Does anyone on here use #9 shot when hunting the smaller upland game birds like woodcock and quail or do you just stick to #8 and #71/2 shot? Does #9 shot have any real practical use when hunting in the uplands?
Many many years ago I was using Winchester SuperX High brass game loads in #9 shot out of an improved cylinder barrel for quail. Dogs had a covey pointed. I stepped in flushed the covey shots 1 time and dropped 3 quail. after that I went back to using regular game loads in #8 shot. I couldn't help but wonder how many birds I was wounding and not knowing it.
If you shot quckliy off of the flush. I tend to blow quail apart with 7.5s. I stay with 8s for quail hunting I don’t destroy the birds as badly. If I was dove hunting I tend to use 7.5s just because I am generally taking shots farther out.
When I hunted using my 20 gauge nothing beat the 6’s, there was enough shot and energy to do the job.
That worked very well for me when chasing birds, quail and grouse, in heavy cover, I walked birds up, no dogs.
My brother-in-law used #9 for pheasants at hunt clubs over my dogs. He was a fast shooter but i never liked using anything but #6 at hunt clubs. The 1st trip to the Dakota's 40 years ago he quit using them. Never got a wabble out of them. My dad was from Dakota, #4 for pheasants, #5 for bunnys & #6 for chucker size.
For many years, my shooting partner used a skeet grade 870 .410 bore with 2 1/2" #9 shot loads. Bob was semi-retired from truck driving and was an all around, handy-man type. He kept quail dogs, an English Setter (Sam) and a Brittany (Lucky). In season, Bob hunted with Sam and Lucky almost every day. I was fortunate to be able to hunt with Bob several times.
Bob was a Kentucky handicap champion and worked for about 10 years as an Olin "Learn to Shoot" instructor. Bob and I also shot "games" together on a weekly basis in the Fall.
I watched Bob kill "three on the rise" with his .410 bore, several times. He was quick as a snake. While quail hunting with Bob, I used an 870 with a 26" improved cylinder bore and 1 1/8 oz. of #8 shot and concentrated on one bird. With Bob's dogs and his skill, we would almost be standing on a covey before it flushed. Sam and Lucky would then work together, Sam at a distance and Lucky up close, as we followed up on single birds.
IMO, #9 shot is very effective on quail if you are a dead shot and quick. I prefer #8 for quail and # 7 1/2 for most very thing else. For late season, high flying doves, I use # 6's.
Our Valley Quail are much harder to kill than Mourning Dove are. I used lead #8 shot on Dove and lead #7-1/2 shot on Quail when I could use lead shot.
Look below at the ballistics on lead #7-1/2, #8 and #9 shot, from KPY Shotshell Ballistics.
1500 fps lead #9 shot gets .80" of gel penetration at 40.9 yards and has .58 lbs energy and is going 592 fps at 40.9 yards.
1350 fps lead #8 shot gets 1.02" of gel penetration at 40.8 yards and has .87 lbs energy and is going 606 fps at 40.8 yards.
1250 fps lead #7-1/2 shot gets 1.11" of gel penetration at 40.9 yards and has 1.01 lbs energy and is going 603 fps at 40.9 yards.
The lead #7-1/2 pellet that starts out 250 fps slower at the muzzle than the lead #9 pellet, the #7-1/2 is going 11 fps faster than the much faster starting lead #9 pellet at 40.9 yards away. At 40.9 yards away the lead #7-1/2 pellet has 74.13% more energy than the much faster starting lead #9 shot has.