A successful pheasant shooter is a skilled gunman who understands the behaviour of birds in their own habitat. He needs certain equipment: cartridge belt, shooting bags, ear protection, knives, etc. His most important tool, though, is the shotgun.
A hunter’s favourite gun becomes his life-long companion, as familiar to him as a part of himself. When choosing to buy a shotgun for sale, one must ensure that it is durable, accurate, well balanced, and of a suitable weight. It needs to be just right.
Advantages Of Buying A Lightweight Gun
When trekking long distances across rough terrain, a heavy gun can be a burden. Something in the seven- or eight-pound range is ideal for an adult male; for a woman or a young shooter, an even lighter piece of equipment is advisable.
Although a light gun is great for carrying around all day, it is important that the weight is distributed slightly forward, allowing for easy tracking of the target, a positive swing and follow-through, and reduced recoil. Lighter guns will produce quite a lot of recoil, and this can be a strain on the shoulder.
It is typically the opinion of hunters that the benefits of a light gun outweigh the disadvantage of any extra kick that might occur, especially when the gun is to be carried over long distances. Extra padding on the shoulder will help to prevent discomfort.
Choosing Your Gauge
The gauge of a firearm is a unit of measurement used to express the diameter of the barrel bore, determined from the weight of a solid sphere of lead that will fit inside the bore. A barrel with capacity to fit a lead sphere weighing one ounce (1/16 pound) is labelled a 16-bore gauge; a barrel with capacity to fit a lead sphere weighing two ounces (1/8 pound) is labelled an 8-bore gauge.
The 12-gauge shotgun is the best option for any adult shooter of pheasant or small game; ammunition is readily available and comparatively cheap. A 16- and 20-gauge model is more suitable for youngsters. A 3-inch shell is advisable; it provides enough power to take down almost any pheasant.
Double, Semi-Automatic & ‘Over and Under’ Shotguns
The traditional double-barrelled shotgun is the general favourite among pheasant shooters, because the double barrel allows for different chokes. A more open choke is usually used on the first shot, and for the second shot, a full choke aids with the extra distance. Although expensive, these guns will last a lifetime if handled correctly; they have a classic appearance and are functional for pheasant shooting.
For pheasant shooting, barrel length is an issue only as far as personal preference is concerned; a hunter must feel comfortable with his gun. The minimum legal barrel length is 24 inches; anything up to 32 inches is suitable.