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tmvikings

The perfect shell

33 posts in this topic

I shoot a 12 gauge over/under Weatherby and the past three seasons I have used Federal 2 ¾ -4 shot lead and knock on wood have not lost or missed a bird yet using the 4 shot. This year I want to quit using lead and want a good alterative to the 4 shot lead, and I was thinking of (3 inch steel- size 2). If you have already found a good Shell at the right price please help me make a good choice. Thanks

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I shoot Kent Faststeel for duck hunting, usually #3, but step it up to #2 at times as well. I don't think that there is that much of a drop off in knock down power from the 3's to the 2's, and I like the extra pattern density of the 3's they should be fine on roosters. I haven't had a problem killing ducks with it.

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Personally I would not waste your money on buying 3" for Phesants. I have just not found a need for it. The 2 3/4" do a much better job holding a pattern in almost every gun I have shot and I have never had a knockdown issue if you are a decent shot. The biggest thing I found is if you are comfortable with your #4 lead find a #2 or #3 steel with about the same speed as your lead. That will be the biggest difference if you change a lot of speed in your shell selection.

Froggy

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I would advise you to step it up to the 3" shell when using steel, they pattern better in my gun, well at least they put more steel on target, the % might be less. but overall there is more pellets hitting the target. But every gun is differnt.

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I too shoot a Weatherby Orion over/under. Mine is a greener boxlock that was made by SKB in Japan. These are heavy guns and eat three inch shells with little kick. The only reason not to have the extra firepower is the cost.

I am always carrying lead free shot and often pass shoot ducks and geese while pheasant hunting. Number 6 Heavy shot in bottom barrel and number 4 in top seem to do the trick with the full spectrum of birds I encounter. Just let the bluewing teel and pheasants get out a little and be quick with the follow up on geese and you should be ok. if you pick your shots.

Try to use loads with similar velocity to your practice loads and watch when switching from heavy bismouth/heavy shot to steel even with similar velocity. Leads change on long shots.

The old saying be aware of a man with one gun is true-I think it hold for the guy that shoots one load as well.

I'm a big guy and carry a big gun, but if I were just starting out or a smaller person I would think seriously about a twenty guage with 2 3/4 shells. Many pheasants have fallen to lighter loads and the guns that shoot them. The lighter guns are a joy to carry and the smaller loads do less damage to the birds on crossing shots.

I still like my big loads for tail gunning. Hans

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One more thought, I hunted for years with an 870 and often used three differant shells progressively getting longer and heavier. It worked great in theory and I did manage to knock down a few long shots in high wind with that third turkey load.

But, when the shooting got hot it was impossible to remember which loads where in which pocket and in what order you put them in the magazine. A three inch number four lead at close range can make a rubber chicken out of a cock in a hurry.

But there is merit in searching for the best load for the shot-but the shots change and so do the number of barrels so in practicality it might make the most sense to find the best group of loads for your gun and hunting style. Hans

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I think that 3 inch shells for pheasants are overkill in almost all situations. Guys that I hunt with periodically use 3 inch shells and frankly many of the birds they harvest are really shot up. I like eating pheasant and prefer to have the pellets go in through the back of the bird and not come out the front whenever possible.

I have no issues killing pheasants out to 40 yards with 2 3/4 inch number 3 or 4 high velocity steel shot. I experience very few lost birds. However I need to give my two pointing labs credit for that. They keep the birds close and find the ones I knock down. I generally have access to enough pheasants where I don't shoot at birds further than 40 yards. If you like to take cracks at pheasant that are out farther than 40 yards you may want shoot a heavier load. Just be prepared to wait before you shoot when that rooster gets up at your feet.

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One more thought on over/unders. Be very carefull in the field when you fire only one shot. It is easy to forget to take your finger out of the trigger guard after the shot and before you lower the gun.

On rough or uneven ground you can hit the but on your knee or hip and accidently missfire the weapon when lowering the gun to port arms. In most cases when this happens the barrel is pointing straight up, but the first time it happens it really makes you thankful no-one was hurt.

You can usaully just tap off that second shot- which might cost you a late flushing rooster-but is always safe or you can follow the bird down to the ground with your head on the stock and that usually gives you enough time to remeber to watch the butt and trigger problem. It helps mark the bird down as well.

You can get in trouble when in heavy grouse woods too, especially when you snap shoot and lower the gun to admire your shot or to figure out where the bird went. A pople whip is all it takes to discharge that second shot if you finger is still on the trigger.

Be safe out there. Hans

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I really like this thread, a good variety of thoughts.

I generally shoot 2 3/4 4 or 5 shot up until Thanksgiving. I then move up to a 3" shell for the late season birds, for a couple reasons. The first is the birds put on "the winter coat" and it seems like you need a little more knock down power. The second is the birds that are alive at that time of the year are a lot wiser, and they are getting up further out a lot of times.

Anyone else use this strategy?

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My records indicate that steel shot does not perform nearly as well as lead. I am careful to use the same speed and the stats (and basic science) say that it doesnt work as good. I would go bigger to try and recoup some of the energy, even better yet try Bismuth or something closer to lead in density.

For lead, I love Federal Premium 2 3/4 #5s at 1500 fps. In a word: awesome!

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Rooster chaser, great point. Duck season is over too and if I'm not on federal WPA land I go back to using up my old lead and drop the lighter loads altogether. I'm with cody dog on the number 5s as the perfect compromise. Plus, they help support Pheasants Forever. Hans

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You hit my favorite right on the nose. I shoot Federal copper plated 2 3/4 #5 load. Bar none my exclusive shot for the entire year for pheasants. (please note, I know the law and don't use lead where not allowed) I do vary from powder loads, I sometimes shoot the PF 1 1/4oz. loads, but prefer the ultra pheasant 1 3/8oz. load the best.

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I go with #2 steel all year long. I've killed a lot of pheasants (and ducks) with 2 steel, it does a nice job. If they're close, let them get a little farther out, and yet that two steel will take them at 40 yards. By going all steel I don't have to worry about lead being in my pocket when I goto a public hunting area. Also, if I get a chance at some ducks, I can go after them.

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I do the same thing as Black Jack with the same load. Totally satisfied with the performance of No. 2 steel.

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I too use all steel and the best shot i've found so far is the black cloud no.2, but i will say that at close range they might do alot of damage. I shot a bird last year at about 10 yards and it blew a nickel sized hole in one wing.

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Sports store has Winchester 2-shot steel 12gauge 3inch 1550fps box of 25 for under 11.00---Should do the all around job ( RIGHT )

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I have hunted with steel only for 5 years now because of all the wpa's i hunt. I use either kent fasteel or federal. There was an article in this months pointing dog journal about speed. They basically said they recommend going with faster loads with steel. I shoot 3" #4 in both 12 and 20 and have had very few cripples over the past 5 years. In lead i would

have #6 shot loads at 1100-1200 fps. With steel I shoot #4 with 1350-1550 fps. The incresed speed and size of pellet will give you comperable knockdown power as lead.

For the guys shooting #2's Im not going to say you shouldnt because i did for a long time but if you look at the number of pellets you loose from 2-4 and the pellet difference you might make the same decision i did and go to 4's.

Adam

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I shoot 1 1/4 oz of lead 5's at 1400 fps. It's a pet handload I've settled on after tons of experimentation. When I'm using non-tox I use 1 1/4 oz of Bismuth at 1450 fps.

I had a real problem when I first tried using Steel. Like a dummy I just bought what looked like an equivilant lead load. Big mistake. Steel is harder and doesn't deform on set back. That means you can push it much faster without wrecking the pattern, but it patterns different. Since it's much less dense than lead you have to drop down shot size to get the same amount of kinetic energy. Basically if you like shooting lead 5's out of a modified choke, you should be shooting Steel 2's out of an i/c choke.

I just can't help myself, if you haven't missed a bird in three years why not buy hevishot?

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Hubercita, i have not found a need to change chokes. Just the speed increase and shot size change will make up for the density change. adam

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Looks like the difference between 2 shot and 4 shot steel is 125 vs 192 BB's....starting to like the odds of 4 shot but the site also stats Lead shot 4-6 is equal to shooting 2-3 steel...

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ATM....if you pattern you're gun you'll see that shooting steel actually produces a tighter patterns than lead. Basically since steel is so much harder than lead the same amount of constriction (choke) produces a tighter pattern. I'm not saying you can't get away with shooting the same choke, but if you want apples to apples you have to shoot a more open choke to get the same results with steel as you do with lead.

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I'll have to go do some patterning this weekend. Must be why ive missed a few birds over the last 3 years. wink

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Has anyone read the study that was done by the DNR on using number 2 vs. 4 vs. 6's (all steel). It showed #2's being superior. I'll see if I can find the study and put it here, it's a good study, not just anecdotal information.

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