Improving performance of 12 GA cylinder bore?

mark-hunter

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As the subject says:

Is there a possibility to improve performance (hunting range) of cylinder bore, 12 GA, by proper choosing the cartridges? Chamber 3inch.
For pheasants.

Some thoughts:
- Using 3 inch shells (as opposed to 2-3/4 which are most commonly used)?
- Using some specific cartridges with specific type of wad? Which cartridges or ammo to be recommended?
- Using steel shot? (or other type of non lead shot, under assumption that steel shot makes tighter patterns) Which ammo?

What would you recommend?
And in that case what can be expected of effective range? is 30 yards, too much?
 

CJW

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I would think that upping the payload as much as possible and finding a happy medium in shot size for energy and pattern density is going to be the objective, and only the patterning board will be able to tell you. That was probably too many 'ands'. But still, cylinder bore at 30 yds. against pheasant will probably be an uphill battle. Maybe a good place for that new tss shot.

I'm trying to get away from lead shot entirely for hunting so I might try some heavy upland or waterfowl bismuth or tungsten loads.
 

Finprof

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Pattern your shotgun at 30 yards and see how it shoots. Then decide yourself.
Recently I shot a of sporting clays after forgetting to change chokes set for skeet. Upper was skeet and lower was cylinder. Despite the open chokes it would still break high clays at 40 yards. One of the stations has the launcher on top of a radio tower 100 yards away. It throws in comers at a 45 degree angle over the top of mature white pines. The clays would still break.
You might be surprised at 30-40 yard patters from a cylinder bore.
 

curtism1234

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Unless you are shooting pen raised birds, there is a good chance pheasants will fly up at 40 yards - especially after being fooled with. Foe those, you want a modified or full. Some hunters even use turkey loads for them (I use 3" 20ga)

Personally, I would buy another barrel or use another gun rather than spending the time and money trying to find a max range for cylinder bore.
 

leslie hetrick

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depending what shotgun you have you could have it threaded for tubes, i hade a rem 1100 20 ga with a imp choke and wanted tubes and sent the barrel to mike orlan and he did a super job, the cost was 75.00 several years ago.
 

BRICKBURN

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More is not always better.
Too much recoil will impact how well you shoot. Certainly on follow up shots.

Practice shooting the gun and get the center of the pattern on target. Loads will not overcome poor shooting skills.

As two shotgunners have already stated - Pattern the gun with your preferred ammo.
Some chokes spray pellets and others hold the pattern better. Different shells as well.

Many target shooters around the world use lighter loads and less shot to create a uniform pattern. There goal is high scores, take it as a sign.

At 30 yards - for lead get 5 or 6 shot. Less pellets to pick out.
(Steel, I'd go with #2 and BB's. That's just my preference)

I do not shoot Pheasants at 30 yards.
So, these are likely way more than you need. They bring Pheasants down.

My reloads 2 3/4 - 1 1/4 ounce Lead - #5 Winchester AA Hull, Red Wad, (SR7625)
Chronograph 1425 fps.
MF or IM choke nothing gets through the pattern at 60 yards, effective further as required.

Working on a new load with currently available powders to mimic this "go to load".

pro_reach_lg.jpg


These are my go to factory shell.

remington.png


We use these for early season Pheasants in the first barrel. They pattern very well in a lot of guns.

Screen Shot 2022-11-20 at 10.11.28.png


Good luck.
 

WAB

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I shot AA and master class sporting for a number of years. I rarely used anything tighter than IC. I simply went to tighter patterning loads for longer or more heavily constructed targets (rabbits).

Before going to the extremes of chokes or a new bbl, try a super hard shot charge; fiocchi’s nickel plated golden pheasant loads are fast, hard and typically throw tight patterns.

Personally, I would absolutely NOT go to 3” loads for upland birds. The longest birds you will ever see are routinely killed by 1 1/16 oz shot charges on driven shoots. Granted, it’s an easier kill angle but I have seen honest 50+ yard clean kills (some likely pushing 60) with this charge on driven shoots in the UK. Chokes are typically 1/4 and 1/2.
 

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Send the barrel to Briley Manufacturing in Houston and have screw in chokes installed.
 

BRICKBURN

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.......
Before going to the extremes of chokes or a new bbl, try a super hard shot charge; fiocchi’s nickel plated golden pheasant loads are fast, hard and typically throw tight patterns.
.............
Excellent loads. Test them in your shotgun.
We have so little to choose from anymore you end up making do.
 

IdaRam

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100% agree with what BRICKBURN and WAB have already posted.
30 yards is absolutely within reasonable range with cylinder bore, but as you’ve already discovered, not with just any old factory load. In fact most factory loads are pretty poor peformers when compared with hand loads. I’ve been out of the game for a long time so I can’t make any recommendations on hand loading components, but more payload is rarely the right answer. A uniform shot pattern is what you’re looking for and as charge weight goes up that gets less likely due to the long shot column which results in more deformed pellets.
As has been said already, hard shot/plated shot, moderate payload, proper wad and reasonable velocity are all ingredients to a good pattern. Heavy charge weights, 3” mags, soft shot, ultra high velocity are all your enemies.
Test, test, test on the pattern board. If you don’t hand load maybe see if you can find someone who does. I’m sure if you dig around on some of the shotshell loading sites you can come up with tried and true loads that will work exceedingly well.
Some guns shoot the Federal Premium Prairie Storm pretty well even though it is very fast at 1500 fps. It has a flight control wad and plated shot. As has been mentioned, Golden Pheasant are very good.
 

Tucketed

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I have a Merkel 12 with cylinder and skeet chokes. Try Fiocchi® Golden Pheasant Shotshells. They are nickel plated and I get reasonable patterns, much better than standard lead. I have used this combination numerous seasons in Colorado and Nebraska.
 
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Red Leg

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I would never use 3" loads for upland game regardless of choke. I use 2 3/4" or 2 1/2" 1 or 1 1/8 ounce for all my 12 bore upland hunting including sharptail grouse and wild pheasant which are both notorious far flushing game. The fast majority of that is done with guns having an IC or cylinder right barrel and 3/4 or full left barrel (traditional British game gun choking). The lightly choked right barrel is usually decisive.

Most cylinder guns shoot an actual improved cylinder pattern with modern shells with a plastic shot cup. Unless the gun has modern specialized choking, the traditional dimensions were originally designed for paper shells with fiber wads. Normally a gun will shoot several degrees of choke tighter with a plastic wad.
 

BeeMaa

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The use of TSS (Tungsten Super Shot) has changed the game for bird hunting. I've used Federal Black Cloud TSS BB&7 on Goose out to 70 yards and they fall stone dead. I've done the same with the 3&9 shot combo at 30 yards, but I'd estimate the effective range (on Goose) to be at least 50. Yes, I know it's designed for waterfowl, but it will certainly take down Pheasant at 40, if it's capable of doing the same with Goose.

I will admit, the experience I have with the Federal BC TSS is with a FULL choke, not CYL. However, my friend (called IGS for internet anonymity) is using a SKEET choke with the 3&9 load very effectively of several species of fast moving ducks out to 50 yards.

Right now Rogers Sporting Goods is running a special on a case of 3&9, 100 shells for $269. That's quite a deal for this kind of ammo.
https://www.rogerssportinggoods.com...e=3%20%26%209&custcolboxandcasematrixoption=4

Another source of TSS is Apex Ammo. I've yet to use them, but from what I hear they are really good.

As always, I'd encourage you to pattern your shotgun with the ammo you will be using. This will give you the confidence to know that you can take down the birds at the desired distance.

Disclamer - It is my experience in pattern testing that TSS will throw a pattern that is a little tighter than steel/lead/bismuth, but it will NOT make up for having a tighter choke on those long shots. If it were me, I'd opt for a different shotgun, or have multi-choke threads installed on the one you have. There is a correct load combination for your shotgun, but you are very limited by only having a CYL choke.
 

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BeeMaa

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Challer

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If you’re not patterning, you don’t know anything really. Sporting Shotgun Performance by Dr A C Jones is recommended reading and will address most questions.

Because non-toxic shot is looking to approach ubiquity in game birds, learn to embrace that too. TSS is awesome stuff
 

Forrest Halley

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Flitecontrol wads. I get ridiculously tight patterns out of a cylinder bore with these wads. That's a 14" barrel though and #1.5 Buck. Anything with that wad will be great.
 

BeeMaa

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Flitecontrol wads. I get ridiculously tight patterns out of a cylinder bore with these wads. That's a 14" barrel though and #1.5 Buck. Anything with that wad will be great.
+1
Because @Forrest Halley has actually done pattern testing.
 

F. Vaccaro

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I have killed Pheasants deader than a democrats promise at 30 yds with WWAA trap loads #8 shot. I might go that route with your open choke. There are a lot of #8s in even a 1-1/8oz load. If you reload a 1-1/4oz of #8 give you a lot of pellets!
 

Hunter-Habib

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- Choose heavier shot weights in 3” Magnum shells (like 46, 50, 52 or even 56 grams), because the higher quantity of shot pellets are more likely to fill in any potential gaps in the pattern.
- Use only for upland bird hunting over dogs, because the birds will flush at very close range.
- Know your limits and accept the fact that you’ve got to pass up on some longer shots due to the lack of choke.

I have shot golden snipe a few times in the rice paddy fields during the 1960s with a friend’s 12 gauge ( 2 3/4“) E.J Churchill Gunmakers Premier sidelock ejector side by side shotgun with 25” barrels. The left barrel was bored modified choke, while the right was bored improved cylinder choke. I was using the old paper cased 2 1/2” Eley Gastight 32 gram #8 shells. The golden snipe were going down like bowling pins. As a matter of fact, the wide pattern of the right barrel was actually contributing greatly to my success. The insanely fast zig zag style flying pattern of golden snipe demands as much of a spread as you can possibly manage (without allowing holes or gaps in the pattern).
 
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mark-hunter

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Boys, you are great!

@Red Leg, others.

Recently I bought and old Mossberg, pump action. Cylinder
I bought it not for hunting, but for pump action steel challenge shooting.
For hunting I use, proper O/U, with removable chokes etc..

Then, I have a friend, who is hunter, but he doesnt have a shotgun. He hunts with rifle.

He has shown some interest to come with me for bird hunting. If he comes for hunting pheasants this winter with me, one consideration is to borrow him this gun, in the lack of any better solution. So, I am working on options for hunting ammo.

@Challer
I have noted the your recommendation for book, will try to get it.
 

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