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Upland

What size shot are you all using for pheasant?

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I am using 7 1/2 and can't seem to get the roosters that spook well before I can step on them. I am thinking about going to 4's or 5's? Any thoughts?

 

A little history of where I shoot. Predominatly apple orchards, easy to spot now with snow on the ground. I jumped on yesterday and he spooked about 5 feet in front of me. I had to scramble around and through a set of apple tress and by the time I had my gun up and shot down range he was already 30-40 yards. Very frustrating to say the least. I chased him up a hill to first hide out, to another and one more before I cursed him and went the abundant quail. :)

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Released birds in a game farm, 7-1/2's work OK.

 

Wild birds, I use 4, 5, or 6 shot.

 

Late season, I use 4 or 5 shot.

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Awesome help guys, much appreciated. The state doesn't plant any pheasant in our neck of the woods, so wild and hinky are all we got. Thanks again, hopefully I will fair well this weekend.

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If these birds are running and flying far out on you better reach for some #4 or #5's and use a mod or full choke and prepare yourself for the 40-50 yard shots. I have been Pheasant hunting all month and since the snow came they got awefull spooky. The dog looks birdy but they are all way ahead of him, and if they bust they will be out there - so take what you can get. If you have a couple of guys you can block for each other.

 

Forget the 7 - 8 shot, like throwing sand in the air at longer distances. You will only give the birds an eduacation, and you come home empty handed.

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On wild birds, we use #6 shot unless the wind blowing above 15 mph, then switch to #4 shot. I haved used Rm Nito and Kent Upland both worked well.

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federalI has a upland game load I shoot. I shoot #5's and its a max dram 1 1/4 load. I don't know if you need that much but here in Illinois birds flush at 40 and 50 yards so I need that much.

 

 

novaking

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Nova, same here especially with the snow they either run like their tails are on fire or bolt and fly inches over the apple trees...

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Upland ,the shot size for pheasants remains a debate in whatever crowd you are in!My dad has been hunting pheasants for lil over 40 years,me for a lil over 20.We have used a little bit of every combination,from 2 3/4 high power to 3in mags,4 shot to 6 shot.I havent used 7 1/2,though at close range and fast enough I suppose they would work.I have tried #4 shot and didnt like it because it pulled so many feathers inside the bird and close range shots cut the bird up alot!I have loaded #5's and #6's and they work fine,still gotta be careful with those shooting close and tighter chokes.I love to reload the shells I hunt with,but until recently,I discovered the newer Federal Wingshok 1500 fps 1 1/4 # 6 load and IC choke in my Legacy.This load has alot of energy with the fast speed but the smaller #6 shot has the density and doesnt pull the feathers in so bad.It will kill the birds if you hit them!I was really impressed with this load.If the birds are coming up really wild you can use the #5 shot load and IC or mod choke if the shots are really long.Adding the velocity to the smaller shot sizes really boosts performance.The Remington Nitro Pheasant load is nearly as fast and works about as well.I have used both.They both are relatively inexpensive,bout $12 a box depending where you buy them.The birds we hunt are all wild birds,some even the old tough hill birds from around Chamberlain around the Missouri river!Whatever you use shoot straight and you will kill em!Good luck to ya!

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I agree on the Federal wingshok, I started using them when I ran out of reloads. Good knock down power even with my 20 ga 3" magnums they fold up real nice.

 

Killed a few birds with #4's but really messed them up, heavy meat damage and broken bones too.

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All the pheasants I shot this past weekend in SD I used 20 gauge, 2-3/4" Remington Heavy Game Loads with 1 ounce of 5 shot, and muzzle velocity of 1220 fps.

 

Improved Cylinder choke in first barrel, modified in the second. (Older gun, they're fixed chokes.)

 

I am thoroughly convinced if you pick your shots (no 50 yarders) and shoot the birds in the lips, you will kill them.

 

Killing pheasants has more to do with the nut behind the trigger than the shell in the chamber.

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We killed over 100 pheasant this year in SD on two trips. I used Federal Wingshok #6 through a WInchester O/U when walking and used the M2 when blocking. The #6 worked good until the wind got above 15 mph, switched to Kent #4 in the high winds with great success.

 

I agree with Tim, no hail Mary shots, shoot em in the head.

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Late season South Dakota I use 2 3/4 inch Remington Mags in 4 shot in my old Browning A5. In my SBEII I will go to a 3" mag.

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If these birds are running and flying far out on you better reach for some #4 or #5's and use a mod or full choke and prepare yourself for the 40-50 yard shots. I have been Pheasant hunting all month and since the snow came they got awefull spooky. The dog looks birdy but they are all way ahead of him, and if they bust they will be out there - so take what you can get. If you have a couple of guys you can block for each other.

 

Forget the 7 - 8 shot, like throwing sand in the air at longer distances. You will only give the birds an eduacation, and you come home empty handed.

TMAC is right on. #6's for a nice pattern, but #4 or 5's for knock-down and keep-down on wild birds. Copper plated shot all the better.

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I remember when we were kids and our huntin' dogs (if we had any along) were less than totally reliable on retrieving those tough wing-tipped pheasants. I learned early that if I used 4's, and even better with copper #4's, that I made less than a perfect hard hit on a pheasant-- and that happens to all of us!-- I could still hustle over to a shot rooster that would stay anchored longer than one shot with 6's. This was my personal observation on many ocassions... that said, with the good dogs we use now, the patterns that 5's or 6's throw is better. 99% of the time I'll stick to 5's. They work no matter what the weather or conditions.

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for late season birds I like copper plated or nickle plated shot in #5.......since I reload, nickle is easy to come by! Since I didn't read every post in this thread I might be repeating what others have said but you really should try plated lead shot on these heavily plumaged birds.....I also buffer my late season bird loads much like turkey loads for better patterns (less holes in the pattern) and use an Imp Modified choke!

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I'm a 60 year old avid pheasant hunter for 50 years from Michigan. I agree with a previous post. The choke and shot size must work together; example: 7 1/2's and Cylinder or Improved; 6's are best with modified, 5's too; 4's seem to be tailor made for full choke. It's ALL about the range YOU ARE COMFORTABLE with and ACTUALLY DUMP the bird. I've used everything from 1 ounce 7 1/2's and cylinder bore for the 25

yard pen raised preserve birds to full choke 3 inch copper or nickel plated Fiochi magnums for 55 yard late season spooky wild flushing birds. There IS no ideal choke & shot for pheasants. It's the ACTUAL range you feel comfortable taking them or actually do drop them. In 1981 while hunting in Caro Mi. I had 7 1/2's copper Federals and Cylinder choke when a giant trophy rooster flushed at 50 yards. I wisely never raised my gun while my buddy Rob had full choke & 3 inch copper 4's and dropped the rooster with 6 pellets in the vitals stone dead at a paced off 57 yards. Hope this is helpful. DJ Dan Rooster Man, Flint (in other words, leave the 3 inch mag 5's and full choke home at the Hunt Club on Released birds and don't dream of taking an Improved Cylinder gun with 7 1/2's to Dakota in December in the blizzards. :)

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