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Old December 5, 2012, 12:31 AM   #1
GunXpatriot
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Most Versatile Shot Size in 20 Gauge Single Shot?

Alright, so I recently acquired a 20 gauge single shot with a modified choke. Apparently, these things have taught new shooters/taken countless game. As a new shotgunner, I figured, why not? The thing is, I know a single shot has weaknesses in the field, but honestly, I'd love the challenge of hunting with one, but not before some clay practice. I bought a couple different loads off CTD. Some #3 Buckshot (biggest 20ga buck they had), some Federal slugs (just for screwing around), and 20ga Remington Game Load 7/8 .oz #7.5 shot. Are Remington Game loads any good btw? There were no reviews. They were fairly cheap, so I went for them.

I probably jumped the gun on the 7.5 shot because it seems like a lot of people think that #6 shot is probably the best overall birdshot. I mean of course I'll find a way to use the #7.5 for smaller birds, etc, but I'd like to be hunting pheasant, possibly grouse, etc. If I'm buying ammo again, should I just go for #6? Thanks!
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Old December 5, 2012, 12:55 AM   #2
big al hunter
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7 1/2 shot in a 20 ga is what I use to teach new shooters on clay targets. Works great. The shot you should use on live birds will be determined by species and hunt conditions. Ie; over pointers or flushing dogs, in a blind, if the birds are holding tight or wildly flushing. Have fun. Be safe.
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Old December 5, 2012, 12:58 PM   #3
BigJimP
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Remington Gun Club loads are fine.../ they're the less expensive target shell made my remington - where the Remington STS or Remington Nitro is the premium Target shell.

Remington makes all kinds of "game loads" ...and yes in general they're good shells.
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In a 20ga...the standard load shell is 7/8 oz. In a 20ga - most shooters will shoot 7/8 oz of 8's or 9's ...for clay targets. Very few shooters will shoot 7 1/2's in a 20ga ....but no reason why you can't either. The 7 1/2's will carry their momentum a little further out ...to 40+ yds.../ but for Skeet or Trap 9's or 8's are plenty.

You will find a number of shells for the 20ga - in 1 oz loads as well.../ and you should see some with 3/4 oz of shot as well...depends on what you want.

You pick the shell...and the shot size - to fit your needs. Every game bird is a little different ( some tougher to kill than others - so you need bigger shot - not more, just bigger) ...and the expected kill range is different - early season pheasants over a pointer, is different from late season where shots are longer.../ so its hard to say if you should buy 6's or 4's.../ or both...

Most clay target ranges - will not let you shoot any pellets bigger than 7 1/2's...( they want to control the shot fall zone ) ....so no 6's, etc on a Skeet, Trap or sporting clays field.

A single shot may be fine....although I'd probably recommend a pump gun over a single shot for more versatility - especially hunting / because you don't want to cripple live birds - and you might need a quick follow up shot.
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Old December 5, 2012, 01:16 PM   #4
boattale
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To answer the OP about most versatile shot size: It's # 6. It will work for practically anything that fits the description of small game and also will work for shooting clays. It's not necessarily the best for everything but will work for everything.

My preferences for shot sizes for differing purposes:

Clays = 8
Doves = 8 or 7 1/2
Quail = 8 or 7 1/2
Grouse = 7 1/2
Pheasant = 6
Rabbit = 4 (just to keep pellets in meat to the minimum, not that hard to kill)
Squirrel = 4 (same reason as for rabbits)
Ducks = Steel 3
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Old December 5, 2012, 01:26 PM   #5
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Your 7 1/2 is fine for small birds like pigeons and doves, yeah I eat both,. but like the others said if there was a one shot sized for almost everything it would have to be #6. Squirrel to turkey it will do the job. I have some buck but I found anything that needs more than #4 shot might as well take a slug.
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Old December 5, 2012, 01:35 PM   #6
zippy13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimP
Most clay target ranges - will not let you shoot any pellets bigger than 7 1/2's...( they want to control the shot fall zone ) ....so no 6's, etc on a Skeet, Trap or sporting clays field.
Ditto.
One of the reasons my old gun club lost its lease was that over-sized shot was used by some sloppy shooters. The shot went outside the safety zone. Since it was beyond our fence it was considered a hazardous material instead of a recyclable resource.
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Old December 5, 2012, 01:56 PM   #7
Jim Watson
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W.W. Greener, in The Gun and its Development, always rated everything with shot of 270 to the ounce. That would be about a 6 1/2 by current US measure. Seems it would kill everything an Englishman might run into.

But, as said, buy 7 1/2 or 8 for that "clay practice."
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Old December 5, 2012, 03:44 PM   #8
GunXpatriot
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I see... But would if I would be using #7 1/2 and #6 for hunting, wouldnt it make sense to practice with clays using these shot sizes? I mean to make sure I have an idea of how I'll be shooting with that load?

But then again, the clay is smaller than the bird, so it may not be as easy with larger shot.
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Old December 5, 2012, 04:23 PM   #9
BigJimP
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The point is ....you can't shoot 6's ( or any pellet larger than 7 1/2's on most any Skeet, Trap or Sporting Clays ranges)....

But shooting 7 1/2's or 8's at clay targets ...is not a disadvantage, it will get you some time with the gun ...hopefully improve your wingshooting skills.../ .... its not about how many pellets are in the pattern...its about the fundamentals of executing a shot at a flying target...( and not getting in trouble with the range - for shooting a shell that they do not allow you to shoot ).

The gun you have with a Modified choke...will be fine for a game like Trap singles from the 16 yard line.

I'd suggest you go out to your local skeet or trap club....buy some 20ga shells from them ....and have some fun ...and not worry about what pellet size you might use for hunting yet - that will come later.

But put a few hundred shells thru the gun ...before you go to the next step / don't get ahead of yourself.
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Old December 5, 2012, 05:30 PM   #10
GunXpatriot
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Ah, thanks, that's actually very good advice Jim. Thanks to the rest of you guys as well.
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Old December 5, 2012, 05:40 PM   #11
BigJimP
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anytime....and remember, have fun with the process !

Don't get frustrated if your scores aren't where you expect them to be at the start of this "clay target" adventure.../ you may have the talent to shoot in the low 20's (out of 25) right away...or maybe not ...but either way, figure it out -- talk to a lot of shooters --do some reading ---maybe get a new shooters lesson ( and have some fun ).

A lot of us, mentor new shooters....and while we understand its not cheap to shoot clays (at my local club - its $ 7 for targets and a box of shells is about $ 7 as well -- so $ 14 for a round of Trap )....( but we don't make you clean the birds when you're done )....
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