Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: gauge size

  1. #1

    Default gauge size

    What is the best gauge to use for ptarmigan and grouse? I have heard that 20 or 28 gauge is the best because it doesn't tear apart the meat. Personally I use a 12 gauge and if I am more than 15 yards away the shot goes right through the bird with minimal destruction to the meat and with no lead left in the bird. Every now and then though I take the shot a little too close and the bird is no good. I pose the question because I have never hunted with anything smaller than a 12 gauge and was curious as what the benefits are to using a smaller gauge. It seems to me that a 20 or 28 will be easier on the meat but will not fully penetrate resulting in picking out lead. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    1,244

    Default

    .410 was pretty effective for my boys this fall on spruce hens. I didn't find anything to pick out.

  3. #3
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Wasilla, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    3,163

    Default

    .22 works very well Only 1 pellet that you have to worry about and it rarely gets stuck in the meat!
    AKmud
    http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j96/AKmud/213700RMK1-1.jpg


    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Circle, AK.
    Posts
    616

    Default guage

    It's not the guage but your choice in ammo, smaller gauges mean lighter guns. I've used a 12 for years because thats what I have but I would like to have a 20 to save some wieght. For early season birds use a 7/8 oz. load of 8's or 7 1/2's with a cylinder bore and you won't have a problem with that 12 gauge and later in the season when they're spookier bump up to a 1 oz. load of 7 1/2's and a improved cylinder choke or 1 1/4 oz. of 6's. I've always used low brass for small game and have never had a problem with dropping them plus you'll get less bloodshot meat. Also if they jump to close let them fly a little before you shoot.

  5. #5

    Default

    The pellets from each gauge travel at about the same velocity, with the same enegy and penetration. If you want full penetration, change shot size.

    The tradeoff comes in the amount of shot. As shot size goes up, count per ounce goes down. Therefore as you decrease the weight of your shot charge with smaller and smaller gauges, the pellet count goes down for any given size. At some point the fewer shot get so scattered you don't get reliable killing shots. That range you can do that gets shorter and shorter as you decrease the number of shot in a load, with some allowance for differences between chokes in any gauge.

    In my experience with small game the biggest problems happen on the table when you get too many shot in an animal, whether due to shooting too close, with shot that's too small, or when you use too many shot- i.e., too big a gauge for the range you are shooting.

    With large gauges, small shot and close ranges you may have to "fringe" an animal- intentionally hit them with the edge of the pattern in order to cut down on the number of shot that hit them. Center a hare at 20 feet with 1 1/4-ounces of # 7 1/2's from a 12-gauge or a 3" 20-gauge and will have a dead hare, but you probably won't want to eat it.

    You can do it, but it usually requires more expert shooting than simply choosing a smaller guage. You gain range with a bigger gauge at the cost of short range versatility. You lose range with a smaller, but gain short range versatility. You can compensate a bit in either direction with changes in choke and shot size, but it's hard to beat the ease of carry and fast handling at close range of the smaller gauges.

    I've got them all, and they each have days and situations when they shine. There are also days when you wish you had brought a different one along.

    While I like my 28 gauge best for handling and carry and especially for snowshoe hare ove dogs, I'll usually pack my 20 when I'm making long climbs for rock ptarmigan. It only weighs a pound more and the shells aren't that much heavier, but it has the advantage of allowing me to switch to 3-inch shells if the birds are flushing wild. Sure I use 7/8-ounce load most of the time for ptarmigan, which aren't that much different than the 5/8-once loads for the 28. But I can add about 15 yards to its effective range by slipping in 3-inch loads.

    The old question "if I could only have one shotgun" is easy for me to answer when it comes to small game- gimme a 3" 20. If I have to use the same gun for ducks, it will be a 3" 12. I won't like it as much because it's heavier, but by using 1-ounce loads, more open choke and larger shot (to cut down the pellet count), I won't be giving up that much on short range performance. And of course, if I slip in 3" 12-gauge loads, I can add close to 10 yards to its range over the 3" 20. Being objective, the 12 gauge is by far the most capable and versatile, but it sure isn't as much fun to carry and shoot.

  6. #6
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River/ Juneau
    Posts
    5,154

    Default

    20s are just more fun to shoot
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  7. #7
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    493

    Default Rabbit cleaning

    I dont mean to give you shotgun hunters a hard time.But,,,why do you guys use a shotgun for rabbits. I no you prolly get a few more then someone with a .22,but dont you lose a lot of meat.And the cleaning of a shotgunned animal is pretty messy....Not trying to give you guys ahard time ,,just wondering.I use a .22 and head shot everything,,or I dont shoot.I even built this rabbit cleaning stand that slides into my reciever hitch.It has two sharpened bolts spaced about a foot apart to hang the rabbit upside down on...First I skin em and hang em on the stand .Slice down the belly and let the entrails fall downward ,,No mess ,,no problems,,,real clean...

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Circle, AK.
    Posts
    616

    Default shotgun vs. 22

    I think they are both fine choices in the hands of someone who knows how to use them. If your using the right choke and right shot there shouldn't be any meat damage as it only takes a few #6's to stop a rabbit and you can ruin meat with a 22 if you accidently hit one through both shoulders, sometimes we all make bad shots or the animal moves when we squeeze one off. I personally favor the shotgun because I often run into grouse etc. plus I like the oppertunity to take a rabbit while he's on the move instead of just looking for one thats sitting. Thanks for the question and I hope I answered it for you.

  9. #9

    Default

    We only use shotguns for rabbits when hunting with dogs or when pushing really tight brush--- any time there's no opportunity for sitting head shots. I gotta say I love both head shooting and shotgun hunting, and the styles are so different it's almost like hunting two separate species.

    For head shooting I only use a 22 about 10% of the time, however. I've got too many other interesting guns, which I use with reduced loads. These include ancient "small game" calibers like my 25-20, 32-20 and 25-35, but also reduced velocity cast bullet loads in 7x57, 35 Rem, 30-30, 30-06, 38-56, 375 H&H and 458 Win. The last two are sterling performers with slow cast bullets, giving me lots of field time with guns that normally only get used during big game seasons. Then there are reduced loads in my 32, 38, 44 and 45 handguns. Then we get into my current collection of muzzleloaders ranging from 32 to 54 cal. Oh yeah, and a whole bunch fall to my blunt arrows as well.

    With all that going on, I agree that there are more interesting ways to hunt rabbits than using a shotgun for all around, but if those little buggers won't sit still for a head shot, out come my shotguns.

  10. #10
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    The BEGINNING of the road!
    Posts
    1,132

    Talking Where are are you from brownbear???

    Holy smokes BrownBear!! You could outfit the army with all of that arsenal?

    If someone would a told me they hunted hare with a 375 before today, I'd a asked them if they were from Texass!!

  11. #11

    Default

    A guy tends to accumulate a lot when he's curious about things and been shooting for 50 years. Seems my curiosity always runs faster than my budget though!

  12. #12
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    The BEGINNING of the road!
    Posts
    1,132

    Default I hear that!!

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    A guy tends to accumulate a lot when he's curious about things and been shooting for 50 years. Seems my curiosity always runs faster than my budget though!
    LOUD and CLEAR!!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •