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What is your favorite gun and load combo for pheasant hunting?

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  • #16
    Rem 870, 2 1/2 inch shell with 1 1/4 oz #4 shot loaded real hot. I use a full choke most of the time because where I hunt, South Dakota pheasants often get up near max range or I am blocking a field with pretty long range shooting possible. I love the days when they are dumb enough for modified choke though.

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    • #17
      Dakota, I think you mean 2 3/4" shells? The only 2.5" shells I have seen were collectibles.

      You do make a good point. A 20 or 28 gauge may do the job fine IF you're hunting over a pointing dog and the birds aren't too spooky yet. But those who hunt over flushers (e.g. labs or springers) can expect longer shots. On the federal refuge I will switch to my goose gun because the birds are so spooky long shots are about all I'm going to get. But for hunting the irrigation ditches and canals on block management I'll go back to modified. The way this pup is working out I'll probably shift to improved cylinder but I think I'll stick with 12 gauge. That way I can use the same gun for goose and pheasant hunting. Last year I'm guessing I shot at least 35 roosters and only mangled two of them and one of those the last day on the federal reserve with the full choke 870 and 3" mag (all I could get in steel at the end of the season). He doubled back from the dogs right past me before getting up. Shooting off the wrong foot and turning, that was a tough shot. I should have waited but figured it was going to take more than one round to connect anyway. Poof! Wouldn't have got the second shot as the 870 jammed ejecting the 3" shell (as usual!). I must say, however, that I believe the biggest reason I wasn't blowing up the birds was I just wasn't shooting very well. Very rarely did the birds pick up more than a couple of pellets so usually just the edge of the pattern. One of my late son's special needs teachers is after me to join the local trap club. Maybe shooting will improve this fall. I'm not in any big rush to see things change though. I like to take my time filling my limit. As much time as I can.

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      • #18
        over-under 12 ga with lower barrel firing first and choked IC, upper is choked Mod. and fires second for a tighter pattern more in line with sighting plane for the longer follow-up shot. High base #6 is the load though #5s are good if they are flushing farther out. I am fond of Federal Premium ammo.

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        • #19
          20 ga s/s CZ + prairie storm

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          • #20
            In NY with state stocked birds, I use 12 gauge skeet/IC with my Citori. On very windy days along Lake Ontario, I've switched to modified. The loads I like are Fiocchi Golden Pheasant 6 or 5's. If using steel, I like 3 or 4's high velocity. Though stocked, the birds that survive get crazy and tough late in the season.

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            • #21
              Ithaca is right, when hunting the federal refuges and compelled to use steel shot it is best to bump up a couple of shot sizes. I'd use #4 or #5 shot and definitely a 12 gauge.

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              • #22
                OH... sorry for the slip on the case length... you are right of course. I think my preference for #4 shot comes from childhood. We ate a LOT of pheasants growing up and I found it was a lot easier on our teeth to have fewer pellets in the pheasant. They were also easier to clean. They do require that you let your pheasant get out to at least 30 yards before you shoot or you could shred them. I've never minded that because I love to follow a crowing rooster for a while anyway before I end the show.

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