I conducted a lot of tests when I got serious about this bird hunting stuff in my late teens. Heck, I had to, there was and still is so much conflicting information and it can't all be right. I still conduct a few tests but mostly spend my days wandering around shooting birds under a variety of conditions. So here is the over simplified truth of the matter.
Up close, anything works. At moderate ranges, say 35-45 yards, most combinations work well. At 50 yards, pattern density, load efficiency, and shot size start to be a worthwhile concern. Once the 60 yard line is crossed you are in 12 & 10 gauge territory and even then, your combo better darn well be optimum and very few ever are. There are some that deliver the goods at the longest distances, but not many shooters ever become constistent out there anyway. Those that do, generally already know this stuff and how to build the right loads.
Then there is the matter of bird loss risk. Some birds like chukars, scaled quail, and rooster pheasants are notorious for sprinting off to vanish like a fart in the wind if not dead before gravity returns them to ground. Without a good dog that will reliably trail ground scent odds of losing a winged bird skyrocket. Birds are so inconsiderate, they don't have the decency to run upwind. Factor these possibilities when pondering the subject.
So where does that leave us? It leaves us asking ourselves, honestly no less, just what are we shooting at and how far away. When the answer falls in group one or two, stop thinking so hard. Shooting clay discs just for fun? Stop thinking so hard. Shooting clays with your buddies (rivals) for fun? Get them to think too hard then marvel at the humorous results while offering increasingly useless advice!
_________________ Only catch snowflakes on your tongue AFTER the birds fly south for the winter...
Joined: 23 Aug 2009
Location: Southern Ontario
What I'm reading here comes home in simple terms.
1. It "ain't" rocket science.
2. No matter how spendy the shell or how many patterns you "paper."
If your shot / pattern isn't on the bird it's pointless. Take my word for it
there's a ""reason"" most of my dogs are above average finding wounded birds
for me of mediocre talent.
Gun fit and patterning for POA from low gun, quick to shoulder, will get you to hit birds way more consistently than any 'particular' shotshell will IMHO.
guys at the skeet range always shake their heads when I shoot my sxs sixteen from low gun. when i do go to the range, its mostly to practice lead.
_________________ 1959 16ga. Antonio Zoli sxs 28"
1949 16ga. Model 12 28"
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