in your opinion, what is the best gauge shotgun for pheasant and why, i have both a 12 and 20 that i use. not sure why, and i don't prefer one over the other, just have two!
the 20 is a ruger red label and the 12 is a browning gold.
i have hunted pheasants for 30 plus years ,of which i guided hunters in the Dakotas for 10 years.I have found Big Roosters can take a lot of lead and keep packing . most people go under guned ,under shelled and with to little skill to kill driven birds. I reccomend only using a 12 gague with high brass #6 .Hunters shooting released birds over pointing dogs might do ok with a 20 ,but i still reccomend a 12 RUP
gotta lean toward Rup's opinion. I have used my 16 also 3 1/2 dram 1 1/8oz #5's. remember the key word here is HUNT not shoot. I'd save the 20 for the quail unless you are really comfrtable with it. I think the red label is 3" capable? this may be an option? the 12 seems to pattern better with the heavier loads though.
i only shoot 3" fiochi's #6s. the golden pheasant or something. i should have mentioned that. for the 12, i go with #6 2 3/4. my father also has an old model 12 16 gauge. it will only shoot 2 3/4, what do you think of that and what do you think of those guys on tv shooting .410s at them. obviously they are released birds, never have i seen every bird get up that close to the hunter. (but i suppose they could film for 2 weeks to get the 6 or so birds that close.)
the 20 ga 3 inchers may work ok for you. start with the pattern board, with both guns. from there dead birds tell no tales. 2 3/4 is all you will squeeze from the 16. it's said the 3" 20 ga was a pretty good set back for the 16. With practice and good hunting all three guns should put meat on the table. the only drawback i would personally have with the 20 would be the lighter weight and the tendancy to over swing, just me.
you can kill birds with all 3 gagues and i agree patterning is crtical, but more important is gun fit. Shoot the gun that fits you best and you will kill more game. All things being equal the 12 is the most effective gague .
Up where I live, most lean towards the 12 guage. I however like the 16 guage. Started out with one by chance, not by choice, and stuck with it. The price was right (free from a farmer I worked with).
Shoot pretty much any shells I got lieing around, but then theres a lot of birds here, and with thick cover and a single shot, ya gotta be pretty close, and pretty sure of your shot. Guess being a pretty good shot helps too! It works for me, and works for geese, when hunted while they feed in the fields.
I find the most productive way to hunt geese is laying under a swath and waiting 'til the birds are landing, seems like 1/2 land and 1/2 sort of circle once before landing.
The 16 also usually sells a lot cheaper than the 12, which is important if you are on a tight budget like me, or just starting out and don't want to spend too much on a gun for game you may not enjoy hunting.
it is sad that the 16 is a dying gague, i shoot a sweet 16 browning for quail as a boy and i loved that gun. Skeet 4 gague competion eliminated the 16 and its popuparity has been going down ever since. Shell selection for a 16 is often harder to find than a 12 and in most location 16 gague shells are more expensive if they are of equal loads and quality.
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