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Everything posted by birdbrooks

  1. I am a Speed Bead user but not for wing shooting. (I'm an old-school two-eye wing shooter). I have the Speed Bead on one of my Benellis because it's GREAT for one thing... turkey hunting in low light morning or pre-sunset conditions in the woods. It will extend your shooting capabilities when the light is poor. Also, a very important plus... if you peek off the barrel ramp, which will normally guarantee a missed shot, but keep the laser bead on your target, it will hit where it indicates. This can be huge when you are in the tense moment of a turkey head shot.
  2. I am a right-handed shooter and have always been left-eye dominant, though my shooting has never suffered. A few variables have helped me: **A side by side can work wonders for someone struggling with eye dominance issues. This is especially true for upland hunting where snap shooting is more common. **I've concentrated on practicing shouldering my weapon to perfect my form, using a well-fitted gun-- this is vital-- practicing getting my trigger-finger eye lined right down the ramp, even though the other eye is dominant. This allowed me to reflexively train alignment but more importantly the ramp seems to help the non-dominant eye to take over a bit. There is a bit of subconscious adjustment that can be ingrained with lots of shooting. That's where the optic aids like Knapp's can really help--they'll "drag" the focus over to the weaker eye. The electronic optic add-ons help too. I have a Burris Speed Bead on my M1 for turkey hunting, but it could really help someone for wing shooting with an off-dominant eye. **I agree with those who advocate shooting with both eyes open no matter what, if at all possible. If your off-eye is dominant, it still assists significantly in shotgunning, especially in gauging range to determine lead. Human eyes have the rare ability to triangulate targets, so it's best to utilize that ability in shotgunning.
  3. birdbrooks

    M1 vs. M2

    The M1's have more steel parts, the trigger guard being the most obvious. It is a solid but well balanced gun; it seems heavier when handled, but the real weight difference between M1s and M2s is not that great. The M1 allows release of shotgun shells manually from the magazine carrier using your finger or thumb, negating the need to cycle rounds through the action to empty the gun. This is not possible with the M2s and in my opinion is the only drawback to an M2. The M1s, Ultralights and Vincis, etc., have all been engineered to allow easy magazine ejection. However the M2 is a solid gun with tremendous balance-- the 20 gauge is especially sweet. I use my M1 for turkey and ducks; it's going strong after 15 hard (read MN SD ND MT winter) seasons. The M2 is a great pheasant gun. In 20 gauge, it would be wicked-good for grouse or quail.
  4. birdbrooks


    My first impression reminds me of when I first saw the M2. The M2 had some interesting features but wasn't as good as the M1 in key areas (milled parts in the M1 vs. plastic, durability of finish, solid feel, etc.) Now the Vinci doesn't rock me after all that hype. The Vinci doesn't look sharp like most Benellis. The receiver looks clunky. And that big chunk of plastic covering the receiver/trigger assembly looks flat out cheap. I'll keep my trusty M1 for turkeys and waterfowl (tough as an M4). I'll keep my Ultra 12 Ga because it is the best pheasant repeater made. I'll keep my 20 GA M2 as a sweet handling backup for grouse and woodcock hunting. I won't get a Vinci anytime soon. But I hope it works out for those who like the looks... Happy shooting.
  5. I'll chime in to say I would go with a 26" as Tucker recommends if I was mostly waterfowling. I wish I was duck hunting as much as I used to-- but the waterfowling isn't as nearly good in Minnesota as it once was-- not that many years ago!)
  6. I'll chime in and ask if anyone has used the Speed Bead for turkey hunting. Looks like it might be a winner for that...
  7. Keep in mind that your eye (or eyes) are looking down a sight ramp that is the length of the barrel *plus* the length of the receiver in the case of an auto or pump. A double doesn't have that extra receiver length along the sighting ramp... so a 26" or 28" barreled double often sights like a 24" M2 or similar gun... Those barrel lengths are my prefs for field shooting. The M2's, Ultras, and SEII's are so sweetly balanced with a 24" barrel. Happy shooting, amigo-
  8. You made a real nice choice in weapons for pheasant hunting. I have the same gun. I have owned a lot of guns and several Benellis and you couldn't do better for wild (or game farm) pheasant. My Ultra Light is a sheer joy to shoot with (and carry all day!) So, after you adjust the gun to fit you, using the supplied shims for drop height to align your barrel ramp to your eyes, and different thickness of butt pad if necessary for length of pull (LOP), you will be ready gun wise. Despite many opinions otherwise you'll hear in this forum, I like the idea of using nothing less than 6's for wild pheasants and really like 5's for both early and late season wild birds. As you know, roosters are tough, so I like your thinking on shot size. If Fiochi shells are dropping birds clean, stick to 'em. Being a Minnesota boy myself, I started out with Federals but have always liked Winchester ammo. I think once you get what you like, stick with it for two reasons that will provide you rewards over time-- ingrained familiarity (*getting the feel for the ammo's speed) and just good ole' reinforced confidence every time you fold a bird. It's stylish these days to get hyped up about ammo speed. If I had a dollar for every bird I killed with older "slow (1000- 1100) field loads I wouldn't worry about my retirement account like I am That said I have been using the 1450 fps or 1500 fps loads and they probably kill better. Just remember that many a market hunter retired early with sore shoulders after killing tens of thousands of birds-- and they used slow ammo. *So it's all about familiarity with your ammo. One more thing about the faster ammo- it will decrease the necessary lead for angling or crossing shots- but the one thing that helps most people I'm hunting with to bring up their averages is to lead more than they do... Have fun with that new gun and Happy New Year!
  9. ...on that last post, I want to be clear- from the day I started hunting as a kid, we never shot more than our limit, which would have been pretty easy to do lots of times "back in the day". Sometimes I look at these hunting shows with three guys water fowling in a blind, and they show about 20-25 ducks getting nailed... and I wonder, what's up with THIS?
  10. Good question! But for starters, North Dakota has gone to 3 shells max in all shotguns for all bird hunting. You can bet other states will follow. I don't think the number of rounds in a guy's gun can help get more birds or make up for his level of shooting skill. I am probably as confident shooting a shotgun as anything I do in my life... and I make my living with my eyes and my hands. I'll just put it that way. To most skills there is a blend of science (applied knowledge) and an art (visual comprehension). I compare shooting rifles to shotguns this way: rifle shooting tends to favor science, shotgunning favors art. (I am a average rifle shot and a lousy pistol shot! I grew up hunting a lot of ducks and geese in Minnesota. We were always limited to three shells for waterfowl. We most always got as many birds as we wanted and the freezer was full. My opinion: If you flush a single bird, or have a passing shot at an incomer or crossing bird, and take more than three shots, you are shooting too fast to make a correction in aim. If you have a chance to shoot at a bunch of birds, as I did this year a few times on stand as pheasants piled out of tree groves, and you are a good shot, you can shoot 2 or 3 birds and reload one shell at a time, shoot one, then reload, as long as they keep coming. The only problem with that is if you shoot your buddie's birds they might get sore at you! Happy hunting--
  11. Don't know much personally about the Montefeltro; a buddy has and loves his for pheasant in South Dakota. It is a light enough gun especially in 20 gauge for most folks to hunt with all day. If I had to pick that or the 20 gauge Ultralight, for wild pheasant hunting, I would go with the Monte. My preference would be based on kick. Kick is not something that has ever bothered me- heck, I was raised on a Ithaca #37 running 3" loads for geese and they kick hard. But the 20 ga. UL is SO light that if you use typical field loads for pheasant (especially in 3" length) it will kick considerably, maybe to the point where it could be bothersome. (If I was looking for a grouse/woodcock gun, using lighter 1 OZ loads, well now you're talking--the 20 ga. UL would be superb. I have a 12 gauge Ultra that I love, but it will kick... they are wonderful guns (and I now have tested one pheasant hunting at -17 degrees temperature by day's end, and they work perfectly even then. The next day was a high of -22, time to leave the wildlife alone.) But if you want a GREAT 20 gauge pheasant gun I don't think you could beat the M2 with 3" loads (for wild birds). I have one that has gotten serious field testing on Dakotaland pheasants and it's a long shootin' honey. Also might be easier to find than a 20 Ga. UL. Good luck and great hunting, and Merry Christmas
  12. Did real well in ND for two days filling out and a few bonus Huns, Timb99, but then the blizzard did hit starting Saturday afternoon. It was -17 degrees where we were when we quit at sunset Saturday and the wind was just picking up. Then it really got cold! I'm talking -22 and gusting to 30 mph winds; the windchill was -50. That is, of course, extremely dangerous. So, Sunday was spent holed up. The whole state was shut down Sunday. There were a bunch of pheasants all through the midwest and near west this year... probably as many as I've seen in 40 years of hunting, and that's a big bunch of pheasants. We had party hunts in tree groves and food plots where we pushed 1000 birds out-- more than one time. But how many will survive at least in the Dakotas (or MN, which has been enjoying a real resurgence in pheasants) until spring is unknown. The ranchers and farmers I've talked to say the blizzards this season already are the worst since the '96-'97 winter, when hundreds of thousands of livestock and untold numbers of wildlife were wiped out. Monday we went out to scout- still -22 in the morning- but only to scout a bit and visit our farmers before heading home. They opened I94 from the Montana line through to Fargo by midday Monday. Roads okay until MN and then the icy patches made for a slow run home. Gotta love that late season pheasant hunting!
  13. Heading to North Dakota early tomorrow to chase late season pheasants. Weather has been fairly mild but minus degree temps and wind are forecast for the next several days. What would a December Dakota hunt be without that?! So, if it gets windy--and it will-- I'll blame any misses on that!
  14. I have both M1's and M2's and love them all. The M1 is a total workhorse that can take a lot of hard use (ice, crud on the outside of the action--not in the barrel of course--etc.) It keeps on tickin'. It has more metal parts (trigger guard, etc.) than the M2 but that doesn't mean the M2 is cheaper- the M1 feels a bit more substantial. Both the M1 and M2 are superbly balanced. I'd give the edge to the M2. If I was lugging a gun in the field all day I'd go with the M2. It has the newer technologies in the cryogenic barrels and chokes and is a bit lighter. If I was going to be mostly in a duck blind or goose pit or turkey hunting, or if weight is not a critical factor in your consideration, I'd go with the M1. The M1 has a magazine shell retainer that allows you to unload shells from the magazine without cycling them through the action. That is not possible with the M2 (it is with the Ultralight though.) It's a time saver and safer too. Otherwise you can't go wrong whatever you get-- Benellis will not let you down when the going gets tough and nasty like a gas operated rig will... (here come the Beretta replies!) You might want to reconsider the pistol grip unless it is mostly for HD and/or turkey hunting. It'll raise heck with your wingshooting, I reckon! Happy hunting--
  15. Windage and elevation for shotgunning! ... I was having a tough enough time figuring that for rifle hunting! Actually I did get a nice buck antelope this year in MT at 335 yds but the .300 Win Mag took a lot of the guesswork out of the drop equation! Seriously, I do agree with what you are saying, splashtx556ftw, about the wind. I think we are arriving at the same conclusion on determining lead-- I'm just focusing on distance and target speed. If I took the time to recheck the wind direction as I was prepping to shot I'd be all bolloxed up. No time for that, and the South Dakota wind shifts constantly. I have been using those Winchester #5 copper /1.25 OZ/ max dram /1450 fps loads on those Dakota rocket roosters and they're doing the trick. Boy, do I love my Benelli for longer range shooting. Going back on Wednesday to North Dakota, unless there's another blizzard! Happy winter hunting, everybody...
  16. birdbrooks

    G & A

    I like so many things about the M2-- pointability, balance, (best ever in an auto loader) looks, lightness, the famous Benelli action, toughness and simplicity of design, and more. There are only two drawbacks: one discussed in another thread- the magazine shell retainer is stiff and doesn't allow shells to be unloaded directly from the magazine- they have to be cycled through the chamber. The other is that there is some kind of polymer coating on the composite stock pieces that tends to start peeling a bit-- on the black comp. model. They may have remedied this, it's a pretty minor issue in a gun designed for hard work. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a working man's auto loader. Top quality, very tough, and the gun is a flat out bird killer. You won't have to baby this gun when it's in the bottom of an ice covered duck boat.
  17. The birds don't get a chance to choose, all they're seeing is the shiny barrel-- that is, the tube from the muzzle end!
  18. The shell magazine retainer does not allow you to release shells from the magazine manually, as it should, unless you have incredibly strong fingers. That is no good and it is true of every M2 I have handled or shot. The M1's did not have this problem, and the Ultra Light does not either. I have all three types of guns. Why would having to live-cycle rounds be a problem? Because you should be able to remove shells quickly and as safely as possible, and this limitation compromises that ability. I unloaded my model #37 pump for years, which has a similiar type of magazine retainer, in about 3 seconds, by pushing with my finger on the retainer. At first I thought this is a design flaw, but now I think the Benelli engineers wanted to insure that shells would not kick out of the magazine prematurely for whatever reason. I am not a pro gunsmith, but I imagine some judicious filing would tune the retainer to allow manual unloading. There's probably drawbacks (aside from warranty issues) with that idea... So, you have to cycle shells through the chamber to get them out of the gun.
  19. Now that you mention it, if someone said, "you can only use one shot size for all bird hunting" I would go with 7.5's as well. I remember liking them a lot for two things-- late season ruffed grouse 20 gauge 2.75" loads, snow hunting in MN. I always looked for one ounce loads rather than 7/8ths, but not trap loads. Also for early pheasants- also 20 gauge but 1.25 oz 3" loads in my Browning SS double-- we'd get closer flushing shots then. They folded 'em nice. I still like the idea of heavy 4's or 5's for the windy long range late season hunting. And the penetration was essential (back in the lead days) for late season mallards, geese and diver ducks. They get that migrating plumage on, and it's like armor! Best wishes for great late season hunting (for us northern boys!) Wish I could get down south for quail! Birdbrooks
  20. "Rarely will you ever find a well placed shot end with a lost bird. Don't buy into the hype." Maybe if the bird falls into a fast river current, or someone's bonfire, you wouldn't be able to retrieve a bird killed with a "well placed shot"... but that's not what I was talking about, right? I was talking about shotgun loads (copper 4's) that enabled me to retrieve birds that were not centered in the pattern, which happens to us all. Hevi Shot works the same way, better actually-- but they both get lots of penetration. And the copper plate/washed shot are not as deformed as the lead or lead alloy shot in my experience, timb99. Copper plated or copper washed shot has served me well on countless occasions over the last 39 seasons and a whole lot of field time in prime country. Call it hype if you want. I call it paying attention to my hunting observations and responding to them. That works for me. To each their own and good hunting--
  21. I agree 100%. 4's have big time knock down power for roosters-- I remember when we would have to hunt in Iowa without dogs from time to time as a younger guy, and I knew the 4's would anchor a rooster even if the shot wasn't fully centered-- a few pellets in the bird would give me time to retrieve that rooster. He'd be where he fell. I can say that we lost fewer birds than most folks --very few-- and a big reason was those #4 pellets. Most of the time, I like #5 copper plated pellets. Copper is the way to go in my book.
  22. Novaking and Splash have it right for wild phez. I just returned from a pheasant/deer/antelope trip to MT. My 12 gauge Ultralight ate a lot of ammo for pheasants-- mostly 1& 1/4 oz loads, but a few 1 & 1/2 oz loads as well, all 2 & 3/4". No one needs 3" for pheasant, even 50 yarders in a high wind. They'll just make a good shot look bad because of the kick-- I bet Tom Knapp would agree. And I love copper plate loads, they pattern so well. No bones about it, mag loads are gonna kick a bit more than your shoulder might like when you use the Ultra than, say, my M1 or any heavier gun... but toting that light weight makes it worth it in my opinion. I have never been bothered by kick anyhow. But take note if you don't care for kick-- the Ultra kicked more than my .300 Win mag bolt when I stuffed it with those mag loads. The Ultra is one long range capable, hard hitting, smooth operating beauty. You will LOVE it! Oh.. I should mention, I just used the .300 for the hoofed animals!
  23. Oh, by the way, as far as waterfowling in other states nearby (ND, SD, etc.) that are also great, they do NOT include Wisconsin, which once did have great duck hunting but not nearly as much anymore! Those poor Cheese Heads, they all head west to hunt!
  24. The Land of 10,000 Lakes (actually closer to 15 thousand) has a lot of flowages, rivers, and watersheds- certainly not like the old pre-tiling and drainage days when there were 10's of thousands of sloughs and watersheds, (mostly on the west and south quadrants of the state) but most of the water left-- and that's a lot--has public access. Public access is important to Minnesotans and the MN Dept. of Natural Resources hunting book will show a lot of the WMA's, state areas, and other public hunting opportunities. Usually you can mix other bird hunting into a day at those WMA's. Check out their web site too. Some highlights: West side of state, Lac Qui Parle Refuge is just one highlight. Open to waterfowl hunting; as many as 150,000 Canadian geese bunch up there on the way south. The whole area north and south of the Minnesota River is duck country. North: Lake Winnebigosh, Leech Lake (75,000 acres) and countless other regional lakes. Look for public hunting access areas on numerous smaller lakes and flowages near those big lakes as they on are the historical Mississippi flyway and they still attract a lot of ducks passing through. At one time the best inland diver duck hunting anywhere on the planet was here. Still can be very good. East: Mississippi and flowages, anywhere south of Stillwater (very close to Twin Cities) also St. Croix River. Federal access areas- you can hunt most of the river, lots of public access ramps, and they are loaded with ducks, if you time your hunts. Puddlers as well as divers. Great species diversity here. I could go on and on, but a waterfowler can do a lot worse than moving to Minnesota! Good luck and happy hunting.
  25. I was fortunate to shoot lead ammo at ducks and geese in Minnesota and the Mississippi and Central flyways for many years...when there were a lot more of them. Nothing hit and killed as clean as a lead shot pattern. With lead, you got to know your leads on your shots with different loads at different yardages, and get confident in your ability shooting out to 40 yards. That was the rule... shoot no further than 40 yards for a clean kill. The copper plated lead was so good that you could stretch that a few more yards and get away with it. Of course the 40 rule got broken a lot, especially for geese. But 40 yards made sense-- it wasn't just some number that Bob Brister and the ammo experts of the age pulled out of a hat. We knew that with the loads we had to work with--and especially the old style wads and shot cups, which weren't as good as they are now-- any shot pattern past 40 yards broke up too much for a clean kill. Now the loads are faster, the shot strings are super tight and short, and there are so many different loads to choose from. It makes getting familiar with your duck gun that much harder. I suppose Hevi Shot kills just as good as lead or maybe better, but I'll never bust enough caps to get the same shooting groove on ducks with the new loads that we did back then with lead. Lead kills ducks year round if they ingest it--which they did--and it was the right thing to do to listen to the waterfowl biologists and get away from it. As a fisherman I'll have to get used to non lead sinkers and jigs too. I don't like that either but there it is. The vote is no lead.
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