We’re in the process of designing our own shells for ruffed grouse. “Designing” doesn’t mean the engineering parts since neither of us is a reloader. It means the specs.
Why are we doing it? Hunters can find upland shells and pheasant shells – and even shells designed for the different clay disciplines – but no one makes grouse-specific shells…no doubt because the market isn’t big enough, but that doesn’t matter to us.
So what would be the optimal aspects of a grouse shell:
1. Pattern opens quickly.
> We’d rather have the pattern open quickly and adjust that by choke. Also needed because some of the older guns have fixed chokes that are too tight.
> For us, Spred-R type shells don’t do what we want.
2. Medium to slow speed.
> Pheasant-type nitro loads not needed, for shot speed/pattern and recoil reasons.
> We’re even thinking that a so-called slower velocity might not be bad, to get the most out of a swing.
3. Two shot sizes.
> That means #7.5 and #6. Maybe the #7.5 shell tweaked to open faster since that will be the first barrel.
> For us, as we said in the book, #7.5 pellets somehow outperform #8s (check it on a clays course), and #6s definitely beat #7.5s at distance (over 20 yards).
4. Shot type
> Lead or a non-steel lead substitute?
5. At least two gauges, hopefully three or four.
> 12ga and 20ga are requirements, hopefully 16ga next in line, and maybe even 28ga for you amazing shots….
Maybe we’re describing a shell that already exists but isn’t marketed as a grouse shell. Not sure. There’s definitely some good ammo out there, some GREAT stuff for pheasants (Federal and Fiocchi come to mind).
But can one of those recipes be tweaked even more for ruffies? That’s what we’re talking about…and we believe so!
Let us know what you’d like to see in a grouse shell….