I don't personally own a 20 --- yet ! But, my buddy has several that he takes with for pheasant. He uses the 1 1/8oz loads in 4's or 5's. I've never seen a bird not die in midair yet. I've used 4's and I'm now trying 7 1/2's in my 12ga. I thought the 4's were a bit rough on them at close to intermediate range. Haven't shot any with the 7 1/2's yet.
I'm using 1 1/4oz in a 2 3/4" shell. I fired one round so far. The recoil is on par with a good fieldload. This is in my 12ga O/U Stoeger Condor. Not bad at all. The 4's I used were 3" and an 1 3/8oz. A bit more bite in felt recoil, still not bad to me.
Heavy shot 20 GA 1 1/4 oz #6, 3" mags are almost embarrasingly deadly on decoyed ducks with an mod or imp mod choke.
I found that 12 GA 2 3/4 4 clobber geese like good old fashioned lead 4's. It was kinda silly shooting these short shells out of my BPS 12 GA 3.5" but they were doing better than 3 1/2 #2 Steel...go figure.
Thanks. I'm aware that Remington offers their 3" 20 gauge shells at 1300 fps, in #4, #6, and #7 1/2 Hevi-Shot. But at $1.60-$1.75 per shot! I'll gladly build my own one at a time if necessary. I'm just anxious to know whether I'll be satisfied with 6's and 7 1/2's, or do I need to scrounge up some 7's?
I don't own the 20 gauge I be shooting - yet, but there's no sense getting such a piece if its not going to do the job for me.
For doves, quail, skeet, sporting clays and even trap, the twenty will do just fine.
For wild pheasants, forest grouse, sharptails, sage hens and turkeys I know the 20 gauge will handle them just fine too.
But for huns and chukars? I've never hunted either bird and shots are often long. All the birds listed above I know I can take with 8's or 7 1/2's in lead shot, and nickel or copper-plated 7 1/2's, 7's, 6's, and even 5 1/2's and an occassional #5. But anything much larger than #6 shot in a twenty is really pushing it's potential. The #4 Hevi-Shot might actually be detrimental to even the strongest 20 gauge barrel and its choke, regardless of how open. This is according to Ballistic Products and some of their studies and experiences.
But coming up with a chukar handload in Hevi-Shot or other kinds of pellets. Such is just part of the fun and adventure in shotshell reloading! :wink:
I grew up hunting the breaks of the Snake river for chukar and adjoining ag land for huns. I generally used a sxs spanish no name 20 gauge or 20 gauge Beretta and also a 16 gauge Remington. All of these with 1oz reloads that me and my friend made. #6 high antimony lead at 1150+ will work fine. There is really no need to go with Hevi on these birds unless it's mandated. While I love my Hevishot, I'd say save the money and just get Remington Express Long Range #6 or Winchester Super X #6 and you'll be fine.
I was on the Oregon side of the water. Oxbow and Brownlee reservoir area and also the banks of the Powder River.
We hunted over a Drahthaar named Rusty, and Lab named Oly, and Vizsla named Hank and a Springer named Sam. All worked fine, we were young and had as good or better legs than the dogs did, so it was sunup to sundown hunting downhill until we hit birds then sidehill afterthat.
Now when I hunt them it's with a close working vizsla and hopefully with Live2Hunts Lewellen Setter.
For pass shooting ducks and wild flushing pheasant, I've been using the 20ga 3" #4 (I got for $10/box on sale at GIJoe after rebate) with absolute deadly results up to 75yds. I've seen no barrel scoring or muzzle bulging using the modified choke in my Benelli M1 Field. Unfortunately, I hamburgered (actually vaporized) one pheasant on a shot under 30yds with this setup.
I'm thinking about reserving #4's for geese and moving up to #6 for ducks/pheasants when I buy more. The 3" 20g shell is the best way to reproduce a 12g 2.75" load capacity in a really light easy to carry gun. The 2.75" 20ga 1oz #7.5 will be my go-to for chukar and quail.
Hevi shot may be expensive, but I like it much better than even lead. I only shoot steel for decoyed earlybirds with IC choke. It lends confidence to my shooting and that's half the game. The other half is no missed lead shot in my meat leaching heavy metal into my pheasant stew.
I haven't shot any Hevi-Shot yet, as I don't presently own a 20 gagger, but the Benelli you mentioned is on my short list of candidates. So your post is timely.
Being a reloader, I'm hoping that Environ-Metal (who makes Hevi-Shot) along with Ballistic Products, will make size #7 available. Until I pattern some loads I won't know how well 6's and 7 1/2's will handle all of my upland needs, but I want the option of shooting a size in between them.
Good to know the 4HS's you've shot haven't scored your barrel, and that the Benelli barrel/chokes can take it. 8)
I'll have to look into your suggestion, JTH. Thanks.
Tonight while going through some old magazines I was throwing out, I found an article in Guns & Ammo about the virtues of Hevi-Shot in 20 gauges, and the prospect of using the 20 gauge on waterfowl over deeks.
The writer went down to Uraguay and was shooting ducks and wood pigeons, using Hevi-Shot. The trip was to evaluate the use of Hevi-Shot in the field.
After three days of using 1 1/4 ounce 12 gauge loads at 1325 fps MV) and a shoulder that was really getting tender, he switched over to a M11-87 20 GA for his shooting. He and other hunters were reliably, consistently knocking down ducks bigger than blue or green-wing teal, but similar somewhat. The author was using 3" 20 gauge loads of 1 1/8 of #6 Hevi-Shot. One shot that resulted in a stone dead wood pigeon was measured with a laser range-finder at 62 yards.
Anyway, I think I'll have to really give 7 1/2's as well as 6's a go after rereading that article. I also have to agree with the author that buying HS loads across the counter (if it becomes necessary) is really a small price to pay for chukar and sharptail loads if I couldn't load my own. I still want to tinker with some 7's however. :wink:
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