Shooting smaller gauges.

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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby jlw034 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:56 pm

Duckdon wrote:12 ga on everything but large waterfowl. For that I use the 10ga. Why not a 8 bore? Because it's not legal.
Close birds, I shoot in the eye.
Don and Crew


^^^ This guy gets it!
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby orhunter » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:25 pm

Smaller gauges shoot smaller patterns.

I've patterned some 1 oz. 3 1/4 dram 12 gauge loads through loose chokes that produced 90% or better. Drop a rooster at 50 yards....maybe....if you're willing to try.
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby TobyTx » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:26 pm

Smaller patterns? Or less dense?
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby stubblejumper » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:27 pm

TobyTx wrote:Smaller patterns? Or less dense?


Less dense, not smaller in diameter.
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby TobyTx » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:32 pm

Teal, 20 gauge #4 IC
Duck 12 gauge 3 in #4 IC
Quail 8s or 7s IC and IM

I used to use 20 for a while for duck and never had an issues dropping them.
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:25 pm

1 ounce of shot is 1 ounce of shot whether from a 28 or a 12. Thing with the larger gauges is that they hold MORE shot if you go to 1 1/8 or 1 1/4 oz. loads. That's why they're more lethal on longer shots or larger birds; more pellets in the kill circle. My 12's weigh about 6# 3oz, same as my 20 and 28.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby AverageGuy » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:36 pm

The 28 gauge benefits from a comparatively short shot string. Its shot tends to arrive all at the same time so when on target there are more pellets on a moving target than a lot of 20 gauges can produce.

But the general case is a larger bore handles the same amount of shot better than does a smaller bore. That is why some brands of overbored 12 gauges handle the 3.5 inch candles better than some others. And why a 10 gauge handles BBBs far better than the majority of 12 gauges. And why a 1 1/4 oz load in a 12 gauge is far superior to the same amount of shot in a 3 inch 20 gauge.
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby Kiger2 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:34 pm

I really like orhunters post, go back and read it.

But that is based on his hunting wild chukars and huns. My experience would be the same so to some extent it depends on what we are hunting. I hunt with a twenty and if I put the pattern on tar get the bird is dead. But when the shots get longer, the terrain gets steeper and the shots a bit less accurate, more is better.

If i had to compete in a tournament, i would carry my 12 with a 1 3/8ths ounce load.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is "Patience". If Im hunting chukars with my 12 and a quail gets up 10 yards away, patience is a virtue.

The next thing is, I don't look so much at the first shot, its what happens after the first shot. did i drop it? did i wing it and need to shoot it again, or did i miss and still want o shoot cause dammit, it anti getting away. So for chukars, i choose a 20 with number 5 shot. when they are close, i let them fly a bit, then shoot.

Theres no perfect answer for EVERY shot.

I have two guns i want to take chukar hunting. Both my grandfathers. A winchester 410 single shot. And a W Richards 12 muzzleloader. Neither an ideal chukar gun, but both capable within certain parameters.
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby woodboro » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:57 pm

I typed a nice long comment and it got whipped out :cry:

My current gunsmith is from England , and 12 gauges in Europe are men's guns ,and lesser gauges are woman's guns.

But gauge does not mean necessary punch.. my old American gunsmith stated many American's think they have to hit it hard to kill it.
Its more about fit of a gun , and using the tool correctly in stance.

My 16 Jeffery and 20 rbl use 7/8's and my current purchase JP Sauer 12 will probably see only 1 oz. :D

Ducks and late season phez require more punch and kill (heavy loads) because of distance and killing needs. :lol:
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby jlw034 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:53 pm

Densa44 wrote:I've seen some very nice dog pictures with small birds in their mouths. I don't know what all these birds are so you have an idea of my expertise.

If you are using a 12 ga. to blast these upland birds I think you have way too much gun, and now and again you will produce fertilizer. The dog,who so far has done all the work will rush to retrieve the bird which may now be 3 feet long. He may "blink" the bird as it doesn't look like any bird he has ever seen, the hunter may not know this and imprudently start pushing buttons.

My suggestion is to try to avoid this as much as possible. I shoot (pointed) pheasants with a .410 packing #4 lead pellets, and even with that I blew one up last year. It was difficult snowy ground and I came at the dog from up wind and the bird came up right under my feet, the bird came right at me and I fired. What a mess, I blew the side off.

I have come to the conclusion that the best/perfect ga. is the 28, I have 2 friends that shoot them and it just seems perfect to me.

To reiterate, the dog has a right to expect a nice clean bird to retrieve, not something that you need a shovel to pick up.

Oh and BTW unlike what you may think, I'm not a great shot, but at 15 feet I don't have to be.


K. I. S. S.

12ga for ducks.
12ga for geese.
12ga for pheasant.
12ga for grouse.

Before season: Buy 1 case of 5 shot lead, and two cases of 2 shot steel, and do your best to shoot em all.

Birds have this incredible tendency to fly away from the gun. If the bird flushes too close, lay the gun down, light a cigar, admire your dog holding solid, pick gun back up, knock bird down.
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby Willie T » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:29 pm

When I was a kid getting started I learned with a 20 and yearned for a 12. When I was a young man I used a 12 for everything and mostly magnum loads (if I could afford them) with a fairly open choke. I'm older now and often hunt with a 20 and sometimes a .410. I kill more birds now than before.

In my experience the effectiveness of smaller guage shot guns is the sum of several factors. The combination of shot size and weight, velocity, and choke constriction regulate pattern density. An open choke with the lighter load of a small guage will be less dense, and do less damage up close than a twelve. If you center up too close with a .410 you will still make a pillow.

Improper choke selection severely limits the capability of the smaller gauges. An open choke combined with less shot produces sparce patterns at moderate ranges and results in a higher percentage of cripples. To extend range with a smaller guage, a tight enough choke will give you a dense pattern, but you sacrifice pattern size to get density due to a reduced payload. At reasonable ranges it is a non issue if you are centering up. The .410 is the most extreme example. I sometimes use a tightly choked .410 OU with a half ounce of #6 steel at 1400fps to cleanly take mallards over decoys. If you can center up it will stone them. If you struggle to center the pattern, then a 1 3/8 oz 12 ga. with IC and a wide pattern is far more effective.

The skill of the shooter is the single most critical factor when assessing the effectiveness of small guage shotguns.

For upland birds I usually hunt with a 20 choked IC/Full with lead or IC/Mod with non toxic shot and do not feel handicapped. In my opinion that combination best covers reasonable shot opportunities including the long bird. I also use a tight choked 20 sometimes for ducks and small geese. If giant honkers are a possibility I carry a tight (patternmaster) choked 12ga auto loader, and shoot 1 1/4 oz of high velocity #2 steel for more horse power.

A common progression as experience grows, is body count becomes less the focus. Difficulty may be added to make things more sporting, and a keener appreciation for the dog work makes things more enjoyable. A lot of the guys you see carrying the small shotguns don't have anything to prove anymore, and are just out having a good time with their dogs.
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby orhunter » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:38 pm

The longest shot I ever made on a rooster was with a .410 and 7.5 shot, 75 yards. I was a dumb kid and didn't know I couldn't do it.
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:24 pm

There's a couple of other things you have to consider when shooting a 28. First, you'll always have about one third less pellets than a 12 comparing 3/4 ounce 28 to 1 1/8 12. If you up the charge to 7/8 or one ounce, you end up with a blown pattern. Now, that's fine IF you shoot lead but if you're hunting public areas and using steel, you're going to cripple a lot of birds.

I think that unless a hunter can go to a skeet range and break 20-22 with a 28, you have no business shooting one on pheasant. Grouse and woodcock are different because they are so easy to kill. My two cents. Not a fan of the small gauges when the 12's are more efficient and on average, just as light.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby stubblejumper » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:58 pm

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:There's a couple of other things you have to consider when shooting a 28. First, you'll always have about one third less pellets than a 12 comparing 3/4 ounce 28 to 1 1/8 12. If you up the charge to 7/8 or one ounce, you end up with a blown pattern. Now, that's fine IF you shoot lead but if you're hunting public areas and using steel, you're going to cripple a lot of birds.

I think that unless a hunter can go to a skeet range and break 20-22 with a 28, you have no business shooting one on pheasant. Grouse and woodcock are different because they are so easy to kill. My two cents. Not a fan of the small gauges when the 12's are more efficient and on average, just as light.



If I only shoot 20-22 at skeet with a 28 gauge, I am having an extremely off day. :)
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Re: Shooting smaller gauges.

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:27 pm

I don't concede anyone enjoys dog work more than I do just because they are carrying a smaller gauge shotgun than I. I expect most all of us on here are in it for the dog work.

I suppose it could be argued that those carrying small gauges are the ones most out to prove something. Seems the small gauge guys are the ones always accusing the 12 gauge guys of blowing up birds or compensating for poor shooting ability, not the other way around ...
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