Number five steel

McFarmer

Member
Hunting on opening day I had a rooster get up and present a straight away shot. I'm useing 2.75 20 ga with 7/8 oz of steel #5. Two shots and blew feathers each time, first shot maybe 25 yards, second a little more. He never slowed down.

Question then did that shot coming right up his backside just not have enough power to penetrate to a vital region ? Or was it a one of deal ?

Two others that day fell dead with the same 1100.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Hunting on opening day I had a rooster get up and present a straight away shot. I'm useing 2.75 20 ga with 7/8 oz of steel #5. Two shots and blew feathers each time, first shot maybe 25 yards, second a little more. He never slowed down.

Question then did that shot coming right up his backside just not have enough power to penetrate to a vital region ? Or was it a one of deal ?

Two others that day fell dead with the same 1100.

Roosters are easy to hit straight away, but tough to put on the ground. This is why I refer to them as roostards. First, what's the muzzle velocity of the steel? IMHO, you should be shooting no less than 1,350-1,400, if not a tad faster. And then I'd switch to 3's. Lots of people even swear by steel 2's. Do you have a decent dog? If not, I'd switch to a 12 gauge, 1-1/8 oz load. Again, fast & 3's or 2's. I fear shooting 20 ga. steel at roosters, you run a serious risk of having quite a few runners.
 
I have killed a number of pheasants from my 20 ga sxs using 7/8 ounce # 5 Kent upland steel at 1500 fps . I load the open tube with the 5's and the tight tube with 3 " load with one ounce of steel 3's about 1350 Fps . This is my combo quail and pheasant . When it's all pheasant #3 one ounce Hevi-metal .

If you hit the bird a little low his is going to keep on going . I like to be on The top edge on going away bird . . shot hits him in the back and in the back of thr head

Let us how you come out !!!!.
 
A pheasant has a large tough, muscular gizzard that protects its vital organs from a shot to the rear.

As KSBrittman said, you need to target the top of the bird to avoid the gizzard and hit the head/vitals.
 

McFarmer

Member
I have killed a number of pheasants from my 20 ga sxs using 7/8 ounce # 5 Kent upland steel at 1500 fps . I load the open tube with the 5's and the tight tube with 3 " load with one ounce of steel 3's about 1350 Fps . This is my combo quail and pheasant . When it's all pheasant #3 one ounce Hevi-metal .

If you hit the bird a little low his is going to keep on going . I like to be on The top edge on going away bird . . shot hits him in the back and in the back of thr head

Let us how you come out !!!!.

That's the shell I was useing.

As far as the low shooting goes that might be a possibility. I shoot a lot of trap and I have a hard time covering the bird when I need to with a field gun.
 
I shoot Kent Fasteel #5 and straight away shots I’ve found there are two ways to put a bird down. One is in the head, the other is in the ass from point blank range but you will have nothing left of the bird. If you body shot the bird seems to fold like it’s wounded but when it hits the ground it just keeps running
 

NC IA Tail Chaser

New member
I switched to 100% steel shot last season because I didn't want to find myself in the middle of public ground carrying a vest and gun full of lead. I hunt with a 20 gauge OU and shoot exclusively 2 3/4" 7/8 with 6 shot. Everyone I hunt with use 12 gauges and they shoot lead with 5 shot in private and steel duck loads with 4 shot in public. This is purely subjective but I really don't see a difference in number of birds shot and in the vest between us. It seems to me like when we are on target the birds fall and it is either dead or it is mortally wounded and the dogs find them very close to where they fall. I am not saying at all that we haven't lost a few birds but that it is the exception rather than the rule. I think when a bird hits the ground running it has more to do with the shooter than the shell he is shooting. When I loose a bird I first look at what I did wrong and most of the time I can tell you what that was and for the most part it was my fault not my dogs, not my shotgun, not the shells just me shooting badly.
 

jonnyB

Active member
Had a bird flush 8-10 yards away. I'm in sort of a ditch and the bird is on top, with a flush straight-away. Using #4, 1 oz. lead. Bird drops, as in dead and is observed by my hunting partner.

No can find said bird - go figure!
 

birdshooter

Active member
#5 steel is less than ideal unless the bird is very close. Use #3 or #2 Steel.

Some of you may know who Tom Roster is. Probably has tested non toxic shot lethality on gamebirds more than anyone else.

The link below has a chart which shows his recommendations for shot size, load size and choke recommendation on different gamebirds. Not a surprise that for Pheasants he recommends #3 or #2 steel. Rule of thumb has generally always been two shot sizes larger than what you would use for lead.

http://www.randywakeman.com/ShotgunLethalityTablesCommentDiscussionandCriticism .htm
 
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A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Had a bird flush 8-10 yards away. I'm in sort of a ditch and the bird is on top, with a flush straight-away. Using #4, 1 oz. lead. Bird drops, as in dead and is observed by my hunting partner.

No can find said bird - go figure!

Have a dog? Many times on straight aways, he's not as dead as you might think. And if he has so much as one breath of life left, he will disappear. Instantly.
 

birdshooter

Active member
Hunting on opening day I had a rooster get up and present a straight away shot. I'm useing 2.75 20 ga with 7/8 oz of steel #5. Two shots and blew feathers each time, first shot maybe 25 yards, second a little more. He never slowed down.

Question then did that shot coming right up his backside just not have enough power to penetrate to a vital region ? Or was it a one of deal ?

Two others that day fell dead with the same 1100.

What choke are you using? Especially with a 20 I would go modified and #3 Steel in the largest load size you can find.
 

jonnyB

Active member
Have a dog. Still couldn't find...too much scent, perhaps. Frustrated. And disappear into the brush.
 

esetter

Member
Have hunted lots of WPA land in North Dakota. Non toxic shot only. In steel i like #3. I have shot heavi shot and other non steel non toxic loads. I can't say one has consistently been more lethal than the others. Even with lead , shot placement , shot placement , shot placement.
 
I have been using steel shot for all my pheasant hunting for the past 3-4 years.

I use both a 16 gauge sxs and a 12 guage semi-auto.

In the 16 gauge, I use 7/8 oz #4 steel in the right barrel and 7/8 oz of #3 steel in the left barrel.

In the 12 gauge, I use 1-1 1/8 oz #3 steel for the first shot and follow it with #2 steel.

With any shot, either lead or steel, you are balancing pattern density and penetration at the ranges that you target the birds.

Also, pheasants are easily lost of you do not center them in the pattern. Many pheasants are lost that are shot to one side (on a going away shot) through the wing. A bird with a broken wing but two good legs will run and be difficult to recover no matter if it was shot with lead, steel, or bismuth etc.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
A bird with a broken wing but two good legs will run and be difficult to recover no matter if it was shot with lead, steel, or bismuth etc.

Yes, 2 good legs equates to a track star. But they can & will run, or at least make themselves scarce, on 2 shattered legs. The will to survive is that strong. For this reason, I want my dog to break for the bird immediately. If the flush &/or dog's actions force me to hold my shot, then so be it. That has happened maybe twice in the 16 seasons I've owned springers. Our recovery rate is over 95% in the most challenging cover around, on birds as healthy, smart & wild as they come. (not trying to hijack thread....really)
 

esetter

Member
I will add...... If you switch from lead to steel , pay attention to the FPS. Some of the magnum steel shot is crazy fast (1700 fps +). This will throw your normal leads way off.
 
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