SD in October - IC ok?

Obi_Wan

Member
I’m going to SD for the first time in October. I have a new to me Ithaca SxS in 20 ga. It is fixed IC and M chokes. Will it work, or should I leave it at home and take my 20 ga Benelli with a M or IM choke?

Probably taking my Ithaca 16 ga Mod 37 with mod choke too.
 

Matt D

Well-known member
A little depends on the type of hunting and dogs but you will be fine. If you find they are flushing on the long side just switch to your 16 with mod and will be good to go.
 

Fox Walker

New member
My profile picture is one where I threw on some orange as we drove back to the lodge after a successful morning duck hunt in the potholes. We stopped at a birdy looking spot. My dog worked a pair of roosters perfectly and I dropped them both with my Benelli Super Black Eagle. Great day; but later, I started thinking how it would have been even better if I had taken an extra minute to uncase my 100+ year old A.H. Fox.

IC is an advantage for shots inside 25 yards and you always have that second barrel. I say make the shots you can with the SxS and don't look back.
 

Joe Hunter

Active member
I agree with the others. Keep your shots inside of 40 yards and you'll be fine with your 20ga. Try to find some 1-ounce #6 or #5 lead loads.

Here are a few of my pattern numbers to give you an idea of the kind of patterns you might get with those chokes.

Patterns from a 20-gauge Browning Citori with 28" Invector-plus barrels and 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).

20 GA 2 ¾” RELOAD (BLUE DOT)
1 oz #6 lead (233 pellets) @ 1200 fps

30 YARDS – IC / pattern 168 (72%)
40 YARDS – M / pattern 146 (63%)

Good luck!
 

dustin mudd

Active member
So my question is. You going first week private land? If so I C is probably and an advantage. Last week or so of October, public lane with flushing dogs , you’ll be handicapped IMO
 

Obi_Wan

Member
Private land. Not sure about dogs, but I don’t think we will have any. Pushers and blockers only.

Loads will be Browning #6, Fiocchi Golden Pheasant, and Kent Fast lead. I have 2 3/4” and 3” shells
 

4shot

Active member
SD birds are tough little boogers! Hit em hard and when they drop, get on them. I’m a 12 ga 4 shot M kinda guy. I wouldn’t be afraid to use a 20 ga with #6 but understand that you gotta hit em close and hard. Longer shots you may knock them down but never see them cause they’re running.
 

birddude

Well-known member
Keep in mind that the advice above is coming from mostly cool-headed experts who hunt phez many times a year with good dogs! They know their dogs and their guns! My experience with a 20 on wild phez has not been good. I take a 16 with the heaviest loads I can get. With imp. mod and full. If I go late season 12 gauge full and extra full! My first trip I took my tusty 16 gauge Ithaca 16 mod. barrel like yours. No dogs because the old timers told me phez would ruin your dog. My bird dropping rate was good. My recovery rate was 50%!! If your not experienced, take a 12 and practice with it!
 

Obi_Wan

Member
Keep in mind that the advice above is coming from mostly cool-headed experts who hunt phez many times a year with good dogs! They know their dogs and their guns! My experience with a 20 on wild phez has not been good. I take a 16 with the heaviest loads I can get. With imp. mod and full. If I go late season 12 gauge full and extra full! My first trip I took my tusty 16 gauge Ithaca 16 mod. barrel like yours. No dogs because the old timers told me phez would ruin your dog. My bird dropping rate was good. My recovery rate was 50%!! If your not experienced, take a 12 and practice with it!
Thanks. I appreciate all the input. I’ve killed several pheasant in Kansas with a 20 ga Mod, LM, and IM. Haven’t hunted there with a IC, but I don’t even own a 12 ga.

I like my 16 and I probably have plenty of ammo for it, but I have. More for my 20. If the IC will be a problem, I can take a beretta O/U or Benelli semi.
 

Obi_Wan

Member
SD birds are tough little boogers! Hit em hard and when they drop, get on them. I’m a 12 ga 4 shot M kinda guy. I wouldn’t be afraid to use a 20 ga with #6 but understand that you gotta hit em close and hard. Longer shots you may knock them down but never see them cause they’re running.
I happen to have some #4 for my 16 ga. My 20 ga is #5 and #6. 3” and some 2 3/4”
 

Wolfchief

Active member
Obi--a question such as you pose will be bound to elicit a variety of responses, some conflicting. I've shot 16 gauges on wild pheasants in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota for years. I've used full, mod and IC chokes. I usually use #5's and #6's, mostly in the Remington Express 1 1/8 ounce load. Haven't used a 12 in years because the above loads do the trick. I have a good dog and that helps--but you can kill roosters stone dead with either the 16, as above, or a 20 gauge choked IC/mod using 1 ounce of #5, IF you are familiar with the gun, you won't take ridiculously long shots, and have done some off-season shooting. Point is, you do not need a brain-numbing, recoil-inducing 12 gauge mag load to get the job done. Good luck with whatever load combo you use!
 

Obi_Wan

Member
Obi--a question such as you pose will be bound to elicit a variety of responses, some conflicting. I've shot 16 gauges on wild pheasants in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota for years. I've used full, mod and IC chokes. I usually use #5's and #6's, mostly in the Remington Express 1 1/8 ounce load. Haven't used a 12 in years because the above loads do the trick. I have a good dog and that helps--but you can kill roosters stone dead with either the 16, as above, or a 20 gauge choked IC/mod using 1 ounce of #5, IF you are familiar with the gun, you won't take ridiculously long shots, and have done some off-season shooting. Point is, you do not need a brain-numbing, recoil-inducing 12 gauge mag load to get the job done. Good luck with whatever load combo you use!
Thanks. I’m going to take the 20 ga and if the birds are flushing too far for the IC barrel, then I’ll switch to the 16 ga. May even buy a new 16 ga before I go. I really appreciate everyone’s insight.
 

dag

Member
I go to South Dakota every year in October and November. I only bring my beretta silver pigeon 20ga with IC an M. I’ve never had a problem and I am an average shooter at best5C4787D8-5F03-4346-BED7-35F8D61C48F2.jpeg
Last October
 

birddude

Well-known member
WELL,,, My hats off to all you guys who hunt WILD roosters with a 2/34 '' 20. I would consider it IF there were lots of birds. I hunt put and take/preserve birds with one. But I wish I had a nickel for every time I've been exhausted, beat down ass dragging, empty vest at the end of the day and finally presented with a wild flush at 30 yards. The bird leaves the ground, your brain tells you he's in range but by the time you mount and swing now he's iffy with a 12. Again I have the upmost respect for anyone who can resist taking that frustration shot. That happens a couple days in a row and you'll wish you had a 12.
 

Wolfchief

Active member
I'm shooting an A5 Sweet 16 and an SBE III 20 gauge this coming Fall precisely BECAUSE my 12 gauge leaves me "beat down ass dragging". I checked my notes and photos from last season as am reminded that on November 11, northwest of Pierre SD, in a strong (dare I say screaming) wind, with birds flushing wild and gusts approaching 66 MPH according to KELO TV, I went 3 for 3 shots on wary roosters, using Remington Express 1 1/8 ounce loads of #5 and #6 shot.in my 5.8 lb. A5. I took the shots as they presented themselves, close or farther out--but I don't take 45-50 yard shots. I just don't like lugging a 7 1/2-8 lb. 12 gauge around. And I'm well aware they sell lighter 12 gauges but I don't like getting the crap kicked out of me either.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
A well-placed shot from a 20, with appropriate loads, can kill a pheasant just fine. But you indicated you don't think you'll have dogs, which are a HUGE benefit, especially once a rooster's on the ground. For that reason, I'd recommend you limit your shots to 30-35 yds (regardless of gauge) & use at least 1-1/8 oz of 6's (or 5's). Any choke is fine at those ranges, assuming "average" gun/load/choke performance. But be prepared to sprint to downed pheasants. Mark the spot as well as you can, use land marks, either behind the drop area in the distance, or (better yet) a specific weed or cattail that bird hit on the way down. Say it to yourself out loud so when other things are happening, you don't forget. "The big weed bent over to the right just past the light colored stuff." Do NOT take your eyes off it & get there ASAP!! Don't even THINK about shooting at another bird until the one on the ground has been recovered. Without a dog, you WILL lose some. But have fun anyway!
 
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dag

Member
I'm shooting an A5 Sweet 16 and an SBE III 20 gauge this coming Fall precisely BECAUSE my 12 gauge leaves me "beat down ass dragging". I checked my notes and photos from last season as am reminded that on November 11, northwest of Pierre SD, in a strong (dare I say screaming) wind, with birds flushing wild and gusts approaching 66 MPH according to KELO TV, I went 3 for 3 shots on wary roosters, using Remington Express 1 1/8 ounce loads of #5 and #6 shot.in my 5.8 lb. A5. I took the shots as they presented themselves, close or farther out--but I don't take 45-50 yard shots. I just don't like lugging a 7 1/2-8 lb. 12 gauge around. And I'm well aware they sell lighter 12 gauges but I don't like getting the crap kicked out of me either.
I was in the same area at the same time. Wind was brutal
 

Obi_Wan

Member
A well-placed shot from a 20, with appropriate loads, can kill a pheasant just fine. But you indicated you don't think you'll have dogs, which are a HUGE benefit, especially once a rooster's on the ground. For that reason, I'd recommend you limit your shots to 30-35 yds, use at least 1-1/8 oz of 6's (or 5's), & be prepared to sprint to downed pheasants. Mark the spot as well as you can, use land marks, either behind the drop area in the distance, or (better yet) a specific weed or cattail that bird hit on the way down. Say it to yourself out loud so when other things are happening, you don't forget. "The big weed bent over to the right just past the light colored stuff." Do NOT take your eyes off it & get there ASAP!! Don't even THINK about shooting at another bird until the one on the ground has been recovered. Without a dog, you WILL lose some. But have fun anyway!
I’m not sure. I’m going with a group that has been going for years. Not sure if the ”guide“ has dogs or not. I haven’t asked. I’ve killed several with a 20 ga and 2 3/4” shells in Kansas. I mainly use 3” 20 ga now. Fiocchi Golden Pheasant. I will also use a 16 ga.

When we go to Kansas for early season, I could get away with a IC, but I shoot Mod and IM. I’ve never been to SD, so I wasn’t sure how close I can expect them to flush in October. I appreciate all the input.
 
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