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Hello everyone, I'm new here and new to rabbit hunting. Got my first pup and I'm really enjoying training him as the field behind my house is crawling with rabbits and he is starting to get on the scent, open up and follow the scent pretty good, no races yet though he is only 4 months. I was wondering what everybody tends to prefer for shotguns and loads to use for rabbits. I've got an old winchester mod 24 sxs in 16ga I use for grouse and pheasants in MI but its been really hard to find 16Ga shells lately. Ive got 2 boxes of #6 shot heavy pheasant loads which might get me through the season but I wonder if they will tear em up too bad? ive also got an old rossi single barrel 12ga that i shoot well and i can probably find trap loads and light field loads pretty easily. I love this site and have learned alot already, thanks.
 

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Welcome!
You are at the fun stage of the pup, watching him learn and seeing the light turn on is great.
For my shotgun, I carry and O/U 28ga shooting either 5's or 6's. I think it is perfect because there usually no lead in the meat. I used to use a 12ga because that was all I had, then to a 20ga. I find whatever you are comfortable shooting and try to make headshots.
Good Luck
 

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Either your 16 or 12 will work. I use a 12 with light field/trap loads and have no problems. The only difference between gauges is the shell size, so the amount of powder and the amount of shot. Many people prefer 20 or 410 as the with lesser shot they dont have as many bbs in em. Use what you have and it will work out, unless your looking for an excuse to buy a new gun then have at it.
 

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These days a single shot .410 3" #6 is about all I use. I also have a mossberg silver reserve O/U .410 that I love. Some people say 12 gauge is too much but I disagree theres definitley a place for it. I have a old wingmaster 16 gauge that I shoot #6s with. It use to be one of my favorite guns but since I don't kill many anymore I hardly use it except for busting clays. A .410 is probably my favorite just because it reminds me of hunting with my grandad as a kid but a 20 gauge single shot or O/U would be my 2nd choice.
 

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First of all welcome aboard! I have used 20 ga for many years and 410 and they have served me well. I shoot 20 ga #6 when swamp rabbit hunting and my 410 #6 for cottontail. I recently purchased a 410 contender pistol that I will be using most of the time this coming season.
 

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use your double barrel if you have heavy underbrush you may need that second shot sometimes .also you will find more ammo before you run out and double barrels are the only way to go jmo
X2,I will always use a sxs if I can just because I like them.Here's the thing.An ounce of shot,either 5 or 6,will kill a bunny,and it won't know or care what gauge the gun was that shot it.You,however,will find that you will grow to like the lightest gun you shoot well,more so as the day grows longer and as the years go by.By all means,if our advice gives you an excuse to buy another gun,don't waste that excuse!!!Just make sure not to go cheap,buy the best you can afford,and take care of it.Get one you will be proud to pass on in a half century,with all it's memories,to someone you love that loves you,and you will know that each time they touch that gun they will remember your love for them.And welcome!!
 

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Welcome to one of the greatest enjoyable stress relievers there is. Savor these early years of running/hunting with your young beagle. They go by very fast. For the better part of 50 years I carried a 16 ga. sxs that was handed down to me by the my grandfather, the one who really got me into rabbit hunting. That piece with #6 shot was deadly for cottontails,grouse and pheasants. Now that wild pheasants are gone from my area and grouse are close behind, I have gone to carrying a youth model 410 single shot,when i carry at all. Recently turned that over to young grandson to kill his first rabbit. My opinion is that you are well equipped for your initial season with the pup. Agree that 16 shells are a bit hard to find but a little searching should yield what you need. Good luck and by all means enjoy the ride.
 

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Very few rabbits where I run therefore my choice is a T/C 14" Contender 45/410 using a shoulder holster it is comfortable and leaves both hands free takes the game to a higher level. If hunting where I know that bunnies are plentiful I prefer my 20 GA Ithaca Double

Jim
 

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Kinda like old man Jim said , I use an ounce of shot loads mostly , sometimes 7/8 ounce. Usually sixes. If your guns have choke tubes , use them. In my experience the tighter chokes are responsible for more rabbits shot to shreds than the gauge. Except maybe with the .410s. I’m getting to realize the value of a sling in a rabbit gun as well. Maybe cause I’m getting old.
 
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