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What gauge and action do you normally use when pheasant hunting?

  • 12-gauge Semi-Automatic

    Votes: 13 18.6%
  • 12-gague Over/Under (or SxS as well)

    Votes: 22 31.4%
  • 12-gauge Pump

    Votes: 11 15.7%
  • 20-gauge Semi-Automatic

    Votes: 9 12.9%
  • 20-gauge Over/Under (or SxS as well)

    Votes: 20 28.6%
  • 20-gauge Pump

    Votes: 1 1.4%
  • Something else

    Votes: 10 14.3%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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I'm planning on coming to the group pheasant hunt this year, and I'm trying to figure out what gun(s) to bring. I will be coming straight from a duck hunt where I will have my 12-gauge S/A, but I'm also bringing along an Ithaca Model 37 in 12-gauge as a backup gun.

I also would like to know if I really need 3 shots at pheasant (yeah, I know, if you're a good shot you only need one LOL) or if an O/U is all that I need. And then, what gauge are you using for pheasant (Geez, I'm all over the map here). So anyways, I've posted this poll to further confuse me.
 

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If I really want to bring birds home, I would take my L4s 12 gauge with 3 round capacity. It weighs 6 3/4 pounds on the postal scale, empty. It's got a very tight MOD (5/10) choke which is what I use for pheasants when I really want to bring back birds (vs a nice walk with the dog and maybe a bird.) The tighter 9/10 would be for ducks. The advantage is that the gas operated action is really really very soft on the shoulder and I shoot the gun well, possibly as a result. I use 1 1/4 oz of good quality No.5 lead shot going around 1220 fps. Last season I ended up with Remington Express XLR no. 5 at 1330 fps and that's fine. So are the Fiocci Golden Pheasant 1 3/8 ounce going even faster. But boy, they make a bigger boom that makes me glad I have that good recoil pad and energy disapating gas action! I won't feed them in my Ithaca!

The Model 37 is light and sweet and for long walks and in my mind a high status symbol. I treat mine to only those 1220 fps shells because she's over 80 years old and with that weight and only a hard plate on the butt, it'll bruise me up if I am shooting a lot.

Reason to have three shots- I've had situations where I take two shots at the first bird THEN the second one flushes as the dog trots back, surprising me.

As you point out, the third shot is usually hopeless in a simple "the bird flushes and I shoot" situation. I have had to learn the hard way not to shoot too soon in my excitement, wait for the shot and not throw the first one away. But what about the case where several birds go up? Since it's a group hunt, hitting a double in front of your friends would cement your status as a pheasant god!

Now, all this advice is from a Democrat, so take it for what it's worth.
 

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I’ve been using the same 12ga. Win 101 for 40 years now. It’s still seems to work okay.
As of the past few years, I will take my 28ga out on days when pheasant, woodcock,and quail, overlap.
 

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In North Dakota, 12 ga pump 870. It works for ducks in the morning and pheasants in the afternoon and I have shot a triple on flushing birds with it.

Closer to home strictly pheasant hunting will be a 20 ga pump 870.
 
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12 if no dog or a long ranging flusher; 20 if using a pointer or similar
 
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I'll be using a 16 ga SXS and Fiocchi Golden Pheasant #6's. The dogs we use are pretty steady and unless the birds are up and wandering, they give you plenty of time to get set up for the flush.
 
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The last pheasant hunt I did, I used a Tristar Viper G2 16 Ga, and a Browning A5 new version Sweetsixteen.


cdb
 
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When the stars align, I have shot three pheasants with three shots without reloading. It’s not uncommon to get multiple flushes within a short time such as a double and then a quick single. Of course if you are group hunting your buds can help out, but I’m often solo. I like a three inch 20 gage SA for pheasants as a nice light carry gun shooting 1 and 1/4 oz number 5 shot. If your duck gun is a tank, bring something lighter.
 

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Yes the third shot can be nice though I hunt exclusively with O/Us. For God's sake, you don't need more than 3 though!!! All the guys I see that load up 5 always just fill the sky with lead and miss. In over 30 years pheasant hunting, I honestly don't remember someone getting on on that 4th or 5th shot.

Oh and I find a 16ga O/U with 1-1/8oz shot @ ~1300fps to be about the most ideal pheasant gun on the planet. I now use that probably 80% of the time. Early season I'll go to a 20 and every once in a while I'll bring out the 12 ga but mostly just for nostalgic purposes
 

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Your duck guns will work fine. Yes three shots are nice to have. Rarely get a single bird on third shot, but flock and late flushers make third shots viable.
 
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I have done most of the pheasant hunts at 4b's with the Huglu crew, I don't think I have ever fired 3 shells at a pheasant there ever.


cdb
 
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