Best Shot Size for Pheasant and Quail

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Most hunters new to hunting pheasants and quails often have one question, and it is with regards to the ideal shot size. It depends on various issues ranging from the shotgun you are using to the season or environment you are hunting in. However, the preference of the hunter also determines the shot size. 

In my experience using both the 12 gauge and the 20-gauge shotgun, I prefer the 7 ½ followed by the 6-shot size as a follow-up shot. It would be best to understand quail hunting because smaller and lighter loads have the best results. 

When it comes to pheasant hunting, you understand how hard these fowls are. You will need a load that carries enough power to drop them yet have enough pellets to avoid the pattern in quail-sized gaps. When hunting in areas where there are both quail and pheasants, the right load should be one with a 12-gauge of 2 ¼-inches of number 6 or 5. Hunting with dogs offers a different experience, and a change in tact will lead to some awesome results. You can shoot a tight load while on the covey rise and use a spreader when hunting for the singles. 

What Factors to Consider When Picking the Best Shot Size for Pheasant and Quail

How Velocity Relates to Ounce Size for Quail and Pheasant Hunting

Velocity affects your performance while on the hunt. Some hunters prefer a higher velocity, which means that you have a higher kick from your shotgun. When using high-end shells, anything beyond 1300 feet per second gives a high kick, especially on a 12-gauge shotgun. 

A high velocity does not mean that the pheasants and quail will die any faster as the extra recoil harms the shooter and may lead to a flinching problem.  A standard velocity often works, and you should get the best results and quality on the table. 

Velocity and power result in a higher recoil when using a larger shotshell size. The ability to shoot pheasants and quail from a longer range is an allure when you have a wider spread. 

Shotshell Length

Shotshells of respective gauges come with a variety of shell lengths. You must understand the right shotshell length for your shotgun as it can get dangerous if you mix them up. Using a shotshell longer than the recommended size for your shotgun chamber is still dangerous even if it is the correct gauge.  

A safe rule is to adhere to the markings’ recommendations on the shotgun barrel you are using. Also, shotguns that can safely chamber different lengths of a specific gauge will not necessarily fire them all reliably. 

Therefore, at no point should you ever interchange gauge shells different from the one your shotgun requires to fire effectively. Such mistakes are costly and often lead to injuries to you or the people around you. There are also high chances that your gun may get destroyed in the process. If you have just acquired your firearm, check the manufacturer manual to know the shotshells’ compatibility with its chambers. 

How Shot Size Affect the Table Quality of Pheasants and Quails

If you want a pleasing table result, it would be best to consider matching the shot size with the game you are hunting and the relative distance. The type of shotshells you will use also affects table quality. For example, both nickel-plated and copper-plated shotshells have better penetration with fewer deformities on the table quality. 

Also, both types have better results than lead shots or any choke choices you might consider. The reason is that both nickel and copper-plated shotshells give a tighter pattern when using different choke options. Having less blood and feather draw after taking the shot is a sign of quality table fare and harvest. You will not have the pellets wadding up the feathers inside the meat. 

However, regardless of the shot size, you will have a virtual difference in meat quality when hunting pheasants and quails. It is especially distinct when field dressing since quails go down easier than pheasants, which tend to have armored feathers. 

Dispelling the Myth of Low Brass Vs. High Brass 

It seems complicated to a newbie hunter, but if you are keen to study your shotshell ammunition boxes, you will notice low brass and high brass shotshells. We know as the high brass is the part of the shotshell that holds and houses the plastic hull and primer. 

It is imperative that you understand the difference that a shotshell length and high brass have over your shotgun load’s velocity and power. If you have a longer brass, the shell becomes hotter, and the shot travels much faster after it leaves the muzzle. It means that using a high brass shotshell results in more power and Velocity than a low brass shotshell. 

However, gun technology is rapidly changing, and the only sure way of having consistent results is to consider the velocity indicated on the box. The payload of the brass rim is always stated in ounces. 

Conclusion

Regardless of the shot size, manufacturer, or brand of ammunition that you prefer, always ensure that it is the right pattern for your shotgun. There are many sizes, but the popular ones include the number 5, 5, and 7 ½. However, for more consistent kills when hunting pheasants, which are much tougher, you should opt for number 6 and 5 shot size. 

Using a smaller shot size is the best for hunting quails, especially at shorter distances; however, they lack the power to break thick bones and less penetration when at a longer range. You can opt for the number 4 shot size with a more choke to give it a tighter pattern, but on most occasions, both numbers 5 and 6 will suffice with far less choke. 

In some areas in the United States, it is not allowed to hunt quails and pheasants using lead shots. These are considered toxic not only for birds but for other games as well. You can use steel shots to ensure that the pellet diameter is slightly larger than when using a lead shot. 

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