What guage do you use?

Calif. Hunter

Active member
Dec 13, 2000
Apple Valley, CA, USA
What guage and type of shotgun do you use for your upland hunting? I have a really nice, high grade Browning over-under, but I don't use it much. When I had my great German Shorthair, it was a perfect gun. Now I don't want to scratch it up busting through the brush for quail and I like the extra round I have available in a pump for dove. I also find I hit much better with a 28-inch modified barrel on the wild-flushing quail I hunt, so I bought a Mossberg synthetic stock pump gun a couple of years back, and it works great! I tend to miss with a 26-inch Improved Cylinder barrel for some reason...maybe the birds just flush too far out.
I also like a 12 guage. I've tried using a 20 guage for quail, but ended up with too many cripples and some got away. My usual load is just the promo "Duck and Pheasant" loads with 1 1/4 ounces of 7 1/2 shot. I've never had them tear up a bird too much and my success rate went way up with the heavier loads compared to the "Quail" loads. I also have an Ithaca 37 I like a lot.
How 'bout you?
I have an 870 Wingmaster that has accounted for its share of birds, but I haven't loaded that gun since I put my old Lab down in '98.

I have a Browning A-500 that I like; nice and light and she aims like a peach. Good for pheasant hunting.

But my gun of choice is a Savage model 333 over/under with a 26" barrel. The barrel is slightly bulged and the stock has a crack to it. All said, the gun ain't much to look at but DAMM is she sweet to carry and shoot.... almost like an extension of my arm.

All my shotguns are 12 gauge; I use 7 1/2 heavy field loads for Pats and have had good experience with those loads over the years. For pheasants I use #5 shot but with a heavier charge. I too, like to use modified choke.

Ain't it nice to have different guns to pick from?

(and Rick: I'll give ya $125 for that 37 Featherweight)
Yooper - I used to have an 870 too, but I sold it when I needed some money. Dumb move! I haven't hunted pheasant since I had my shorthair put down 7 or 8 years ago. And no....the Ithaca 37 ain't for sale!
Lady Hunter In AZ and I both use 870 Express shotguns. I use a 12 Ga. she uses a 20. She dosent have much of a problem with the cripled birds,but then again when we go trap shooting alot of people wont shoot against her(its kind of embarising she talks to her gun,smiles and laughs when she misses and kids the other shooters when they miss,Oh yea she beats the snot out of most men too)
We dont reload shotgun shells,and use Federal or Remington. Depending on what the game is for the size of the shot. We use mostly the Improved choke for Doves,and the Modified for every thing els. Unless we are useing steel shot then its The improvrd again.
I also have a 16 Ga. that is a Winchester model 12 pr-64. It was made back when they used 2 5/8" shells and we sent it in to get it fixed up for the 2 3/4". I love it but it has a perament full choke in it and a nickel barrel. So I only use it on bigger birds.
I use a Remington 1100Lt. 20ga. for upland game hunting. It had a modified choke when I bought it but since then I had the barrel cut to 23" and had a Briley choke tube system added. It is light and can carry all day. The only draw back is that it only takes 2 3/4" shells but does a number on Ruffed Grouse!! :D
Hey Calif Hunter:

I bought my Wingmaster new in 1983. I have killed everything from doves to deer with it over the years.

The last time I loaded it was Dec 28, 1998.... the day I was putting my old buddy to sleep. And more than I had ever wanted anything in my life before, I wanted that old dog to flush and retrieve one last partridge.

But I had a problem: The bird season had been closed for over a month. But I figured, "what the hell" and so I broke the law and off we went on my land for our final hunt together. I had watched a particular Pat all deer season long and figured I'd pop him for my old partner..... but alas, it was not to be: we never flushed him.

Aand later at 4 p.m. that afternoon I held my old bud in my arms as the fatal potion flowed thru his system and his tired body shut down.

It absolutely broke my heart to do so, and it still makes me cry if I think too much about it.... like right now.

Some folks say it is silly to love a dog, but I feel sorry for them.... for they have never truly had a dog.

He was my friend, and I miss him something terrible. I haven't hunted ducks since he's been gone; and now you know why I haven't been able to load my 870 since, either.

[ 14 April 2001: Message edited by: yooper ]
Yep, I understand, Yooper. A lot of people used to ask me about getting another shorthair, but it just wouldn't be the same. I also don't want to go thru the heartache again of losing that kind of pal. I guess this doesn't make sense if you haven't been there. The same thing happened in 'Nam and when my son died...it was a long time before I let people get inside my shell. But maybe it's time to move on...Life doesn't stand still.
My first shotgun was/is a Remington 870 wingmaster in 20 ga. It is a sweet handling gun that I love to shoot. Some times I also use a Browning Citori that sits in my safe. I used this gun all season long this year.

I have a few guns of my fathers in my safe, and the rule is if I store it, I may shoot it.