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.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!
I happen to have some #4 for my 16 ga. My 20 ga is #5 and #6. 3” and some 2 3/4”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.
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.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!
That‘s a great photo. I’m taking the 20 and I bought a SxS 16 to take as well.
I was in the same area at the same time. Wind was brutalI'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’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.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!