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Which size shot for rabbit?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Bobson, Jan 24, 2013.

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  1. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    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.
     
  2. d-dogg

    d-dogg Member

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    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?
     
  3. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    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.
     
  4. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    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.
     
  5. Nasty

    Nasty Member

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    6...and chew carefully.
     
  6. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Six it is, thank you guys. :) Good advice about patterning it, we'll be sure to do that.
     
  7. John828

    John828 Member

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    Growing up, I always used 7 1/2s -- maybe 7/8ths or 1 oz loads.
     
  8. Pistol Ranch

    Pistol Ranch Member

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    00 Buck will get er done:neener:
     
  9. ID-shooting

    ID-shooting Member

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    Sabot slug will ensure one shot humane kills
     
  10. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    I prefer 6 as well, but 7 1/2 and 8 do the trick.
     
  11. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    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.
     
  12. 303tom

    303tom member

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    Lewis & I use a .410 & 3in #2`s...............But that`s just me.
     
  13. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    The larger the shot, the more tender the meat will be...

    :neener:
     
  14. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I've always used #6
     
  15. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    Another vote for 6.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  16. mnhntr

    mnhntr Member

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    I like 6 or 4 for close shots and BB for longer shots
     
  17. Fryerpower

    Fryerpower Member

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    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
     
  18. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

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    #5 or 6 lead.
     
  19. ridgerunner1965

    ridgerunner1965 Member

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    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.
     
  20. 308win

    308win Member

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    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.
     
  21. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    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.
     
  22. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    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.
     
  23. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    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:

    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.

    IMG_20121008_210201.jpg
     
  24. red rick

    red rick Member

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    Boy that looks good and makes me hungry.
     
  25. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    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.
     
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