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.