Shot size for small game

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by freakshow10mm, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

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    What shot size is ideal for small game? I'm starting to reload 20ga and want to know what size I should stock up on. I ordered two bags of #8 shot. Is that good?
     
  2. Brass Nazi

    Brass Nazi NO BRASS FOR U!

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    8 is good for dove, quail etc.

    I have used 6 for squirrel and rabbit. I tend to use a .22 most of the time though because I hate spitting out lead.
     

  3. noway

    noway

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    noway's choice

    #4 steell for coon, #5 or 6 squirrels in thick tress.

    lead #8 is margnal on passingdoves unless you want wounded doves and quails ;) I perfere #7 for both, the bigger shot drops them much better and at greater distances. Worst case I have heavy 7.5 loads that I load up just for doves.


    Rabbits are fragile , just point a barrel at them and they fall over ;)
     
  4. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    #4-#6 in 20 and 12ga

    IMHO, 7.5 and 8 low brass is not good for nothing
     
  5. vafish

    vafish

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    ]

    Works very well breaking those little clay disks.
     
  6. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    To be honest, I always had better luck when I used my high brass hunting loads. Maybe it is what I am use to.
     
  7. 357glocker

    357glocker

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    7.5 or 8's is all I use for doves/target. For upland hunting like pheasant/quail, rabbit, squirrel I use 5 shot in 12ga and 4's in 20ga.
     
  8. vafish

    vafish

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    You shooting trap or skeet?

    I use light 8's for both, but I could see a bit heavier load being an advantage in Trap where the distances are a bit further.
     
  9. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

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    and a case of buck and a case of slugs.

    so far it kills things. ;)
     
  10. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    I have, but it was very informal and several years back.

    I brough a small pile of 7.5 and 8s. I couldn't break anything. I reached into my bag and pulled my hunting rounds out, and I sstarted breaking everything that they flung.

    I did the same thing a couple times before I learned that I do better with the heavier loads.
     
  11. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

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    Hmm looks like I got too small of shot. Won't be shooting games, just rabbits, squirrels, small game on the ground. Maybe a quail or two if they come close.

    Used #4 or #6 for pheasants back when I was a teen. Thought that was a little much for small stuff, but you figure a .22 for a squirrel or rabbit is not too big, but when you have 50 pellets hitting an animal is might be a bit much.

    I'll have to keep that in mind and order larger shot when I order next. I got 50# of #8 to burn through. Looks like about 900rds worth. Could sell it or trade it for other size shot though.
     
  12. vafish

    vafish

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    Could be that you are used to the faster loads and were shooting behind with the light target loads.
     
  13. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    It could be, I never figured it out. The good thing about always using my hunting load is, that it is my hunting load and good practice for hunting.


    I need to get out and fling some lead at some clays again.
     
  14. rfb45colt

    rfb45colt safe-cracker

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    I've been reloading 12 ga shotshells since the 70s, been hunting small game since the early 60s (started when I was 12). My favorite size has always been 7-1/2s, favorite choke is improved cylinder (results in wide, fairly dense patterns). The advantage of reloading is you can load shells in versions that you cannot buy. Anyone ever seen 12ga shells in the "magnum" version, with 1-1/2 ozs of 7-1/2s on a store shelf? I killed literally 1,000s of pheasants, doves, quail, and crows while living in IL, all using 7-1/2s... the pheasant loads were "juiced up" in the powder/speed dept to "magnum" levels with 1-1/2 oz of 7-1/2 shot, the rest (for quail, dove & crow) were just 1-1/8oz trap loads, a little on the fast side. I always hunted pheasant/quail over pointing dogs (between my Dad and I, we owned 8 differant English Setters). We were usually in heavier cover, and we used short barreled shotguns w/ open chokes, and if a bird got up that one of our dogs didn't work the right way, we didn't shoot it. Therefore, all our shots were close ones... this wasn't SD cornfield type hunting, I'd usually have to wait just a bit to let them "get out" to about 25-30 yds before pulling the trigger. Hunting over good dogs means all you need to do is knock the bird from the air... the dogs do the rest. :) But the 7-1/2s I loaded usually killed pheasants just as dead as my buddies' store-bought 5s & 6s. I had more pellets in the pattern, so I missed less than they did (so much so that most of my huntin' buds switched to 7 1/2s too).

    I now use those same 7-1/2 loads to hunt grouse. The only time my shotguns are stoked with anything larger is for waterfowl, and the non-tox waterfowl loads are the only "store-bought" 12ga shotshells I've owned in 30 yrs (I don't reload 20ga... I buy them by the case at Wallyworld). For waterfowl, I use #4 Hevi-shot for ducks, and #2 Hevi-shot for geese.

    BTW... I've never been too enthused about hunting "rodents" (squirrel & rabbit). ;) Every damn time I'd blast a bunny while bird hunting with my dogs, the dogs would get infested with fleas when retrieving the bunny. I quit shooting them decades ago.
     
  15. Bonk

    Bonk Millennium Member

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    I hunt squirrels and cottontails with a 20ga pump and #6's. I tried #4's once, but it really tore the squirrel up, and #8's won't reliably drop them. YMMV.