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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I am just getting into reloading and have been reading numerous posts on opinions of good pheasant loads, shot size, etc,. I think I have narrowed it down between 5 or 6 shot. SO hear are my questions:

Looking at the 6 shot..they have magnum, chilled, and plated..all offered by lawrence..opinions on these, and if lawrence is good for their "plated". The rest I have heard they are very well known for.

On the 5 shot...magnum is not offered (at least by Lawrence and the few other websites I have looked at)...so my only options are chilled and plated..either copper or nickle.

So, nickle on either of these shots, or just the 5 since I can't get the magnums..or just go with chilled?

Thank you for your help.
 

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hmmm used to be that we only had one or two choices and either seemed to work real well, but that was 40 years ago, I bet everything has changed now...I used high brass 6's or 5's.

J.F.
 

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i prefer the copper plated #6 for phesants both here in illinois and in the dakota's remember to pattern your gun and see which one it likes the best good luch and have a great hunting season k.c.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks....I've only been able to find the copper or nickel plated at Precision reloading or ballistics products....any opinion on which is "better"...or another location to checkout?
 

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Alas, most of the pheasants here are on state game management areas, so we have to use steel.
 

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Nickel plated is the way to go. copper is better than straight lead. Doesn't pull feathers in and penetrates and patterns better. I use 5's, but I think 4's or 6's are fine also. Just my opinion. Ben
 

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In 43 plus years I have bagged more phesants with #8 shot than anything else. If you have a good dog the bird should never be more than 30 yards away #8 is plenty good. Around here we hunt bobwhite quail at the same time we hunt the wiley rooster, 4's, 5's, and 6's are way to large for the tastier and much smaller bobwhites. Just my 2 cents worth/ Paul in Nebraska
 

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All depends on the birds your shooting. All farm raised here in Jersey so I use 71/2's out of my 20 gauge. They dont fly till you step on em. Wild birds get up and go. For those I'd use #6 copper plated. Good luck Chuck Hrosik
 

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I always used #4 for the same reasons, less mess and the bird is just as dead.
I never bothered with copper plated, nickel plated shot.
Remington was one of the first to offer it and I didn't buy it back then neither.
Remington Express LR or Winchester Duck and Pheasant.








 

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bozkm, nickel plated shot penetrates farther than copper plated of lead, and with much less feather draw. Next best is Winchester hard Lubaloy pellets. They are copper coated and slick. Lawrence copper "plated" is a joke. It is hard, but the wax coating on the pellets increases feather draw and limits penetration.

Here in SE PA I use #7 nickel when hunting over pointing dogs, and #6 over flushers. When I loaded them myself I used 2% nickel plated from Ballistic Products. Now that I hunt with a 20b, I just bought a flat each of #7 and #6 nickel plated, 3% antimonial shells from B&P.
 

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Lot of good advice above - especially regarding the type of hunting you will be doing. Over good pointing dogs or on preserves when training dogs, I've shot 8's and did well. But, most of my hunts are over flushers that may range out from us - I get a lot of 20-25 yd. shots. In those situations, I like knowing that I am throwing #5 nickel plated. I don't nitpick between #6 and #5 - if I have a decision to make, I tend to go larger on shot size. I want the extra energy downrange!

Haven't heard discussions on feather pull - very interesting and I could definitely see a difference now that I think about it. Would love to see the results/data from that research if anyone has the resource.

Hey, zereod4x - Love that box - it's been a long time since we could take one load in the field for both ducks and pheasants!!! As a youth, we occasionally would have the opportunity to jump shoot ducks on small ponds while out pheasant hunting. (That was always a great reason to have a good lab that could hunt both.) Brings back memories. I actually have a few similar boxes tucked away somewhere.
 

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Copper plating and feather draw is a sales and marketing gimmick to get you to buy more expensive shells.

I've never, ever seen any difference between plain old chilled lead and the expensive plated lead.

As far as size, I used to use 6's early and 4's late, but I've come to the conclusion 5's work all season long.
 

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I've always used #6 shot for wild Pheasants in the NE., and #4 or 5's in the Dakota's and Midwest. Nickel planted is always better, and worth the cost.

Last year I was forced to use steel shot on four trips to restricted and government lands. What a disappointing experience. I will never hunt without good dogs when forced to use steel. Steel cripples, nickel kills.

I've been looking for a source for nickel plated steel shot since last years experience. I don't know the ecology or manufacturing consequences or practicality of Nickel plated steel shot, but it sounds like a good alternative to me.

Kip
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks the responses. I think for my first loads, I'm going to try the 5 1/2 nickel plated. In between the 5s and 6s. Looking at my load recipes, I am thinking 1 1/4oz at 1330. How does this sound? There are a couple that are 1385, and one that is pushing 1440.
 

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Are you wanting to punish yourself? No need to go 1440 fps. There is even plenty of energy at 1250 fps. I would even say there is plenty of pattern with 1 1/8 oz load. There are some real good books out there that go through the ballistics of different loads. Same as in trapshooting - increasing the load and velocity doesn't mean a more deadly load. One of my favorite books (haven't read it since last winter) discusses the various loads and velocities among all the gauges with respect to downrange energy for killing birds in the field. I believe the author is McIntosh. He makes a pretty good case for a 1 oz load going 1250 in a 12 gauge. Less recoil means more accurate shooting. And every gauge has a "perfect" load size for good patterns. Bob Brister's book is also one of my favorites and a good read. Very technical at times.
 

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Here you go.......unless you just want the experience of reloading, which I completely understand, you can buy a couple of boxes of factory and not worry about the snow and rain getting them.
 

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This past season we used 1 & 1/16oz. of lead 5's, West Coast Brand magnum shot purchased from Gene Sears Supply in El Reno, OK. with 'Longshot' powder in 20ga. guns. It was sufficient on wild flushing birds to about 45 yards. That's a long way. Time spent at the pattern board, for us, was well worth the effort.

Actually killing a pheasant with anything beyond a real 45 yards becomes a matter of luck, the dog becoming much more important than the load.

In my experience some of the copper plated shot has been quite soft. The imported 'Hawk' brand of several years ago was one. You just have to test it yourself.

Once you get to shot size #5 and above, the shot's amount of antimony becomes moot as far as I have been able to determine with simple empirical tests. Patterns we've shot tend to validate that opinion. Of course, your mileage may vary.

Let us know what you decided and your results/experiences after the season's end.

happy trails & good shooting, trw
 
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