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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?
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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I like 7 1/2's for Doves and 8's for Bob White Quail. I have used 9's on Quail with success, but if they flush a little early 9's run out of steam too soon.
 
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