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Shotgun Shot Size

By June 5, 2020Pheasant Hunting

4, 5, 6, and 7 1/2 shot

Each morning as we greet people and get them checked in, there is a list of typical questions that we ask. We might ask if their dogs are ready to go, or if they need a description of their area and its boundaries. One question we usually ask before they walk away though is if they have enough shells. That question, if answered with a yes, is followed with this question: Are they hunting loads? Many times, people look at us confused, because they didn’t stop to think if they needing something different from what they normally shoot.
We’d like to address that, and hopefully explain the reasoning behind it.
All shotgun loads, no matter the caliber, are loaded with different size of shot, or BB’s. The larger the number, the smaller the BB’s will be. All sizes of shot have different uses, and have times when they should (and should not!) be used. We aren’t going to go over all sizes of shot, but rather we will address the most common size of shells used for pheasant hunting.

7 ½ and 8 shot
These are some of the smallest shot we commonly see. It is the cheapest to buy, so some hunters buy it not realizing it is NOT what is recommended for bird hunting out here. Some use it for small birds, such as quail and doves, but when it comes to pheasants, it simply doesn’t cut it out here. Its best use will be up on our clay range for target practice on clay pigeons.
Best use: Target practice and skeet shooting

6 shot
The lightest of all the pheasant loads we sell, 6 shot is the next step up from the target loads. This lighter load is a good load to use in early fall, before first frosts have set in, when the birds have not fully feathered up. After they have fully feathered up, however, 6 shot is not as effective.
Best use: Early fall hunting

5 Shot
5 shot is the most common size of load for pheasant hunting. It is a great load that will carry you through the year. It be something that you can use from September, when are season starts, through the winter, and clear until the end of March when our season wraps up. It has good penetration on the pheasant and chukars’ layers of thick winter feathers, and will bring down whatever upland game you can hit.
Best use: Yearlong upland hunting

4 Shot
This is the heaviest load that we sell at PVHP. It is twice as heavy and as large as 8 shot, and has the weight to drop anything you may be shooting at. Because it is a bigger load, it can do more damage to the meat on your birds, so it should be used with that understanding. However, on windy and stormy days, 4 shot is a great load to cut through the bitter wind and still be able to bring your game down.
Best use: Cold winter and stormy weather hunting

Should you have any questions as to what load would be best for your hunt, any of us at PVHP would be glad to answer your question. We also stock all of the loads that have been named, so should you ever need some shells for hunting, you can pick them up here when you come out for a hunt.
We look forward to seeing you!