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Spankey said:
I would plan on shooting and bringing 20 ga. Remington Long Range Express, Nitro Pheasant Loads and Buffered Nitro Magnums in 2 3/4" #'s 4, 5, & 6 shot. I know it's not all about the gun and ammo, I'll have to do my part and am looking forward to it. I'm planning to bring both 12 & 20 ga. O/U for a trip like this.

Any opinions are appreciated.
Spankey, see what you started? :shock:

You are on very solid ground, and by carrying both a 12 and a 20 gauge with you your preference will be clear by hunt's end.

I do believe that #5 shot is "THE" best compromise for pheasants-- better penetration than #6, yet also a better pellet count per oz. than #4.

1-1/8 oz. loads give you larger effective patterns than the 1 oz. 2-3/4 in. loads, or denser patterns as you can see for yourself.

When it is over, you will no doubt have your own perceptions and conclusions. Looking forward to hearing them.

Have fun!
 

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This is some real good stuff. I never believed the myth of shot string. Good patterns are good patterns no matter what gauge they come from. I have shot some great patterns in 20 gauge, even with 3 inch 20 gauge shells. Why a three inch 20 gauge? Because I can use the same 20 gauge that I practice with and shoot a larger payload. I could just as easily ask, why switch to the 12 if the 3 inch 20 gauge will hold enough pellets to get the job done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Guys, I greatly appreciate all of the responses. I didn't mean to open a can of worms but, I'm finding this to be very educational for me. I will pattern some 3" loads in the new 20 gauge when I get it. Now I'm limited to 2 3/4" in these older Wingmasters.

Speaking of Wingmasters, I recently ran across an older 20 gauge Wingmaster with a fixed modified on a plain barrel(non-rib), not a LW or light contour, with 3" magnum reciever in damn good shape. When did Remington stop the production of plain barrel with fixed chokes? When did they start 20 ga. Wingmasters Magnum recievers? Is $260 a pretty good price?

Still getting the 20 gauge O/U regardless if I go back and look at this gun again or let it pass. Bore was pretty damn dirty, I'll have to look close to see if it's been shooting steel shot.
 

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I hunt upland with a Beretta SP III, 12 gauge and a Beretta SP II, 20 gauge.

Which one I use depends on different factors. Time of year, dogs I am hunting over, terrain, the specific bird I am hunting and as others have pointed out, knowing my own limitations.

In doubt I go to the 12 because I feel it gives me more versatility.

I did a pheasant hunt in South Dakota a few weeks back near the N.D. border and my 20 would have sufficed for most of the shots that were taken as I had excellent close working Brittany's.

There was one shot though that I took of a rooster shooting in to his tail feathers at I guess about 15-20 yards, as he was flying away that I was glad I was using the 12 gauge.

Feathers went everywhere but yet the rooster kept on trucking. At about 50 yards though he kinda crumpled and went to the ground - delayed reaction.
 

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Neanderthal said:
Up here 90% of hunters use a 12 ga. Me included. Big, wild spooky birds. Bigger is better, IMO.
I would fall into the other 10% as I have used mainly my 20 ga all season. Decided to change it up yesterday and shoot my new 28 ga o/u. Shot a nice limit of roosters and a pair of bonus partridge out of a huge covey. The only covey i've run across this fall and shocked me to see how big it was. I was hunting by myself with my 2 yr old lab.

I used factory Estate 3/4 oz of 6's. All birds DOA except the first shot, first bird(rooster) for the gun was a quartering away at 35ish yards. It folded like a clean kill but when my lab brought it back it still had a little kick to him. My second shot on the partridge was well beyond that range and that bird couldn't tell you if it was shot with a 10 ga or a .410.

Use what your comfortable shooting as small bores will do the job just fine most of the time. More times than not it's the person behind the trigger than it is the gauge your shooting.
 

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As somewhat of a newbie pheasant hunter, I can tell you that I started with a 20 O/U and would never consider anything else. I go with buddies who are shooting a 12 with 3 shots and missing, my 20 has taught me to shoot better, it is a sport, if I miss the bird lives, and nothing feels better than dropping a bird at 40 yards with 1 shot while your buddies are missing at shorter distance with their 12.
 

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I have gone to 1 ounce of 7 1/2 shot in the first barrel of my 20 gauge with an improved cylinder choke and an ounce of no. 6's in the second barrel with a modified choke. It seems to be working quite well for me on wild pheasants this season shot mostly over dogs points.
 

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I have been using my 20 ga with a mod choke and a 7/8 #6 first shot and second is same or is a 1 ounce #5 same for third shot.
 

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My two cents..
I've shot many birds with a 20g,using everything from wal-mart specials (7 1/2) to winchester "super specials". within 30 yrds..and a good center dead bird.I believe one needs to look at the max range here,for a twenty,that 30-35 yds.Past that,you need a 12.Its not so much the *****,as the hunter.DO you shoot fast? and do you shoot centered? I've seen guys shoot .410's with lightning speed and accuracy.If your slower and not practiced..shoot something the gives you time and range.thats the key.
IF your buddies bang away with a 12g and consistently don't hit birds,it problably has more to do with them,then needing a bigger gauge... ED
 

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To throw out anothers opinion.....

I shot a 12 ga for about 5 years for basically all of my hunting. I decided 3 years back that I would give a 20 ga O/U a shot. Since then I don't think I have shot an upland bird or dove with anything else besides a 20 ga. I do use the 12 ga in the duck/goose blind, but with upland the 20 ga definantly gets the job done and then some. It's patterened well and for the most part if the dog points the bird or we run them into a corner, (the most likely scenario when a bird is shot) the bird shot is usually dead on retrieve or busted up enough that he has no intention on running..usually dead though. But yes there are sometimes birds are hit and need to be ran down by the dog .410s-10ga will all cripple sometimes... I've found that the birds that get away are usually the ones that are missed close, and end up with a broken wing at 45yds....it happens alot with young shooters, which is the majority of people I hunt with. I've found in my 9 years of Firearm hunting (not counting the BB gun days :roll: )that if I take my time on those birds that bust out from point blank under the dog and myself, and then make a careful shot..the bird is dead on retrieve. Just for reference..I am referring to WILD BIRDS. I do help out with the dog at the Pheasant preserve, maybe shoot a scratch bird here and there, but there is a huge difference when it comes to clean kills and retrieves when comparing pen raised vs. wild.

FYI....The majority of pheasant shot and found are taken within 25-30 yds of the hunter. Minnesota Sportsman (if I recall correctly but maybe F&S did it) did a study on birds lost and shot during a variety of different scenarios. It is a great article if someone finds it somewhere post some of the data. But if the 25 yd majority statistic holds true.........then a 20 ga or likely 28ga will definantly handle your needs....

What ever you can hit with should suffice.

And consider the fact that its not really that much enjoyment to shoot birds way out at 40+ yards..I just can't say I enjoy it as much when a bird flushes wild someone takes a long range crack at it and then it comes back with a 1 bb hit to the wing and basically alive and well. Just don't feel like thats hunting. I must say I would rather hunt with the dog and let him find the birds and then make a shot. When I think about hunting I want it to be just an enjoyable time with family, dogs, friends....Crippling and losing birds doesn't help the mix. We (or just myself) go out and enjoy ourselves and try to get the ones that get up close. If they get up early and flush then I guess he gets away..not a big deal. Just keep walking and enjoying what we love.. Isn't that the purpose for most of us, Enjoyment??
 

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There is one more thing that should be considered when comparing gauges.........the weight of the gun itself. I hunt mostly blue quail and sometimes have to jog to get into position. I can shoot a 12 gauge much better than a 28 especially when I am winded. I usually use a 12 for dove also because I just shoot a heavier gun better. However in skeet I use the same gun and my 28 ga average is the highest of all. I no longer shoot a 12 in skeet.

The only thing that I use a 28 on regularly is preserve pheasants. I hunt wild pheasants a few times a year and always use a 12 gauge.
 

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I use both a 12 and a 20 gauge for pheasants, I like the light weight of the 20 early in the season but if you don't use 3" shells and size 4 or 5 shot you are at a disadvantage for late season birds. Last weekend I took my brother in law hunting and most shot were in the 35 to 45 yard range. Wild birds have acquired escape tactics over the last month and they like to get up on the fringe of shooting range. If you are hunting over pointing dogs and the birds are holding a 20 gauge is fine. Late season I use a 12 gauge with 3" and # 4 shot.
 

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I use nothing but a 16ga for upland. I can do anything I need to with a 6.1lb Merkel SxS and changing chokes and ammo.

For a change I'll take the Citori O/U in 16ga. and again change chokes and ammo as needed.

Don't need no 20 or 12ga. But I agree with all that have said you must hit what you are shooting at or it doesn't matter what you are shooting. :wink:
 

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I hope this info helps:
I hunt SW Idaho for the following birds: Chukars w my 20 gauge Benelli Montefeltro using Kent factory loads (f.l) 1oz #6 shot in 2 3/4"shells. Hungarian partridge (incidental to my Chukar hunts). Blue, ruffed & spruce grouse w my Browning BSS in 12gauge using Federal f.l 7/8oz #7 1/2 @ 1400fps in IC barrell & Winchester f.l 1oz #6 shot @1350fps in my Mod. barrel. Pheasant w my Browning Gold Hunter 12ga. using Sellier Bellot f.l in 1 1/4oz #6 in 3 3/4 dram equiv(d.e) for the first shell and following up w Kent f.l 1 1/2 oz #5 shot in 4 1/4 de or late season I switch the second & third shot to Federal f.l 1 7/8oz #4shot w 4 de. Valley quail w my Sigarms Aurora 20ga.O/U w Winchester AA Target f.l 7/8oz #8shot w 2 1/2de in cyl barrel & Sellier
and Bellot f.l 1oz 7 1/2 shot 2 3/4 de in I.C.
 

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TJC said:
I use nothing but a 16ga for upland. I can do anything I need to with a 6.1lb Merkel SxS and changing chokes and ammo.

For a change I'll take the Citori O/U in 16ga. and again change chokes and ammo as needed.

Don't need no 20 or 12ga. But I agree with all that have said you must hit what you are shooting at or it doesn't matter what you are shooting. :wink:
What the man said. The sweetest of the 16s do carry like a 20, hit like a 12. I've pretty much parked my 12s and 20.

Practice, walk, buy the best loads you can afford for whatever gauge you choose. Know your shooting style and abilities, learn to read the dogs, choose your shots. How hard do we need to make this?
 

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I have an 11-87 12 *****. I chose to get a Benelli Montefeltro and I decided I would get a 20 since I have an auto 12, I'll pick up a 12 BUL later. Every pheasant I've shot this year has been with a 20. Not a single one has run. This is all anecdotal, but ***** never matters. If you put pellets on target, birds die. If you don't, they don't. It is that simple.
 
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