• This community needs YOUR help today. We rely 100% on Supporting Memberships to fund our efforts. With the ever increasing fees of everything, we need help. We need more Supporting Members, today. Please invest back into this community. I will ship a few decals too in addition to all the account perks you get.

    Sign up here: https://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/account/upgrades

20 gauge load experiments---results with and without SkyChief method

Muzzleloading Forum

Help Support Muzzleloading Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
May I recommend you start with 70 grs (or roughly 2- 1/2 drams) 2 or one F, and an ounce and a quarter, and whatever wads you feel like and go from there?
When I was still a kid, I read in a little book "English Sporting Guns and Accessories" by MacDonald Hastings, that "A muzzle loader of 13 bore, the equivelent of a modern 12 bore breech loader, with throw a killing patter with 2 drams of powder and an ounce of shot".

It stuck with me. so you could try this load too!
Thats about 54 grains and an ounce. I used it a good lot.
(I still think my foist suggestion will get you in the ball park though!
Good luck!
Very interesting. Deserves more testing ... but with that said. I pattern my 20ga. at 35+ yards. My Pedersoli SXS and my Pedersoli Fowler 20. Have excellent luck with Duelist 1954 (Mike Bellevue) loads. They can be seen on Youtube. My picture at the left is a testament to the Fowler. 2 birds that year.
Looks like the toms are going to hate sharing the woods/fields with you Ryan! Looks great! Thanks for sharing all of your results.

Looking forward to an in the field success photo or two soon....

All the best, Skychief.
Sam can answer better, Brokennock, because I read this book more than 50 years ago!
What I recall is shooting technique.
If I recall correctly, he was of the Robert Churchill shooting school style, wheres I am of the Percy Stanbury (West London Shooting Grounds) style!

As MacDonald Hastings only shot with originals, any information on loads would be to do with originals, and as these often had bores that were not a true cylinder from end to end, but had various small alterations from such to create a better pattern, (Not choke or Jug choke) then it may not help us.
All I know is he recommended fairly light charges as producing the best patterns. (For M-Loaders)

Reading Hawker's "Instructions" may be more helpful, as he shows patterns or at least writes of the patterns produced with various guns and charges and how "strong" they shot at 40 yards.
By strong, he means how many quires of paper the pellets would penetrate.

Hawker, "Instructions to Young Sportsmen".
Mine is the 7th edition of 1833.
No, the book by Mr Hastings mostly covers how to handle modern shotguns. The one chapter about muzzleloading shotguns emphasizes the dangers of them. But still a good book.
Well, I would have thought, "How to shoot straight," would have dealt with rifles, or at least single projectile accuracy, not shot loads or shotgunning.
Just trying to understand the relevance to the o.p.

Makes a little more sense now.

Turkey 1.jpg

Turkey 2.jpg

15 minutes after shooting light, came in to fight my Tom decoy and dropped at 30 yards. 1 1/8" spurs, 8 1/2" beard. Gun performed admirably as did the load. Many thanks for everyone in the thread (and of course Skychief!) for helping dial in the load! Especially @Brokennock and @Pukka Bundook , thanks for all the great feedback.

After I bagged it and brought it home, I decided to have some fun with my pup---and hid the bird out by the creek. When he saw my shotgun in my hands, he start zooming around excited--and after about 10 minutes of 'hunt em' up', I shot into the woods and told him dead bird. He winded it, went around the tree and froze, mane up. Then he started circling it with a series of growl/snorts like he was mumbling to himself "Look at the size of this sob pheasant!". I was laughing when he tried to 'retrieve it' and then had to intervene before he tore up my feathers for a mount. Was pretty cute. Hence his big ass grin in the picture, he thinks he just helped bag the biggest pheasant in the Midwest :)

Thanks again everyone!!
This is just great Ryan!!! Glad to see your success!! No doubt that is a satisfied grin on Fido!:ghostly:. Love the idea and may try the same on my year old Jack Russel soon. She'll have a royal fit!!!!

Remind us which state your hunting if you don't mind.

Congrats, Skychief.

Hey the man behind the recipe himself! I wish I would have recorded his reaction, it was a hoot. I'm a Missourian but hunt in Kansas as well (Originally from and have land there--currently live right across the river). This is a bird from one of my Kansas farms. Dunno if I'll shoot a Missouri bird yet, only seen a jake and our numbers are pretty bad.
I had excellent results on my 20ga SS with Cyl Cyl using skycheif loads. Not very well at all with reg loads (would not hunt with them). I have now had the dang thing jug chocked but have yet to fire it and test. BTW my new theroy on why Skycheif works so well is that the soaked heavy arsed wadds creates a suction behind it for a few inches as it leaves the barrel and this pulls the shot along in a better "line". I can see it in my head but my head and others often talk about stuff differently so hope that makes since?

Anyone know if I should just load the same as before or does the jug choke change the load sequesnce or components?
My theory is that the heavily saturatedoil-soaked felt overshot wad cleans and lubricates the bore each shot, slicking it up and reducing the number of pellets damages by contact with the bore.
A good test would be to load using wads with light lubrication, then ron a snug oil soaked rag down the bore and back out after loading. Then fire and check for pattern improvement.
Range = 25 yards
Gun = 20 Gauge Pedersoli Deluxe SXS CYL/MOD

Load Info Below

View attachment 199894

Photo Results attached.

I had multiple sheets but only uploaded photos from the eyeball 'mean' of the two types. The trend was the same. The only one I didn't have multiple tests on was the damn cylinder choke side---I don't know why I didn't think to test that more @ 25 yards but at the end of the session I realized--damn it I didn't try the other choke! It had the prettiest pattern but I didn't have the time to try a non-SkyChief to see if it was the choke or the method.

Disregarding the choke test, it appears that:'

SkyChief puts more pellets within 20" at 25 yards, consistently.
Typical load puts more pellets within 3" consistently (and more vital hits) but less overall pellets in 20"

So....SkyChief for pigeons and Typical for Turkey? Not what I was expecting :). Of course, the Pedersoli 20 ga. Deluxe is a smooth bore and I'm not sure if that is making a difference. Next weekend I plan on doing nothing but choke/cylinder tests at 25 yards.

very interesting, thanks for sharing