Best lead shell for 12 ga. on wild pheasants

I've had very good results with the 2 & 3/4" B & P Upland Game nickel-plated 5's, 1 & 1/2 oz, 1325 fps. It's a premium shell, but not outrageously priced at $16 a box from Natchez.

Last year I tried the 2 & 3/4" Winchester Rooster XR, 1 & 1/4 oz of 4's at 1300 fps. The results with this shell were great, it's the best long-range shell out there, IMO. (very pricy though, about $22 dollars for a box of 15)

I haven't tried the Browning BXD Upland in 12 gauge yet, but I've had great results with the 16 gauge BXD shells, so my guess is they're good in 12 ga too. (made by Winchester)
 

Goosemaster

New 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.
That stuff is expensive@!$$
 

birdshooter

Active member
Since you asked for opinions I will give mine. For Phez I like a load size of at least 1-1/4 oz filled with #5 shot or 1-3/8 of #4 if it's windy or late season birds are not holding. The reason I like the 1-3/8 of #4 is to compensate for fewer pellet count that a #4 offers.

I like a speed of 1250 - 1330 fps if I can find it. Marketing would have you believe speed kills and that higher velocity than that kills better, but Tom Roster (shotshell ballistics expert) says it's unneeded and generally doesn't pattern as well as the more moderate speeds.

https://www.shotgunlife.com/shotguns/tom-roster/does-speed-kill.html

Excerpt:


The answer is that with balls the greater the velocity at which a ball is initially launched, the greater the rate at which it loses velocity. This is due to the poor aerodynamic shape of balls. The net effect of increasing the initial launch velocity of balls is that greater air resistance is created ahead of them. They are forced, therefore, to slow down more rapidly than balls launched at slower initial velocities. Since shotshell pellets are largely ball-shaped, this inescapable law of physics hugely inhibits the value of high velocity for shotshell loads.

If you doubt this irrefutable law of physics, simply consult any downrange ballistics table for any shot type – lead, steel, bismuth, whatever. You will see that any increase in velocity and retained energy which exists at the muzzle between a faster launched ball versus a slower one degenerates exponentially over distance. For example, at 60 yards the majority of the differential enjoyed by the faster-launched ball at the muzzle will be virtually gone.
 
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Goosemaster

New member
Ya most likely not worth it. Just enjoy trying different loads. Seems like any decent shell delivered in front of the bird will do the job. My limit is 40 yards anyway. Beyond that I’m throwing rocks.
I usually can find high brass for 8 dollars a box.I did spend 22 on a box of 3 inch remington steel water foul loads #2 that were great with IC, 12 GUAUGE 870 express camo.339 out of the box at wal mart.Great gun, took me a few years to shoot it well.Great turkey gun, and goose.I use an extra full on turkey.Pheasant is always IC on alk my remingtons.
 
I used the Hevishot Mid Range choke in my Beretta while pheasant
hunting in Kansas. I use the same choke in my waterfowl A400 for
decoying ducks. I love the Hevishot chokes as well as the ammo
 
Last year I tried the 2 & 3/4" Winchester Rooster XR, 1 & 1/4 oz of 4's at 1300 fps. The results with this shell were great, it's the best long-range shell out there, IMO. (made by Winchester)
Not even close Winchester 12ga 3inch Mag 1 7/8oz of 4 shot buffered copper plated is the Second best shotgun shell ever made and for long range was the best value for shooting out to 55 yards.
 
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LC Smith

New member
I shoot in both my LC Smith 12 and 16 guns... RST 2.5” paper hull 1oz load of #5 or #6. Like a hammer on birds!
 
Yeah, but that stuff is SPENDY!!
yeah, it costs more but I don't shoot as many shells when using it
I just bought some more of the Hevi Bismuth to use shooting woodies
next week

I am excited to be able to use the old Winchester 20 gauge that was
handed down to me with the Hevi Bismuth
I will let you guys know how it does
 

mgorvi

New member
I just got back. Shot all Kent this time. Fast lead 1 1/2 4s at 1420fps. IC and LM and Waterfowl Bismuth 3#s. Seemed to get the job done if I put it out in front. Very few cripples this time. A little on the heavy side but cheap. Leaving now next week. Not sure what to shoot.
 
After a lot of reading and research the answer is relatively clear and not a surprise. A shell with high antimony lead (increased hardness), and copper or nickel plated (less deformity and doesn't catch feathers), in the 1300 velocity +/- in 1 1/4 ounce is your best bet. Shot size 4,5, or 6 depending on point of time in the season, type of dog used, and average length of shot being made. Unfortunately lots of shells out there too fast, too heavy, too soft of pellets, or some combination of the three. Of course shot placement is the most important of all which goes without saying, but that wasn't the point of the original point.
 
I am becoming a huge fan of the Hevi-Bismuth.
They hit hard and really reduce crippled birds
I started using nontoxic shot for all my upland hunting several years ago. I use mostly steel shot.

This season, I purchased several boxes of 16 gauge Hevi-Bismuth in #6 and #4 shot.

I have shot several pheasants with it and the results have been very good.
 

birdshooter

Active member
I started using nontoxic shot for all my upland hunting several years ago. I use mostly steel shot.

This season, I purchased several boxes of 16 gauge Hevi-Bismuth in #6 and #4 shot.

I have shot several pheasants with it and the results have been very good.
Nothing wrong with Steel so long as you use the correct shot and load size. Here is a lethality chart for non tox by the leading authority on shotgun ballistics Tom Roster.

https://gf.nd.gov/hunting/nontoxic-shot-lethality


steel #2 and HEVI-Shot #4 (.130") the best all-around performance for taking ring-necked pheasants
 
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