Best lead shell for 12 ga. on wild pheasants

A5 Sweet 16

Member
My personal preference is Fiocchi High Velocity (I avoid Golden Pheasant like the plague because it doesn't pattern worth a crap in my gun & doesn't kill for me).
But enough guys like all the other stuff that I'm quite certain it's good too....in their guns.
In a 12 ga., I see no reason to go more or less than 1-1/4 oz., as long as both you & your gun are physically able to handle it.
Stick with velocities 1330 fps +/- 50. Guns are just more likely to not pattern the faster stuff well, & with lead, you just don't need speed. 1275-1350 is plenty.
#5 shot is the overall best performer. But if you have to go slower (like 1200-1250) for some strange reason, I'd consider 4's. If you don't plan to shoot past 35 yards, shoot 6's.
Plated shot & buffered loads?? Take or leave. Sometimes those things help patterns. Sometimes not so much.
Modified choke as rule of thumb. Adjust as you see fit. There's no substitute for patterning your gun/choke/load.
That said, if you stumble onto something that works well & haven't patterned your gun, keep using it & NEVER pattern that gun/choke/load. Be content & confident that it kills.
My $0.02.
 

westksbowhunter

Active member
Yep.No need to spend money on expensive amo, as long as it's high brass, 1 1/4 oz. 4 shot empire.
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.
 
You go ahead and spend 50 dollars a box.I'll spend 7, and let's see who wins.
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.
 
I don't shoot expensive amo, but certain guns, are more effective , with certain shells.For example, my 870, with ic, is most effective with remington express, #4 shot.My 1187, with ic, shoots best with federal, high power #5 shot.In my very old A5, I shoot federal #4 high power.These are all 12 gauge guns, with 26, 28, and 30 inch barrels.It takes 100's of rounds to learn gun, choke, load combinations.
 
I wish I had the ability to pattern my gun. Right now there's no place I can do it. I would say the vast majority of hunters and clay shooters do not pattern their rigs. If I had land I would definitely do it though. I figure a recommendation from someone who has had good results with a load is better than just going in blind. My trap club has a pattern board and I have used that, but they do not allow the shooting of game loads at the place. It is inside city limits but thankfully has been grandfathered in even though people are always trying to shut it down!
 
Bob -- If I only had one 12-gauge lead load to use for pheasants, I would be shooting the old live pigeon load of 2 3/4-inch 1 1/4-ounce No. 5 lead at 1220fps velocity. "Best" is different for different people, but "best to be means relatively low cost, low recoil, and usually patterns good.

Here are a few of my pattern numbers to give you an idea of how that load performs in my gun/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" RELOAD (UNIQUE)
1 1/4 oz #5 lead (210 pellets) @ 1220 fps
30 YARDS / SK / pattern 145 (69%)
30 YARDS / IC / pattern 177 (84%)
40 YARDS / M / pattern 155 (74%)
40 YARDS / IM / pattern 174 (83%)
50 YARDS / IM / pattern 125 (60%)

If you need to use a nontoxic load. I prefer a 12-gauge 2 3/4-inch 1 1/8-ounce of No. 2 steel at 1350-1400 fps. Here are a few of my pattern numbers to give you an idea of 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" REMINGTON SPORTSMAN HI-SPEED STEEL LOAD
1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) @ 1375 fps
30 YARDS – SK / pattern 116 (84%)
30 YARDS – IC / pattern 129 (93%)
40 YARDS – IC / pattern 111 (80%)
40 YARDS – LM / pattern 114 (82%)
40 YARDS – M / pattern 114 (82%)
50 YARDS – LF / pattern 100 (72%)
50 YARDS – F / pattern 106 (76%)

Hope this helps, good load!
 
These guys that can afford these blue blood hunting farms, can afford 30 dollar a box shells.Empire, remington, federal, you can get high brass shells for 6 dollars a box.People who shoot game loads, are big time low baggers!! Way too light!!!
 

Rusty Trigger

New member
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.
 
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.
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.
 

Labs

Member
For what it's worth, I like Federal Premium Upland Short Mag 4s and Prairie Storm 4s. I shoot Carlson Extended Steel Chokes (IC or M) in my single barrels and Carlson Prairie Storm Early Season (LM) over Late Season (IM) in my Franchi Instinct L. As always, your results may vary...
 
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!
 
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A5 Sweet 16

Member
The proof is on the patterning board. With #5's that extra 80 fps the Winchester has might get you an extra 2 yds of effective range. Pretty negligible. That said, I'd be tempted to go to 4's w/ the Game-shok load.
Not trying to muddy the water too much. I haven't done any serious reloading, patterning, etc. in quite a few years. But back when I did, I also chronographed all loads. You'd be surprised how far off some of them were, whether they were hand loads (compared to load data) or straight out of the factory box. It was really interesting.
 
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!
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.
 

mgorvi

Member
I’ve been shooting 4s more and more in IC, but mostly in LM. Seems to produce fewer cripples for me. When I shoot my 20ga Cynergy I shoot 5s IC in the bottom and 4s LM in the top. Federals in the 20ga and fooling around with Rooster XR in the 12ga. this season. Also using Kent Bismuth Waterfowl in both 12&20 in WPAS, but that’s off topic.
 
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