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

Duck hunting has slowed - but managing to find a few. Hammering them HARD with the heavier shot ... NICE. I'm shooting the same as before - but with entirely different results. Season roars to a close in about a week. I want the globs to return - and I still want that one drake pintail I saw hanging around about a month ago.

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

Gang, check this out:

My 870 belched out some more death on ducks this morning. I got a nice jump on a pond. Shooting #6 Bismuth I dropped 4 (3 shots). Cleaning them this evening I noticed an interesting wound - which looked healed over. I dug, and about 3/16"-1/4" into one breast I found a #2 shot. The pellet was a bit tarnished. Interestingly, the wound wasn't at all that ugly - in fact - as far as I could tell, the greenie had resumed normal life.

During my odyssey of frustration in the non-heavy steel, perhaps as much as a month earlier, on several occasions I did fling some #2 at some mallards. In each case I thought I was shooting blanks. Well, at least one of those shots perhaps DID hit its mark - it's just the non-heavy stuff didn't do its job.

(I assume it was my shot - though I cannot rule out some other hunter. I suppose if a duck can live a month with a pellet embedded in its breast, it can live longer - and could have taken it on anywhere. But, I have a hunch it was probably my shot, either at the same pond, or at a number of other places I hunt in the same general area.)

JRF

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Weigh in on Steel Shot

Over decoys I've found Steel No. 2 shot to work good in 12 ga. 3 inch mag shells with an imprvd cylinder or a mod choke. No one will disagree tha steel just doesn't pack near as much of a punch as lead. Go with the highest velocity load that you can find. Federal and Remington offer some high velocity stuff in steel. With steel, velocity is key. You need at least 1400 to 1500 ft/sec.

If you average one shell per bird, then those more expensive exotic loads are worth it. If you're like the the rest of us (or at least like me) and don't average one shell per bird, then stick with steel loads. Big smile

Yeah those exotic shot loads do offer an advantage over steel if you hit your bird, but don't expect them to make you shoot better.

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

I have started the season with Bismuth # 6 1-3/8 oz of No-Tox. Deadly. I am taking on shots at ranges much greater than I would have dreamed of last year with straight steel. (Greater ranges - because my spot and sneaking skills are in the process of re-honing.) The $ per trigger pull is high - but worth it. Gulp.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Weigh in on Steel Shot
Serious Hunter wrote:
The $ per trigger pull is high - but worth it. Gulp.

... just jumped the creek. Only one hen mallard. On the third shot she folded. I think it was poor aim the first two. THAT'S $IX DOLLAR$ WORTH OF AMMO. GULP! I think it was worth it - but I better not think too long. In the meantime - I think I need to go through a box of clay pidgeons (with less expensive ammo) so I can get these singles on the first try. Brick Wall,)

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

two, Four, SIX!

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Weigh in on Steel Shot

That's the reason why I just stick with Winchester Xpert High Velocity Magnum No.2 Steel, and use a full or modified choke. That sure gets em. Great ammo from a great manufacturer and this stuff is consistantly the best priced in my area year after year, around $9.00 a box. I've killed literally hundereds of waterfowl birds with this stuff and never feel guilty when I go through 3 to 4 shells per bird Big smile

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

I assume $9 per box of 10??? Hmmm, yeah, that's about half of what I am paying for the Bismuth stuff. It's worth it knocking down birds - but I need to get to knocking.

The whole thing is also making me consider the reloading bench again. (Bench has been idle for a long time.)

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

Actually that is probably a box of 25!!! Even at Canada's inflated prices it is only $17 a 25 box and the hevi-shot is $29 a 10 box!! But I still like the hevi-shot. I usually use the cheap stuff for the first shot then follow up with better stuff since the first shot is usually the closest.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Weigh in on Steel Shot

Yup those Winchester Xper loads are per box of 25 shells. Can usually get a case for $89.99, which is what I usually get every season.

I'd reload my own steel shot waterfowl loads too, but a lot of extra time is just something I don't have much of anymore, and those winchesters have become too good of a bargain to pass up over the last few years.

Would rather devote any reloading time to assembeling batches of fine accurate rifle rounds instead. Big smile

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