The truth about Prairie Storm

gimruis

Well-known member
It patterns tremendously well and also out to longer yardages.
I figured it would. Longbeard XR has increased my turkey range from 35 to 60 yards.

It has shot-lok technology which is a layer of polymer wrapped around the BBs and keeps them on a tighter pattern at longer range. I really don't do much shooting beyond about 30 yards for pheasants so I have no need for them. But I wondered anyways, thanks.
 

4shot

Active member
Shells are shells. I hunt a lot and I’m sure guys on here more than me, I don’t think we can duplicate enough scenarios to notice a trend. Last year I hunted exclusively with PS and Wing Shok and shot slot of birds. This year ran out of those early on and then shot Kent, silver box winchesters and still shot a lot of birds. Like ND said the Federal $5 rebate was awesome. Getting them for $15 a box feels good. $25 a box or more, that hurts. Wanna shoot good? Shoot alot, wear same clothes, same gloves, keep feet on clear ground. If you think PS makes you shout better then use em. If they’re under $20 I’ll buy them!
 
Here's what I experienced on a three-day Kansas pheasant hunt. Standard high base number 6 works as well as it always has. 5 & 6 shot were the dominant sizes used. They killed equally dead. It doesn't take a magnum shell to kill pheasants. No one used magnum shells. Everyone bagged limits.

I was told this as a kid: unless ducks are fins down over decoys, the third shot is a wasted round about 90% of the time. The first shot has the highest probability of downing a bird. Probability of perforating a pheasant decreases with each succeeding shot.
 

remy3424

Well-known member
I agree that 6s are quite adequate to kill pheasants. I only started using some 5s, less than 10 years ago. I only shoot 5s now for the selfish reason that more of these pass through the birds and I find way less in the meat. They break bones easier, a bit more range, but a pattern of 6s will be denser than 5s at equal distance, perfect for just getting the bird down.
 

gimruis

Well-known member
No one used magnum shells.
The discussion here isn't about the use or effectiveness of a magnum shell. Its about high velocity or "premium" shells.

I think you're confusing the two. A magnum shell is for turkeys or geese. I don't think anyone here is advocating for shooting a 3.5 inch magnum at pheasants.
 

Powderhorn Jim

Active member
Not one to beat a dead horse, but I used 20ga 3in #4 or #5 Prairie Storms for years on pheasants. Killed quite a few, but never, and I mean never, did a find one of the saturn shaped pellets in bird. I hunt over flushers, so my shots generally start at about 30 yards. My simple analysis is that the saturn pellets are flying out of the pattern before then so I've reduced the number of pellets in my pattern pretty darn quickly by 30%. Thankfully I finally shot up all my Storms and feel much better about the ammunition I am using. We spend a lot of money on good shotguns, worry about chokes, worry about patterning, then buy ammunition that by definition has 30% "flyers" in it?
 

PeteRevvv

Active member
The discussion here isn't about the use or effectiveness of a magnum shell. Its about high velocity or "premium" shells.

I think you're confusing the two. A magnum shell is for turkeys or geese. I don't think anyone here is advocating for shooting a 3.5 inch magnum at pheasants.
Au contraire mon frère. I'm willing to give it a try for the sake of hunting science. You have me intrigued so I went searching ...

Closest I can find commercially are Federal Grand Slam 3.5in #4s copper plated lead for turkey but they are just a measly 1200fps so I would have to turn to reloading for both speed and shot size/load. I doubt I will find what I'm looking for in a reload recipe book so this may be breaking new ground. I used to reload a baby mag shell in 2.5in at 1500fps with Hodgson Long shot, a semi-crushed wad and enough #5 that the crimp came out domed. I should be able to use that for a start and size up the powder and shot but that is not an exact science when it comes to bore pressure. I've never seen flightstopper wads or pellets for reloading so it would have to be copper plated lead.

I like the idea of casually shouldering the gun, taking a nice slow swing and lead while dropping them consistently at 50 yards on the first shot.
 

gimruis

Well-known member
I used to reload a baby mag shell in 2.5in at 1500fps with Hodgson Long shot, a semi-crushed wad and enough #5 that the crimp came out domed. I should be able to use that for a start and size up the powder and shot but that is not an exact science when it comes to bore pressure. I've never seen flightstopper wads or pellets for reloading so it would have to be copper plated lead.

I like the idea of casually shouldering the gun, taking a nice slow swing and lead while dropping them consistently at 50 yards on the first shot.
I think you meant 2 3/4 inch, not 2.5 inch. Of maybe you meant 3.5 inch.

I wouldn't even shoulder my gun if a rooster was at 50 yards. IMO that is way too far. In the waterfowl realm, that's called skybusting.
 

agraham20

Member
I normally don’t shoot at birds past 35 or 40. Very rarely am I shooting my first shot past 20 yds. I try to keep my dog close when he gets hot. I’m not a fan of letting your flushing dog run full speed after a running bird while you sprint through the field behind him. If my dog is working a runner, then I whistle sit him if he gets to far ahead, sooner or later the bird will make a mistake and get flushed for a nice shot.
2 seasons ago I strictly shot PS in my 16 and 20 and loved it, this season I tried Boss shells and loved them. Now I stick with Boss as I’m a fan of non tox and I believe that the performance gap is closing between them and lead. Lead is still superior but with quality non tox shot available today, is the positive outweighed buy the negative?
 
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agraham20

Member
Road hunting down the gravel road in the middle of the afternoon with corn on the driver side and alfalfa on my side. Deep ditches and a rooster runs from the corn side across the road and into the dirty ditch on my side. There's a decision point in road hunting to either pass by and come back to slowly work your way up to them. or slam on the brakes right on top of them and freeze them in place. This was 30 yards in front of the bumper so it was going to be fast and hard. Stop right on him and he wild flushes at the sound of the brakes. He's at 30 yards by the time I get the door open and the muzzle pointed out. My feet hit the ground and they are on the steep down slope of the ditch. The rooster is dead straight away 40 yards out, perfectly framed by the door opening of the truck, going 5 feet over a mile straight of short and think deep green grass. There's no time to set my feet, mount the gun, aim, follow through- just get a good grip and let her rip from the hip. Down goes the bird, ass up in the short grass, tail waving in wind for a nice and easy retrieve.

Pain focuses the mind and my shoulder was so tender that trip that I was making my first shot count every time. That bird was part of a string over 2 days were I went 7 birds with 8 PS shells in light winds. Just one of them under 30 yards and one double. One shot, clean kills and no cripples. The way I hunt and the places we go in SD, we are surprised when just one rooster gets up. Long shots are par for the course and so is cleaning up on someone else's cripple. High winds are really tough at that range and I will empty my auto to bring down a bird in those conditions but they rarely get away any more. This aint Kansas where every bird is precious- they just keep making more so honestly I don't feel real bad about a couple that get away.

Therefore I need a lot of lead, with a lot of power and coming out fast and/or often- that's what PS and autos are for. RickyBobby's Claybusters Reloads Blue Light Specials in grampy's pre-war 23 gauge single that are deployed at birds off the end of a well worn field boot just isn't me.
I’m not gonna lie.I know everybody has a style of hunting. Not everyone has a dog and rules vary by state. Here in MN everything about that story would have been completely illegal.
In Mn you can road hunt but the gun must be cased and unloaded. I grew up road hunting without a dog. My buddy and I would look for birds in the ditch, then we would drive past them and drop one guy off. He would get out and load up. The other guy would turn around and drive back past the bird get out and load up. Then we would push towards eachother trapping the bird, and when it flushed would only shoot if we had a clear safe shot.
In my opinion driving around with a loaded shotgun out of the case and jumping out of your truck while trying to shoot at an already flying rooster just sounds incredibly reckless and dangerous… it may make it easier for you to hunt but also completely eliminates the sport from it, and honestly makes pheasant hunters look bad in my opinion…. But to each their own 🤷‍♂️
 
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After finishing my first season of Kansas pheasant hunting, based on my experience, ammo isn't as important as getting a muzzle on a flushed bird yesterday.
 

Bob Peters

Well-known member
My simple analysis is that the saturn pellets are flying out of the pattern before then so I've reduced the number of pellets in my pattern pretty darn quickly by 30%. Thankfully I finally shot up all my Storms and feel much better about the ammunition I am using. We spend a lot of money on good shotguns, worry about chokes, worry about patterning, then buy ammunition that by definition has 30% "flyers" in it?
You are spot on Jim. Losing 30% of your pattern because of purposefully deformed pellets is a real head scratcher. But then again, flashy marketing and baseless claims sell a lot of shells, so I guess Vista knows what they're doing. 💸💸💸.
 
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PeteRevvv

Active member
I’m not gonna lie.I know everybody has a style of hunting. Not everyone has a dog and rules vary by state. Here in MN everything about that story would have been completely illegal.
In Mn you can road hunt but the gun must be cased and unloaded. I grew up road hunting without a dog. My buddy and I would look for birds in the ditch, then we would drive past them and drop one guy off. He would get out and load up. The other guy would turn around and drive back past the bird get out and load up. Then we would push towards eachother trapping the bird, and when it flushed would only shoot if we had a clear safe shot.
In my opinion driving around with a loaded shotgun out of the case and jumping out of your truck while trying to shoot at an already flying rooster just sounds incredibly reckless and dangerous… it may make it easier for you to hunt but also completely eliminates the sport from it, and honestly makes pheasant hunters look bad in my opinion…. But to each their own 🤷‍♂️
Im gegenteil mein bruder.

Circumstances have us road hunting most of the time so it's not necessarily a stylistic choice. And I would politely disagree as I think I'm very sporty, seeing as I do everything myself that a dog does and then shoot at double the distances. Which is why I find PS shells so useful (and the super low recoil of the Versamax). It's rare to get a bird in the road like the story above except a few at sunset so I am bushwacking most of the day like everyone else, just in a little bit different terrain. From my perspective the dog allows you to shoot light guns with light loads at easy distances. You can miss, cripple and pass up tough shots and the dog will just do the impossible retrieve or get up some more birds. I am responsible most hunting days for two limits so when I find a bird, it's got to be anchored to the ground as my 200 yard blind retrieve is just not as fast as it was 30 years ago when I started learning this advanced and rigorous method of pheasant getting.

After all these are the wiley roosters of SD in endless miles of prairie I'm after, not dumb MN bids trapped in a Root River draw. Honestly, if you got out of the truck at the field, uncased the gun and popped a few shells in the O/U and then a rooster jumped up at the edge of the parking lot, would you pass and say not sporting enough? Is that 30 seconds it takes to load up the difference? How many feet from the road do you have to be? How many fps, oz of shot or caliber of gauge fits within the narrow window of respectability that I seem to keep missing?
 

PeteRevvv

Active member
I think you meant 2 3/4 inch, not 2.5 inch. Of maybe you meant 3.5 inch.

I wouldn't even shoulder my gun if a rooster was at 50 yards. IMO that is way too far. In the waterfowl realm, that's called skybusting.
Yes, I did mean 2.75in, thank you. I just got a little excited with the idea of a custom load 3.5in magnum high velocity pheasant load for a minute.

In my boat with my gun, 50 yards is called dinner.
 

agraham20

Member
Im gegenteil mein bruder.

Circumstances have us road hunting most of the time so it's not necessarily a stylistic choice. And I would politely disagree as I think I'm very sporty, seeing as I do everything myself that a dog does and then shoot at double the distances. Which is why I find PS shells so useful (and the super low recoil of the Versamax). It's rare to get a bird in the road like the story above except a few at sunset so I am bushwacking most of the day like everyone else, just in a little bit different terrain. From my perspective the dog allows you to shoot light guns with light loads at easy distances. You can miss, cripple and pass up tough shots and the dog will just do the impossible retrieve or get up some more birds. I am responsible most hunting days for two limits so when I find a bird, it's got to be anchored to the ground as my 200 yard blind retrieve is just not as fast as it was 30 years ago when I started learning this advanced and rigorous method of pheasant getting.

After all these are the wiley roosters of SD in endless miles of prairie I'm after, not dumb MN bids trapped in a Root River draw. Honestly, if you got out of the truck at the field, uncased the gun and popped a few shells in the O/U and then a rooster jumped up at the edge of the parking lot, would you pass and say not sporting enough? Is that 30 seconds it takes to load up the difference? How many feet from the road do you have to be? How many fps, oz of shot or caliber of gauge fits within the narrow window of respectability that I seem to keep missing?
In no way did I mean to infer road hunting is not sporting. If done safely and fair then it is just as sorting as any other means of hunting. I meant the part of jumping out of a truck with an already loaded and uncased gun. Not only is that not sporting but it’s also very dangerous especially with a passenger aboard…. We as adults are normally expected to understand proper gun safety. The fact that you think it’s sporting that you think you do everything a dog does and take long shots on birds baffles me, and unless your in dire need of food and starving then there is no rules you have to fill your limit or anyone else’s for that matter. In general I’m sure that hunting pheasants costs more then what it would cost to just buy your limits worth at the store…
I would also imagine you have never hunted MN pheasants. We have much less public hunting land available and a heck of a lot less birds. Most of the birds are highly pressured and very smart. It’s definitely a lot harder shooting a limit of birds in MN on an avg hunt hence why so many hunters travel to SD to hunt. More birds and more opportunities.
 

remy3424

Well-known member
I am responsible most hunting days for two limits so when I find a bird, it's got to be anchored to the ground as my 200 yard blind retrieve is just not as fast as it was 30 years ago when I started learning this advanced and rigorous method of pheasant getting.
Pete, where does this responsibility or necessity to must have the 2 limits of birds come from? I hope the wife doesn't belittle you or shame you, if you come back with less than limits! I do like to get a limit of birds when I go out also. I am sure I will never resort to the tactics you employ to get pheasants. If I can't walk, I will block, if I can't block, I will let those that can do the hunting. Like the "getting pheasants" you added . The more you post about this, the odder it becomes to me.

I think in SD you can have loaded firearms uncased in the vehicle. The first time I went shooting prairie dawgs, it was with a couple of SD fellas. They had a loaded rifle in the front seat and at one point they pull-over off a road and shoot a coyote out the window. I asked if they worried about getting turned-in and they said it was legal...seemed quite odd being from Iowa. SD seems to be quite relaxed on things that could cost you your hunting privileges in other states. SD residents chime in, if I am off on this.
 

BrownDogsCan2

Well-known member
You can’t road hunt without permission here but can have a loaded firearm . Just Sunday I guess it was, somebody’s dog shot his passenger
 
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Labradinger

Member
I use a rangefinder religiously when turkey hunting because I know I can be way off on my estimation for distance depending on lay of the land ect.
Pheasant hunting doesnt give anyone the chance to do that. Hunting over a close ranging pointer, I can see how guys can be fairly confident most of their shots are well within range. Blocking, hunting with flushers, or just having a skidish bird changes things.
Id be willing to bet that a lot of guys who say they wont shoot beyond XX yards would be surprised to see how many times they actually do. I realize it whenever im patterning a shotgun at a ranged 40 yards. It really doesnt look that far when you imagine a bird flushing at the point the target is.
 
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