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The chart below shows the kinetic energy of various shot sizes at various ranges.

At 40 yards, #5 shot is packing around 3.5 ftlbs. of energy.

I'd say that's enough to break through the feathers from the back or side, but it would be iffy on making a recoverable kill unless the spine were hit properly.

 

Head-on, with the shedding properties of the layers of feathers, I'd say the chances are marginal.

Even if the shot manage to pierce the outer layers, there's a lot of breast meat and bone protecting the vitals.

 

More than likely, you'd end up with a wounded bird that would be difficult to recover.

 

 

graph_birshot_energy.jpg

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