View Full Version : 16 gauge pheasant load?

December 30, 2004, 01:47 PM
I have had some trouble with knocking roosters down, but not out. I’m using my grandfather’s Winchester Model 12 – 16 gauge with a modified choke. I can get my hands on Winchester lead in 4 & 7 1/2 & a nickel-plated Golden Pheasant 5 shot, but 16 gauge shells are relatively hard to come by.

Any thought on which I should use? Maybe 5-5-4 or something?

How about another load by another brand? I want distance & power without having to go to a 12 gauge. This gun was made for pheasant, so maybe I’m just not much of a shot…

December 30, 2004, 08:02 PM
Buy one box of everything you can find size 6 and larger. Pattern test them, that is the ONLY way to know what the gun is doing with the load you are using. When you find a good loading go back and get a couple more boxes to have on hand.

Those old fixed choke guns typically throw patterns one constriction tighter than marked with the plastic wads and quality of shotshells used today. Your old model 12 with a load it likes should be swatting roosters out of the sky like the hand of God had struck them down.

December 31, 2004, 08:33 AM
Yep, whut HSMITH sez about patterning with various loads.

No more than the limit is here in Tejas (2 per day), I've used Remington's relatively new Hevi-Shot 4s for some pretty awsome "dead-in-the-air" drops waaaaay on out there. Not sure if available or not in 16 gauge.

Second choice for me are some of the other makers copper-plated "turkey loads", such as 5s.

Got a farmer/rancher buddy I've hunted pheasant with for pushin' 30 years. He uses nothing but real old 20 gauge Ithica 37 with fixed modified choke and regular old lead 6s or 7 1/2s - whatever is in his truck at the time. And typically gets his limit before anyone totin' a 12 gauge (and/or $2 per round "super shells"). :rolleyes:

Especially with 7 1/2s, ya might need to lead 'em some more to increase odds of head/neck hits.

Long Path
December 31, 2004, 05:49 PM
I've always felt that 5's and 6's were premo pheasant loads. There was a time that I couldn't find anything in 16 ga. but Remington #6 field loads. Since I was hunting dove, this was a little overkill, but I used it and found that they patterned nicely out of grampa's old 1148, and I did reasonably well at knocking down dove (I'm actually a pretty miserable wingshot, if the truth be told). I since have seen 6's on sale many times for 16 ga.

6's are a nice compromise load to have around. You can use 'em for dove, quail, rabbit, squirrel, and back in the day, teal (don't do this any more unless you're using non-toxic pellets), and pheasant. If you called 'em in close and made a headshot with a full-choke, you could conceivably even use 'em for turkey. It's kind of a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none load that I like to keep around, in these days when you can't reliably find the exact right shot size to feed your 16ga.

January 3, 2005, 03:58 PM
I'll second the Six... I'd rather use fives myself when shooting pheasants... but that's more because of the opportunity for rabbit, and the occasionally seen Coyote at 5 yards than any real need to use the larger shot on the birds. The main thing though that can never be harped enough is to pattern everything. I've got a versa-choke (or some similar device) on the 16 I usually use, and the 'full' setting is about twice as tight as every other full I've ever seen. It'll put hole about the size of one of those small basketballs in paper at 20 yards. Not what you want to be trying to hit things with (I only bothered to shoot paper when I noticed I either missed, or blew the crap out of birds). Most of the others except the improved Cylinder 'ringed' the paper with a halo instead of giving a good even group. After doing that, and trying different sized shot on all the setting I found that just about everything shot acceptably at improved, except for 4s.