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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I ran into a guy about a week ago while I was hunting. I was using 2-3/4" 12g shells with 6 shot. I'm shooting Modified and full. I had killed some quail and missed a couple of my second shots when a couple covey's broke.

He was using 3" #8 shot with Imp cycl and modified. We got to talking and I realized my short coming by his astute observation. He said "Hey you have a pointer that is doing a good job, load for the dog not the bird".

Hmmm I guess all these years without a dog and shooting wild birds that jump anyplace. I really needed some knock down power. Because with light shot they will run like the dickens. So I suppose I was loaded for bear! Hard to hit quail with a tight full choke, and not much to collect when you do hit them solid! However you need it for Pheasants so they don't vanish on foot after a hit.

This weekend I swapped my chokes to imp cyl, and Mod. Then I loaded up some of my cheap as dirt clay target #8 shot and went hunting with the dog. I killed every bird the jumped, not all on the first shot, but all of them went down. A couple would have been lost without the dog. However with my cloud of lead in the air I only need to knock them down, bushman will find or catch them after that.

Now this fella I bumped into was using 3" high base #8 shot they were red shells, but so far I have not been able to find any. I assumed he bought them but now I guess he must have hand loaded them. Any ideas here? The idea of this death cloud of lead that will not allow a mosquito to fly through appeals to me,

There is a huge difference in the way I need to load now that I have such a good dog. He's totally spoiled me! Those 3" shells will put a huge cloud of lead in the air with a little bit more zip. I gotta be ready for Pheasant, quail, partridge, and chuckers.

Anyone ever see 3" upland #8 lead shot shells?
 

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Try loading those 3" with #12 if you want a cloud of pellets.
A couple of buds shoot the 2 /34" with #12's for a few of the shots in sporting clays, really smokes 'em!....same with quail at short distance!!
 

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I doubt you will ever find 3" #8 over the counter. If your gun like s 8's. I would try the rem, or win 1300fps sporting clay loads. They are 1 1/8 oz, and work well.
With a good pointing dog.... you will soon put away that big double, and trade it for a 20.
 

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Don't really need to go to a 3" shotshell both Rem, Win, and I imagine others produce 2 3/4" with 1 1/4 oz loads in 7.5 and 8 shot. This is definately a step up from the standard "dove/quail" loads. Now that you know you are looking for them, you have a good six months to stumble onto them. Should be able to order them from someplace online if you are anxious to pattern them. I do like that guys theory!
 

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I agree with putting away the 12 g double and switching to the 20 while shooting over a pointer, all the years hunting upland with my grand dad we always shot 20 g, 2 3/4, 7 1/2 or 8's over a brittney for both Quail and Chucker, up sizing for Roos, the guns are light weight fast shooting and you put lots of lead into the air in a hurry, my son now is shooting the 20 I used when younger.
 

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With the heavier 2 3/4 game loads and the more open chokes you should do fine. When I go quail hunting I use a cylinder or skeet choke and pick up a lot more birds in those close brushy areas.
 

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I also run a cylinder choke when hunting Doves & Quail with 2 3/4in #7 1/2 shot. I haven't really ever felt the need to up it to 3" especially for upland. but then again i still hunt Geese with 2 3/4in too...

If hunting pheasants (i still use a pump) i still run IC choke with #6 as the first round and then two #4 hevi-shots behind it. the Hevi-shot seems to stay grouped together longer and gives me longer range, almost like using a modified choke. if i jump something other than a rooster than the #6 doesn't seem blow them apart to bad and if i miss with the fist shot i can have a little more time on the second shot to make sure they go home with me in the cooler. wink:

i like the idea this guy brings to the table, Looking to make the switch to an over-under this coming season and i'll definitely be running two different chokes.

and also to answer you question i've never seen 3" #8 over the counter... the closest thing i think would be 3" #6 but i think those are turkey loads in a 12ga... :eek:
 

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With a good pointer anything bigger than 20ga is a bit of overkill in my honest opinion. Your starting much closer in shooting range and they are WAY faster on the draw than any 12ga. If you can get your hands on a 20ga go for it. If a 20ga is not possible go for a light load 7.5 shot no larger than 2 3/4" in the 12 if chukar and quail are the primary prey. If pheasant is the ticket with only the occasional quail or chuker go 6 shot also in a light load. Again choke size is key here. With pheasant being the primary prey modified is not bad, but IC would be better. Less chance of blowing the birds apart by far with IC. With the smaller birds definitely go with IC. Once you get used to hunting over a dog that is really good you'll be quite surprised how light you can really go with upland birds. I hunt with a light 20ga in 2 3/4" shells and mu buddy hunts with 28ga. Between the 3 dogs and us, not much gets away that is shootable.
 

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I don't agree that using "as light a load as possible" is propper, cripples are the result, especially where all three birds reside, quail, chucker, and pheasant. Use enough that the largest will be killed, at the shot, not after flying a 1/4 mile away. Most hunters only go light to save a few bucks, is that fair to our game? Obviously that is not the case for you shooting a 28, those shells cost more. But does the choice you made make it a good recommendation for everybody?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I won't be swapping my 12 for a 20 anytime soon. This 12 Gage citori is magic in my hands!

I like the 7.5 as a happy medium if I can find them in high brass. Roosters are often tough to kill, and will run. I know with the dog they will be located, but I also have to consider the life left in them with kicking when a young pup is involved. Pup's imprint pretty well before 6 months old. I don't want a Spur in the nose or eye with this pup yet. He's 35 pounds now, when he's 65 then things will change again.

It is difficult to have quial, chucker, and pheasant in the same area. The Imp Cyl first and Modified second is a combination that worked well so far. However hitting a quail or Chucker with that modified under 24-30 yards is a bit much. This weekend I waited on a couple shots which I still made. Just to let the distance increase a little bit.

Tough call for the diverse species. It's why I'm asking what everyone else is using. What am I not seeing or thinking about? The dog being a solid pointer now certainly adds another dimension to the choice as well.
 

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I like this subject and also am learning from all of the answers I believe it really comes down to a comfort zone for your self and it sounds as if you have one, stick with it learn the dogs habbits and you are set for years of enjoyment with the pup. A few years ago a 9 month old lab I had learned about the spurs from a roo, after that day when ever she was close to a roo the hair would stand up on her back which gave me the warning the flush was coming very soon.
 

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I'm not sure how many chokes that came with your citori. I would guess 5, and a LT Mod probably was not included. Its a good option if you want a little tighter pattern than IC,and less than mod. I am going to have a im mod choked 2nd barrel in a sxs of mine opened up to lt mod. I pass up the really long shots, and wild flushes on roosters so I don't like a tight choke. I can see ones reasons for shooting one. Ther was a time in my life when I loaded a ton of 3" 7 1/2 for quail, and shot nothing but a 12 packed with alcan 5, or 7. Gonna pic out a few bb's when you shoot the 7 1/2's at roosters, but if ther are mostly quail, I go with the 7 1/2. More roos, then I go 6, or a combo load. As tough as roosters can be, and as much as they refuse to cooperate I can see why one would want to have all the edge they can get fire power wise. Thats one way to look at it.
Your gonna have a heavy vest with all them 12 ga. shells tho.
 

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3" is overkill for even pheasants. It doesn't add anything except more shot in the air and you can always do that with a 2 3/4" mag if you need to. Hunting quail with 3" mag is a little like going after blacktail with a .338. It will certainly do the job, but why risk damaging so much meat and suffer the recoil if you don't need to? I hunt pheasants over a flushing dog and this year I shot just as well with my 20g s/s with 1 oz #6 loads as I did with my 12 and 1 1/4 to 1 3/8oz loads. Federal makes great premium high velocity loads (1350fps) and if you are on target and choked right you will see clean kills with 1 to 1 1/4 oz loads. It sounds like you have found a good combination of shot size and choke for your needs. You will know if your setup is right when you look at the birds you shoot and determine if your shot is getting thru the body to the vitals. Of course, my advice is worth just as much as the guy shooting clouds of shot at quail.
 
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