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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1958-vintage 12-gauge Browning Superposed with 2-3/4 chambers. I am thinking about lengthening chambers so I can shoot 3" mag loads. This is my favorite pheasant hunting gun. I am never going to sell it, so I don't care about collector's value. If done properly, will this gun be OK with 3" loads? Should I also have forcing cones lengthened while I'm at it? What should I expect for total cost?

Thanks,
tel72
 

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I'm sure it can be done but I have to ask, "why"?
2 3/4" shells are more than enough for any upland game. I don't think I've ever shot a pheasant with more than 1 1/8 oz. of shot. Most often I use 1 oz.. Unless you are hunting waterfowl 3" shells are totally unnessesary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your response, ShotgunT. The issue of which loads for pheasants is not really the topic of my post, but since you asked..........

During the past nine seasons of my pheasant hunting career, I am certain I have personally killed 500+ pheasants, and the groups I have hunted with have killed far more than that. We frequently discuss appropriate loads. I am a member of a hunt club that is minutes away from my front door which I visit regularly during the fall and winter months. I also typically go on two out-of-state hunts each year. I know whereof I speak.

As an inexperienced pheasant hunter, I started out with field load #6s. Not a good idea. I soon stepped it up to field load #5s. That enabled me to at least knock 'em down, but I spent way too much time chasing crippled roosters through cattail sloughs. Not much fun. When/if the dogs caught them, they chewed 'em up pretty good in an effort to catch, kill and retrieve them.

For the past 6 years or so, I have settled on the loads that do the job for me. At the hunt club, I shoot Remington Nitro-Mag 2-3/4" #4s. 1-1/2 ounce of buffered shot at 1260 fps. This is where I shoot my beloved Superposed.

On out-of-state trips for wild birds, which seem to be tougher, I shoot Remington Nitro-Mag 3" #4s. 1-5/8 ounce at 1280 fps. I'm no scientist, and I haven't done any lab tests, but I have killed hundreds of birds and that little bit of extra shot and little bit of extra speed really seems to make a difference on the wild birds.

On my first North Dakota trip this year, I had 12 solo kills. Every one of these birds fell stone cold dead except for one. That one was still blinking, but not running. This is what I am after. The birds don't run, so that nasty dark blood doesn't get pumped all through the meat; the dogs don't have to chew the meat to hamburger while trying to catch and kill 'em; and those few big #4s that hit the bird don't leave the meat looking like swiss cheese.

I grew up in Tennessee hunting quail and dove. My upper-Midwest hunting buddies had quite a bit of fun at my expense when I started shooting 3" shells. Now, most of them do the same on wild birds.

An important point: I hunt behind a fabulous 7-year old English Setter. The majority of my shots are going straight away. In my opinion, this angle gives you very little kill zone and requires considerably more "stomp 'em" than a crossing or head-on angle.

If your #5s are working for the type of hunting you do, then great. But if you get a lot of going away shots and you're crippling a lot of birds, give those #4 Nitro-Mags a try and let me know what you think.
 

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Tel72,
I took my superposed 12 to ND this year (we hunted around Ashley in the morning and in the afternoon hunted SD). I ended up mostly using my 20 gauge and shooting 1 ounce of copper coated 5's. This discussion as to the best load and proper gauge can go on forever and it is obvious that you are making a decision based on a lot of thought. As much as I like a 20 gauge, I also know that when the going gets tough a 12 will outshine the others and I am sure the 3" will be even better. You would do well to contact Mike Orlen for his thoughts on the rechamber. My gut feeling is that it would work well but I am sure that Mike can do it and will give you an honest answer.

My setter was just around 2 when we went and he performed flawlessly. Well, at least in my eyes. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Customstox,
You're right about the discussion possibly going on forever--more fun than talking about something like politics though. :)

Interestingly, the only guy I know who shoots more birds than me shoots Federal Premium "Pheasants Forever" copper-coated 5s. I patterned these shells in my guns and, at 1400 fps(?), the pattern really gets blown open. He shoots mod/full, but my guess is that he is actually patterning more like imp/mod. I think he is probably getting about the same pattern density as my 2-3/4" #4s, and the hi-velocity is giving him the extra energy to knock those big roosters flat as opposed to a typical field load with #5s. In other words, maybe he gets #4-like performance out of that load. Anyway, they work for him, and that's what counts.

Thanks for the lead on the chamber lengthening. I will get in touch with the guy.

Good luck with your setter.
 

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I have been hunting pheasants for over 50 years and I have killed 95% of my birds with a 20ga Parker SxS or my 20ga Superposed using 1 ounce #6 or #5 Super-X shells. There is absolutly no reason to use a 12ga magnum for these birds. Most of our group shoot 20ga or 16ga guns with 1oz loads. Some shoot 2 1/2" 12ga bird guns with the same 1oz load. Of course,we all know how to hit the target. :lol: :lol:

When released birds are hunted, I shoot a 28ga Bataglia with a 7/8 or 3/4 oz load of #6 or my old M42 Winchester with the 3 inch and #6 shot.

If someone would show up with a goose gun,as mentioned above,he would be laughed back to the van. :roll:
 

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quote:If someone would show up with a goose gun,as mentioned above,he would be laughed back to the van.

:idea: Yeah but think how nice and tender the birds would be with all that shot in them? :roll:
 

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tel72,

I strongly suspect that your gun is not shooting where you think it. At times, you are probably hitting birds with the fringe and not the core. 2 3/4 inch shells with no more than 1 1/4 ounces of shot are more than enough for pheasants within a reasonable range. There is more than enough pattern density and killing power for pheasants traveling in any direction.

Shotgun barrels are very quirky. Their patters can significantly differ on barrels off the same model guns and at different temperatures. Yours may pattern one load better than others. To find out though, would require a lot of patterning, more than can probably be justified.

http://stockfitting.virtualave.net
 

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A5Guy, you are bringing back good old memories with S/S 20.
My uncle dealt in S/S's, (high quality english doubles,and parkers), he lived in Monticello, (owned Western Auto) Tallahassee Florida area. He was an avid quail hunter and dog trainer. His favorite for quail was a Churchwell, (spelling?) twenty that weighed five and one quarter lbs. I dont know what it was worth at that time, I was scared to even hold it. I cant shoot a S/S, due to wrist problems, (old and stiff) but I sure like them.
I know this is off the thread, please forgive me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well guys, I guess it's a case of matching the gun and the load to the conditions. I can see hunting with a 20 or even a 28 if it's early-season, a big group of hunters, the birds are coming up by the hundreds, and everyone limits out in a couple of hours or less. I don't hunt that way any more.

My hunting trips are for mid- and late-season birds. They are big, tough and VERY spooky. They run like crazy, and when you are lucky enough to get a shot, it's almost always at long range at a bird that's going straight away and going fast. By that time of the year, all the stupid young birds are either dead or educated. Under these conditions, I can assure you of a frustrating and unproductive day if all you're carrying is a 20-gauge loaded with 5s or 6s.
 

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tel72,
I hope this post is read by you in time to save the wanton destruction of one of Belgium's finest.
I certainly do not wish to be rude and offensive, but as Mr McEnroe said "You cannot be serious".
May I suggest you save the money it would cost to modify your barrels to 3" chambers and magnum proofing, and instead spend some money on shooting lessons, preferably with someone who is skilled in the art of wingshooting.
Ounce and one eighth will kill any pheasant if you put the pellets in the right place.
 

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Tel72, just curious, what chokes and average distance of shots with your late season hunts?
 

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It is your gun. Do with it as you see fit.
In my opinion it would be like painting a big pink dot on the hood of a black Ferrari! It just wouldn't be right.
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Salopian, I would never claim to be the best wingshot in the world, and I probably would indeed benefit from a shooting lesson. My point, however, is how much better of a late-season pheasant wingshot I suddenly became when I switched to #4s. Now when I shoot, the bird usually falls dead, rather than an apparant miss or a crippled bird. Coincidentally, the same instant improvement has been experienced by several of my friends who have also switched to mag #4s for late-season wild birds.

As for your advice on not lengthening the chambers on my beloved Superposed, I don't know if I could bring myself to do it anyway. Just an idea I was toying with and wondering about feasibility and approx cost.

A5guy, here is some data you might be interested in: Your 1 ounce #6 loads actually have 21% more BBs than the 3" mag 1-3/8 ounce #4 loads I shoot late-season (225 vs. 186) and 33% more than the 2-3/4 oz #4 loads I shoot at pen-raised birds (225 vs. 169). IMHO, the only advantage of smaller shot is pattern density. However, on a bird the size of a pheasant pattern density is really not an issue until you get out to longer ranges where #6s and #5s don't have enough energy to get the job done anyway. To wit, at 40 yards #4s have 26% more energy than #5s and 91% more energy than #6s(!), assuming all had same initial velocity of 1330 fps. We could debate chokes, starting velocities, etc., but the point is that #4s have LOTS more energy at long ranges. Although the loads I shoot have fewer BBs than your 20-gauge loads, they provide adequate pattern densities and far superior knock-down power at the longer ranges I experience with late-season birds. For the type of hunting I do, it makes a very noticeable difference.

Grizer, you're asking the right question. On late-season wild birds I shoot Mod/I-Mod at average ranges of 35-45 yards. I take some longer shots, but even 3" mag performance beyond about 45 yards is marginal. On pen raised birds, I usually only shoot after my guests have missed. So, those are also longer shots (maybe 40-45 yards average) and I shoot Mod/I-Mod then also. I have tried Full in the top tube for both types of hunting, but it doesn't seem to give me any more effective range than I-Mod.

And contrary to one of the posts, I can state positively that it is much tougher to bring down a bird when it's flying straight away from you and the kill zone is not much bigger than a silver dollar than it is when they are crossing or flying at you and the head, neck and breast are exposed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oops. Goofed my numbers. 1 ounce of #6s has only a few more BBs than my 3" mag 1-5/8 ounce #4s (225 vs. 219) and 21% more than my 2-3/4" 1-3/8 ounce #4s (225 vs. 186).
 

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I had the forcing cone lengthened on my Browning superposed and had the chokes changed slightly. It does pattern a lot better than it did before. Don't know about lengthening the chamber. I would contact Mike Orlen on this board and ask him directly about that. He does good work promptly.
 

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Tel, These days,it seems that many guys get all hung up on statistics and theory when it comes to shotgunning. Numbers are great but I an just saying that I have been shooting pheasants with a 20ga using #6 or #5 shot for over 50 years in many states,England,Poland and Scotland and have never had any cause to use a 3" 12ga loaded with Magnum #4 shot.

To each his own. :roll: Your Superposed is not really so rare as to be collectable so bore,cut,tube it as you see fit. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A5guy, my point exactly: to each his own. I have shot pheasants with 20-gauge #6s and #4s; with 12-gauge #6s, #5s and #4s in 2-3/4"; and of course with 3" mags. Statistics aside, for the type of late-season hunting I do on wild birds, I have seen a clear difference with the #4s, and the 3" #4s are slightly better yet. The stats simply confirm my real-world experience that there is a big difference in performance--a performance improvement you obviously don't need for the type of hunting you do.
 
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