What to use for grouse

Pheroze

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When we hunt moose we often take a few evenings to chase up grouse by the roads or in the woods. I have lugged my 12 G but that is just too much, and I have used a bow, which is fun. But, I am thinking of picking up a shotgun of some sort for this - perhaps a 410 or 20 G. Maybe an old SxS. I think the 410 would be perfect. What do you folks think?
 

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20 gauge is perfect. I use a Beretta semiauto or Browning Citori O/U.
Heavy Field or Express loads in 7.5 or 6 shot.
 

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I have an Arietta 20 ga SxS with open chokes I use. It weighs around 5 1/2 lbs and is very nice to carry in the mountains of Colorado for dusky grouse. I prefer #5 or 6 shot. It doesn’t take much to bring them down, but they can be heavily feathered once the snows and cold start.
During our big game seasons I have carried some low velocity 30-06 rounds using a 110 FMJ at about 1,900 fps to poke a hole in them pretty quietly and not ruining meat.

What ever you get to use, you’re going to have great fun chasing them especially if you have a dog! I’m envious!
 

Professor Mawla

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I always use my Laurona 12 bore side-lock ejector ( loaded with Eley Grand Prix 2 1/2 inch number 6 birdshot shells ) for hunting driven grouse , in the moors of Great Britain .

2A8C1EB3-53A0-4415-8B7C-3562BF8A04DA.png


Perhaps a 28 bore might suit your needs ?
 

BRICKBURN

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After a long day chasing moose I can imagine you'd like less weight to haul around.

Are you taking the shots on the ground or in the air?

.410 if you are just doing stationary head shots.
20 ga if you are allowing them to take the wing.

Barrel configuration is just personal choice.

Have fun.

One option for a throw it in the trunk gun.

Screen Shot 2020-12-23 at 07.12.48.png
 

Pheroze

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After a long day chasing moose I can imagine you'd like less weight to haul around.

Are you taking the shots on the ground or in the air?

.410 if you are just doing stationary head shots.
20 ga if you are allowing them to take the wing.

Barrel configuration is just personal choice.

Have fun.

One option for a throw it in the trunk gun.

View attachment 380925
Oh yes, I did consider this, but I am more of a Westley Richards man...

I like it when they take flight, but I admit to smoking one or two when they just scamper around on the ground. It's neat how quickly they disappear!

I am probably a perfectly average shot with a shotgun, so 20 g sounds like my gun.

My friend had a 410 that was fun and very light.
 

dobber

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Have an older Lakefield moss berg bolt action 410, great gun and needs to get back out in the field. When i went on a Caribou hunt i took a simple single shot 20 gauge for ptarmigan, easy enough to break apart and put in the pack
 

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I have been using a Stroger SxS in .410 now for over 25 years and that little shotgun has bagged more grouse than any of my other shotguns. If I am out in the woods hunting other animals and grouse season is on that little shotgun is with me.

Now if I am targeting grouse then I pack my Ruger OU 20 gauge.
 

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Ruffed Grouse are relatively tough birds but tend to flush close in thick terrain - sharptail are somewhat tougher birds and tend to flush at relatively long range. Spruce grouse are too stupid to be considered a game bird - well maybe by Canadians. ;)

A .410 would be a prescription for frustration and wounded / lost birds. I only use mine on raised and released plantation quail. For ruffed grouse, a 20 bore OU or SxS with Skeet 1 Skeet 2 chokes in 26" or 28" barrels is about ideal. For sharpies I use a 12 bore SxS with either 30" or 32" Mod/ Full chokes.

Heavy loads are absolutely unnecessary - particularly in a light 20. A standard 7/8 ounce field load in no 6 or 7 1/2 will cleanly kill any ruffed grouse that ever lived. A standard 12 bore field load of 1 1/8 ounces of number 6 will cleanly take sharptail.

For spruce grouse, I would suggest fast handling, light weight club or a non-magnum rock.
 

Pheroze

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Spruce grouse are too stupid to be considered a game bird - well maybe by Canadians. ;)
My son chased one with a 4" knife and almost got him
 

Pheroze

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The advice about a 410 is greatly appreciated. I assumed it would be fine. It's so light as to be very tempting
 

JimP

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You also have to consider if you plan on flushing them to where they fly or just ground pound them.

For me as long as it is legal I take them when I see them. Either on the ground or sitting in a tree. Quite often if they fly they can be tracked down.

This is where a light .410 shooting 3" shells with #6 shot work quite well.
 

Pheroze

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Have an older Lakefield moss berg bolt action 410, great gun and needs to get back out in the field. When i went on a Caribou hunt i took a simple single shot 20 gauge for ptarmigan, easy enough to break apart and put in the pack
Having one that doesn't add much to the load would be best. Walking in the crazy woods where moose go gets tiring enough!
 

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There are grouse and there are grouse. If you are hunting them in New England coverts, overgrown New Brunswick farmland, etc. you get the wild version of the ruff. Although i shot competitively at a master class level for years I would use a 28 on these birds, not a .410. As you are moose hunting you may be hunting the ‘other’ grouse. Uneducated, offering ground shots, if shot on the wing likely after you nearly kicked it. I would still lean to the 28 on these birds but the .410 would work if you are quite good with it.
 

Pheroze

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If you're shooting them on the wing, a 20 or 28 would be the most efficient.

I never thought about a 28 Guage. Just reading about it now. This looks like a serious contender
 

Pheroze

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offering ground shots, if shot on the wing likely after you nearly kicked it.
Haven't kicked one...yet. got fairly close though!
 

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