Author Topic: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler  (Read 13039 times)

2ndCharter

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Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« on: August 03, 2010, 05:38:54 PM »
I have not yet begun my journey to BP so forgive what is probably a very novice question. I live in a state where lead is illegal. I've been using a Benelli SBEII 12 ga. for goose hunting from pits at a fairly close range (~ 25 yards). I want to try something a bit different this year on a few hunts, a 20ga flintlock fowler.

Shooting Bismuth shot out of this thing, is there an appropriate load/charge that anyone recommends to use or is it the general consensus that geese are too big for a 20ga BP gun?

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2010, 05:56:41 PM »
Mine worked fine. The 12 or 10 bore doesn't shoot faster, or harder etc, it just carries more shot.
At 20 to 25 yds, if you have a good pattern, and you hit them well, they'll go down. I prefer my 10 bore because I get a real nice pattern, with less stacking [ if that's the right term] Anyway, the shot column is shorter . I generally use #4 shot here on my back pond. 


BrownBear

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2010, 05:58:51 PM »

Shooting Bismuth shot out of this thing, is there an appropriate load/charge that anyone recommends to use or is it the general consensus that geese are too big for a 20ga BP gun?

I doubt you'll find a consensus on that point.  I haven't done it with a fowler, but back in the days of lead, I harvested a fair number of geese with a 12 gauge firing 1 1/8 oz of shot.  I just set up my blinds and decoys closer.

In recent days I've taken several geese using  1 1/4 oz of bismuth from my 20 gauge cartridge gun.  I like to decoy ducks up close, and inevitably some geese come in, too.  Come to think of it, about 10 years ago I was using bismuth in a 28 while hunting pheasants along a brushy creek bottom due to the number of mallards also there.  Shots were never more than 20 yards, and the little 28 did really well.  And with witnesses I jumped and dropped two Canadas in as many shots with that little gun.  The shots were at something like 10 and 15 yards, and no probs whatsoever.

I'd just make sure you were close enough, based on your pattern testing with suitable size shot.  I'm guessing you'll do fine to at least 25 yrds, especially if the fowler is jug choked.  Some on here have expressed great fondness for Nice Shot instead of bismuth, but I'll let them make their own reports.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 06:00:55 PM by BrownBear »

2ndCharter

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2010, 07:01:06 PM »
Just to be sure, when I start my range tests, with 1-1/4 oz of shot, I want to match that by volume with FFg powder? I would also think you guys use some sort of wads between the charge and pellets and after the pellets to hold the pellets in place. Are these commercially available or do I need to find a cottage craftsman?

BrownBear

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2010, 07:45:26 PM »
In my 20 gauge (actually a 62 cal smoothie) I get the best patterns using a single A card or wad between the powder and shot, then a thin B card from the same source over the shot.  I immerse the A cards in olive oil briefly, then drain them and let them sit overnight for the oil to soak in.  The B cards work best for me if I nick the edge in four places to let air escape as I seat the card.  Others prefer lubed fiber wads rather than the A cards, but I have problems getting good patterns with them in small gauges. 

As for powder, I use the same volume of black powder as shot.  I've had better patterns with 2f than 3f.  I'm currently experimenting with 1f, but results are inconclusive so far.

2ndCharter

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2010, 07:50:13 PM »
Thank you all for your input. Now I just need to find to pull the trigger on a good fowler purchase and make some smoke. I had originally wanted to build from a Chambers kit but I'm going to buy my first one and go from there.

northmn

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2010, 07:59:55 PM »
Bismuth tends to be brittle.  A long shot column even with todays bismuth may not give you as much of a gain as you think.  The set back forces may shatter some of the bottom pellets.  It is not uncommon when patterning to discover that 1 1/8 may give as dense of a pattern as 1 1/4.  When I used a 20 three inch I rarely used the mag 1 1/4 but instead used a 1 1/8 laod that worked as well if not better.  At 20-25 yards if you center the goose you should get it as long as the pellets ahve plenty of penetration ability.  I used to like to use a little heavier shot in BP firearms as they do not have the velocity of modern.  BB shot might also work on geese.

DP

2ndCharter

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2010, 08:37:01 PM »
Glad you posted, I didn't even consider the pellet size change. Back in the lead days, I think my dad was handing me #2 but today, I'm using Kent Fasteel or HeavyShot in 3-1/2" BB. For the same reason we've stepped up in size then, I guess I should look at penetration testing with BB at that range as well.

Daryl

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2010, 05:48:07 PM »
Pattern density was lousy with BB shot back in lead days - at 50 pellets to the ounce, there aren't many in a shotshell - even a 2oz. load was 'done' from a, 80 %(40yd) patterning full choke at 50 to 55yards.  Even 4's worked to 65yards on geese, with #2's working to a good 80 yards.  I think the extra large sizes in steel are a mistake.  if the geese are close- 20 to 25 yards, I'd use a finer shot and concentrate on head shots - think of the head of a honker as a teal's body and kill that teal.

 Forget about field artillery-sized shot for body penetration.  Head shooting geese worked well for me in the lead shot days,using #2's for pass shooting(body penetration) and 5's or 6's for close- ie: out to 40yard head shooting over deeks.  Today that close range shooting would mean a #4 or #5  bismuth or heavy shot. I would not use steel/iron shot for geese.

A 1 1/4 ounce shot measure holds 90gr. 2F, which is 3 1/4 drams equivalent. That is a heavy load for a 20 bore, but useable, I guess.  I would lean towards using 1 1/8oz. with 82gr. which is the use of the same measure for shot and powder as well.

My own 20 bore seems to like 1 1/8oz. and 70gr. to 75gr. powder for quite tight patterns. I would have no problem using this for geese, ducks or clay birds.

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2010, 06:00:23 PM »
Exactly my finding, Daryl.  That's why I use #4 shot, as I indicated previously. For 20 to 25 yds,  a nice pattern of #4 will do everything you ask of it, from ducks to geese .Especially in a 20 bore.  Mine likes 1 1/8 and 75 gr FFg
My 10 bore N.E.fowler is partial to 11/4 oz and 80 gr.  On my pond I don't shoot geese much past 25 yds anyway.

BrownBear

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2010, 06:15:50 PM »
You two are singing my song.  I have had terrible luck with large shot in small gauges.  If your particular gun will pattern #4's well, go for it.  Mine won't, but do beautifully with either #5 or #6.  The load used for the geese I described with the 28 gauge was 3/4 oz of #6 bismuth.  I just use the head for an aiming point, landing the shot somewhere between there and the base of the neck.  Same for 12 gauge with 1 1/8 oz.  Nice dense pattern and very dead geese to 25 yards.  Like Daryl, I've been getting much better patterns at all ranges with 1 oz or 1 1/8 oz of shot and 2f from the same measure from my current 20 than I get with the 1 1/4 oz measure.  Go for pattern density and use that to determine your range limits.  There's just no doubt in my mind that a well placed 1 oz or 1 1/8 oz of #4-6 shot will plaster geese within your range limit. 

northmn

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2010, 06:59:39 PM »
Today one of the most popular steel loads is the 1 1/4 oz BBB.  I had lousy luck with 2's but saw geese knocked silly with BB lead.  However this was for the longer pass shooting stuff.  I killed more than one goose with 4's up close.  The old time favorite for duck/goose shooting according to Hinton in his Shotgunning book was #3 lead which can be had in lead but is hard to get.  #1 Steel is about the same, but you do not see it in any of the other no-tox.  Some liiked to use the head shooting technique with finer shot for closer shots as described.  I remember meeting one older gent who shot a 2 oz 10 bore load with 6's for that use.  With a flintlock fowler I would want something big enough to break bones if my lead was not so good.  At 25 yards 4's would probably work, but Bismuth 4's weigh in at about the same as lead 5's.

DP

Daryl

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2010, 09:35:22 PM »
I also used to carry trap loads or heavier handloads using small shot for killing crips on the water.  #6 in big gauges to #8's in the smaller 20 bore, using as big a shot load as I could get worked on the heads well, even at longer ranges.  Due to the stationary target, the entire shot string would pass the bird's head, making long shot strings useful.  I suspect a #5 shot or even #6 in steel would work as well as the 7 1/2's and 8's did in lead.

It is about impossible to penetrate a cripped duck's or goose's wing nor penetrte the body when sitting on the water. The head and neck become the only viable target then - small shot answers well for this, whether they are flying or 'sitting' wounded.

It did take some practise to use the head as an aiming point, rather than the huge body of the goose or mallard, but with a bit of practise, the system worked perfectly.  I found nothing better for ducks over decoys, than # 7 1/2 trap loads in the 12 bore, or skeet loads for the 20 - #9's - riddling the head and neck with shot produced dead ducks - and geese, rather the wing broken crips.  Did you know a broken wing'd goose can paddle faster than you can in a canoe? Been there - with Taylor.

 

2ndCharter

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2010, 10:34:43 PM »
I had a crippled goose outrun a guy in a field last year. I didn't know they could move that fast. Granted, it was cold so he had on heavy boots and a few layers.

Mike R

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2010, 11:47:10 PM »
I had a crippled goose outrun a guy in a field last year. I didn't know they could move that fast. Granted, it was cold so he had on heavy boots and a few layers.

witnessed a kid with his limit of geese once down on the Texas coast--he did not have a gun. He had a retriever and was scarfing up all the cripples that fell away off from the sky-busters using large shot...

northmn

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2010, 02:43:32 AM »
My dislike for fine shot has grown over the years due to the fact that not all birds are crossing or facing me.  Pheasants and grouse have a tendency to show the other end as do ducks at times.  Walrod used to praise 8 shot for grouse.  I have finished off grouse that someone else put 8 shot into.  I switched to #7 a few years ago and will use 6 also for grouse, 5 and 4 on pheasant and 4 on ducks (actually #2 steel which is about equivalent)  The fine stuff can be deadly if you center a bird crossing, but for all around I do not like it.  Decoying ducks can be brought down up close with fine stuff but I remember finsihing off a duck that a friend hit with 7 1/2.  The pellets stoped at the brest bone and did not penetrate the vitals.  My #4's penetrated.  Sky blasting is sky blasting.  Heavier shot is still best used up close.  I like 4's with 1 1/4 oz and 5 and 6 with 1 1/8 and less.  Quit using the 28 on grouse as I got a lot of feathers on going away shots, even though it would do a fine job on crossing, which I did not get a lot. 
When you want to use the small bores on the bigger stuff, you have to be close. Waterfowling is where the shot stringing starts to come into effect.  The 1 1/4 0z 20 ga mag load is notoriously bad for long shot strings, but will work up close where the effect is minimized.  The old market hunters in the BP days used to use 1 1/4 in their 10 gauges, but that shot load out of a 10 will have very little stringing.  Same reason many Brits use 12 bores but with short shells like the 2 1/2" and 1 1/16 oz of shot.   I quit on the modern 20 bore many years ago as the 16 ga that I use is what the 20 wants to be.

DP

Daryl

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2010, 07:50:18 AM »
We're talking about 25 yards on ducks and geese here. That is well within the effective range of the fine shot.  I've never tried to shoot a duck or goose up the arse with any load.  All the birds I've shot with fine shot were riddled in the heads and necks - never cripped one at close range with those loads. I did notice the fine shot did not penetrate the bodies, which was good - I don't like eating shot.  I've also used a bunch of fine shot loads for killing crips downed but not killed with heavier shot when pass shooting - 40 to 60 yards. Lead shot days, alas, they're gone. 

Mike R

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2010, 03:34:08 PM »
For an average wingshot like myself I agree with the heavier shot for most larger gamebirds [I use #8s on quail and dove to great effect], like 6s for pheasant and grouse--even 5s at times. Steel mandates mean large shot for waterfowl. But my old man, sadly long gone, was an expert wingshot and used #8s for everything he hunted--a dense pattern of 8s in the head/neck will bring down any bird. I never saw him lose a bird. Once a buddy and me were grouse hunting up on old Mt Nittany near PSU, using 8s and maybe 7 1/2s, he dropped a very large wild turkey on the wing with that load.  Head shot. His retriever was used to small birds and I never saw such a wide-eyed dog when he came back dragging that turkey!

northmn

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2010, 05:17:33 PM »
If you remember some of the old time shotguns, they had some pretty tight chokes also.  Grandad used to like a full choked shotgun that "shot like a rifle".   They got pretty good with those tight patterns and learned to lead and make head shots.  I started hunting with good bird dogs ( a true sport yet as I would rather take a good dog and a beater shotgun out over no dog and a Perazi any day)  Darn grouse have changed over the years.  They used to hold point, but now run like a pheasant until they can flush out of range in the toughest cover you can find.  I now use a flusher and have had a couple almost take my hat off getting away from the dog.  They are a bit much to hunt and shoot flying with a flintlock for me anymore.  May try my 12 bore flinter on ducks this year.  I have had some success loading steel and know it will work close.  Wife doesn't like duck, even Mallard, but the dog may bite me if I miss too much.

DP

Daryl

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2010, 05:26:13 PM »
Around here, I prefer a rifle for grouse - Spruce(Franklin) or Willow(Ruffed).  My .32 flinter is perfect.   It is a different game entirely, than 'back East'.   Head shots only, ya know.

Offline WaterFowl

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2010, 05:23:33 AM »
2@nd Charter.....Every state has a lead ban for waterfowl........

have zero experience with Bismuth shot

have used ..non toxic..steel..Nice-shot...Hevi-shot.

Use the largest bore you can...You have 2 choices ..semi-soft non toxic..hard non toxic shot..Both work
 advantage of soft nontoxic --no plastic protective shot cup necessary.

DoNot!..shoot Hard non toxic shot out of your Fowler without a protective shot cup.

          Save your bore!

Be prepared to pay 62 dollars a kilo for the soft non toxic shot--that's around 35 oz.
The heavier Non toxic..which I would recommend runs 66 dollars at 7 lbs.

Found that using the protective shot cups keeps a good pattern with out a tight choke.

Decoy and call the birds in close..the 20 ga. only limits the amount of shot thrown.
Spend time at the pattern board ..You will not regret it.
The price of a goose dinner just went up!
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 05:38:02 AM by Fowl »

2ndCharter

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2010, 06:18:12 PM »
Would one waterfowling with flintlock make up paper cartridges beforehand or just load in the field? I'm thinking about fumbling with stuff in a small skiff or tight goose pit.

BrownBear

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2010, 06:45:17 PM »
I tried both, and the biggest issue for me was cold hands versus bulky gloves.  I tried a variety of pre-made loads and even kept a couple handy in case I needed a "quick" follow-up shot on a wounded bird, but none really proved faster or easier for me to handle than the basic flasks and measures.  You might do just fine, especially if your hands weren't objecting to ambient temps.  I will say that shooting a double, I developed the habit of only shooting once on each opportunity, saving the second barrel for wounded birds.  That was the fastest "reload" I ever found!   ;D

Offline WaterFowl

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2010, 05:52:21 AM »
Would one waterfowling with flintlock make up paper cartridges beforehand or just load in the field? I'm thinking about fumbling with stuff in a small skiff or tight goose pit.
Found it more better to load in field..shot flask -powder flask..wads in pouch.....

If your worried about a reloading quick..just bring a second gun. 2 Fowler's are  better than one...Ha Ha.
Hunt with a double..use a single for back up..it works!... If you have to chase a cripple your ready....
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 06:05:37 AM by Fowl »

northmn

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Re: Canada Geese on a 20ga Fowler
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2010, 03:06:19 AM »


This makes the best follow up for cripples.  When people talk about using small bores for bigger birds I am reminded of what Don Zutz said about the 28 gauge.  It was proabably fortunate that most users of the 28 gauge also used dogs, which may make the gauge look better than it really is.  When I evaluated different guns and gauges over a few hunting seasons I came to like the 16 gauge for grouse and other upland birds as it really did perform better than the smaller ones. Using small gauges, like a 20, on geese is something like using a 40 on deer.  It can be done but you have to be pretty picky.  My backup for cripples also helps. 

DP