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 Post subject: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:39 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:41 am
Posts: 27
Looking for some advice on a good pheasant load. I will be using gun club or AAHS 2 3/4” and Winchester primers. Any recommendations on a powder and wad combo. Leaning toward 1 1/4 oz of shot.




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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 9:47 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:58 pm
Posts: 1439
Location: Oklahoma
For a great all around 12ga 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz pheasant load, check out Alliant's reloading guide for recipes with Unique or 20/28. Keep the velocity around 1220-1250 fps and use #5 magnum lead shot.

http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/default.aspx

Here are a few of my pattern numbers from a load I've taken a good many pheasants (and ducks back in the lead shot days) to give you an idea of the kind of performance you might get from that type of load.

Patterning results from a 12-gauge Browning Citori with 28" Invector-plus barrels using Briley flush chokes (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).

12 GA 2 3/4" RELOAD (WAACF, W209, UNIQUE, CB1114-12)
1 1/4 oz #5 lead (210 pellets) @ 1220 fps
30 YARDS – SK / pattern 145 (69%)
30 YARDS – IC / pattern 177 (84%)
40 YARDS – LM / pattern 155 (74%)
40 YARDS – M / pattern 155 (74%)
40 YARDS – IM / pattern 174 (83%)
50 YARDS – IM / pattern 125 (60%)

Hope this helps, good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 9:50 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:23 pm
Posts: 552
Location: Upper Midwest
Classic pigeon load that when loaded with #4 or 5 shot is as good a pheasant load as I've ever shot. No need for more velocity and patterns great in almost all guns.

Gold Medal Hull 1.25oz shot Universal 23.3 grains Fed. 209A 12S4 10,400 PSI 1,220 fps

There are similar loads in the Hodgdon manual for Remington and Winchester hulls.

Your welcome,
Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:16 pm 
Crown Grade
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:51 pm
Posts: 2378
Location: S.E. Wisconsin
browning625 wrote:
Looking for some advice on a good pheasant load. .


Where are you hunting pheasants? When i was hunting game farm/pen raised birds I took my sporting clays load , 1 1/8 oz. at 1200 fps and put # 5 shot into it. Killed a lot of birds over my Springers.
Wild birds in Iowa and South Dakota, 1 3/8 oz. #5's at 1200 fps.

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:02 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:04 pm
Posts: 259
Location: Denver, CO
Check out this thread that I started a year ago last November for 1-1/4 pheasant loads.

https://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewto ... 3&t=501088

I used up that one pounder of WSF that I had and the bag of 250 Win WAAF114 wads that I had. At the rate I've been using them up I won't have to load any more for another 5 years.
8 days in SoDak were good this season. So far if my bird sightings in Eastern CO for 8 days this season does not improve, those shells might last me for 10 years. Lots of fresh air and exercise taking my Win 101 for a walk following my Labs.

Good luck.
Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:09 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:22 pm
Posts: 436
Location: NE South Dakota
For AAHS you want 1 1/4 oz I would recommend longshot powder. You can run it from 1330 to 1440 depending on how hot you want to go. WAA12F114, SP12 wads.

If you choose to bump up to 1 3/8 oz you can use the RP12 or WAA12r and run it up to just about 1300.

Gun Clubs will run the same powder/wads for each load with a little bit different data on the powder charge, similar velocities. Hodgdon reloading data center has the exact data for you.

Typically, for wild late season pheasants I run federal hulls, blue dot and 1 3/8 oz at 1350 fps.


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:30 am 
*Proud to be a*
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:56 pm
Posts: 7907
Location: Central ND
Here are two loads that pattern well and everything fits with no BS. 800-X thrives in cold weather. Can also be loaded using Winchester CF hulls....not sure if the fit is good in Winchester HS nulls.

The loads come right off the Hodgdon website.


Remington GC/STS/Nitro hull
Winchester 209 primer
24.5 grains 800-X
Remington SP12 wad
1 1/4 oz. #6 magnum shot

1,275 FPS 10,100 PSI

Remington GC/STS/Nitro hull
Winchester 209 primer
26.0 grains 800-X
Remington SP12 wad
1 1/4 oz. #6 magnum shot

1,325 FPS 11,000 PSI

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aka Mr. Tactful. Common sense no longer appears to be common.
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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:41 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5648
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
I like what JNW & Joe Hunter said for wild flushing pheasant. However, for shooting over pointers & close flushing birds, 1 1/8 oz. & #6 is fine. Actually, a 20 ga. or even smaller ga. guns work fine for less demanding situations. When hunting over flush dogs or driven birds with a sxs 12 ga., I like to use 1 1/4 oz. #5's in the lt. bbl. @ about 1200 fps. & 1 1/8 oz. #6's in the rt. bbl. @ about 1145 fps.. More velocity is not a negative unless it degrades patterns. I have also found an open choked 20 ga. sxs to be quite satisfactory when the range isn't excessive. Late season hunting in N. Dakota can produce some pretty tough shooting, especially when all the water is frozen! I have never shot a pen raised anything!


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:42 am 
Crown Grade
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2003 3:31 pm
Posts: 17934
Location: Kearney NE
In the before Blue Dot days I loaded a bunch of AAs and Blue Magic hulls with Herco, Pacific Verilite Blue wads and 1-1/4 oz of Lawrence #5 shot. Herco is no longer listed for 1-1/4 oz loads (though I’ve still got a few boxes loaded) so I’d probably load Blue Dot, Longshot, or 800X with most anybody’s 1-1/4 oz wad, first choice Downrange of one style or other, Remington Power Piston or a WW wad a tossup. My old Model 12 just ate them like M&Ms and just knocked ring necks right out of the sky as far as you could reasonably anticipate, some even farther. In those days we didn’t pattern or chronograph loads, we just loaded them up and shot ducks and pheasants as if we knew what we were doing. I’m surprised we ever got anything!

BP

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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:58 am 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 6:08 pm
Posts: 1861
Location: Minnesota
If wild pheasants, I use 1.25 ounces of #5 magnum shot, REM SP12 wad, long shot powder ( don’t recall the amount but it’s on their website), Win AAHS hull and w209 primer. It’s a 1400 FPS load. Some worry about shot set back and flattening. That may be correct, but I and several others have used these for a number of years with great results.


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:53 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:11 am
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Tampa, FL
JNW wrote:
Classic pigeon load that when loaded with #4 or 5 shot is as good a pheasant load as I've ever shot. No need for more velocity and patterns great in almost all guns.

Gold Medal Hull 1.25oz shot Universal 23.3 grains Fed. 209A 12S4 10,400 PSI 1,220 fps

There are similar loads in the Hodgdon manual for Remington and Winchester hulls.

Your welcome,
Jeff


Chalk me up as another believer in 1 1/4 oz, #5s at 1,220 fps! Great patterning and no need for more velocity. However, if you think extra velocity is necessary; well, then it is for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 1:23 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:01 am
Posts: 6404
Location: Newton Kansas
My 2-3/4" 12-ga Early Season (closer dumb birds) load is a Remington Unibody hull, 30gr of Longshot, a Claybuster version of the AA12F114, and 1-1/4oz of 6's. Hot Primer (it's going to be cold out there, I do not keep ammo warm on the truck's defroster).


My later season load entails a Fed. High Power hull, more Blue Dot, IIRC a Remington wad, and 1-3/8 oz. of 6's....

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I don't always venture out into the sub-freezing darkness, but when I do, it is hunting season, and I carry a Browning. Stay hungry my friends.


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:06 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2003 12:52 am
Posts: 5755
Early season utilizes an ounce and an eighth handicap trap load of #5 shot in a Remington Figure 8 or Winchester WAA12 wad pushed by an appropriate amount of American Select. Any of the clone wads will work fine too but I currently happen to have the "real" wads on hand.

Later in the year or for the second barrel its basically the old 1 1/4 oz pigeon load using Unique and Winchester WAA12114 wads and #4 shot. I'm sure the clone versions will work fine but I ended up with a case of the actual wad many years ago and that will likely last me a couple more decades.


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:10 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:03 pm
Posts: 172
Really depends on where you are hunting, type of dogs used, and whether they are wild birds. At 20 to 30 yards rise over pointing dogs, generations of pen raised pheasants have been killed with a 7/8 oz. or 1 oz. or 1 1/8 oz. load of no. 7 1/2 or no 6 magnum shot at 1200 fps. It take a pheasant a little bit of time to get up to speed after all. That's why a 20 gauge load of 7/8 oz or 16 gauge load of 1 oz. can drop them cleanly, without having to use heavy 12 gauge loads of 1 1/4 or 1 3/8 oz loads in size 5. You are loading 12 gauge --- I load 1 oz. or 1 1/8 oz. for 12 gauge, standard target wads at 1200FPS and it patterns great for those closer birds. Lots of components can produce that load.

Now wild birds, late season, more heavily feathered and fat, rising at greater distances and /or not holding for the dogs -- well that 1 1/4 oz. load of no. 5s in a 12 gauge would be hard to argue with. Leave the 20 gauge at home if you are loading no. 5 shot because I don't think it patterns nearly as well from a 20 bore. And loading 12 gauge Win AAHS hulls might be a bit tight so you'd need a dense powder like WSF.

Either way, I am a fan of the copper or nickel plated magnum lead shot for its hardness and penetration on pheasants, especially on that going away shot. I seem to find those pellets still round and lodged deep into the chest and not all balled up with feather on the way in. Don't know why exactly.

I don't mean to denigrate anyone pet load but the big fallacy in my opinion is loading up to 1300 and greater FPS and loading a shot weight of more than 1 1/4 oz. Just not necessary-- marketing BS from the ammo manufacturers to justify higher prices. And you are limiting your potential component choices to achieve those loads. These heavy hot loads were not in existence 50 to 70 years ago. And yet, good wingshooters still dropped their limits of pheasants back then with well centered patterns of lighter loads at slower muzzle velocities. Do you really think the birds have evolved and grown armored skin? Don't you think the shot, wads and propellants' that we have today are better than what was available 70 years ago?

A low and behind miss is still a low and behind miss with a heavy hot load.

Let me put it another way. Lord Ripon, formerly Lord de Grey, one of the most celebrated wingshooters of the Victorian age in England killed over 140,000 pheasants between 1867 and 1900, shooting a 1 oz. load of soft lead shot propelled by black powder! (And 97,000 partridges and 50,000 grouse!) Those loads were probably between 7,000 and 8,000 psi. No magnum shot alloyed with antimony. No one piece wad with plastic shot cup and obturating skirt. No progressive burning nitro cellulose propellants. :!:

There is a minimal ballistic advantage at the longer target distance of 35 to 45 yards with a 1 3/8 oz. load at 1350 FPS. It is pure marketing hype -- bigger, stronger, faster (like the Olympics motto). Frequently these super heavy and super hot loads do not pattern any better than a 1200 FPS 1 1/8 or 1 1/4 oz. load. Results from a 2D pattern plate can be deceiving because they do not show the longer shot string.


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:41 pm 
*Proud to be a*
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:56 pm
Posts: 7907
Location: Central ND
simslax,

I hunt with a 16 gauge (not that it makes a difference) using 1 1/8 oz. of #6 magnum lead, all season. I don't change anything, not chokes, or loads, or guns. I did use some #5 Bismuth on WPA land.

I hunted wild pheasants, huns and sharpies for the entire season starting in very early October and ending on Jan 3. taking my last pheasant on the last day. I have been hunting in the midwest since 1993, but now I live here.

That's my experience and I am not trying to change what anyone wants to use for ammo, guns or dogs.

Where I take issue is with Lord Ripon. In all likely hood those were driven birds. It is MUCH easier to kill any game when you have a full on head shot. So trying to compare what Lord Ripon did (even though it is certainly impressive) to how we hunt wild birds in the US really is comparing apples and oranges.

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aka Mr. Tactful. Common sense no longer appears to be common.
NSCA#544066


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:04 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:43 am
Posts: 756
That's right Dogchaser , birds pushed to come to me , no problem !

Walking 4 to6 miles through Prairie Grass does make our bird hunting a little more challenging !


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:11 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:03 pm
Posts: 172
Agreed. Good point that shooting high driven birds offer an better opportunity for a lethal shot at head or chest. Thanks for pointing that out.

But even for walkup or rough shooting, at ranges inside 30 yards, I don't see the need or advantage of the heavy, high velocity loads.

Use what you want or like.


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:54 am 
*Proud to be a*
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User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:56 pm
Posts: 7907
Location: Central ND
simslax,

I am glad that all the shots on wild birds aren't within 30 yards. Part of hunting is the challenge of good wing shooting. I would guess that most birds I killed in 2020 were in that 30 yard range, especially early in the season. They should be if the dogs are doing their job.

Once Thanksgiving rolled around, those 30 yard shots were few and far between.

Then again......the oldest rooster I shot was the very last of the season. He tried to sneak off and held tight on the edge of some unharvested wheat. He presented a 25 yard shot.....it was a bit cold with a 15 mph wind.....go figure. The rest of the birds he was with flushed before we got to within 150 yards of them.

_________________
Mark

aka Mr. Tactful. Common sense no longer appears to be common.
NSCA#544066


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:31 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:58 pm
Posts: 1439
Location: Oklahoma
geometric wrote:
I like what JNW & Joe Hunter said for wild flushing pheasant. However, for shooting over pointers & close flushing birds, 1 1/8 oz. & #6 is fine. Actually, a 20 ga. or even smaller ga. guns work fine for less demanding situations. When hunting over flush dogs or driven birds with a sxs 12 ga., I like to use 1 1/4 oz. #5's in the lt. bbl. @ about 1200 fps. & 1 1/8 oz. #6's in the rt. bbl. @ about 1145 fps.. More velocity is not a negative unless it degrades patterns.


Thanks for the kind words geometric. When shooting my 12ga, I often use 1 1/8-ounce #6 lead reloads for my first shot. I didn't mention that since the OP ask about 1 1/4-ounce loads. Here are a few of my pattern numbers with that load to give you an idea of their performance.

Patterning results from a 12-gauge Browning Citori with 28" Invector-plus barrels using Briley flush chokes (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).

12 GA 2 3/4" RELOAD (RSTS, R209, GREEN DOT, CB1118-12)
1 1/8 oz #6 lead (267 pellets) @ 1225 fps
30 YARDS – SK / pattern 171 (64%)
30 YARDS – IC / pattern 211 (79%)
40 YARDS – LM / pattern 173 (65%)
40 YARDS – M / pattern 182 (68%)
40 YARDS – IM / pattern 195 (73%)

I also agree with you that a 20ga works just fine for much pheasant hunting and what I carry the majority of the time. Here are a few of my pattern numbers to show how my 20ga reloads perform.

Patterns from a 20-gauge Browning Citori with 28" Invector-plus barrels and Briley flush chokes (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).

20 GA 2 3/4" RELOAD (BLUE DOT)
1 oz #6 lead (233 pellets) @ 1200 fps
30 YARDS – SK / pattern 147 (63%)
30 YARDS – IC / pattern 168 (72%)
40 YARDS – M / pattern 146 (63%)
40 YARDS – IM / pattern 163 (70%)

20 GA 3" RELOAD (BLUE DOT)
1 1/8 oz #5 lead (190 pellets) @ 1220 fps
30 YARDS – SK / pattern 140 (74%)
30 YARDS – IC / pattern 149 (78%)
40 YARDS – M / pattern 138 (73%)
40 YARDS – IM / pattern 147 (77%)

As far as velocity is concerned; here's some pattern work I did that I've posted before that may shed some light on this topic.

Patterning results from a 12-gauge Browning Citori with 28" Invector-plus barrels using Briley flush chokes (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).

12 GA 2 3/4" FEDERAL GAME-SHOK HEAVY FIELD LOAD
1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) @ 1220 fps
30 YARDS – IC / pattern 173 (77%)
40 YARDS – Mod / pattern 145 (65%)
50 YARDS – Full / pattern 109 (49%)

12 GA 2 3/4" FEDERAL PREMIUM UPLAND HIGH-VELOCITY LOAD
1 ¼ oz #5 lead (216 pellets) @ 1400 fps
30 YARDS – IC / pattern 152 (70%)
40 YARDS – Mod / pattern 126 (58%)
50 YARDS – Full / pattern 84 (39%)

It’s obvious from the pattern numbers that the high-velocity load shot much more open patterns from the chokes tested. Both the IC and Modified chokes shot 7% tighter patterns with the slower Game-Shok load and 10% tighter with the Full choke.

It’s clear to me that you could save some money and reduce recoil by shooting the 1220 fps load and not forgo any pheasant killin’ effectiveness. Heck, the slower load put 24 more pellets (a 29% increase) in the 50-yard pattern than the premium load. Just because they are labeled “Premium” loads, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best "performing" loads!

That’s my take, now you can be the judge!


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 Post subject: Re: Pheasant Load Recommendations
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 11:36 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:03 pm
Posts: 172
Re Joe Hunter's load velocity comments -- I agree completely.
1200 FPS loads get the job done if you do your part.

5s are more effective than 6s or 7 1/2s at 40 yards range. But 6s are more than adequate at less than 40 yards and on pen raised birds.

IC is a very versatile choke out to 30 yards and would probably be my choice in a single barrel gun. My favorite set up with a double gun is skeet and Light Mod.




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