Will these loads work for pheasant?


September 29, 2012, 05:16 PM
Hey everybody,

My wife and I are going pheasant hunting for the first time this year. Season starts here in November so we have a little time but I want to pick the right load soon. We have boxes of shells laying around from our other hunts (dove and grouse) and was wondering if these loads would work
my wife:
20ga #6 1220fps 1oz
12ga #6 1250fps 1oz

are these loads good or should I find something else for us?


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September 29, 2012, 06:36 PM
IMO, if you're shooting 'driven' pheasants, the 6's will probably be good for the head & neck coming at you;
But if you're shooting 'flushing' pheasants going away from you, personally I'd want something a little heavier like #5's;

Whichever...hope you have a good hunt and don't pull a "Dick Cheney" on each other.

September 29, 2012, 07:37 PM
I shot a boatload of pheasants with #6 from a 12ga pump last year.

This year I got a 20 ga semi. I have purchased #6 loads. But mine are either 7/8ths of an ounce or I think 1.5 ounce in some 3 inch shells.

In any case they work great for pheasants. Last year I had a modified barrel on my 12 ga and it worked great.

This year I am going to try a quarter choke to open up the pattern a bit.

I went to a skeet range here in Colorado this am and found once I got there that they restricted the shot size to 7 or 8 or 9. I left. I am going up to a place tomorrow that lets me shoot #6 at the skeet range.

September 29, 2012, 08:25 PM
Thanks for the feedback so far, I think we may just stick with what we have unless this thread starts getting a lot of feedback saying they are not enough. :)

September 29, 2012, 10:41 PM
20 guage is all I've ever used. 6's are my preferred size.

September 30, 2012, 12:02 AM
6 is great on pheasant. I know people who use the budget loads (7.5, usually). Matters more if you can hit them, than what you hit them with.

September 30, 2012, 03:06 AM
sound fine to me

September 30, 2012, 11:05 PM
I have found that #6's were knocking feathers out and not dropping birds well when flushing. Switched to #4's and was instantly dropping them where the 6's were having trouble. #5's work well too.

In all my pheasant hunting I have found the best load in my 20 gauge to be the Fiocchi Golden Pheasant nickel plated #4 or #5 3" mag. My longest shots on pheasants have been with this load.

October 1, 2012, 04:02 PM
I killed a lot of roosters with high brass 6s and 4s before I settled on fiocci golden pheasant nickel plated 5s as the perfect medicine. I bought a flat of it and haven't used anything else for the past few years.

October 1, 2012, 08:32 PM
We lived in South Dakota for 11 years and downed several dozen ringnecks each season. Straight away shots should be passed every time. I've had good luck with with my 16 gauge double: low base #6 in right barrel and high base #4 in left barrel. Pheasants are not tough to kill with good shot placement in the head and chest.


October 1, 2012, 08:50 PM
Thanks fellas. I am kind of leaning towards picking up some #5's and getting that happy medium between #4 and #6.

October 3, 2012, 05:26 PM
I use #6 shot only anymore. #4's teared up the breast meat. Also consider that the smaller shot is safer if you are hunting in groups. I also use light loads in 12 gauge (1 or 1-1/8 oz) because I find that if I am on, the bird is just as dead just as far as with the heavier loads, and they kick a lot less.

October 3, 2012, 05:34 PM
>>Straight away shots should be passed every time.<<

Huh? - Those are the easiest shots. If they are too far or you shoot too low, sure; the tail and thick rear feathers will absorb the shot. At reasonable ranges, I kill almost all of the straight away shots. Basically, you are trying to break a wing. On a rear shot, you may also hit them in the back of the head and neck.

October 3, 2012, 08:10 PM
I shoot mostly 4’s and sometimes 5’s but I wouldn’t have a problem with 6’s if the birds are sitting tight and flushing close. Some of the guys I hunt with use 6’s and they do ok. I feel like I knock them down with more authority with 4’s but I can’t say if that’s actually true or not.

October 3, 2012, 09:50 PM
6 shot is ok on young birds and reasonable range. For later season birds, I use
Mostly 4 shot. However most places in states I hunt require steel shot now. In steel I like 3 and 2 shot or 4 shot early when you get younger birds and closer shots.

October 4, 2012, 04:29 AM
A South Dakota native here....I prefer #5's as a general purpose pheasant load. A 12 gauge 2 3/4 in load with 1.25 oz of shot has killed me plenty of pheasants over the years, along with a LOT of sharptail grouse

October 12, 2012, 06:09 PM
5's are my favorite, then switch to 4's late season

October 12, 2012, 06:46 PM
20 ga, 1oz copper plated #4 has been doing it for decades for me.

October 13, 2012, 02:16 AM
Do you hunt over a dog? Pointer or flusher? 1oz of 6s will kill a close flushing Pheasant easily, if the birds flush wild, I like 1 1/4 oz of 5s, and have even used 4s with success.

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