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Best shot size for pigeon shooting


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1 hour ago, mgsontour said:

Some interesting comments and the common theme. . . . . .  shooting experience / fieldcraft wins over cartridge choice because when most of us started there wasn't much choice so we had to pick the correct bird to shoot at and know when to pull the trigger never mind having to adjust ourselves because the gun didn't even fit ( I used my granddads  ( I'm 6' and he was only 5' and a little bit )

I sometimes think the modern day Pigeon shooter have got to much choice with making decisions  , starting with the gun , he might well have more than one gun if he shoot wildfowl , game or clays , if the one he use on the day is a multi choke then what chokes do I put in , once the choke have been decided on it is then a case of what cartridge do I use for that gun and choke .

Moving on now to the decoy pattern , do I start with a flapper , magnet or shall I put them both out and if that don't work shall I bring them both in or leave one out , if I leave one out then which one ? , shall I start off with 12 half shell flocked decoys or full body , laid out on the ground or all put on cradles ? 

These decisions for most pigeon shooters would be over the top and they stick to tried and tested ways they have found best after spending much of their life trying to outwit the humble Wood Pigeon , but for others who are still trying to find the ideal combination then when they do find it we would all like to hear what it is and you could be certainly be on a little earner :drinks:

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2 hours ago, marsh man said:

I sometimes think the modern day Pigeon shooter have got to much choice with making decisions

Only too much choice if you have too much money and a heavy hand on the tiller. Slow, considered changes are what I would advocate (chokes/guns/barrel lengths/fit), consistency is key. Having said that I will shoot any cartridge without looking at the brand, pellet size or weight. The only cartridge I’ve ever had to reject was 21g steel 7.5s as I did get a noticeable increase in runners on long shots and upon inspection of those birds the pellets had failed to consistently penetrate the skin. The proof of the pudding was in the eating, not in theoretical formula of tastiness.  

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11 hours ago, WalkedUp said:

Only too much choice if you have too much money and a heavy hand on the tiller. Slow, considered changes are what I would advocate (chokes/guns/barrel lengths/fit), consistency is key. Having said that I will shoot any cartridge without looking at the brand, pellet size or weight. The only cartridge I’ve ever had to reject was 21g steel 7.5s as I did get a noticeable increase in runners on long shots and upon inspection of those birds the pellets had failed to consistently penetrate the skin. The proof of the pudding was in the eating, not in theoretical formula of tastiness.  

I dare say money do play a part in the modern day Pigeon shooter , going back to our early beginnings finding permissions was never a problem if you had the quarry within a short distance from where you lived , once you got the first perm the others soon followed on , then as your knowledge increased with decoying the bags started to get bigger so you started to look for a outlet , again we were lucky as we had game dealers on our doorstep , this was a big help as money was tight and by selling the bag we could then spend the proceeds on cartridges , to begin with we thought we were doing well if we had a slab in the house and then me and my brother started to buy a 1000 because you got them a few bob cheaper .

The gear was mainly do it yourself with everything apart from the net  which we bought from army surplus stores that were advertised in the back of the Shooting Times , decoys were hand made and were replaced with dead ones on the day , when things got better I would take dead ones out of the freezer , use them and at the end of the day they went back in the freezer and were never wasted .

How times have changed , with Pigeons being dumped through lack of demand , or low prices if they could off load the bag , left on a laid grain field with the excuse that they could do more damage if they picked them up ( something that have never been mentioned by any land owner who I have shot for ) .

As you say , in some ways money have played an important part with the modern day pigeon shooter , buy money cannot buy everything when it comes down to field craft . 

 

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19 hours ago, WalkedUp said:

Only too much choice if you have too much money and a heavy hand on the tiller. Slow, considered changes are what I would advocate (chokes/guns/barrel lengths/fit), consistency is key. Having said that I will shoot any cartridge without looking at the brand, pellet size or weight. The only cartridge I’ve ever had to reject was 21g steel 7.5s as I did get a noticeable increase in runners on long shots and upon inspection of those birds the pellets had failed to consistently penetrate the skin. The proof of the pudding was in the eating, not in theoretical formula of tastiness.  

Sorry to be picky WU, but Gun FIT should come first, it allows a good consistent mount that all other aspects are based upon.

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55 minutes ago, TIGHTCHOKE said:

Sorry to be picky WU, but Gun FIT should come first, it allows a good consistent mount that all other aspects are based upon.

I agree that gun fitting should be top priority and a few hours tuition with a good couch would and should pay dividends.

My problem along with many others around my parts was shortage of money and having a gun fitted was way beyond our means , if we bought a second hand gun (I have never bought a new gun in my time ) you had to mould yourself into the gun , if you shot something with your first shot then the gun fitted you a treat and you were friends for life , if you missed more than you should then it had to be passed on to someone new .

I had two guns that were quickly moved on , the first one was a five shot pump action Beretta Silver Pigeon , this gun kept making my nose bleed when I used the pump action and the other one was a B S A 3 inch sxs magnum , for some reason I couldn't hit a barn door and lost faith in it , strangely enough my every day gun now is a B S A, 2 3/4 , ej , sxs .

As for tuition , I only ever had one couch stand with me at one of the C L A Game Fairs many years ago , it was ten shots at a fairly easy clay target , even though I hit most of them he said I was doing just about every thing wrong , moving many , many years forward I am no doubt still doing everything thing wrong but I still manage to shoot my share of game .

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1 hour ago, marsh man said:

I agree that gun fitting should be top priority and a few hours tuition with a good couch would and should pay dividends.

My problem along with many others around my parts was shortage of money and having a gun fitted was way beyond our means , if we bought a second hand gun (I have never bought a new gun in my time ) you had to mould yourself into the gun , if you shot something with your first shot then the gun fitted you a treat and you were friends for life , if you missed more than you should then it had to be passed on to someone new .

I had two guns that were quickly moved on , the first one was a five shot pump action Beretta Silver Pigeon , this gun kept making my nose bleed when I used the pump action and the other one was a B S A 3 inch sxs magnum , for some reason I couldn't hit a barn door and lost faith in it , strangely enough my every day gun now is a B S A, 2 3/4 , ej , sxs .

As for tuition , I only ever had one couch stand with me at one of the C L A Game Fairs many years ago , it was ten shots at a fairly easy clay target , even though I hit most of them he said I was doing just about every thing wrong , moving many , many years forward I am no doubt still doing everything thing wrong but I still manage to shoot my share of game .

I’ve never had a lesson or had any of my guns ‘fitted’ and can certainly hold my own with a shotgun, on pigeons especially. 
i think I’m experienced enough to tell whether a gun fits or not, and whilst I’m sure it would be a benefit don’t think it’s essential at all. 
Sounds like you’re the same Marshman, my old man certainly is and shoots very well without ever having lessons at an expensive school or paying an arm and a leg to have a fun custom made/fitted. 
 

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3 hours ago, TIGHTCHOKE said:

Sorry to be picky WU, but Gun FIT should come first, it allows a good consistent mount that all other aspects are based upon.

Yes fully agree, what I was more referring to was the tendency to tinker with fit. Change LOP or shims etc always searching for something that will improve kills. 

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12 hours ago, WalkedUp said:

Yes fully agree, what I was more referring to was the tendency to tinker with fit. Change LOP or shims etc always searching for something that will improve kills. 

Or NEW GUN syndrome, always looking for a solution!

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12 hours ago, Wilts#Dave said:

I’ve never had a lesson or had any of my guns ‘fitted’ and can certainly hold my own with a shotgun, on pigeons especially. 
i think I’m experienced enough to tell whether a gun fits or not, and whilst I’m sure it would be a benefit don’t think it’s essential at all. 
Sounds like you’re the same Marshman, my old man certainly is and shoots very well without ever having lessons at an expensive school or paying an arm and a leg to have a fun custom made/fitted. 
 

We never really got into clay pigeon shooting even though we had a very good club on our door step that used to hold the English Open ,  we would often bike out to watch some of the countries top shots and to pick up a slab of cartridges ( Style ) that Mr Richardson would bring us for the grand sum of £12.50.

Our main form of practice was shooting Starlings , we had an allotment on the corner of the marsh that was ideal for the number of Starlings that were about , one chap nearby had outdoor Pigs and another had Chickens that drew Starlings in large numbers , we had two old hammer guns we used to leave in the shed and they were never touched by any strangers , to begin with we only hit the odd one and then the penny dropped and our score out of a box of shells started to climb , on a calm day we would often get in the mid teens and a really good day you might hovver around 20 , this was much more realistic than clays and later in life we got very good at rough shooting , if you couldn't hit a walked up Pheasant or a pair of duck jumping out of a dyke then your bag would be very light as you don't get that many chances when you are walking around the marshes.

Time we got into Pigeon shooting we were already fairly average shots and like most things in life the more you do the better you become and any talk about gun fitting or chokes were never on the agender .

Having said that , one of the blokes we used to shoot with had a lot deeper pockets than most of us , his dad used to make sheds and they bought one of the last , if not the last Midland Gun Company gun made , it cost just under a £100 , it was made to his requirements but I don't think he was ever fitted .

 

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In the 70s, 80s and early 90s I used to use eley high velocity trap shooting carts (grand prix?) they were 1 1/8 ounce of 7s only, they were a little more expensive than the regular grand prix but I used them for all my game shooting and also wigeon and teal under the moon. I also got some mallards that flighted over from time to time but they gave me my best averages that I ever had. The only drawback was they had paper cases, not good on the marsh.

I used them out of a darne sxs, imp cyl in both barrels don't know what the paper patterns were like but the results were excellent.

I now use 71/2 size for pigeons out of the same gun, 28 grammes of lead and they are probably nearly as good and about half the price iirc.

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