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Shot sizes for woodcock & pheasant

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Lone Star, Jan 24, 2010.

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  1. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    If you had only a 12 ga. (M-870 Wingmaster) and wanted to shoot woodcock, would you use # 8 shot in target loads, or what?

    Sort of at the other end of the scale, do you like #6's for pheasant? At what range do you most often shoot pheasant?

    Thanks,

    Lone Star
     
  2. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    It don't matter what you have; you aren't going to take more than one at a time with you anyway. 8s are okay for Woodcock, but I am hardly an expert. I have always liked 5s for pheasant. They are usually going away and even at range a pellet isn't likely to stall out halfway through the boiler room leaving a cripple to feed the foxes. I actually think you get less feather draw with the bigger pellets.
     
  3. ole farmerbuck

    ole farmerbuck Member

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    I've shot quite pheasants for many years and have switched from 6 to 4 shot. Both work fine though, you've still got to be able to hit em!:)
     
  4. cat_IT_guy

    cat_IT_guy Member

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    6s worked well for me on pheasant.
     
  5. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    I don't hunt anything with #8 shot any more, unless I'm someplace where I'm restricted to #8. I haven't found it to be very effective, and it doesn't fit well with what I consider to be ethical hunting in many situations. #7 1/2 works better, and I even move up to #6 for wild quail sometimes. Some birds are small, but tough.

    I've never hunted woodcock, so I'm not sure about what's best for it, what ranges you encounter, etc. I've hunted grouse, dove, quail, hun, chukar, and pheasant.

    For pheasant, I like #5, but have used #4 a fair amount since it's easier to find #4 shells. I can load my own, but for the field I don't think it's worth the trouble. #5 patterns have been dense enough to take incidental quail, but have enough power in them to drop a pheasant flying away at 40+ yards, so it hits the ground dead, not running.
     
  6. gunmn74

    gunmn74 Member

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    I shoot alot of Pheasants and I always use #6s. If we start getting up
    alot of quail I switch to #7-1/2s.
    If it is cold and the pheasants are sitting tight you could have a very close
    shot. If they are running and flushing you could have close shots or shots
    that are bordering on out of range. Take the full choke with you just in case.
     
  7. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    8 or 7-1/2 for woodcock, and something like Fiocchi Golden Pheasant in 5's for pheasant will work well
     
  8. targshooter

    targshooter Member

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    In my experience

    As a youth I hunted a lot of game birds; mostly pheasants, grouse and woodcock. I used shot sizes from #6 up to #4 for pheasant. At one time I loaded them in this order: #6, #5 and #4. I did get some birds on the second and third shots (shotgun limited to three shells in rural NJ when I was a kid). Most pheasant hunting was in corn or bean fields or along the wind row borders of such. In a wooded area I would go for the #6, as shots will be close. All woodcocks I shot were in wooded areas, mostly transitional areas from coniferous to deciduous tree growth. In NJ there always seemed to be plenty of honeysuckle growth between the trees where I hunted. Thus, for woodcock I used 7 1/2. Anyone who has hunted woodcock can tell you they dart in and out among intervening fauna so quickly that the first shot is liked to be your only shot. The 7 1/2 could penetrate a leaf or two of honeysuckle if the shot between the trees was still good, whereas I found #8 was stopped too easily.
     
  9. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

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    The woodcock around here are pretty small birds, about like a bobwhite quail, and I've never heard of a long shot on one, so I'd use #8's, maybe even #9's.

    Though a wingshooter, I've never hunted pheasant but the reams of info I've read about it lead me to choose #5.

    Both assuming lead shot.
     
  10. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    woodcock are easy to kill (if you can hit 'em) with 8's or 7.5's
    Fiocci Golden Pheasant nickel plated #5's are the best wild rooster medicine I've found and I've shot more than a few.
     
  11. Hunterdad

    Hunterdad Member

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    I use #6 Nitro Pheasants and it knocks 'em down.
     
  12. c01

    c01 Member

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    Fiocci Golden Pheasant nickel plated #5's

    +1

    They worked very well this year.
     
  13. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    When I hunted woodcock I used 1oz of 8 (early season) after grouse came in I switched to 1-1/8oz 7-1/2 (mid season) then for grouse and pheasant I used 1-1/8 of 7-1/2 and 6 (late season) all in a 16 gauge SXS and over a pointer.
     
  14. tactikel

    tactikel Member

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    If I'm really into woodcock I use 7.5 shot (lead). If we are getting up grouse too I use 7.5 for my first shot and 6 shot for the second.
    I've use 6s for pheasant, but have hunted over a really good dog. For brush busting, or for really wild flushing pheasant I would use 5 or 4 shot. Copper 4s will easily knock down pheasants at a range that exceeds my limit for an ethical shot.
    Never use target loads for game, humane kills are more likely with game loads. You have harder shot, more shot, and more velocity.
     
  15. Two Cold Soakers

    Two Cold Soakers Member

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    7.5 cylinder choke light loads - Less shot in a target that is usually hit under 10 yards.

    Pheasant? Well....
    I've seen wild Iowa birds get hit in December with an ounce and a quarter of #4 and outrun a Field Trials dog.
    On the other extreme, I've seen pen raised birds die in mid air getting hit by 3/4 oz of 7.5's out of a 28 ga.

    I'd go with #5 IC-Mod, or #6 in a Mod-Full, based on pattern results in my own guns.
     
  16. sarduy

    sarduy Member

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    just use a slug..






    hehehe joking..

    just use #6 or #4
     
  17. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

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    Not always true. Many/most true target loads use harder shot than field or game loads, and that's why they pattern better, even using less shot. There is no "always" or "never" here - you have to know the specs on any particular two loads you're comparing.
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Just so you know:
    Rails, Woodcock, and Common Snipe are migratory game birds, and as such, you must by Fedreral law, use Steel or other Non-Toxic Shot to hunt them in the United States.

    rc
     
  19. Two Cold Soakers

    Two Cold Soakers Member

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    Steel shot is not required for woodcock in all states.
     
  20. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Sorry - DOVE are migratory game birds under federal regs and lead shot is perfectly acceptable to use for them as they are not waterfowl
     
  21. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

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    For pheasants, it's usually 6's in the bottom tube (mod. choke) and 4's in the top tube (full choke) of an over/under.
     
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