Which size shot for rabbit?


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Bobson
January 24, 2013, 06:27 PM
My brother and I are going rabbit hunting Saturday morning. What size shot should we use in the shotgun? Its a 12ga - I know its a bit heavy but I don't own a 20ga shotgun.

I've read everything from size 4 through 7-1/2. What would (or do) you use in a 12 gauge? These are gonna be cottontails, not jacks. We don't have a dog to go after em, if that makes any difference. And obviously, would like to find a happy medium of minimizing gut shots, and not destroying half the meat in each bunny.

Thanks for the help.

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d-dogg
January 24, 2013, 06:34 PM
6 shot, and aim for the head. You're still going to be picking some shot out of the meat.

Any reason you can't use a .22 rifle?

Bobson
January 24, 2013, 06:40 PM
He's 17, and his mom won't let him own a gun till he's 18, so we're both using my guns. I own one shotgun, and one .22 rifle. One of us will be using the Marlin 60, but the other will need to use either a Glock 19, or my shotgun. I was thinking the latter lol.

ljnowell
January 24, 2013, 08:14 PM
I'll tell you how I used to hunt rabbit with a 12 gauge. I always used 6 shot. I also took my gun out and shot cardboard at a few distances to see what my shot spread and pattern was. Then I would use that knowledge to get the fewest amount of pellets in the rabbit. I used to do this with squirrel too. Sometimes you arent even aiming at the animal, even when its standing still. You aim so that the shot pattern hits only on the head, or mostly.

Nasty
January 24, 2013, 08:47 PM
6...and chew carefully.

Bobson
January 24, 2013, 09:05 PM
Six it is, thank you guys. :) Good advice about patterning it, we'll be sure to do that.

John828
January 24, 2013, 09:43 PM
Growing up, I always used 7 1/2s -- maybe 7/8ths or 1 oz loads.

Pistol Ranch
January 24, 2013, 09:58 PM
00 Buck will get er done:neener:

ID-shooting
January 24, 2013, 10:08 PM
Sabot slug will ensure one shot humane kills

wankerjake
January 24, 2013, 11:12 PM
I prefer 6 as well, but 7 1/2 and 8 do the trick.

1911 guy
January 24, 2013, 11:57 PM
Agreed with No.6 shot. As a default, anything normally considered "upland" game like rabbits, pheasant, etc., five or six shot is a good shoice. I like sixes because my shotguns pattern it well, but fives are another good fall-back.

If you've got screw in chokes, find one that patterns evenly. Sometimes a particular shot size will either blow wide open (big gaps in pattern) or not spread as much as you'd like (big chunk of shot in center with very small periphery). I'd start with the Modified choke tube and try the Full if that is unsatisfactory. Very unlikely that Improved Cylinder will have a good pattern with shot as small as No. 6.

303tom
January 25, 2013, 12:10 AM
Lewis & I use a .410 & 3in #2`s...............But that`s just me.

mbt2001
January 25, 2013, 02:07 AM
The larger the shot, the more tender the meat will be...

:neener:

Blue68f100
January 25, 2013, 09:21 AM
I've always used #6

LeonCarr
January 25, 2013, 09:22 AM
Another vote for 6.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

mnhntr
January 25, 2013, 02:11 PM
I like 6 or 4 for close shots and BB for longer shots

Fryerpower
January 25, 2013, 02:15 PM
For me it is limited to what I can find. I have the choice of 7-1/2 shot or 5 shot in 20 ga. I chose 5.

Jim

45crittergitter
January 25, 2013, 07:11 PM
#5 or 6 lead.

ridgerunner1965
January 25, 2013, 07:31 PM
if you basically know your pattern size at diff ranges you can shoot ahead of the bunny and catch the head with the edge of the pattern. a bunny running away always seems to catch sum lead in the butt.i reload so i like a lite load of 2's or 4's but 6's are fine if your buying your shells.

let us know how yur hunt goes! yu got me hungering for sum bunny.we dont have many wild ones here so ill jus go out back to the shed and get one out of its cage.

308win
January 25, 2013, 07:52 PM
I see you are from Arizona so I assume you are hunting Jackrabbits. I don't know if they are harder to kill than Cottontails but I always used 71/2s on Cottontails as it doesn't take much to kill them.

1911 guy
January 26, 2013, 12:01 AM
I've always preferred to use nothing smaller than No. 6 because they're easier to pick out of the meat. Shot a squirrel with No. 7 1/2 once and bit a few pellets.

Bobson
January 26, 2013, 06:47 PM
Well we got out today and it was a blast! :) It was raining steadily but we still had a good time. We spent about three hours gushing around Agua Fria's rolling hills and ravines - walkin and stoppin, trying to spot em sitting, or on the run. I picked up some Estate size 6 steel shot for the 12ga, and it worked very well.

We failed to spot a single sitting bunny the whole time we were out, so the .22 was all but useless today. We saw five rabbits total, as they ran out from under cactus or thick brush piles, and my brother-in-law was fast enough to shoulder the shotgun and fire on three of em. He was able to score two very clean kills, the third got away unscathed. Despite our efforts, we were unable to find a single one of them once they ran off. I'll be glad to post the pic if he doesn't mind.

ETA: The one minor disappointment today was the end result - the cooking. The meat was very tasty, but also pretty tough. We're going to need to find a proper recipe that results in some nice, tender meat. Definitely looking forward to getting out again.

wankerjake
January 26, 2013, 07:12 PM
Sweet!

What I do for rabbit, squirrel, dove and quail:

Soak in a water/salt bath for at least an hour, sometimes overnight. Not a brine, but maybe a teaspoon of salt in enough water to cover the meat.

Then in a ziplock bag I put 2-3 cups flour depending on how much meat I have. I add paprika, salt, garlic salt and pepper to taste. Then completely coat the pieces in my spiced flour mixture, shake and bake style. Then I brown the pieces in a mixture of olive oil and bacon grease if I have it. Just until the batter browns:

http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo33/wankerjake/IMG_20121008_193902.jpg

Then I put it in a cast or ceramic oven pot with a lid and bake at 365F for 60-80 minutes. Again, it kinda depends on how much you do, I usually do ~2 rabbits at a time.

While that is cooking, I like to make gravy from the oil/drippings in the pan, and mashed potatoes.

You can check the meat after an hour to see if it's done. Make sure it's cooked throughout, but if you overcook it, it will be dry and tough. Especially cottontail, it's easy to dry it out.

http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo33/wankerjake/IMG_20121008_210201.jpg

red rick
January 26, 2013, 07:23 PM
Boy that looks good and makes me hungry.

Bobson
January 26, 2013, 09:05 PM
Thanks Jake, looks delicious and we'll definitely try it next time. I'm hoping to get out again next Saturday, even if its only a short while. Been way too long since I've enjoyed the outdoors.

Bobson
February 2, 2013, 01:13 AM
Going out again tomorrow morning. Weather's expected to be in the 50s. Perfect.

ETA: BTW, that's the picture from last Saturday. Brother-in-law with the two bunnies he took.

Bobson
February 2, 2013, 02:16 AM
Soak in a water/salt bath for at least an hour, sometimes overnight. Not a brine, but maybe a teaspoon of salt in enough water to cover the meat.
I assume it is refrigerated during this time. Should I keep the container covered or uncovered (like with a lid or saran wrap)? If all goes well tomorrow, I'll come back here looking for the answer. ;)

Sav .250
February 2, 2013, 07:44 AM
He's 17, and his mom won't let him own a gun till he's 18, so we're both using my guns. I own one shotgun, and one .22 rifle. One of us will be using the Marlin 60, but the other will need to use either a Glock 19, or my shotgun. I was thinking the latter lol.
He`s your brother (so you say) yet you call your mother his mother? Why not our mom?
Seens strange,that`s all.

Deltaboy
February 2, 2013, 08:16 AM
With Shotguns any shot from #6 to #4 will do. So will a 22 rifle.

wankerjake
February 2, 2013, 08:43 AM
I assume it is refrigerated during this time. Should I keep the container covered or uncovered (like with a lid or saran wrap)? If all goes well tomorrow, I'll come back here looking for the answer.

Yessir, I refrigerate if i have the space. If not, I throw some ice cubes in there to keep it cold. I generally don't cover the container, I just make sure all pieces are submerged. Good luck!

Bobson
February 2, 2013, 08:48 AM
He`s your brother (so you say) yet you call your mother his mother? Why not our mom?
Seens strange,that`s all.
He's my brother-in-law. Sometimes I call him my brother, sometimes my BIL. Sometimes I call her our mom, sometimes their mom. Its interchangeable to me, never gave it much thought.

Also, thanks Jake.

Jason_W
February 2, 2013, 03:07 PM
I would think that for rabbit, larger but fewer pellets might be the way to go.

Patocazador
February 2, 2013, 10:11 PM
When I hunted in Alabama, the rabbits were mostly 'cane cutters'. They are a race of very large cottontails and they were usually quite tough. Par boiling them in a pressure cooker was the key. After the pressure cooker just bread and fry then make gravy and then ... heaven. They wound up being delicious. I think rabbit is my favorite except maybe for elk and teal.

wankerjake
February 3, 2013, 12:22 AM
My momma does them in a pressure cooker. They are outstanding that way.

CSA 357
February 3, 2013, 01:08 AM
#4 they will most of the time pass threw and take the hair with them, i hatr hair and shot in my food

Zeke/PA
February 3, 2013, 12:02 PM
When we had the Beagles I liked 7& 1/2 shot Trap loads for shooting with the dogs.
Shots were relatively close and the pattern was surely dense enough.
When the weather turned really fridgid and the ground snow covered, I liked to walk the Fence/Hedge rows and shoot a sitting rabbit or two with a .22 cal Handgun.

blue32
February 4, 2013, 06:59 AM
I always carry #6 but I have no idea how it performs on rabbit. Been out over 10 times this year and haven't seen a single one.

Mobuck
February 10, 2013, 01:48 PM
We don't have enough rabbits for hunting(except a few I let the Grandsons shoot). Those shots are with a 2.5" 410 using 1/2 ounce of #6.
Back in the 60's, I hunted rabbits every Sunday afternoon. My choice was limited but what I used worked very well. I used Dad's on Remington 17 20ga full choke loaded with 7/8 ounce #6. At very close range I could literally shoot a rabbit's head off-those were the ones we ate. Most others were fairly riddled and some of those we saved the hindquarters and back meat-the others were cat food. Before you jump me for this perceived waste, providing an alternate to buying food for the barn cats was as important as supplimenting human food in those days.

Bobson
February 10, 2013, 04:11 PM
I always carry #6 but I have no idea how it performs on rabbit. Been out over 10 times this year and haven't seen a single one.
#6 works very well in 2 and 3/4 shells, 1 oz loads. Its worked well for us so far. Hope you have better luck.

T.R.
February 11, 2013, 05:25 PM
I load low brass #7.5 ammo in my 16 gauge shotgun.

TR

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