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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Weigh in on Steel Shot

I have recently returned to shooting ducks after a many year respite. We banged away at mallards back in the days of lead shot ... and now, as I return to the scene, steel shot is required. At times it seems I'm shooting blanks. I'd like to blame it on my aim, weakening eyes, being out of practice, etc. But some people say it's the steel. Occasionally I jump a pheasant and the #4 steel kills them dead enough - while some of these mallards take a load and keep flying. So, weigh in on steel, ... and is this bismuth stuff worth getting a hold of? We gunned mallards with 20 ga and 1 oz of #4 lead (own loads), and had little problem crumpling birds. Is it me, the steel, or some strange combination?

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Location: upstate NY
Joined: 09/27/2004
Posts: 22
Weigh in on Steel Shot

its prob. the steel shot, i hit birds all the time and they keep flying. duck feathers are a lot thicker the pheasent. if you can spend the $ go with heavy shot.

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Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1647
Weigh in on Steel Shot

I agree, When I switched to Hevi-shot my shot/kill ratio more than doubled. They cost more but I only get to fire a handfull of rounds when I get out and I figure it's worth the extra few bucks.

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Moderator
Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
Weigh in on Steel Shot

Yeah, that steel shot is probably responsible for more crippled birds/unrecovered birds than lead ever killed from them eating it. I switched to hevi-shot after I pumped two point blank shots at a duck and it was still alive. After the dog retrieved it I took it from the dog and steel shot rained out of the feathers. After plucking the bird, I saw three holes that entered the bird and the rest... who knows. After I switched to the hevi-shot I have downed birds that I know would not be possible with steel. Is it worth the extra... you bet. It is not that much more when you consider you will use less shots to get the same amount of birds.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Weigh in on Steel Shot

Group ... thanks for `weighing' in. Gulp. I had no idea steel was so crappy. As mentioned above, I thought it was all me. (And I won't say it's all steel, either, but ...) When steel was coming on the scene out here we were hunting places it wasn't required. I went out on my `rounds' yesterday and jumped a pair of mallards. I pounded away at the drake ... eventually he lost elevation and came to earth a hundred or so yards away. I was thinking - hmmmm, at least some stray pellet hit it somewhere. Then this CLOUD of feathers drifted by - not just a `single pellet' type cloud. Cleaning the bird I still expected to find that just one pellet had somehow made its way into enough vital stuff to bleed it out. Gasp - the bird had taken a major load to the whole body.

hunter777 wrote:
When I switched to Hevi-shot my shot/kill ratio more than doubled.

I should have easily had both birds, with a shot left over for a miss or a cripple.

This is what I have found on a number of occasions ... should have had about twice as many birds.

Hmmmm ... it will be a journey to get the heavier shot ... around here I get strange enough looks just admitting I'm hunting waterfowl ... but I'm going to give it (heavy stuff) a try. Give me a week or two and I'll `weigh in' with results.

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Location: Utah
Joined: 03/03/2005
Posts: 383
Weigh in on Steel Shot

I too plan to switch to Hevi-Shot next fall for ducks and geese.

Question:

For pass-shooting, what size shot should I consider - #4 for ducks and #2 for geese? ....And over decoys, would #6's be OK for ducks and #4's for geese?

Steve

P.S. Have heard remarkable success stories from folks using # 7 1/2 and 6's on pheasants as well.

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Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1647
Weigh in on Steel Shot

I dropped a BIG Big smile canada goose with a load of 4's at 40yd's pass shooting last week. The canadas here are huge Thumbs up
I typically use 2's for geese but I was hunting over my mallard dekes when the flock of canada's passed over the tree tops.

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Location: Alabama
Joined: 08/25/2003
Posts: 634
Weigh in on Steel Shot

I used some Win. #6 steel shot and only knocked feathers. On some shots I could see the shot falling short or just under birds.

So exactly which shell do you guys use. Which manufacturer, Dram, shot size, length? I have an Rem 870 3 1/2" mag. I haven't hunted over decoy spread yet so most of my shot are quick jump shots at long ranges.

So any suggestions?

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Moderator
Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
Weigh in on Steel Shot

The rule of thumb for hevi-shot is to shoot 2 shot sizes smaller than you would normally use. I use #4 for everything and never feel under-gunned even when the big canadas come in.

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Location: Alabama
Joined: 08/25/2003
Posts: 634
Weigh in on Steel Shot

I just returned from a trip to Birmingham and I bought some shells. They are 3" #4 shot Rem. Premier Hevi-Shot Nitro Magnum Waterfowl Loads. It took the cashier a few minutes to wrestle the $47 and some change away from me for just 20 shells. I sure hope it's worth it.

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Moderator
Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
Weigh in on Steel Shot

You will never want to use steel again.

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