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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How does one adjust from shooting an OU to a semi-auto?

I've been shooting a 12-gauge Ruger Red Label for the past 10 years. I'm only 5'3" so I found that after I had the LOP shortened to 13 3/4", it shoots pretty much where I point it. My kill ratio in the field is reflected in the trap range (80%+). While this number is by no means any cause for pride on the trap, it matters most in the field. It means cleaner kills, less cripples, and easier on the wallet since the price of shells have gone up.

In the past two pheasant seasons, I've never shot more than two boxes (Kent Fast Steel #4 - 3"). That might sound like a lot of firepower for a rooster but I've tested the gamut of loads over the years and found this particular load to shoot best for me and my Red Label when it comes to pheasants.

This year I purchased a used Benelli Montefeltro (12-g in excellent condition) because the Red Label is quite heavy to carry, especially when walking through thick cattail sloughs. However, my hit ratio is dreadful! I won't mention any numbers but lets just say I'm on my 4th box and it's only Thanksgiving! I've had the LOP shortened to 13 3/4" to better fit my short arms. There's been enough birds that I flushed in front of my pointing Brittany and emptied all shells to no avail. For these close flushes, I normally count to "3 apples" before pulling the trigger. I've changed from IC to Mod to Full chokes as the season progresses and have found no consistency. Since I only shoot steel shots, I've used Kent #2 and #4 shots. Again, no improvements. Worse is the fact that the hits are not clean kills. My Brittany will do a decent job of retrieving when he sees the flush and shot but if it's a wild flush, he's not good at hunting dead. I hate losing cripples in the field.

Anyone tell me how I can improve my shooting? At this point, I don't think that I'm a bad shot but I do believe that I need to get to know the Montefeltro better. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Have you patterned the new gun on sheets of paper to judge the POI and also to get an idea of the pattern the chokes are throwing? Have you shot trap with the new gun? Maybe it is related to the weight. Maybe something in your head that has destroyed your confidence to just let it fly. I would pattern the gun and shoot some clay targets.
 

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Every gun is different and you have certainly picked two that are really different. Design; weight; operation; etc.

If it twas me I would get out to the trap range (hopefully all alone) and just call and shoot. Start with the same carry you use in the field and after about 100 rounds of ammo I betcha you are hitting what you look at.

Good Luck on the transition.
 

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Conman said:
Every gun is different and you have certainly picked two that are really different. Design; weight; operation; etc.

If it twas me I would get out to the trap range (hopefully all alone) and just call and shoot. Start with the same carry you use in the field and after about 100 rounds of ammo I betcha you are hitting what you look at.

Good Luck on the transition.
What the man said. Plus, just stare hard at that white ring on the neck when you see a bird go up. Let rip when the shot feels right.

Personally, I've had my brain crawl all the way into the tip my trigger finger before. I found the best thing was to quit counting shells. Love your dog, enjoy the walk. Your hits will come again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
claysmoker said:
OUGunner said:
I normally count to "3 apples" before pulling the trigger.
I would quit doing that. Too much time counting, not enough concentrating on the target.
I actually found that I get more birds by counting to 3 apples because it allows the rooster to fly within range, gives me time to concentrate on the bird and the swing. This also leaves the bird less messy. Obviously, I don't count out loud and I don't count on the trap as clay fly much faster than a rooster. :lol:

I will take the Montefeltro out and pattern it tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully some secrets will be revealed.
 

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While you were having the LOP changed on the new gun, did you check it for drop at comb and drop at heel against the RL?
I don't remember for sure if the Benelli Montefeltro has shims for adj these or not, but if it does you might try making such an adjustment.

Its funny but the two guns that I shoot best were my Red Label, and a Winchester 1300 black shadow, and they both had similar dimensions. I believe the shape of their ribs were a lot a like also. I had to sell the Red Label a while back when things got a little tough, man I hated that. But, now that things are better I just ordered a side by side, and I'm having the stock made to the same dimensions as my 1300. I hope you have good luck getting used to the Monte, the are nice light upland guns.

Best regards,

Jeff
 

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OUGunner said:
I normally count to "3 apples" before pulling the trigger.
What??? Are you hunting or picking apple?
MOD is the tightest chock I'd go to - if the bird is far enough that you'd need FULL then it's too far - IMO!
Just last week I dropped a rooster at 40 yards quartering with IC this is after the other two guys missed him right in front of their noses!
Practice a bit more and stop counting you have a great upland gun there trust that the gun will do its work if you do yours! :D
 

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It could the high rib factor. I also shoot the RRL and it has what I think is a high rib. The Monte is low or no rib. The M2 is a high rib.

I went through the same thing you did....I tried a friend's Monte on the skeet range when I was planning to buy a Benelli and I could not hit anything. I then tried an M2 and my hits got better. Apparently, I like higher ribs. I went with the M2. Still not as accurate as the RRL but it's getting better.

Good luck. JED
 

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In my experience, auto's shoot flatter than the average O/U.

I would also suggest you go out and pattern the gun. The last time I heard something like this, the top barrel shot high Right, and the bottom barrel shot Low left.

bd
 

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Just out of curiosity why are you using nothing but steel? Use lead and you will kill birds more efficiently.
 

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OUGunner said:
In the past two pheasant seasons, I've never shot more than two boxes (Kent Fast Steel #4 - 3"). That might sound like a lot of firepower for a rooster but I've tested the gamut of loads over the years and found this particular load to shoot best for me and my Red Label when it comes to pheasants.
The problem is, you aren't shooting a Red Label.

We like to assume that guns shoot where we look, and have certain types of patterns. We can assume that a load that worked in one brand on model of gun works similarly in another. We can assume our POI is not above the target, below it, to the left or two the right. That is an awful lot of assuming going on.
 

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Waiting to shoot at a wild pheasant? I think not. Up here we take them a.s.a.p. You get more of them to land dead that way. Fewer lost birds, which is a sickening problem, not to mention too much hunting time taken up by searching. I also shoot 3" shells-either #4 or #3. These are tough, deceptively fast birds. Once up in the wind they are GONE!
 

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you think steel #4 3in are bad? We used steel BB 3in in North Dakota for pheasants. Steel just doesn't wack them like lead. Next year I am keeping all of my pheasant stuff and duck stuff separate, so I can use lead and not worry about accidentally having it in my pocket for duck hunting. Wild pheasants are tough bastards!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've patterned the gun using 22"x28" poster sheets so rather than a 30" circle, I measured a 20" circle.

1) Full choke - #2shot 1 1/4oz 3" shell @ 40yds = 72 pellets
2) Mod choke - #2shot 1 1/4oz 3" shell @ 40yds = 42 pellets
3) Mod choke - #4shot 1 1/8oz 3" shell @ 40yds = 67 pellets
4) Mod choke - #6shot 1 1/16oz 2 3/4" shell @ 40yds = 128 pellets
5) Mod choke - #2shot 1 1/4 oz 2 3/4" shell @ 30yds = 87 pellets

My guess is that a 30yd shot is probably ideal for this gun. The patterns look evenly distributed but there's no way of knowing the length of the shot column. I was actually quite surprised by the #6 shot but this would result in way too much small pellets in a bird - almost dangerous for eating. All shots were steel because where I hunt, only steel is permitted.

Is there enough data here to jump to any type of conclusion?
 

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I use 3" , #4 lead on wild pheasant in IL. I kinda think that BBs would be too much. However, I must report that there is a pheasant wearing Kevlar in central illinois. I shot at him last week and he just cackled and fled. I got one of his colleagues.
 
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