More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz loads

Posted by: L. Brown

More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz loads - 04/03/20 01:09 PM

Unfortunately, the previous topic on the subject got derailed when there was a good bit more to be said.

For example, when discussing gun weight, we never dealt with the subject of recoil--and how all 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz loads (I'll stick with lead to keep it from becoming too complicated) are not equal.

I count myself fortunate to have lived in Iowa back when, in more years than not, it was the #1 pheasant state in the nation. During most of those years, my schedule was flexible enough that there weren't a lot of days when I couldn't hunt if I chose to do so. And I had access to a lot of high quality private land, back when Iowa still had numerous large fields set aside in the CRP program.

There are a bunch of different ways to hunt pheasants. I prefer small groups. And outside of the years when I was a regular participant in the Iowa Governor's Pheasant Hunt, that's the way I've hunted pheasants for most of my life. Often alone (because of my flexible schedule) or with maybe just one or two companions. I've always been more comfortable with the idea of shooting my own birds, and have never been very anxious to shoot anyone else's. Unless you're doing the drive and block drill, it's relatively easy to play by those rules. And because I always had dogs (sometimes THE dog) in the group, I would have been walking anyhow.

All of which pointed me in the direction of a relatively light gun (6 1/2# or so). I never felt discomfort from recoil as long as I stuck with 1 1/4 oz loads in the 1220 fps range. Shooting no more than maybe 5 shots in a day, that worked fine for me. But with some ammo makers now touting 1500 fps lead loads as their "premium" pheasant loads, we're talking about a whole lot more recoil. Personally, I never found myself undergunned with the slower loads. And if it's additional energy/penetration you're looking for, you will gain a lot more by going from 6's to 5's than you will from adding a lot more velocity (and a lot more kick!) If you're going to those very high velocity loads, then you'll almost certainly want a gun heavier than 6 1/2#.

Re the point raised by Mark II--about how not all SKB's are equal: the Ithaca SKB's, made in Japan, had a very good and reliable single trigger. I've dropped snap caps in several Turkish-made SKB's, and they also seem to have a good trigger in terms of pull weight. I've tried other Turkish guns--with snap caps and/or testing them afield--with triggers that are far too heavy. My trigger pull gauge stops at 8 pounds, and I've found some that are off the scale. I would never buy a Turkish gun without checking the trigger pull. I don't consider myself particularly sensitive to trigger pulls, but when they're a good bit heavier than the weight of the gun in question, that doesn't work for me.
Posted by: BrentD

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz loads - 04/03/20 01:18 PM

Larry, since the OP was interested in specifically Bi loads, I don't know of any factory loads that in the 1500 fps range. The Kents that I have are 1350 and that's more than enough, yet the recoil is quite unremarkable. When I reload Bi, I'm down in the 1200-1250 range.

The Japanese SKB 100s would weigh what? 7ish? I wouldn't think they are much more, but I've never scaled one. Those in my safe at the moment are all 20s.
Posted by: Shotgunjones

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz loads - 04/03/20 01:52 PM

I had an Ithaca import SKB 200E 12 ga. that was 7 pounds even.

They got heavier when they started with the choke tube barrels.

Watch out for added recoil pads if you're looking for light weight.

That's an extra quarter pound.
Posted by: L. Brown

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz loads - 04/03/20 02:37 PM

The later SKB imports--under their own name rather than for Ithaca--were definitely heavier.

I had to dig back quite a ways to come up with anything on 12ga Ithaca SKB Model 100's. I had a 200E made for the European market, but with a splinter FE like a 100. It weighed 6/10. And a standard 28" Model 100 at 6/13. Both with 28" barrels.

Two Webley & Scott 700 12's I had, both 28", weighed 6/7 and 6/8. So a few ounces lighter in favor of the Brits.
Posted by: oskar

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz loads - 04/03/20 10:42 PM

I shoot a light little Bernardelli Elios 12ga 25" barrels at 5 lb 15 oz and it has been the hammer of Thor on wild MT bird, phesants, sharptails and huns. It is a pleasure to carry, lightning fast and choked IC/IM. I've been using B&P High Pheasant 1 oz 6's and 7/8 oz ITX 6 handloads.



Never could see the uses for 1 1/4 oz in good handling shotguns for upland birds. But I also hunt over good dogs.

Posted by: old colonel

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/03/20 11:24 PM

I hav found that 1oz pattern put on target from a 16 does the job more often than not
Posted by: L. Brown

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/04/20 11:52 AM

I'd have to go through a lot of notes, but I expect that I've killed more roosters with a 16 than a 12 as well. And I've had several short chambered British 12's through which I never used anything heavier than 1 1/8 oz. But I've shot quite a few birds with the more modest 1 1/4 oz 12ga loads as well.

One interesting fact about the old 1220 fps Super Pigeon load is that it receives high praise from three late shotgun gurus: Bob Brister, Gene Hill, and Michael McIntosh. With most pheasant hunters shooting 12's chambered at least 2 3/4" if not 3", I think it's a good choice. In McIntosh's book "Shotguns and Shooting", the chapter "Gunning John Ringneck" contains the following quote:

" . . . From experience I have to say I wouldn't object too strongly if someone described a 12 gauge 3 1/4 dram 1 1/4 ounce charge of hard No. 6 as the ultimate all-around pheasant load."

I've patterned that load against higher velocity options. And while the results only showed a fairly slight advantage over the 3 3/4 dram 1 1/4 oz 1330 fps load (which is the original Super-X formula), it printed far better on paper than the 1400 fps version--and with significantly less recoil. But the ammo makers know their business well enough to realize that they can always sell American hunters on loads that are either heavier or faster . . . or both.
Posted by: BrentD

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/04/20 12:03 PM

Originally Posted By: L. Brown
In McIntosh's book "Shotguns and Shooting", the chapter "Gunning John Ringneck" contains the following quote:

" . . . From experience I have to say I wouldn't object too strongly if someone described a 12 gauge 3 1/4 dram 1 1/4 ounce charge of hard No. 6 as the ultimate all-around pheasant load."


Penultimate, Larry. Repeat that with #5 and you have The Ultimate. smile
Posted by: L. Brown

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 07:46 AM

Originally Posted By: BrentD
Originally Posted By: L. Brown
In McIntosh's book "Shotguns and Shooting", the chapter "Gunning John Ringneck" contains the following quote:

" . . . From experience I have to say I wouldn't object too strongly if someone described a 12 gauge 3 1/4 dram 1 1/4 ounce charge of hard No. 6 as the ultimate all-around pheasant load."


Penultimate, Larry. Repeat that with #5 and you have The Ultimate. smile



Ask and you shall receive, Brent:

"My own pheasant loads ended up being 3 1/4 dram with 1 1/4 ounces of either 5's or 6's . . . "

That's Gene Hill in the chapter "Of Pheasants and Things" from his "Shotgunner's Notebook".
Posted by: BrentD

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 08:47 AM

Perfect! smile I always did like Gene.

Sometime this week, I will probably be loading what I and a friend will need for this fall. So far, I am very optimistic about the coming season.
Posted by: ksauers1

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 11:41 AM

Brent, do you know what the pressure is on these? L do you load llead and bismuth?
Posted by: Ted Schefelbein

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 11:57 AM

I’ve used quite a few of the Federal Pheasants Forever 1 1/4 Oz 12 gauge in either 5s (later season) or 6s, (earlier, or, sometimes, just in the more open choke). It is/was a good load, but, I think the Beretta Silver Snipe I fed them to was at the very top of the service pressure it should be used with.

The R10 Darne was not.

Best,
Ted
Posted by: Geo. Newbern

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 12:01 PM

Up to seventy I was not recoil sensitive at all. I am now. I have found that low pressure low recoil RST #5's kill turkeys dead as they come. I only shoot pheasants when somebody tosses them off a tower for me, but the RST shells work fine there as well...Geo
Posted by: King Brown

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 12:30 PM

I didn't know how sensitive I was to recoil until, at age 12 or so 75 years ago, I saw where my shot hit the water while shooting at an eider. I managed the problem by going to low-base shells, then reloading and smaller gauges. My big-game rifles are 7 X 57 and 250-3000. The results have been most satisfactory.
Posted by: Stan

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 01:00 PM

My faves are 2 3/4", 3 1/4 - 1 1/4 for crows, and 2 3/4", 3 3/4 - 1 1/4 for flyers. I've found I don't need that much load for pheasants at tower shoots. Been invited to maybe four of them. Took a 12 to the first couple, but a 16 to the rest. 1 1/8 oz. out of a tight choked 16 kills them like lightning.

The flyer loads don't bother me at all out of my 9 lb. MX8.

SRH
Posted by: skeettx

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 02:48 PM

I used to shoot 2 3/4 ammo loaded with Alcan powders for duck hunting

3 3/4 dram x 1 3/8 ounce of #5 ,

Wow, Now the heavy ammo gets shot in an autoloader,
the sane stuff in a double or sideways double

Mike
Posted by: Karl Graebner

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 03:39 PM

My experience mirrors George Newbern's. I use RST's 1 oz. # 5's to great effect on pheasants and late season grouse. I believe that 1 oz. in the proper shot size is plenty for any upland game bird.
Karl
Posted by: Drew Hause

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 04:06 PM

re: Kent's Bismuth load pressures; published in 2018
Kent Bismuth® Premium Upland 2 3/4”, 1 1/16 oz., 1325 fps, 10,000 psi
Kent Bismuth® Premium Waterfowl 2 3/4”, 1 1/4 oz, 1325 fps, 10,800 psi

Major Sir Gerald Burrard, The Modern Shotgun, Volume II, “The Cartridge”, 1955 3rd Revised Edition listed 12g 2 3/4” 1 1/4 oz. 3 1/4 Dr. Eq. "Standard Service" at 9,296 psi; Maximum Service at 11,984 psi.
Posted by: BrentD

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 05:53 PM

Originally Posted By: ksauers1
Brent, do you know what the pressure is on these? L do you load llead and bismuth?


Yes, but not off the top of my head.
Posted by: BrentD

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 05:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Karl Graebner
My experience mirrors George Newbern's. I use RST's 1 oz. # 5's to great effect on pheasants and late season grouse. I believe that 1 oz. in the proper shot size is plenty for any upland game bird.
Karl


1 oz is great if you are shooting close, the wind is down, and you centerpunch every shot. Heck, I've know maestros that shot them well with .410s. I am not a maestro, I hunt when it blows hard and sometimes the shots can be longish. Everyone has to do what he or she feels is best. I like 1.25 oz of #5s best.
Posted by: Shotgunjones

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 06:05 PM

Likewise. I like it when they don't run.
Posted by: BrentD

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 06:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Shotgunjones
Likewise. I like it when they don't run.


Exactly, although I think Gus does. He enjoys the challenge. But he gets enough of those anyway.
Posted by: 2-piper

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 06:47 PM

I also was not very recoil sensitive until around 70 yrs of age when I became more tender. The old British "Rue of Thumb" of gun weight = 96 times the shot weight is a pretty good guide.

This fits quite well with Burrard's rule that most people can generally handle loads that do not exceed 16 fps of recoil velocity. Recoil velocity is actually a much more important factor than recoil Energy. If not NO ONE could handle the really big stuff.

I have shot factory 1¼ oz loads from a 3'' 20 that weighed only 6¼ lbs. Recoil was stiff but bearable if one was only shooting a few & not in rapid succession. When I was much younger I shot some of the 2 3/4" baby Mags with 1½ oz shot from some rather light guns, all solid breech, no gas-operated guns, but would not do so now.
Posted by: BrentD

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/05/20 09:57 PM

Originally Posted By: ksauers1
Brent, do you know what the pressure is on these? L do you load llead and bismuth?


From Hodgdon manual:
Longshot Ched. 209 WAA12F114 29.8 8,000 PSI 1,330

I believe I am actually using 28 grns of powder, so I'm slightly slower and less pressure. I would have to look at my books to be sure.

I have also used a Bluedot load, but I believe the pressure is a bit higher. I don't have that handy and Hodgdon doesn't list a load for it on line.
Posted by: Glacierjohn

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/06/20 10:14 AM

I sold my hell for stout Lefever several years ago, but just recently picked up two guns that should take care of my upland and duck hunting needs. I live in northwest Montana and hunt ducks two to three times a week. I hunt upland east of the mountains two oor three times a season.

Montana pheasant hunting requires lots of walking, so a lighter gun is nice there. For that purpose I bought a 1924 LC Smith featherweight 12 ga, 28” barrel gun. It weighs 6#-8” and fits me perfectly. Using the 96 formula it works out to 1-1/8 oz loads, which seems perfect for pheasants. I sometimes hunt on a refuge that requires non toxic, so I guess I’ll shop for some RST shells.

Similarly some heavier RST for my duck hunting. I just received the Fox pin gun I bought from Jason Peck. A 12 ga, 30” barrel wring in at 7-1/4 pounds. It’s a tiny bit short at 14” even, so I might replace the plastic butt plate with a thin recoil pad.

I’m sure both guns have had a lifetime of 2 3/4” shells through them, I’ve had both guns checked out by my gunsmith, but I’m curious what the experts on here think about me shooting 2 3/4 “ shells through them? I didn’t measure the Elsie’s chamber, but the Fox is 2 5/8”.
Posted by: L. Brown

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/06/20 10:33 AM

Originally Posted By: BrentD
Perfect! smile I always did like Gene.

Sometime this week, I will probably be loading what I and a friend will need for this fall. So far, I am very optimistic about the coming season.


Brent, keep your fingers crossed for a warm, dry spring!
Posted by: BrentD

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/06/20 10:39 AM

Believe me, I am! My fingers are cramping but I'm holding on.

Not too dry though. We will need some gentle rains to get the vegetation growing well and the bug crop up. It is a little dry right here, or so it seems to me. Just a little.
Posted by: L. Brown

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/06/20 10:48 AM

RST offers a 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz pheasant load in its Premium Grade line. 1200 fps. You can get them in size 4, 5, or 6 shot. I've used some of those, and I think they're as good as any equivalent load on the market. Price I have listed is $12/box. Even with shipping, those will cost you less per box than the "premier" loads from the big ammo makers. And the RST's, with much less velocity, also produce much less recoil.

They don't list pressure, but I'm pretty sure they'll tell you if you ask.

Re tower shoots: They're designed to more or less simulate driven shooting. The loads I've shot when in Scotland have been either 1 oz or 1 1/16 oz. And they'll do the job quite nicely on birds under 40 yards. And a 40 yard driven bird is pretty darned "tall" at your typical driven shoot. Not speaking of the places that specialize in really high birds, 50 yards and more. But those guys shoot heavy, long-barreled guns pushing heavy loads through tight-choked barrels.

We Yanks are used to shooting walked up pheasants over dogs (unless you're a blocker) at mostly going away angles. They're a lot harder to kill when they're shot as outgoers than they are as incomers. Coming at you, their vitals are far more exposed. So those light British loads, which are mostly Brit 6's (slightly larger than US 7's) do the job very nicely. You've also got a bunch of "pickers" lined up behind you to collect the victims and to run down the cripples with their dogs. Usually retrievers and spaniels.
Posted by: 2-piper

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/06/20 05:58 PM

L C Smith standardized on 2 3/4" chambers in 12 gauge very early on. Not so on the 16 & 20 gauges.
Posted by: gjw

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/07/20 06:19 AM

Hi all, nice thread. Anyway, here are some pressures that RST gave me when I made an inquiry about their pressures.

The first one is what Col Brown was discussing. I use this load for late season roosters. I works and then some!

Best,

Greg

1) 12ga 2 3/4" Premium Pheasant 1 1/4oz 1200fps ... 7800 psi

2) 12ga 2 1/2" Best Grade 1oz 1175fps (Lead, Plastic Hull) ... 6500 psi

3) 16ga 2 1/2" Best Grade 1oz 1200fps " ... 6800 psi
Posted by: L. Brown

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/07/20 10:23 AM

That's pretty darned low for a 1 1/4 oz load.
Posted by: BrentD

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/07/20 11:00 AM

Larry, the load I posted above would drop below what gjw posted by substituting a different Winchester or Remington wad. You can get some of those loads down quite a ways then go a little lower yet with a roll crimp if necessary.
Posted by: 2-piper

Re: More on 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz load - 04/08/20 10:02 PM

Always keep in mind if you push a given weight out a barrel to a given velocity the "Average" pressure over the entire length of the barrel is virtually identical. One does not truly raise or lower it, just re-arranges it.

As long as the peak pressure does not exceed the limits of the chamber walls, the overall ballistics of the load is of more concern everywhere else.