20 gauge pheasants??????


sixgun MAK
April 15, 2007, 04:07 PM
What are your thoughts on using a 20 gauge for hunting pheasants?

Big mistake, or stick with a 12 gauge?

If you enjoyed reading about "20 gauge pheasants??????" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
April 15, 2007, 04:25 PM
20ga. will handle any upland game bird if you do your part, wich may be easier with the 20 than a 12 anyway.

April 15, 2007, 04:31 PM
20 gauge will work very well...especially if you can use 3" shells. Do you part with some 5 shot and you'll drop any pheasant.

April 15, 2007, 04:37 PM
I know a guy that uses a 410 for all his bird hunting. If it flies he shoots it with the only shotty he has.

April 15, 2007, 04:39 PM
I spent my first few pheasant hunting years (I started as an adult) with an O/U 20 gauge. I never felt undergunned and never took a shot and had the thought "I wish I would've had a 12" afterward. 20 is plenty. Ohhh, a rhyme.


April 15, 2007, 04:40 PM
28ga is a very popular upland bird gun - a 20ga is just fine. Maybe it is less forgiving of sloppy shooting, but it's very effective, and lighter to carry. Ammo for a 28 can be harder to find and more expensive, though.

April 15, 2007, 04:47 PM
The sole difference between 10, 12, 16, 20, 28 and 410 gauges is the number of pellets in the shell. Each of these gauges should pattern the same, with same chokes in each gauge. The advantage of the larger (smaller numbered) gauges, is that they hold more shot, ergo, produce a more dense number of pellets into the pattern. By the way, the velocity should also be the same, or very similar. A 20 Ga is an extraordinary gauge for upland hunting! I use a 12 Ga, with 2 3/4", 1 and 1/8 ounce of 4 shot, at 1,200 FPD only for the extra shot, over the 20 gauge with 1 ounce of 4 shot, at 1,200 FPS. If I were to purchase a 2nd shotgun, it would be a 20 gauge. That is in fact, what I wish I would have bought in the first place.

Edit to add: Read this textbook: Modern Pheasant Hunting, 2nd Edition, Steve Grooms, Stackpole Books, ISBN: 13:978-0-8117-3227-7.

My wife and daughter bought me this book for Christmas this past year. Later, I bought my Wingmaster 12 guage. I went with 12 gauge because I wanted extended range ability. Read the book and make an informed decision.


April 15, 2007, 05:27 PM
a 26" 20 ga is the ideal pheasant gun.

April 15, 2007, 06:19 PM
20 works just fine; my favorite is the 28, but only in covers where the birds flush fairly close. I'd much rather pack either all day than one of my 12s.

Dale Taylor
April 15, 2007, 06:54 PM
A 2 3/4 cartridge with #6 works fine for me in Mich. and Nebr.

April 15, 2007, 08:37 PM
I grew up in Eastern Colorado pheasant hunting and moved to
Kansas about 12 years ago and I have killed many pheasants in
both states with a 20 gauge. ;)
I switch to a 12 gauge a few years ago and did not shoot more
birds, just carried more weight now I use the old 20 gauge again

April 15, 2007, 08:57 PM
8, 7.5, 6, 5 or 4. The shot size should reflect the distance at which you intend to engage the pheasant. The farther the target, the larger the pellets should be. At the same time, the larger pellet size decreases the number of pellets, which directly impacts density of pattern. For every benefit, there is a limitation in other considerations. I believe Grooms currently uses #5 shot. He also says that there is not a significant difference between 20 gauge and 12 gauge to 45 yards. Most hunters engage their targets between 25 and 45 yards. An Imp. Cyl. choke works great to that distance. His book is truly comprehensive. When I go pheasant hunting, I take 8, 6 and 4 shot with me. Depending on how far out the pheasants are taking flight, I may switch out. Last outing, #4 was perfect for me.

April 15, 2007, 09:11 PM
12ga is definitely more though. my first time out with a 20ga and 2-3/4" 6-shot. i only got a shot at one, and he wasn't stopping. i suppose i could've wiff'd, but i didn't think i was way off. i have shot clay with it. he was probably towards the outer range limit, i just know i've dropped birds at about that distance with a 12ga before...
but no, i'm not knocking the 20ga. as with any gun, its limits generally exceed your own. i plan to hunt birds with it again and am just going to have to get a better sense of how i shoot with it.

April 15, 2007, 09:26 PM
What are your thoughts on using a 20 gauge for hunting pheasants?

Why not? I used to shoot them with a bow and bird head arrows. I get 6 out of 10 on average.:)

April 15, 2007, 10:25 PM
I use 20 exclusively for Pheasants. I have a Winchester 101 choked Skeet 1 and skeet 2 for close in work , for that I use European style Extra hard 6's in fast 2 3/4" loads. This combo is the bomb to about 35 yards. For those long shots, or hunting over a dog that flushes birds far out, I have a Browning A-5 20 ga Magnum that has a slightly loosened full choke (and long forcing cone) and I shoot 3" #4s,5s or 6s and can really reach out to almost 70 yards and fold them with that combo, if the need arises!

April 15, 2007, 10:53 PM
The pheasants that my 13 year old daughter has taken with her Mossberg Bantam 500 in 20 ga, have been too dead to complain. :D

John Peddie
April 16, 2007, 09:24 AM
I use a 20 ga. pump for almost everything. #6 for pheasants, #7 1/2 for chukar.

I've also used it on ducks and geese, with Bismuth #4 or 6, but no shots beyond a lasered 35 yards (the opposite side of the pond), and most at 20-25yds.

I used the 3" shells for upland at first, but have now switched to 2 3/4 there as I could see no appreciable difference. Waterfowl is 3" because I can't find no-tox in 2 3/4.

Works fine for what I do, but from what I've read on this forum, I wouldn't be using it on SD roosters late in the season.

For that, I'd take the 50 year old Ithaca 37.

In the end, it's what you shoot well and have confidence in.

April 16, 2007, 10:04 AM
As John Peddie said-it is all in the range. Esp if hunting with a pointer or close in flusher the 20 is good. For ducks-dont sky bust. 20-25 yards and they are dead. With the lighter gun you will be getting on them faster and they will be closer.

April 16, 2007, 11:39 AM
I am going to say that a 20 gauge is always sufficient, but might be less than ideal, if you aren't using a dog or two. With dogs, my brother never thought much of using a 12 gauge, preferring his 20 gauge SxS. Without the shorthair and both Labs, he always grabbed his 12 gauge 11-87.

He used to fill vases with tailfeathers, so I'll give weight to his opinions.

April 16, 2007, 01:34 PM
20 will work fine provided you do the work you need to.

April 17, 2007, 02:18 PM
I've always used a 12 Ga side by side for all shotgunning... primarily because that was all I had...

12/16/20 should all be fine..

April 21, 2007, 08:30 PM
I hunt behind dogs for pheasant/quail here in Ks. A SXS 20 ga. is perfect for my needs.

April 22, 2007, 05:42 AM
Honestly, I prefer a 20 gauge for pheasants. Somewhat lighter and certainly enough power. I also find that on average I shoot a 20 gauge shotgun better. Even with birds and a shotgun, placement trumps power.

If you enjoyed reading about "20 gauge pheasants??????" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!