes the shells with less shot actually put more pellets in the target. Just another FYI. Good luck.

Roger wilco. Thanks for the feedback! :cheers:

RK Special K
06-15-2010, 10:12 PM
I have two 20ga. Benelli Monty's. I consider the FED 3" 1 1/4oz @ 1300fps my "go to" shell. Sometimes I will use the 2 3/4" 1 oz 1350fps because this allows an additional shell in the mag. I seem to do well with both. To bad they haven't quite figured out how to push 20ga loads at 12ga speeds(1400fps+), but the FED boys at Pheasant Fest said they are always trying. I'm curious about this new Praire Storm shell.

I've got my Monty's down to 5lbs 2oz by removing the stock pad and substituting the wood forearm with a rubber bike handle grip. I like extremely light guns with short barrels - I have a 20ga Franchi at 4lbs 12 oz for snap shooting the ruffies. I shoot with both eyes open and the gun stock usually recoils under my armpit - never quite gets up to my shoulder so felt recoil is not an issue with me. Mr. Ruff "taught" me this method when I was 11 - 15 years old in the THICK tangled woods/brush of north central Michigan.

But to the point of weight, once you "go light" it's hard to go back above 6lbs. Anything above this feels like a boat anchor to me. Anything above this, I wouldn't consider using the term "light":

5 1/2lbs to 6lbs Light

5lbs to 5 1/2lbs UltraLight

Less than 5lbs HyperLight

My dream gun is a 3lb, 6 shot, semi-auto that NEVER jams! The Benelli Monty 20ga(youth) is as close as I've got to it - so far.

jnormanh
06-19-2010, 02:03 PM
50 FPS at the muzzle will be absolutely insignificant 30 yards out. 1-1/4 oz will hit 25% harder than 1 oz at any yardage.

jmac
06-19-2010, 02:20 PM
50 FPS at the muzzle will be absolutely insignificant 30 yards out. 1-1/4 oz will hit 25% harder than 1 oz at any yardage.

have to agree with jnormah on this one. dakota zeb makes a great point about patterning you gun to find the best loads. i have found that different guns like different loads, and the best way to find this out is to pattern at different yardages, and with different chokes tubes. that is if your gun doesnt have fixed chokes. hope this helps:)

Dakotazeb
06-19-2010, 02:58 PM
50 FPS at the muzzle will be absolutely insignificant 30 yards out. 1-1/4 oz will hit 25% harder than 1 oz at any yardage.

Your statement is probably true if you are looking only at the numbers.

The 50 fps difference will become less as the distance increases. Not equal, but the difference will be less.

If you consider that the 1 1/4 oz. load has 25% more shot than a 1 oz. load it would be correct to assume it will hit 25% harder. However, that is assuming that each patterns identically and that's where your statement is flawed. As I've stated previously, sometimes lighter loads will actually throw more pellets in the "killing zone" than heavier payloads. And it's no secret that trying to shove 1 1/4 oz. of shot down a 20 bore can cause some poor patterns.

So the only way to know is to pattern each load in your gun and see which performs the best. And every gun will pattern a little different.

Don't you sometimes think that we put way too much thought into some things? :)

bobeyerite
06-19-2010, 06:12 PM
I have shot a 20 gauge for years, If fact my main guns are all 20's. Now for hunting, I shoot nothing but 1220FPS, 1 ounce of shot. That is the standard 20 gauge hunting load. I have no trouble killing birds with that load. I got greedy at Wal-Mart one day. They had some 1165 FPS 1 ounce of shot Game Loads for sale cheap. Those darn things wouldn't kill anything, let alone cripple. They would pull feathers and the bird would keep on flying. That makes me believe that speed does make a difference. But I have been told or read that too much speed is not good either. I shoot 1275 and 1300 FPS .75 ounce of shot shells in my 28 gauge. They appear to really hit so hard it makes one wonder. If they are are in fact hitting that hard. A lot of people say No.......Bob

jnormanh
06-19-2010, 08:20 PM
.

Don't you sometimes think that we put way too much thought into some things? :)

Absolutely. Any load sold for pheasants will kill them. 1 oz will kill them, and 1-1/4 will kill them, and 2 oz will kill them. The first pheasant I ever killed was at least 35 yards with a 2.5" (1/2 oz) 410 load. He hit the ground like a rock and never twitched.

1200 fps, and 1300, and 1400, and 1500 will kill them.

#4, 5, 6, 7.5 will kill them.

Fer crying out load - a rooster is a 2# bird, not a water buffalo. One ounce of #8 @ 30 yards will knock a grown man off his feet. (Ask Harry Whittington).

Many years ago Winchester had their factory shooters demonstrate the M42, .410 ga on pheasants. They could kill pheasants all day long with that old paper hulled, paper wad, no plastic shot cup .410 ammo.

Over the years I've crippled and just plain missed a lot of birds. It was never the gun or the ammo.

If you can't kill pheasants, forget the gun and the ammo. Look in the mirror.

jmac
06-20-2010, 11:46 AM
Your statement is probably true if you are looking only at the numbers.

The 50 fps difference will become less as the distance increases. Not equal, but the difference will be less.

If you consider that the 1 1/4 oz. load has 25% more shot than a 1 oz. load it would be correct to assume it will hit 25% harder. However, that is assuming that each patterns identically and that's where your statement is flawed. As I've stated previously, sometimes lighter loads will actually throw more pellets in the "killing zone" than heavier payloads. And it's no secret that trying to shove 1 1/4 oz. of shot down a 20 bore can cause some poor patterns.

So the only way to know is to pattern each load in your gun and see which performs the best. And every gun will pattern a little different.

Don't you sometimes think that we put way too much thought into some things? :)

i had not thought about your point about 1oz vs 11/4oz. food for thought. ill have to check into this by patterning this at range. i think you may be on to something. thanks i needed an excuse to do shooting anyway:)

niceshot
06-20-2010, 02:08 PM
It was never the gun or the ammo.Never say never. The size of the pellet, whether it's plated or not, and the velocity at impact, all make a significant difference. If memory serves, Harry Whittington was not killed cleanly. I'll bet he's thankful Dick wasn't shooting my 12 gauge 1 3/8 oz of nickel plated #4 shot @1485 fps out of a modified barrel.

jnormanh
06-20-2010, 07:33 PM
Never say never. The size of the pellet, whether it's plated or not, and the velocity at impact, all make a significant difference. If memory serves, Harry Whittington was not killed cleanly.



But he was down and would have been an easy retrieve. :rolleyes:

niceshot
06-20-2010, 10:25 PM
Thats funny. True enough, but he looked a little thin and scrawny. I don't think he could survive 3 days out of doors in a Dakota blizzard.

RK Special K
06-21-2010, 10:06 PM
I have read that the faster an object is propeled, the faster its rate of losing speed. For example perhaps similar to this:

1 1/4oz @ 1400fps mv is at say 1120fps @ 30 yards - a 20% loss of mv.

1 1/4oz @ 1200fps mv is at say 1020fps @ 30 yards - a 15% loss of mv.

Friction is a tough fight and I agree with jnorman also - that 50fps extra mv becomes rather insignificant at 30 yards out.