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.