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Location: Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Joined: 07/10/2006
Posts: 129
Shot size suggestions

I was hoping I could get some others opinions on shot sizes for duck and goose. For ducks it will be jump shooting, pass shooting and some over decoys on a small stream. As for geese it will only be pass shooting or jump shooting and of course it will be steel. Also any comments on chokes would be appreciated.

thanks

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Shot size suggestions

Ducks - 12 guage, use high velocity steel 3" shells shot sizes of No3, No2 and No1. Pass shooting use a modified or full choke with No2's or smaller and a modified choke only with No1's or larger steel. Over decoys on a small steam use steel No2's with an improved cylinder choke.

Geese - 12 guage, use high velocity steel 3" or 3 1/2" shells with T shot size or BB shot. Use a modified choke with this larger sized steel shot.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Shot size suggestions

Oh, one more thing. Your choke seletion should also take into consideration the distance you will shoot birds. Example - over decoys and close in, a full choke is too dense and will be too destructive. Out to 50 or 60 yards of pass shooting, an improved cylinder is too open and your shot pattern will be too scattered, you will hit the bird with some pellets, but not with enough energy for a clean kill.

Generally speaking, steel shot size No1 or larger out of a modified choke tube will pattern like lead shot fired out of a full choke tube. So avoid a full choke with stuff like No1, BB, or T or larger sized shot.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Shot size suggestions

Back in the `lead' days I killed a huge number of Mallards with 1 oz #4 20 ga, full choke. Over a close decoy spread one could argue improved, or mod, but we were always happy with full. The situation is this: the first shot may be point blank, but successive shots are farther away. I would only use improved if I ONLY had point blank shots.

Even when decoy hunting beaver ponds - point blank shooting - we used mod or full.

I have produced duck mush with a modified choke.

Last year I shot various steels and ended up using the Bismuth stuff. I don't care much about the hot muzzle velocities steel because a higher muzzle velocity will have higher drag and slow down faster, then all you have is a `light' pellet that won't penetrate. I want stuff that is dense - acting more like lead. The Bismuth shot was like `magic' after shooting various steel loads.

Mallards: Last year I used # 6, 1-3/8 oz, with mod choke. I started off this year with the same - and as I have been cleaning birds it has struck me how small the pellets are and that they are not going in all that deep. So, I have ordered some #5. I may go full cirlce with #4 - we'll see. I like a lot of pellets because I want to at least break a wing.

Smaller Ducks (teal, widgeon, etc.): I probably would not use a shot size larger than #5 or #6 ... but since I'll be shooting almost entirely Mallards - I may go to #4.

Geese: BB or BBB. Yum. Bismuth.

In my left vest pocket I carry BB or BBB, and in my right I carry the duck loads. Never know when you might have to switch on short order Yes .

So far this year - jump shooting - which can produce birds at any range. I love modified. There are few things more wonderful than watching two birds fold in one shot.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Shot size suggestions

Okay, I am hitting mallards hard out to 40 or so yards with the Bismuth no-tox #5 and Bismuth no-tox #6 and the fellets are passing all the way thru or nearly all the way thru. The last 10 or so trigger pull have put 9 or mallards in the bag. Since both #5 and #6 are passing thru, and the pellet doesn't do much good once it has done so - I think I'll switch back to #6 ... more pellets, and greater chance of breaking a wing. I'm finding that with #5 I am hitting some birds - but if a wing isn't broken - they fly some distance before crash landing.

Bismuth is expensive stuff - I don't waste it on tweety birds.

I'm using modified choke.

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Location: ALABAMA
Joined: 12/06/2005
Posts: 81
Shot size suggestions

Personally, the best all around combo for ducks that I have found is 3" #3's through a modified choke. In the few times I was hunting small water( beaver pond, small creek) I would change to improved cylinder and # 5 shot. The sole reason for this was to prevent total destruction of the meat. If I had them Iwould even change to a 2 3/4 in shell. A magnum load thruogh a modified choke at 15 yards is very destructive. Nothing ruins my day more than wasting game.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Shot size suggestions

SNOWMAN0813 has given some very sound advise. Good thinking. Thumbs up

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Location: ALABAMA
Joined: 12/06/2005
Posts: 81
Shot size suggestions

Believe me, I've made that mistake before. You live and learn and try to help others avoid your mistakes.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Shot size suggestions

Good stuff.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Shot size suggestions

Udate: the weather is cold and the cover is dimished (longer shots), and the ducks perhaps have thicker `hide'. The # 6 seem to be hitting them a little light. I think I'll shift to # 5 (Bismuth).

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Moderator
Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
Shot size suggestions

Good idea to switch to the #5 bismuth or even the #4's. That fat layer is getting real thick this time of year and most birds have encountered hunters by now so shots will be longer.

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