You might want to try the 1 1/4 loads and pattern both. You might find that the lighter load at 1330 fps pattern better. Some times the higher velocity blows the patterns. 1 1/4 oz at 1,330 fps is all you need for pheasants.I bought some #5 and #6 shot, they are made by Fiocchi for Scheel's and only difference is they are regular lead shot and not copper plated from what I can tell. I will pattern them against what I normally shoot and see how they perform. I bought the 1 3/8 ounce shot at 1485 FPS as they have another lighter load at 1 1/4 ounce shot at 1330 FPS.
I hear all the time guys talking about shooting slower loads and finding more pellets in the kill zone. Here are a couple of observations I have and questions I would like to ask of you guys. If I am shooting a slower load that means I probably have to lead the bird more correct? since so many people shoot behind a pheasant wouldn't that cause more misses than fewer pellets but getting there faster? Also nothing is ever shared about the shot string. We all know that all those pellets don't hit the board at the same time, so my question is, How long is the shot string on a slower load versus a faster load? I would assume there is a difference but how do you measure a shot string? These are the things I think about when I can't shoot birds! I am interested in what people think.Here's are some of my patterning numbers, that I posted before, that may 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!
Mill Creek, when I lived in Nebraska we used to carry heavy shot 7 1/2's for when you came across a covey of quail. We would switch loads and then go hunt the singles. Okay you can come to the party as well!I want to come to the fire, but I'll keep my mouth shut on loads. Heck the first couple of weeks of the season I have heavy 7/12's in the top barrel, but I'm in quail country also.
See the bird...shoot the bird. I pass on 60 yard crossers, although I've seen some hero shots further than that.