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 Post subject: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:05 am 
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I don't shoot a lot of feral pigeons, but when they come in at the end of the day I try hard to get them as they taste to me just like a dove. I have found them to be surprisingly tough. Last year I shot a couple with 12 gauge pheasant loads (5 shot) and they were still alive when I recovered them on the ground. At the end of the day today I had three come in fast and low and got one. I shot the bird twice with 3 inch #2 steel loads and again it was still alive when I found it. When I cleaned this pigeon it had a big hole in one side of its breast where probably more than one pellet went through.

Obviously these birds are not armored, but they rival pheasants in my experience. Anyone have favorite pigeon loads? Since I see them mostly in an area that has pheasants, doves, squirrels and rabbits and I am usually carrying a 20 gauge, I am thinking something like a Fiocchi golden pheasant shell in 5 shot makes the most sense.




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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:45 am 
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#6 lead. The classic pigeon load is 1-1/4 oz. #6. One oz. of #6 out of a 20 gauge works well, just choke accordingly.

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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:39 am 
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What kind of pigeon are you talking about???? I have shot literally 1,000's of pigeons at the farm with cheap promo 1 1/8 1200fps 7.5's or 7/8 of 7.5's

Try putting a mojo out if you have one. For some reason they seem to dive bomb them.
I love a good pigeon shoot.

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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:14 pm
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brookie wrote:
What kind of pigeon are you talking about???? I have shot literally 1,000's of pigeons at the farm with cheap promo 1 1/8 1200fps 7.5's or 7/8 of 7.5's

Try putting a mojo out if you have one. For some reason they seem to dive bomb them.
I love a good pigeon shoot.



These are ferals that don't seem to have found a barn to frequent. Search me why they are so hard to bring down. I am accustomed to busting larger euro doves with 7/8 oz. of 7.5 shot out of a 20 gauge and I have been rather surprised that these suckers take several pellets of 5 shot in lead or 2 shot in steel and continue flying. The one I got yesterday momentarily struggled after the first hit, but really only went down after I hit it a second time and broke both wings.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2003 12:52 am
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As Randy mentions, an ounce of #6 lead is my most used 12 ga load. 7/8 or one oz of the same shot size has proven successful for me in the 20 ga. Some how, I seem to acquire these in the cheap factory loads which I have little other use for. Occasionally I'll use #7 1/2 but those are much more likely to get used for competition of some sort.

If you aren't killing pigeons with #5 lead or #2 steel it is due to not hitting a vital area. The same will happen with any other shot size. Whether it is due to poor density or not centering the bird in the pattern, it is an issue of not hitting vitals rather than shot size.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:52 pm 
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uglydog wrote:
If you aren't killing pigeons with #5 lead or #2 steel it is due to not hitting a vital area. The same will happen with any other shot size. Whether it is due to poor density or not centering the bird in the pattern, it is an issue of not hitting vitals rather than shot size.


Could be. The steel is not exactly a tight pattern relative to a dove or pigeon sized bird. These guys are also usually flying fast, zig-zaggy, and often are farther away than I would like since they are targets of opportunity rather than the main event. That all makes it a more challenging shot and makes hits more likely to be marginal for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:47 pm
Posts: 89
Location: N. IL
High brass #6 lead. One ounce in a 20 gauge and 1 1/4 ounce in 12 gauge. I like modified and full chokes.

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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:18 am 
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Pattern density is key. I shot pigeons in Texas this year and smacked them with a 20 gauge 1 oz of 7.5 at 1165 fps. I was shooting improved mod however and that makes a difference, if you're going to shoot a light payload you need to choke up.

In the pigeon ring 1 1/4 of 7.5 is standard but the requirements are different there.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:09 pm 
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brewer12345 wrote:
I don't shoot a lot of feral pigeons, but when they come in at the end of the day I try hard to get them as they taste to me just like a dove. I have found them to be surprisingly tough. Last year I shot a couple with 12 gauge pheasant loads (5 shot) and they were still alive when I recovered them on the ground. At the end of the day today I had three come in fast and low and got one. I shot the bird twice with 3 inch #2 steel loads and again it was still alive when I found it. When I cleaned this pigeon it had a big hole in one side of its breast where probably more than one pellet went through.

Obviously these birds are not armored, but they rival pheasants in my experience. Anyone have favorite pigeon loads? Since I see them mostly in an area that has pheasants, doves, squirrels and rabbits and I am usually carrying a 20 gauge, I am thinking something like a Fiocchi golden pheasant shell in 5 shot makes the most sense.


shoot them in the head :lol: I have shot pigeons in the wings and body and they don't drop dead like a rock unless you shoot them in the head. I have used #4, #5, and #6 shot in 12 and 20 gauge, Full choke in both gauges.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 8:57 pm 
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Location: Piedmont North Carolina
I shoot several hundred feral pigeons over decoys each year with AA and STS sporting clays loads with 7 1/2 shot at 1300 fps. These aren't true pigeon loads but the results are outstanding.

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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:39 am 
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Mostly I use 1 1/8 oz of 7 1/2 shot at 1200 fps with good success. for me most often the winchester super sport or federal top gun type loads that can be found at the farm and home stores, or nasty old walmart if I happen to have to go in there for something else.



I have also used with 1 oz of # 7 or #6 shot reloads I put together at about 1200 fps that have worked well.

My pigeon shooting procedure is flushing them out of the upright silos and shooting them or at least at them as they head of the neighboring farms silo. I don't have a good option for decoying at this time.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:14 pm
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Well, a friend asked me to shoot some nuisance barn pigeons, so I will have a chance to try again shortly. I have some Fiocchi golden pheasant 2.75 manglums in 7.5 for 12 gauge, so I will probably try those with a modified choke. Would not buy those shells again, but they are high quality and were being blown out very cheap so I could not resist. Should offer a full pattern.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:46 am
Posts: 69
I love the Hevishot Dove shells....they are lethal


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:15 pm 
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Actually, the "classic pigeon load" in the U.S. is 3-1/4 1-1/4 7.5's

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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:22 pm 
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Tal/IL wrote:
Actually, the "classic pigeon load" in the U.S. is 3-1/4 1-1/4 7.5's


I have several boxes of STS shells in this load, marked on the hulls as pigeon loads, that a friend at Remington gave me about 8-10 years ago. I don't recall ever seeing them catalogued.

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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:39 pm 
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oldbirdhntr wrote:
Tal/IL wrote:
Actually, the "classic pigeon load" in the U.S. is 3-1/4 1-1/4 7.5's


I have several boxes of STS shells in this load, marked on the hulls as pigeon loads, that a friend at Remington gave me about 8-10 years ago. I don't recall ever seeing them catalogued.



yup, and that reminded me to go look in a closet. I have 4 boxes of said load in federal paper hulls that are packaged in the gold and navy blue boxes, and I have 20 boxes of old school AA factory loads of said load.

all of these I found when a local mom and pop type hardware store did some checking back in their storage area and found some old ammo tucked away and clearanced it out probably about 7 years ago.

I am saving them for some sort of extra special occasion for silo pigeons


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:14 pm
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I think I found my preferred pigeon load/shotgun combination. I was hunting my favorite spot today and was set up to give a nice reception to the euro doves that come roost at the end of the day. Figured I would swap out my usual 20 gauge for an older SxS that I don't use much because it is 1) 12 gauge and 2) very tightly choked on both barrels. Although it has a longish barrel, it swings pretty quick because it is very light. I used fast (1350 FPS) shells with 1 oz. of 6 shot. There weren't a lot of pigeons around, but I got two shots and collected two pigeons. Worked really well on doves as well.

The tight choke seems to concentrated the shot pretty well even at longer ranges (blasted a dove at 40 yards or a touch more). I was reminded of why I don't use this gun much when a rabbit flushed as I went back to the truck and the shot that hit the ground when I missed was concentrated in a very small space at the short range the shot was taken.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite pigeon load?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:49 am 
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I like 1 1/4 oz of #6s. Kent all purpose are good, federal heavy game loads too. I have used Rios but they didn't pattern as well but we're only 7 bucks a box. I like the 1200ish fps loads better than the 1330 fps loads, good patterns, light recoil. One once of 6s in a 20 would be OK but a 12 is a better option in my opinion for pigeons at the longer ranges I shoot them at.



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