View Full Version : Shotshell Size For Hunting, Assistance Please?

March 14, 2009, 10:23 PM
Ok, time to ask questions. We own several short barrel 20 gauge pumps, and a short barrel 12 gauge semi-automatic. All barrels are legal .... just. We do not hunt, and never have, but feel better having a little protection available. We live rural, and with the government the way it is going we've been thinking about getting some ammo put away for hunting just in case. Problem is, there are entirely too many choices, I need some help, PLEASE.

I know these are not the ideal hunting weapons, but it's what we have. Bound to be better than .357 revolvers. Critters found around here are Canada Geese (lots), turkeys, mule deer, elk, and the occassional bear. Other critters are around, but not as numerous.

If possible, I'd like two answers for each critter; what would be the best load given our shotguns, and what would be the best LEGAL load using our shotguns.

Finally we also have an old SKS which uses 7.62x39 ammo. Anybody know if it is legal to hunt with that? If not, is it good for illegal hunting? Would hollow point or solid bullets be better (all are FMJ)? Also which critters would it be best for? Do you recommend the shotguns over the rifle for everything if legalities are ignored?

Thank you for all your help.

March 14, 2009, 11:12 PM
Shotgun will do it... although the shorter barrels I don't believe are ideal.

If we're talking essentially survival situation, etc. sks could be used for just about everything you have listed...depends on how well it shoots, but in general the caliber will do it.

Wolf makes 154gr SP ammo that I have used with success, doesn't sound like you reload, so that's probably a nonissue.

I would prefer the rifle over the shotgun (particularly shorter barrel), but that's just what I am used to.

March 15, 2009, 05:33 AM
A few boxes or cases of 7 1/2 for doves and small squirrel size animals, a few hundred #6 or 4 for bigger birds and up to heavy furred coon etc. and a few boxes of 00 buck and slugs for the large animals.

March 15, 2009, 08:09 AM
The SKS is legal for hunting. Lots of guys kill deer with the SKS.
It is a little undergunned for elk or bear, but would work in a pinch with some good soft point ammo.
Since it is semi-auto, give Mr. Elk 3 in the lungs and he will probably get the point.

March 15, 2009, 10:52 AM
20 and 12 gauge is hard to beat in the hands of a good shooter for putting meat in the freezer.
Versatility is where they really shine. Various shot sizes for various game.
In florida we have a magazine capacity limit of 5 or 10 (site is down to assist my memory) with no restriction on rifle configuration.

March 15, 2009, 01:09 PM
Shotguns are great! You will have to get a little closer to the animal to harvest than if you had a rifle, but that could be half the fun of it. Depending on which part of canada you live it the shotgun will benifit you! Alot of provinces its legal for bait'n bears. (Not in B.C. though) 20ft high tree stand, 30yrd-50yrd blind will work just fine for bear hunting. (I would use your 12 gage and throw all slugs in their. As for the 20, throw all slugs in their aswell (20 not ideal for the situation but it will work at these ranges for sure + its legal). Deer, throw slugs (or depending on your region your might be limtited to buck shot which works just fine)

for the bird game size 1 (10 pellts)
2 (15 pellets)
3 (18 pellets) Will all work for bird game easy. Less pellets the better, less pulling out chunks of scrapnol. Steel is far less dense than lead , but in some areas of Canada lead is illegal to shoot at waterfowl because of its toxicity going in to the water after etc. So generally leaving you with steel, bismuth, tungsten. If you get steel pellets in the sizes I stated will work great. so find out whats legal in your pronvince

Deer, bear: In canada your legal to 0000. 000. 00. 0 buck shot. (More 0 the bigger the pellet, and less the pellets). Slugs will work great on either animals. I have hunt my deer with 000 or 00 buck shot. but its cause Im on a farm 180 acer farm. and you have to be beyond the powerlines for slugs. (Im pretty sure on that ill go double check though). But for HUNTING bear I suggest all slugs. If your in a walk in the bush/camping etc I suggest slug, 000 or 00. then slug and so on.

elk illegal to hunt with shotgun (in B.C. Canada.)

For more information just google : hunting synopsis "and your province" then you will find hunting regions and you click the one you live in or the region your going to hunt in. This will give you information on what calibers to use for which animals also what is legal and not.

My Ithica always comes in the bush with me, I can never forget my mossberg either!

And yes ur aloud to hunt with an sks, I suggest hollow point..cause they will mushroom on impact creating more mass damage. oppose to fmj and soft points. But I dont think iv herd of anything else besides FMJ because its a mitilary round. And they want penetration instead of damage. Then again Im not an sks shooter or own one.

March 16, 2009, 05:47 PM
Hogdogs is spot on.

Art Eatman
March 16, 2009, 06:33 PM
Choke is more important than barrel length. The main reason for short barrels is for a faster swing on upland birds like woodcock or quail. Longer barrels work a bit better for waterfowl.

I visited with John Satterwhite at the 1982 Steel Challenge pistol match. He had done a demonstration with his 870. The Grand Finale was of throwing up seven claybirds and hitting them all before they hit the ground. Not bad for a pump gun. :D

John had twice won the Pan-American Games in shotgun, and had been on the US Olympic Skeet and Trap teams. I figured I'd stay shutup and listen to him.

Anyhow, his barrel barely protruded past the extended six-round magazine tube. Screw-in chokes. Half-size front bead, with a Williams folding rifle sight dovetailed into the barrel back near the receiver. Vent rib. Modified to play slide trombone like a Model 12. I'm not sure of the utility, but he had two rows of small holes drilled on either side of the rib, just back of the choke inserts, as a sort of muzzle brake.

So: Cylinder bore for slugs or buckshot for close-up social work. Sights for use on deer. Other chokes for quail or ducks/turkey, etc.

Just some ideas; hope they're helpful.