Ammo is not created equally. Some burns cleaner and patterns better than others. Some cheap loads like to jam in certain guns. I like Kent Fast Lead but recently have been shooting the Browning BXD Upland loads. The best advice I ever got was about 40 years ago, when someone told me to shoot the most expensive shell you can buy. You owe that to the game you pursue.Yep.No need to spend money on expensive amo, as long as it's high brass, 1 1/4 oz. 4 shot empire.
Have you patterned different loads through your gun? I have done a very limited amount of it. However I have seen other folks data of different loads at the patterning plate and they can vary alot.You go ahead and spend 50 dollars a box.I'll spend 7, and let's see who wins.
For turkey, I always use copper platted loads.Pheasant, I burn through a boat load of amo.Generally , any high brass load, will take down pheasants.Try a full choke, with lead 2's.Fuchie Golden Pheasant in 5 or 6 pending weather/time of year. Patterns great in my O/U. I prefer plated lead as I believe it patterns more consistent, cleaner, doesn't feather wad and has a deeper penetration. Patterning your gun/choke and load is pretty important.
I think using ic has bagged a lot more birds for me.I used to use mod. a lot, and full.When i went to ic, my shooting improved.Here's some info I've posted before that might be helpful.
Are you really getting any benefits from the more expensive “Premium” or “Super” pheasant loads on the market?
Well, let’s see what the pattern board can tell us about some of these loads and how they perform in my gun and chokes.
Patterning results from a 12-gauge Browning Citori with 28" Invector-plus barrels using Briley flush chokes (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).
12 GA 2 3/4" FEDERAL GAME-SHOK HEAVY FIELD LOAD
1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) @ 1220 fps
30 YARDS – IC / pattern 173 (77%)
40 YARDS – Mod / pattern 145 (65%)
50 YARDS – Full / pattern 109 (49%)
12 GA 2 3/4" FEDERAL PREMIUM UPLAND HIGH-VELOCITY LOAD
1 ¼ oz #5 lead (216 pellets) @ 1400 fps
30 YARDS – IC / pattern 152 (70%)
40 YARDS – Mod / pattern 126 (58%)
50 YARDS – Full / pattern 84 (39%)
12 GA 2 3/4" WINCHESTER SUPER PHEASANT LOAD
1 3/8 oz #5 lead (234 pellets) @ 1300 fps
30 YARDS – IC / pattern 186 (79%)
40 YARDS – Mod / pattern 149 (64%)
50 YARDS – Full / pattern 113 (48%)
It’s obvious from the pattern numbers that the Game-Shok load shot tighter patterns (IC / +7%, Mod / +7%, and Full / +10%) than the Premium Upland high-velocity load with the chokes tested.
Now, the Winchester Super Pheasant 1 3/8-ounce load started out with 10 more pellets than the 1 ¼-ounce Game-Shok load; and it did put a few more pellets (IC / +13 pellets, Mod / +4 pellets, and Full / +4 pellets) in the patterns than the Game-Shok load. The question you have to ask yourself is… are those few extra pellets in the 30-, 40- and 50-yard patterns really providing any noticeable benefit to killin’ pheasants?
It’s clear to me that you could save some money and reduce recoil by shooting the relatively slow 1220 fps load and not really forgo any pheasant killin’ effectiveness. Heck, the slower Game -Shok load put 24 more pellets (a 29% increase) in the 50-yard pattern than the Premium Upland load and had only 4 fewer pellets than the heavier Winchester Super Pheasant load. Just because they are labeled “Premium” or “Super” loads, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are “better” at killin’ pheasants!
That’s my take, now you can be the judge!