what gun do i need for upland hunting?

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what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby riverbottomslayer2 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:36 pm

I am leaving the duck hunting scene and focusing more on the upland bird hunting. I have a benelli nova that has been a great gun to me but i dont like it for upland hunting. what kind of gun do some of you have luck with on quail and pheasants?
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby apexhunter » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:24 am

Any lightweight gun will work just fine for upland hunting. The particulars will depend upon the terrain, primary species you will go after and if they are wild or liberated (preserve) birds. For early season wild quail or any season preserve birds a 20 or 28 is more than sufficient. For late season wild quail and pheasant a 20, 16 or 12 might be in order as shots can be a little longer and the birds a little tougher.

As for the type of gun, I use a SxS 28 for all preserve hunting and early season wild quail. For mid to late season wild quail (when the opportunity arrises) I use a Gold 20 or my sweet 16. When I get the chance for pheasants I use the 16 or a double 12. If I were to buy a new dedicated upland gun for all seasons and species (and had the money for a nice piece) it would be a Benelli Ultralight 20 as it'll handle anything from light #8 loads for quail to 3" #5 or 6 for pheasants. If I remove pheasant from the picture the new Benelli 28 auto shows promise. Pumps will work in any situation and I have several and learned to shoot with a pump, but I have come to prefer a double or auto depending upon my mood and the weather.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby lunatic » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:28 pm

I use a Browning Citori 12gauge for pheasants and quail with light loads # 7, 7.5 & 8s for both species.

I will second Apexhunter on the lightweight gun to use
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby Yeller Dawg » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:12 am

rbs2,
I’ve been having good success with my new Benelli Montefeltro in 20 ga., although my wild pheasant experience is still limited with that gun. Its light weight, quick handling and just points where I am looking. Now for late season pheasants over flushers, or when I’m doing combo duck and pheasants and have to carry all steel shot, I prefer the bigger payload of my Remington 11-87 in 12 ga. It’s a booger to carry all day, but gets the job done.

I’ll add my vote to what apex said. I’d also suggest you consider what action type you like. Do you like the pump or was the Nova purchased for other reasons? Or perhaps you’ve just been wanting to try something else. That’s why I switched to autoloaders (goodness 20 years ago!!! :huh: ) and am still shooting them.

Hey enjoy it, this is a fun dilemma to have.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby apexhunter » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:40 pm

Part of the joy of upland hunting is the variety of guns you can use and even have a gun tailored for a specific type of hunting. Keeping today's budget in mind, I still suggest a good, lightweight auto 20 to cover the basics and then acquire different guns for different hunts if possible and if desired in the future. But if your main quarry will be huns and pheasant you might go with a 12 and scale back the ammo for smaller and/or liberated birds as the ranges are much less on them.

Just yesterday I and some of the guys from my hunting club had a man over to do some rabbit hunting. He showed up with a 12 pack of NICE beagles and an assortment of 28 SxS pieces ranging from an Italian piece to a Parker and even an old LC Smith sidelock. He said he's used them for bunnies and quail for the past 25 years but his sons have "claimed" the Smith & Parker leaving him with the Italian gun. Just goes to show that one does not have to carry a cannon to kill a bird, regardless if that bid weighs 3 pounds or 6 ounces.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby Joe Hunter » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:21 pm

20ga SxS or O/U. Mine is a Citori Lightning model w/ 28" barrels weighing 6 3/4 lbs. It is the perfect upland gun!!!

Good luck.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby Jarbo03 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:20 pm

I have used many different guns, from my first bird with a 870 Wingmaster, Win 1400. mossy 835, FABARM Red Lion, 3.5" tristar O/U, and my A-5 Sweet Sixteen. I cant say that one gun is better than the other for upland hunting. The best thing i can say is to shoot whatever gives you the most confidence, regardless of what gun it is. My old Mossy 835 is still my go to gun when things get rough, just because i am comfortable with it.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby apexhunter » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:48 pm

You bring up an excellent point Jarbo...one that should go without saying but is imperative with an upland piece. Get a gun that fits! Regardless of the action, gauge, barrel length and weight you need a gun that comes up naturally to the eye when quickly mounted as most upland hunting consists of snap shooting. Too long of a stock will make mounting difficult and you'll shoot low as you won't be looking parallel with the rib...too short and you'll shoot high as you'll be looking down upon the rib instead of parallel with it (plus your thumb may be touching your cheek).

If you don't know your proper dimensions there are a couple keys to look for when choosing a shotgun. One way is to close your eyes and mount the gun as you normally would. You want to be looking level down the rib and your cheek/nose should be 2 to 3 fingers width from the base of your thumb. Another way is to mount your UNLOADED gun and have somebody look down the barrel at your eye...they want to see half of your eyeball above the rib (kind of a "rising sun" look) as they peer level down the barrel (you can do this yourself by pointing into a mirror). Do not subscribe to the myth of butt pad in the crook of the arm with the trigger mating to the middle joint of your trigger finger as this is absolutely not indicative of a proper LOP.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby kr01641 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:57 pm

12 ga beretta o/u.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby Swampfoot » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:27 pm

lunatic wrote:I use a Browning Citori 12gauge for pheasants and quail with light loads # 7, 7.5 & 8s for both species.

I will second Apexhunter on the lightweight gun to use


I use a Browning Citori as well.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby hovey » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:53 pm

I used a 12ga nova for about 6 years and then switched to a SBE and now use a SBEII. Why shoot 2 shells when you can have a gun that shoots 5? But i do second the whole lightweight idea, my old man uses a benelli M2 20ga, and my brother uses a benelli cordoba.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby California Sprig » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:03 pm

I am hesitant to recommend a brand or gun maker because everyone has their own favorite and prices vary greatly. My favorite or someone elses favorite may not be the best gun for you. Figure out your price range and then look for 2 things - 1) Look for a gun with good fit for you 2) Look for a light weight gun. Unlike most waterfowling you may carry your gun for hours and hours while upland hunting and it will seem to get heavier and heavier the longer you are afield. So weight is critical. I would stick with a 12 or 20 guage. The advantage of the 20 is it is lighter. Actually I think that the best all around guage for upland is a 16 guage but not many people use them now a days. You should at least check out 16 guages.
Only you can decide on type - pump, auto, o/u or s/s. I prefer a o/u but some people like having that 3rd shot you will have with a pump or auto. I find that if you have to go with that 3rd shot while upland hunting it is usually a hail mary shot and often will be a crippling rather than a kill shot. In any event be sure that you have a good dog the find, flush and retrieve the birds.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby Swampfoot » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:11 pm

hovey wrote:I used a 12ga nova for about 6 years and then switched to a SBE and now use a SBEII. Why shoot 2 shells when you can have a gun that shoots 5? But i do second the whole lightweight idea, my old man uses a benelli M2 20ga, and my brother uses a benelli cordoba.



To answer the question about the doubles, they are much nicer to carry and more asthetically pleasing. There is no need for a goose cannon in upland hunting. A 20 guage is plenty for most upland game and I have killed numerous grouse with one. I like the 12 guage because I can use light loads for grouse and woodcock and heavier ones for pheasant. I sometimes think about switching back to a 20 guage though.

If you were to take 12 guage semi-auto to certian places (like southern quail fields or parts of New England) it would be considered poor taste. I understand that they are suited to open prairie like Kansas where the birds flush farther out, though.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby dakotashooter2 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:50 am

Doubles are the classic upland gun. They are shorter in overal length which can be an advantage in bruhsy areas. One advantage is they give you two choke choices or even two load choices. They can be reloaded two rounds at a time with some practice, they never jamb, opening them renders them safe for fence crossing and the likes (and other hunters can see they are safe). My state doesn't allow more than 3 shots in the gun anyway and that extra shot isn't that big a deal. With upland birds you'll usually flush the majority of the covey with some singles or doubles holding tight and giving plenty of time for reloads after the initial volley.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby tstroud05 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:24 pm

I like the 12 semi-auto for an all-around gun... This includes deer, as my state does not allow high powered rifles for hunting deer... But if it is strickly upland hunting (including rabbit) I definitely would vote for a 20 ga. O/U... Like previously stated, it's lighter (usually a pound or more), shells CAN be cheaper, less muzzle blast (better on the ears), less kick (which can be huge after a long day hunting dove), less shot to break your teeth on, and last but certainly not least, pick up a box of 12 ga. shells, now pick up a box of 20 ga. shells, what you're looking at is a big difference of added weight in your game vest for the day.
Just my opinion, I could probably go on and on about the added benefits of a 20 vs. 12, w/ a 12 I see only 2 major benefits > Wider pattern & Knock down power.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby chinogoose » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:05 pm

For Dove and Quail i use my 20g Stoeger O/U and for Pheasants 12g Stoeger O/U :thumbsup:
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby dakotashooter2 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:46 pm

my preference is a 20 O/U. They have nice balance to them are generally lightweight and the break open action makes them nice for traversing obstacles without having to unload the gun. The selectiuve barrels/chokes can be an advantage at times. I do have to say I have been eyeballing a sxs 28 ga though. If you are working over dogs there is little need for a 12 ga. It is also a rare occasion that I have found the need for a 3rd shot that some think is necessarily available.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby ohiopaul » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:10 pm

If im hunting over my gsp's i use my browning gold 20 if working over flushing dogs i use my gold 12...
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby aunt betty » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:09 pm

Wild birds?
What size hunter are you? Weight? Height? Age?

I like to hunt upland with a Remington Lightweight Special Field 20 gauge (God that's a mouth full)
That gun feels like BB gun and yet shoots 3" shells that are pretty much the equal to a 12 gauge 2.75" round. (close enough)

I hunt wild pheasants and rabbits using a retriever. If shooting released birds over a pointer I might try a 28 gauge.

Now when it gets snowy and the pheasants start running I'm back to my Wingmaster Magnum with 3" loads.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby HNTFSH » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:32 pm

I use a Citori with 3" 6/5 stack on wild pheasant and 7 1/2 /6 low brass if on preserve birds. We flush not point.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby kb9zgb » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:29 pm

Every one has posted sound and sage advice. I would like to add if possible put a sling on your shot gun they are handy for the long walk back to the truck. I use 2 shot guns for upland game. mostly it depends on conditions season and the like. I use a side by side 20 ga and a pump action 12 ga . good luck I hope you find one that works for you.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby MTJoe » Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:43 pm

I grew up hunting quail in ks, and now hunt pheasants ducks and grouse and all manner of critter with my mossberg 500 in 12ga. I also have the rifled slug barrel and change out is a breeze. Never had a problem with anthing other than picking my shot size for what I was going after.

I will say that a sling is a must have. it dont need to be fancy, just comfortable and not cut into your shoulder!
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby Force Fetch » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:45 pm

I pack a Browning Lightning with fixed chokes and just switch ammo for the type of birds and country being hunted. Find a gun that fits and is easy to carry and stick to it.
I went goose hunting the other day and stopped on the way home to check out some ditch parrot cover, my 870 in hand. Two good flushes by the dog and I damn near ran my thumb through the top of the reciever trying to get the safety off. Funny how the mind works, I have been shooting that gun since '75 but not this season in the uplands. HA!
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby barryboy08 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:01 pm

when im hunting upland birds I really enjoy using a side by side 12 gauge. I have a CZ USA Ringneck 201A and love it. I like the side by side becuase it limits me too only two shots at a time which helps me focus more on the birds and take my time and make good shots.
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Re: what gun do i need for upland hunting?

Postby B-Boy » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:47 pm

I shoot best with my Benelli M2, but I also enjoy taking out my Franchi Renaissance. Both are 20 gauge guns with 3" chambers. Somehow, when I'm hunting upland game, the Franchi Renaissance just seems to feel best. There's something about carrying an OU while upland hunting. It's light, short, and with the barrel selector I can choose the right choke for each shot.

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