Having just purchased my first Remington 870 HD shotgun with 18" barrel and 7-shot magazine (composite stock) and a cylinder bore, I patterned the gun from 10, 20 and 30 yards with 5-shot and 00 buck shot. Then, I decided to torture my shoulder even more by running five rounds of 2-3/4" slugs through it at 40 yards followed by five 3"magnum slugs from the same distance.
Results: patterns looked acceptable for birds and self defense at 10-20 yards but then really spread out at 30 yards. Grouping with the slugs was only marginal, but by the time I shot the 3-inchers I might have been flinching. (Now I remember why I went to a semi-auto Winchester Super X2 for pheasants and ducks about 7 years ago.)
So, if I still want to try to tackle a pheasant or two, what might be the most likely load? 4-shot? 2-shot? My guess is anything beyond about 30 yards is going to be more luck than anything else ... and the way I shoot, that might help my odds, actually.
Thanks for the input. (And, for the record, I've decided to stick with the 2-3/4" slugs for SD and occasional whitetail hunting in the brush.)