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Talk to me about shotgun shells

peterk123

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Can someone give me the lowdown on shotgun shells? Was out trying to find mountain grouse again today and came across a squirrel. Figured, sure why not, I will eat a squirrel. Well, I cut the poor guy in half. Safe to say, I was very much in target 😎

3inch number 6 is what I used. My gun will take 2 3/4 or 3 inch. I just picked up a box of 7 1/2, 2 3/4.

I guess my questions are 3 inch vs 2 3/4.... and how do you determine when to use 6,7, or 8? And are there, for example, varying types of size 6?

I'm shooting 12 gauge. Used a modified choke. It was a close shot, probably thirty feet. I'm all for trial and error but I really don't want to continue ripping animals in half.
 
Shotguns are more about choke really.
Shot size depends on game.
Thinner skin and smaller game. Smaller shot.
A grey squirrel has much thicker skin than a red. 6s for grey 8s are fine for red.

When you’re 10 yards away the shot pattern is probably 8” diameter. Maybe smaller So you put hundreds of pellets in a small area.

Even #9 shot would have cut him in half.

Do some patterning from 10 yards to 50 yards and see how it looks.

If you’re shooting grouse at 30-40 yards then a 1 1/8 oz 2 3/4” 7 1/2 is probably overkill. They’re not hard to kill as long as the pattern puts a couple pellets on them.

For pheasant (stocked and not super hearty birds) over a pointer I use 7/8 oz of 7 1/2s or 1 oz of 6s with a mod or improved choke.

If I get jumpy and shoot on at 10 yards there’s a hole big enough to throw a cat through.
 
that.
you really need to see the distance and realize very well what will happen, and adjust the aiming point to avoid blowing up the target, if too close
I was wondering if I should have aimed off to the side a bit. So that is a strategy then when you are close?
 
I was wondering if I should have aimed off to the side a bit. So that is a strategy then when you are close?
If you know where it’s patterning you can favor one side and blow the head clean off.

My old man always aimed between the ears of a rabbit. The shot spread and a few hit the head. No need to ruin the meat. Of course he knew how his gun patterned.
 
I was wondering if I should have aimed off to the side a bit. So that is a strategy then when you are close?

i keep improved choke on my shotgun, but i did not use it in forever. it`s a comp 1301 beretta, and it has a very nice even pattern.
 
Can I piggy back on your thread?

What do you guys like for home defense? I’ve always gone with 00, but have heard other suggestions as well.
The concern with 00 buck is that it is more likely to over penetrate than a smaller shot. Personally, I think 27 pellets of #4 buck is plenty adequate and less likely to go through multiple walls. The truth is, a load of #8 bird shot under twenty feet is going to prove to be more than enough to stop someone 9 out of 10 times, but why chance it?
 
I was wondering if I should have aimed off to the side a bit. So that is a strategy then when you are close?
Head shot when close. That's what we try to do with birds. Usually we are successful but sometimes we blow the crap out of the meat. LOL when one of us does that, the other says, "That one's going in your bag..."

3" shells in 12 ga is a lot of juice for small and close game. I use 3" shells in my 20 ga for the second shot on pheasants. Grouse are fast as hell, at least the mature ones in NE. I think that 3" #6's would be good for second shots on grouse as they won't be close by the time you shoot again. Heavy cover favors the #6's over #7-1/2's as well.
 
I was wondering if I should have aimed off to the side a bit. So that is a strategy then when you are close?
When squirrels are that close aim just off the nose or let em run a little farther away. I hunt grey squirrel alot with a 12 gauge and use 4 or 5 shot high brass and a full choke.
 
I really think the conventional thought in regards to shot size needs to be rethought.

I feel that we’re using old world thought in regards to shot size while firearms technology has only advanced. We have better shotguns with better quality barrels, better quality chokes, and better quality shells. With big advancements in the components.

I’ve found myself sizing down by at least one, sometimes if not two sizes, with great results.
 
One shell of 00 buck is the equivalent of 9 rounds of 9mm in terms of weight and speed. One shell of #4 buck is the equivalent of 27 rounds of .22LR in terms of weight and speed. Accordingly, they each carry the penetration potential of those rounds as well. At the end of the day, don't miss.
 
Can you use a rifle where you hunt? If given a choice, I'd use a .22 rifle. If not, I'd aim at his nose on the close shots and stop using 3" shells.
 
I had a similar experience as the OP. Found out the hard way that 12 gauge 2 3/4 inch #5s out of a modified choke is not an appropriate combination for a cottontail rabbit at 10 yards. Now I know.
 
What's they type of gun? I like double barrels for small game and birds. 2 chokes, 2 different loads. Switch as needed. 3" seems excessive unless you're shooting long distance geese or something
 
Can you use a rifle where you hunt? If given a choice, I'd use a .22 rifle. If not, I'd aim at his nose on the close shots and stop using 3" shells.
Yes. My wife had her bergara in tow as well. In the fall when the mountain grouse hang around the fire roads, the 22 reigns supreme. Now, with snow it seems the only way to get them is in flight. Definitely would use a 22 if only squirrels were the quarry.

I'm very intrigued by shotguns though. I think it's time for me to buy one of those spring loaded throwers. I'm so tempted to get an over under. One day.
 
It comes down to knowing your equipment.

When you figure all of the variables: range to the target, what the target is, choke, shot size, etc., it's an impossible question to answer from a keyboard.

As noted above, pattern the gun, so you know where it's shooting, and what the pattern looks like with a given shot load/choke/range combo. Then, you can adjust your point of aim, so that you don't make the poor think look like a recipient of Sleepy Joe's Lung-Destroying 9mm.

Of course, before you pull the trigger you'll have to run all those mental calculations, so pack a sandwich. [laugh]
 
Can you use a rifle where you hunt? If given a choice, I'd use a .22 rifle. If not, I'd aim at his nose on the close shots and stop using 3" shells.
He was grouse hunting so I would assume 22lr is an absolute nogo. Squirrel became the new menu item.
 
I use those.

And Brenneke slugs.

Some report really good pattern results with Flitecontrol #1 Buck.
Flitecontrol is indeed king. Best pattern for me but pricier than the Rio I prefer for value and quality.

Brenneke. Kicks like a mule. Love the 3” Red Magic.
 
Flitecontrol is indeed king. Best pattern for me but pricier than the Rio I prefer for value and quality.

Brenneke. Kicks like a mule. Love the 3” Red Magic.
It is not the "end all be all" ammo, but it does work well in a good selection of shotguns.

Each shotgun is its own "special snowflake" and a shootist should do their due diligence to make sure that their shotgun patterns well with a particular load.

Hornady Versatite has a shot cup similar to Flitecontrol and might pattern better in some guns.
 
They come in a box of twenty. They are not in a caliber, but a gauge like 12 ga.
They come in different lengths of shells as well. Like 12 ga, 2 3/4".
They tend to shoot round pellets, but some are made with slugs.
Something called a choke on a shotgun barrel can open or tighten their pattern.
You can shoot at anything from a bird to a deer.
They also work pretty good on the two legged creatures as well.
Deadly out to 100 yards.
Very bad jojo inside of twenty five yards for self defense.
Germany was very upset that we used them in the trenches during WW1.
So much so that a picture of a doughboy with one is extremely rare. Most were destroyed or not published!
 
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Can someone give me the lowdown on shotgun shells? Was out trying to find mountain grouse again today and came across a squirrel. Figured, sure why not, I will eat a squirrel. Well, I cut the poor guy in half. Safe to say, I was very much in target 😎

3inch number 6 is what I used. My gun will take 2 3/4 or 3 inch. I just picked up a box of 7 1/2, 2 3/4.

I guess my questions are 3 inch vs 2 3/4.... and how do you determine when to use 6,7, or 8? And are there, for example, varying types of size 6?

I'm shooting 12 gauge. Used a modified choke. It was a close shot, probably thirty feet. I'm all for trial and error but I really don't want to continue ripping animals in half.
1oz slug for squirrel. 🐿️
 
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