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Vinci

Pheasant Hunting

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Hi all, looking for some advice on what load to use for Pa. Pheasant hunting. We will be using dogs, that point, so based on what the owner said, the shots will probably be close, maybe 15 or 20 yards. I will be using a Vinci 12 guage. The owner of the place recommended high brass #6 shot. I'm new to this, so any suggestions will be very helpful. :)

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Hi all, looking for some advice on what load to use for Pa. Pheasant hunting. We will be using dogs, that point, so based on what the owner said, the shots will probably be close, maybe 15 or 20 yards. I will be using a Vinci 12 guage. The owner of the place recommended high brass #6 shot. I'm new to this, so any suggestions will be very helpful. :)

 

Back in the day(60's-70's)we shot 20ga sxs with #7-1/2 high brass followed by #6 over our GS pointers and never had any problems. #6's should work just fine.

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Any of the major manufacturer's pheasant loads in number 6 should work nicely.

 

Fiocchi, Winchester, Remington, and Federal all have excellent pheasant loads.

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I am a little more partial to 5's, thats my go to no matter what. All of the mfr's mentioned about will work well.

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You can probably get away with hunting early season pheasants, or pen-raised pheasants, close, over dogs, with 7-1/2 shot.

 

But go to South Dakota in December or January, you'd better bring your 4's or 5's.

 

Like TMAC said, early season, late season, 5's always work.

 

I wouldn't use anything smaller than 6's where I hunt (Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota.)

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Whatever you decide to shoot, I would suggest you pattern the loads first. My SBE doesn't pattern #5's well, too many holes, but the 7-1/2 and 6's do pattern much better. I used my IC and M chokes on my pattern board at 30yds. and my M and IM at 40yds.

Edited by hattles

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I use Kent Fast Lead #6's and I have seen no reason to switch to anything else. Dropped some pheasants and quail with that load this morning, all were one shot kills dead before they hit the ground.

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Honestly I havent bought factory lead game loads since I started reloading for trap and skeet, so I have no idea on what the factory ammo does in comparison to my own. #37 mec bushing, IMR7625, 1 3/8 oz of shot/wad in a Win AA hull kills em dead.....you pick your shot size.

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If you are shooting lead shot:

I used 4’s for years, but had more “runners” with this load. 7 ½ loads are too light for pheasants. You can kill with this load at close range, but the shot remains inside the flesh so eating the meat requires very careful chewing.

 

I’ve had the best results using 5’s and 6’s and a modified or IM choke on pheasants. Pheasants are tough birds and not easily killed with a single shot. Shooting 6’s punches more holes in the bird. You want to cut as much of the” wiring” in their nervous system as possible. If you break a wing and a leg, and you have a dog, you will probably get the downed bird.

 

If you are hunting on a Preserve requiring steel shot (Preserves often require steel to limit carry-range):

Go with 4’s and an IC choke. You get more pellets with 4’s and higher velocity with steel loads than comparable lead loads, so you are throwing a lot of shot at the bird. Steel loads remain tight and result in more pressure on your barrel. You should not go past a modified choke when shooting steel or any hard load.

 

--Spike

Edited by Spike100
experimenting with text sizing... I thought it was auto.

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First, thanks for all the replies. I ended up using Fiocchi Golden Pheasant #6 with a Improved Cylinder. There were three hunters, and 15 Roosters. I successfully took 4, and double shoot at least 2 others. Collectively we took 10 of 15. I was impressed at the speed of the Fiocchi, and their killing ability. I now have my early season setup. Will probably go out again in the next month for more fun. Really enjoying upland hunting, and my Benelli Vinci...:)

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^^ Thanks for the update. Fiocchi Golden Pheasant #6 is also my favorite load for pheasants. I cannot provide any scientific statistics/basis for that preference, but they seem to be effective even at longer range (>40 yards, but I’m shooting modified or even IM when shots get this long, and that is on wild birds).

 

You mention the Vinci and seem to like this gun. I’m very near to making this purchase. I really like the feel and the natural way the Vinci “comes-up” when mounting the gun.

 

Question: Do you have any criticisms of the Vinci or a feature you do not like?

 

--Spike

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For any of you trap or skeet shooters who load their own you probably have dabbled with field loads, for me these are far more economical and rewarding to shoot than factory ammo.

Consult your Lymans book and check under Remington or Winchester hulls in 1 1/4 or 1 3/8 oz loads using blue dot or IMR 7625, some great loads in there.

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Spike100, I think the Vinci is excellent. I have shoot over 600 rounds of trap with no failures or jams. Gun performed great on the pheasant hunt. Love the feel, and how easy it takes down for cleaning. Lite and easy to shoulder. Glad I purchased it, and can't wait for my next Pheasant hunt...

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My loads with 7 1/2's have bagged numerous birds so far this year. I use an M2 - 20 gauge with 7 1/2's and never look back. Maybe shooting trap and skeet most of the year helps. I never find the pellets in the birds but we shoot in heavy cover so most shots are close.

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I was thinking why my experiences with shot size seems to be different than everyone else and I believe it is because of the area I shoot pheasants. The typical shot for me is 20-25 yards and usually in thick woods or brush. If I'm lucky I get one shot and that is about it. I tend to get on them quickly and shoot a skeet choke all the time. It seems like most everyone else has longer ranges and maybe more open terrain. For the past 3 days I have gotten a bird a day with this method and when hit they are down with usually 8 or more pellets hitting the bird.

 

Just my thoughts and your terrain may be different and your choke is probably different. Well 2 more days to the season and it is raining right now but clearing so I'm getting ready to go out for more birds.

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Hi Art… I agree that just about any load or choke will kill or knock-down pheasants at 20-25 yards.

 

However, when hunting pheasants in ND and SD (and especially late season when many shots are at 40 yards or more) an open choke (> .016) and a light load (7 ½” shot size) won’t work.

 

Your setup (open chokes and small pellets) is working for you in your locality, so I would stay with this. If you ever go to the Dakotas for pheasants, you will need more choke and larger pellets.

 

--Spike

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