What to use for grouse

fourfive8

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Yes, small ga SxS choked M/IC with 6 shot is about perfect. 22rf would also be fine in certain areas and if legal. However, if you can get them to flush they can be just as challenging as any. I think it depends on how they have been conditioned by the local predators. Also, a classic and fun way to hunt them along with tree squirrels, that may be in the same area, is with a small caliber muzzleloader shooting BP and patched roundball. :)
 

WAB

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CZ makes decent quality, reasonably priced 28’s in both o/u and s/s configuration.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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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.
RL, are spruce grouse what the Canadians call fools hens? Are they good to eat?
 

WAB

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RL, are spruce grouse what the Canadians call fools hens? Are they good to eat?

Yes that’s them. Young birds early in the season are fine. Later in the season they eat spruce needles and taste like turpentine.
 

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I carry a 16 and my daughter carries a 20 both over unders. A 28 gauge is a dream I may never acquire-and truly my skill level may not allow it! The romance of grouse is specifically seeking them out and taking them on the wing. Shooting them on the ground or off a branch is for the most novice of gunners only. . .
 

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For me in the UK doing walked up or driven grouse, the best gun is a specialised 12 bore side by side.

Pick a light weight (less than 6.5lb) pointable 12 bore with 26" barrels, fixed choke of 1/4 and 1/2 and use light 24-28gram loads of UK #7 shot (no idea what this is in US I'm afraid).

I totally understand the weight issue, but this set up is as light as any 20 o/u and the load is basically the same too, it's just cheaper to feed.

A 28 bore is an option, but they're a little niche, expensive and difficult to feed and the patterns are small. Flattering for a good shot, not so much for an average one like me. .410 is even more so

What I don't understand is this need in some folks to buy a heavy 20 bore o/u then shoot 12 bore loads through it. Just, why? Is it bragging rights with your small bore gun or something?
 

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On a related note, this article: https://www.thefield.co.uk/features/lightweight-guns-21492

Provided me with an interesting bit of context when choosing my game shooting arms on the development of sporting shotguns from 1880-today, their weight and applications. It's UK focussed, but may interest some of you too, at least for the history and contributions of the 'names' in this area.

Al.
 

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For just a gun for the occasional grouse or other small game, find an old Savage M24 in 20ga/.22 LR (or .22 mag). A 20ga/.22 mag on Gunbroker for $495 now.
 

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Vashper

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"What to use for grouse" - I usually use an ordinary red semi-sweet. Yes, many people will say that semi-sweet is somehow plebeian, but I like it.

Of course, it is correct to use the dry red wines of the Northern Rhone - all these Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Côte Rotie, Saint-Joseph, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, or mature Burgundy wines. Like all birds, grouse "does not like" tannins, so too tart like Chianti or something else based on San Genovese grapes will not work. Also for grouse, you will need a pair of double-barreled 12-gauge shotguns, Purday or at least Holland-Holland, an assistant for reloading guns, several gun dogs and beaters. Well, the Harris tweed jacket. Of course, Yorkshire model is the best .

But I personally, I repeat, use a red semi-sweet from a country store, a light double-barreled .20-caliber over-under shotgun with a slightly inflated choke, and a Spaniel.

 

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"What to use for grouse" - I usually use an ordinary red semi-sweet. Yes, many people will say that semi-sweet is somehow plebeian, but I like it.

Of course, it is correct to use the dry red wines of the Northern Rhone - all these Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Côte Rotie, Saint-Joseph, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, or mature Burgundy wines. Like all birds, grouse "does not like" tannins, so too tart like Chianti or something else based on San Genovese grapes will not work. Also for grouse, you will need a pair of double-barreled 12-gauge shotguns, Purday or at least Holland-Holland, an assistant for reloading guns, several gun dogs and beaters. Well, the Harris tweed jacket. Of course, Yorkshire model is the best .

But I personally, I repeat, use a red semi-sweet from a country store, a light double-barreled .20-caliber over-under shotgun with a slightly inflated choke, and a Spaniel.

Here's a man who has his priorities straight!
 

cls

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For just a gun for the occasional grouse or other small game, find an old Savage M24 in 20ga/.22 LR (or .22 mag). A 20ga/.22 mag on Gunbroker for $495 now.
Plus one on this. .22lr for on the walk and 20ga on the wing when you miss with the .22
 

WAB

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For me in the UK doing walked up or driven grouse, the best gun is a specialised 12 bore side by side.

Pick a light weight (less than 6.5lb) pointable 12 bore with 26" barrels, fixed choke of 1/4 and 1/2 and use light 24-28gram loads of UK #7 shot (no idea what this is in US I'm afraid).

I totally understand the weight issue, but this set up is as light as any 20 o/u and the load is basically the same too, it's just cheaper to feed.

A 28 bore is an option, but they're a little niche, expensive and difficult to feed and the patterns are small. Flattering for a good shot, not so much for an average one like me. .410 is even more so

What I don't understand is this need in some folks to buy a heavy 20 bore o/u then shoot 12 bore loads through it. Just, why? Is it bragging rights with your small bore gun or something?

No difference in pattern sizes between gauges with the same choke, just pattern density which affects effective range.
 

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No difference in pattern sizes between gauges with the same choke, just pattern density which affects effective range.
I respectfully disagree.

Whilst the absolute pattern is the same size, being based on choke and air rsistance acting on the pallets, pellets are not spread evenly across that entire area, leaving a nucleus at the centre of the spread where pellets are denser. I'd call this central area the effective pattern (i.e the part of that spread which is dense enough to effectively kill anything, or reliably break a clay) and it's dependent also on the amount of pellets you have, and so this area is markedly bigger with a normal 12 bore load than a 20 bore load and so on and so forth.

Sure, you can go for a magnum load in a smaller bore and go down a pellet size to move closer to the bigger bore, but there comes a point where you physically can't stuff enough pellets in a cartridge (with the .410 and 28 especially) to bridge that gap.

A good article explaining this better than have can be found here: https://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/the-gun-nuts/shotguns-understanding-pattern-size-and-gauge/
 

WAB

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I respectfully disagree.

Whilst the absolute pattern is the same size, being based on choke and air rsistance acting on the pallets, pellets are not spread evenly across that entire area, leaving a nucleus at the centre of the spread where pellets are denser. I'd call this central area the effective pattern (i.e the part of that spread which is dense enough to effectively kill anything, or reliably break a clay) and it's dependent also on the amount of pellets you have, and so this area is markedly bigger with a normal 12 bore load than a 20 bore load and so on and so forth.

Sure, you can go for a magnum load in a smaller bore and go down a pellet size to move closer to the bigger bore, but there comes a point where you physically can't stuff enough pellets in a cartridge (with the .410 and 28 especially) to bridge that gap.

A good article explaining this better than have can be found here: https://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/the-gun-nuts/shotguns-understanding-pattern-size-and-gauge/

We’ll have to respectfully agree to disagree. A better reference would be Bob Brister’s book, I believe it’s called the art and science of shotgunning. Static pattern boards are very misleading and don’t even tell half the story.

Interestingly, some small bores throw incredibly even patterns. You want a shot charge L/D as close to 1 as possible. That’s why 3/4 oz 28 ga loads pattern so much better than 1 oz loads. I have a .410 that will smoke clays across the middle on skeet. I’ve shot hundreds of straights with that gun. I was shooting with a Browning engineer and he revealed the secret (it’s a browning ultra xs sporting clays gun with 30” tubes). Apparently they inadvertently produced these guns with extreme back boring. If you ever see one you want it. I’ve seen three and they all pattern like no other .410 I’ve seen. A normal .410 gets chippy across the middle due to shot stringing (again ref Brister’s book).
 

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I use a 20 gauge Browning Citori lightning for shooting them on the wing, and a CZ American in .22 lr for shooting them on the ground.
 

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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!
I have done the same thing in Norway. We hunted black grouse, shooting them on the treetops using the venerable Swedish 6.5x55 with FMJ rounds. Initially I was very apprehensive until I was assured by my Norwegian friends that it was over 15kms to the main road.
 

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