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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As of last year i started using 3 inch loads for upland bird hunting, wasn't sure if there would be an advantage but figured it might increase range and give just a little more knockdown power without being as destructive still on grouse as a 12. Ive used both 3 inch steel for ducks and 3 inch #5's in lead for grouse (5 being the smallest shot i could find around here).
The black cloud loads for duck in #4 are real good and have good reach/power and patterning isnt as big of a deal with wing shots that are at good length because the pattern wont be as good anyways.
However, im finding that when i take a shot at a grounded grouse taking time to aim for the head, the pattern sucks. If the shot is at any distance alot of the times it wont take down the bird. when it does take down a bird i notice that ill get a few pellets in the head, a few in the breast and body, and that it'll hit low too, often breaking the legs. Its as if with 3 inch loads the pattern is more scattered and shooting in a 'halo' like formation. Even with birds that are within 10-15 yards.
I'm wondering if anyone else has used 3 inch loads in 20 gauges and what their experiences with them are and what brands/shot size perform better? I just bought new carlson chokes that are full and extra full, hoping that will fix the problem. I was using mod./imp.cyl before.
 

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I shoot them through a 28 inch barrel with any choke, I always get great pattern with them, normaly the patterns are the same as a normal 2 3/4 shell pattern, but with more pellets. Hoesntly I find 3 shells overkill for grouse and 2 3/4 have worked wonders for me for the last couple years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Why not pattern your shotgun? It's easy and will answer all your questions.
ya i have a 26" barrel that mixed with the less tight chokes might have been the problem. gona try and pattern it the next nice sunny day,was just wondering if anyone else had that problem or if its just my setup.
 

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You might want to try a slighty smaller shot size as well. I usually use #6 or sometimes #7 for grouse, and anything fairly close it takes down easy enough and has more pellets in a given area
 

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1oz of shot will have the same amount whether it's in a 12ga or 20ga, however generally speaking the larger bore will have better patterns with same shot charge because of less shot deformation. That having been said I've never seen a reason to use magnum loads on grouse.
 

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dont know about a 20ga but with my 12, 2.75 in lead 6`s wiht a full choke will cut the heads off them everytime within 25 yrds, out farther still very few if any in the breast, i use to use the same thing for bunnies until i got a .22, 20 ga 3 in should have pretty close to the same amount of pellets as a 12ga 2.75, like othes said just play around with your chokes and pellet size
 

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I use 3" (either number 4 or 5) cooper pheasant loads in my 20 ga. Granted mine only has a 21" barrel so long shots are normally risky for me. I put in a full choke which helped out some. As far as pattering up close not an issue with mine, only prob I have is constantly shoot low when birds are up in trees.
 
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