Pump action 12 gauge for pheasant?...

andrew1220

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So I'm somewhat of a noob hunter. My dad has been hunting all his life and I dabbled in rabbit and partridge hunting in Maine when I was younger. And just recently started going deer hunting.

Anyway, my dad and his friend went down to that Markover Hunting Preserve down in CT yesterday. Had a blast and got a lot of pheasant to bring home.

My dad admitted it wasn't really hunting per-say but was just shooting [laugh] But said it was a ton of fun and wants to take me down there next month.

So I've got a nice shiny 1980s stainless mossberg 500 12 gauge with 18.5" barrel...Would it be silly to buy a 28 inch mossberg barrel to use for pheasant hunting?? More importantly, is it a bad idea to use a pump action for pheasant hunting? Clearly my follow-up shots won't be as fast as a semi-auto but I was trying to avoid buying another shotgun. I literally haven't shot my mossy 500 in over 4 years...[shocked]

Was looking at one of these barrels. Comes with Improved Cylinder, Modified and Full chokes which is nice:

Of course it's going to look silly with a shiny stainless receiver and a parkerized barrel[laugh]. But for someone like me who doesn't bird hunt very often, might not be a bad option? Thoughts?
 
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andrew1220

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Make sure that you can switch chokes.
The birds won't care that your gun isn't Gucci.
I literally just edited my OP after you posted. The 28inch barrel in the link above, comes with Improved Cylinder, Modified and Full chokes. I'll have to confirm with my dad the average distances they were shooting so I can decide which choke will be best. Then figure out what type of ammo I need. 2.75" or 3"? Any particular loads?

So the birds won't mind that my shotgun doesn't match?... [laugh]
 

moojpg2

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I have pheasant hunted since I was about 11 or 12yrs old. I used a winchester 20ga pump until I was about 21 or 22yrs old so I'd say you'll be fine with a pump lol I would definitely buy a proper vent rib bird barrel for your Mossberg if you plan on doing much pheasant hunting, and I usually pheasant hunt with high brass #6 shot and a modified or improved-modified choke. Don't shoot the birds too close in or you will turn them to hamburger, it seems counter intuitive, but you gotta let them get some air under their wings and get out a little ways to shoot them, you'll get a feel for it after your first few birds. If I'm in open fields I'll run the mod choke so I can reach out a little farther, if I'm near brush or tree lines I will run the Improved-mod choke to open the pattern up a bit so I can shoot a little closer in. If I'm in the woods I might even run an improved cylinder choke but not that often. Wing shooting with an 18.5" cylinder bore barrel with nothing but a plain bead can be done, but it's a bitch. I tried it with my Mossberg 500 flex with the tactical crap on it just for fun and to see how many stares I would get, it was more comical than anything.

So to sum up:
Buy the vent rib barrel
run a mod choke or imp-mod choke, maybe imp cyl if you're real jumpy/quick to shoot or in the woods.
use 2.75" high brass #6 shot (I like the remington pheasant specific loads, but any high brass #6 will work)
Don't shoot them too close in or too low to the ground, the dogs don't like it when you gotta pick pellets out of their ass [rockon]
 
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andrew1220

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I have pheasant hunted since I was about 11 or 12yrs old. I used a winchester 20ga pump until I was about 21 or 22yrs old so I'd say you'll be fine with a pump lol I would definitely buy a proper vent rib bird barrel for your Mossberg if you plan on doing much pheasant hunting, and I usually pheasant hunt with high brass #6 shot and a modified or improved-modified choke. Don't shoot the birds too close in or you will turn them to hamburger, it seems counter intuitive, but you gotta let them get some air under their wings and get out a little ways to shoot them, you'll get a feel for it after your first few birds. If I'm in open fields I'll run the mod choke so I can reach out a little farther, if I'm near brush or tree lines I will run the Improved-mod choke to open the pattern up a bit so I can shoot a little closer in. If I'm in the woods I might even run an improved cylinder choke but not that often. Wing shooting with an 18.5" cylinder bore barrel with nothing but a plain bead can be done, but it's a bitch. I tried it with my Mossberg 500 flex with the tactical crap on it just for fun and to see how many stares I would get, it was more comical than anything.

So to sum up:
Buy the vent rib barrel
run a mod choke or imp-mod choke, maybe imp cyl if you're real jumpy/quick to shoot or in the woods.
use 2.75" high brass #6 shot (I like the remington pheasant specific loads, but any high brass #6 will work)
Don't shoot them too close in or too low to the ground, the dogs don't like it when you gotta pick pellets out of their ass [rockon]
Wow some great info here! Thank you! I definitely don't want to destroy the meat if I can avoid it lol. Well hopefully I can get by with the 3 chokes it comes with. Though I'm sure I could buy a imp-mod or imp cyl choke if the other 3 aren't sufficient.

So does that barrel in that link look like a "proper vent rib bird barrel"?
 

andrew1220

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Get the 28" barrel, shoot a few rounds of clays at the club.
You'll improve your cycling smoothness and confidence level.
Good bunch of guys, too.
That's the one thing I haven't dabbled in yet. Literally never shot clays/skeet/trap before. Pistol and rifle are my thing but I should branch out into the shotgun world...
That would definitely be a great place to practice - def need it...
 

EddieA

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That's the one thing I haven't dabbled in yet. Literally never shot clays/skeet/trap before. Pistol and rifle are my thing but I should branch out into the shotgun world...
That would definitely be a great place to practice - def need it...
It's a great way to turn $ into smoke and noise, and tons of fun.
You'll need #8's, 1200 fps or less at our club.
 

pupchow

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I'm not ashamed to say I've taken a few pheasant with my mossberg 535 w/22" turkey barrel. Modified choke and #4 Nitro Pheasant.
 
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I’ve been using a Browning BPS for 35 years on quail and pheasant. Like has been said , with a pump action practice doubles trap shooting with it to develop quick follow up shots.
 

whacko

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So I'm somewhat of a noob hunter. My dad has been hunting all his life and I dabbled in rabbit and partridge hunting in Maine when I was younger. And just recently started going deer hunting.

Anyway, my dad and his friend went down to that Markover Hunting Preserve down in CT yesterday. Had a blast and got a lot of pheasant to bring home.

My dad admitted it wasn't really hunting per-say but was just shooting [laugh] But said it was a ton of fun and wants to take me down there next month.

So I've got a nice shiny 1980s stainless mossberg 500 12 gauge with 18.5" barrel...Would it be silly to buy a 28 inch mossberg barrel to use for pheasant hunting?? More importantly, is it a bad idea to use a pump action for pheasant hunting? Clearly my follow-up shots won't be as fast as a semi-auto but I was trying to avoid buying another shotgun. I literally haven't shot my mossy 500 in over 4 years...[shocked]

Was looking at one of these barrels. Comes with Improved Cylinder, Modified and Full chokes which is nice:

Of course it's going to look silly with a shiny stainless receiver and a parkerized barrel[laugh]. But for someone like me who doesn't bird hunt very often, might not be a bad option? Thoughts?
Taken plenty of pheasant with a mossy 500 28 inch barrel. Mod or im choke number 6 high brass will be fine.
 

andrew1220

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Taken plenty of pheasant with a mossy 500 28 inch barrel. Mod or im choke number 6 high brass will be fine.
Awesome! Sounds like I should order that barrel and ammo. I’ll take a look at my grandfathers over under shotgun and then make up my mind.

Appreciate everyone chiming in. I know it’s not rocket science but I’m a noob when it comes to shotguns and hunting
 

whacko

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Awesome! Sounds like I should order that barrel and ammo. I’ll take a look at my grandfathers over under shotgun and then make up my mind.

Appreciate everyone chiming in. I know it’s not rocket science but I’m a noob when it comes to shotguns and hunting
We were all noobs at one point.
 

whacko

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Awesome! Sounds like I should order that barrel and ammo. I’ll take a look at my grandfathers over under shotgun and then make up my mind.

Appreciate everyone chiming in. I know it’s not rocket science but I’m a noob when it comes to shotguns and hunting
As far as the "looks" of the gun. The pheasants don't give a shit. My mossy looks like it's been dragged behind a truck on a gravel road. Kills pheasant rabbits squirrels snowshoe hare and turkeys just fine. I find a beater shotgun to be better in the field......I'm not worried about scratching the furniture and more concentrated on hunting.
 

dixidawg

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I have pheasant hunted since I was about 11 or 12yrs old. I used a winchester 20ga pump until I was about 21 or 22yrs old so I'd say you'll be fine with a pump lol I would definitely buy a proper vent rib bird barrel for your Mossberg if you plan on doing much pheasant hunting, and I usually pheasant hunt with high brass #6 shot and a modified or improved-modified choke. Don't shoot the birds too close in or you will turn them to hamburger, it seems counter intuitive, but you gotta let them get some air under their wings and get out a little ways to shoot them, you'll get a feel for it after your first few birds. If I'm in open fields I'll run the mod choke so I can reach out a little farther, if I'm near brush or tree lines I will run the Improved-mod choke to open the pattern up a bit so I can shoot a little closer in. If I'm in the woods I might even run an improved cylinder choke but not that often. Wing shooting with an 18.5" cylinder bore barrel with nothing but a plain bead can be done, but it's a bitch. I tried it with my Mossberg 500 flex with the tactical crap on it just for fun and to see how many stares I would get, it was more comical than anything.

So to sum up:
Buy the vent rib barrel
run a mod choke or imp-mod choke, maybe imp cyl if you're real jumpy/quick to shoot or in the woods.
use 2.75" high brass #6 shot (I like the remington pheasant specific loads, but any high brass #6 will work)
Don't shoot them too close in or too low to the ground, the dogs don't like it when you gotta pick pellets out of their ass [rockon]
^This^

I used a 12 ga Sears Ted Williams pump for many, many years and never lost a bird because of the gun.
 

andrew1220

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As far as the "looks" of the gun. The pheasants don't give a shit. My mossy looks like it's been dragged behind a truck on a gravel road. Kills pheasant rabbits squirrels snowshoe hare and turkeys just fine. I find a beater shotgun to be better in the field......I'm not worried about scratching the furniture and more concentrated on hunting.
Can’t argue with you there. Makes sense. Mines been sitting in the safe forever so it needs to get a little beat up

Is this the ammo I should get?
 

Mountain

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I have pheasant hunted since I was about 11 or 12yrs old. I used a winchester 20ga pump until I was about 21 or 22yrs old so I'd say you'll be fine with a pump lol I would definitely buy a proper vent rib bird barrel for your Mossberg if you plan on doing much pheasant hunting, and I usually pheasant hunt with high brass #6 shot and a modified or improved-modified choke. Don't shoot the birds too close in or you will turn them to hamburger, it seems counter intuitive, but you gotta let them get some air under their wings and get out a little ways to shoot them, you'll get a feel for it after your first few birds. If I'm in open fields I'll run the mod choke so I can reach out a little farther, if I'm near brush or tree lines I will run the Improved-mod choke to open the pattern up a bit so I can shoot a little closer in. If I'm in the woods I might even run an improved cylinder choke but not that often. Wing shooting with an 18.5" cylinder bore barrel with nothing but a plain bead can be done, but it's a bitch. I tried it with my Mossberg 500 flex with the tactical crap on it just for fun and to see how many stares I would get, it was more comical than anything.

So to sum up:
Buy the vent rib barrel
run a mod choke or imp-mod choke, maybe imp cyl if you're real jumpy/quick to shoot or in the woods.
use 2.75" high brass #6 shot (I like the remington pheasant specific loads, but any high brass #6 will work)
Don't shoot them too close in or too low to the ground, the dogs don't like it when you gotta pick pellets out of their ass [rockon]

+1 for all the above comments.

While a 20 will work for pheasant, a 12 is better matched to the job. Main issue is that the gun fits you well so that you are accurate and quick. I've taken a number of pheasants with Dad's old Winchester pump- it feels clunky when I'm carrying it but when shooting it I'm quite accurate (for me). Modified choke should work well for you if you end up getting a barrel for your Mossy. Check where you will be shooting in case there are any restrictions on shot size. If restrictions allow, I concur with #6 'high brass' (higher velocity) 2.75" loads.
 

Mountain

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Arto

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if you can't hit the target in 1 shot, you're not going to hit it with 4 more out of an autoloader.... Practice a bit at your local trap range first!
 

whacko

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Can’t argue with you there. Makes sense. Mines been sitting in the safe forever so it needs to get a little beat up

Is this the ammo I should get?
That'll work.

I use the Remy extended range in 5 or 6 .....1 1/4 ounce. It's the green and yellow box. I use if for all my small game hunting from rabbit to squirrel to pheasant. I stack it deep on the shelves.

Pattern it if you have time. By the way those high brass loads actually have a little horsepower........the recoil will surprise you if you've never used them. Try some out first. Just to get the feel for what to expect.

Also.....shoot some trap as others have said.
 

Kevin 103

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Mossberg 500 modified choke is fine for pheasant.
I use a Beretta 12 gauge over under IC first shot Modified second shot. In very wet conditions I use a old beat up Winchester 1200 with a modified choke. I also like walking around with a Ithaca model 37 16 gauge. I even hunted with My AH Fox double barrel from 1909 last year.
I would suggest you try some 5 stand or sporting clays and start from low ready to simulate hunting conditions if your comfortable and can hit with the shotgun use it and enjoy it. Good luck.
 

thorin

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I've used my only shotgun, a 12ga Rem 870 with vent rib 26", for all the pheasant hunting I've done and killed most birds I've shot at. I just leave the modified choke in although I have other chokes, seems to work the best for me. A little ungainly and heavy, I don't care what the other guys think about my ugly gun (black plastic Hogue stock too haha). For grouse or woodcock, it is a handicap but I rarely have time to get a shot off at a grouse and I don't prefer to shoot woodcock since I don't really want to eat them. Best tool for the job, no but its my only shotgun. Given a choice between 26 & 28" barrel I'd pick the shorter, easier to drag through brush.

For the price of that new barrel, you could find a cheap used pump set up just right for about the same $ and then you'd have 2 guns and not need to monkey around switching barrels.

Best money value investments for good pheasant hunting for me, is good boots, and spend the extra $ on a quality vest not a cheapo. And field pants for the pricker bushes
 

Mark from MA

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Ive killed pheasants just as dead with 12,16, 20 and 28. Pump, over and under, double and semi auto. All work well.

Dont over think it, use a ic or mod choke and #5 or #6 lead shot higher brass loads and your good to go. With smaller gauge I use #6.

Over the pointing dog in a field hunt ill use skeet choke sometimes as shots are close.
 
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RDG

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Nothing wrong with a pump for pheasant.
0259F6F1-D588-40B8-94E6-BC1A9396C08B.jpeg

And personally, you don’t need a 12G for state stocked birds in the Northeast. 20G is fine And does a great job... the M37 is the pic above is a 16G though..

whatever gun you use, pattern it with a few different loads and spend some time shooting clays with it.

Different shotguns will shoot different brands of ammo different.
my normal 16G O/U doesn’t pattern those Remington loads well at all... I prefer the Fiocchi Golden Pheasants in #5. The pattern well and kill birds.
 
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