Bill Poole's Quail Page

Gambel's Quail, Male, with some fuzzballs.

The dominant Quail in Arizona is the Gambel's Quail. In California, its the Valley or California Quail. They're both fun to hunt and tast good!

someone once asked me to recommend a shotgun:

he wrote:

"What type of shotgun do you recomend for Quail hunting".

Boy that's a tough about: "one that goes 'bang'!"? goes:

wait, this might take a while, I'm gonna go get a coke...

First, don't get one of those personal defense riot guns with a pistol grip and a 18" cyl barrel and an 11 shot tube.

In most states, the magazine must be plugged for 2 in the magazine, 1 in the chamber, most new pumps and semi autos come with a removable plug.

Second, avoid a single shot, a bolt action, a 10 gauge or, unless you're into that, a muzzleloader.

.410's  are for experts. Muzzle loaders for black powder hobbyists. 24 and 32 gauge and others are RARE! 16 gauges are going obsolete.

That leaves essentially 12 and 20 gauge, also the 28 gauge.

Actions are: pump, semi auto, over-under double and side-by-side double.

12 gauge is most versitile, you can get light target/quail loads or heavy duck/geese/turkey to buckshot and slug loads some guns allow 3" magnums. There's a billion different loads available almost any k-mart in the country.

20 gauge are available at nearly every k-mart too, but a MUCH more narrow selection.

20 gauge is probably better for purely quail hunting, the gun and the shells are lighter (you walk a LOT when quail hunting) and it doesn't kick as hard. But if you wanna go duck or deer hunting a 12 is more versitile.

Nearly all new guns (except the very finest and most light weight) are OK with steel shot, if you ever wanna go duck hunting you'll need that. Some refuges require steel for quail too.

Pumps are the most basic and cheapest. The Cheap Mossberg and Remington 870 express and winchester ranger start around $200, I'd get the Rem, of the 3. I f I was on a budget, I'd get a Rem 870 express in 20 for quail only, or 12 for versatility. They all make nicer higher grade guns, but its hard to spend over $500 on a pump.

Semi auto's slightly more expensive ($100 more maybe) might be more sensitive to ammo or jam easier. Semi auto's throw the shell on the ground and you might not find it, in AZ that's illegal littering.

O/U's are much more expensive, starting at around $1000, Ruger has one, I think Rem does too and several european makes, Berretta Onyx is VERY nice, I'd probly get a Ruger 28 or 20 for quail or a Beretta Onyx in 20! if  I had $1000 to spend. If I had $2000, I'd contact Moore's they have something, I think its the Rizzini in that price range.

Most semi-autos and pumps except the very cheapest and O/U's except the very finest have interchangable screw-in choke tubes.

But side-by-sides are the ABSOLUTE KING of guns!

go see

Wm Moore imports the finest SxS's in the world. None of them are under maybe $2000!

If I wanted a pure quail gun and money was no object, I'd get a Garbi or Piotti in 28 or 20 and spend between $3000 and $15000 per gun, and get several, but since I don't play the lottery that won't happen soon.

People who buy SxS's don't screw in their choke tubes.

So basically its up to you. A $220 Rem 870 express will kill'em as dead as a $15000 Piotti, The Rem won't look nearly as nice, but one little scratch on a Piotti will hurt the value worse than losing the Rem! That's one nice thing about the basic guns, you don't worry about scratches or loaning it out, or rain etc.

Some books will talk about fitting the gun etc, in this world, the shooter learns to shoot the gun that comes in a box, only the very expensive or very demanding shooters worry about fit, the rest of us just shoot and miss occasionally.

As to ammo, you can get Estate, Winch, Rem or federal for $3 or $4 a box at walmart, get shot size #7.5, #8 or #9 for quail, 1oz for 12, 7/8 oz for 20. Use #8 or #9 for skeet to practice, #7.5 maybe for trap. I honestly don't believe the expensive ammo is justified for quail, except for 28 or .410, its all expensive, or the extra lite loads if recoil bothers you. When its on sale for $3 get several cases and practice at the skeet range. DON'T get "heavy" or "pheasant" loads unless that's what you're hunting.

last modified by Bill Poole on 10-dec-05, 5-Oct-99.
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