Not sure what kind of loads your shooting at 1200 fps range, but that's 1980 era steel velocities, and they didn't work all that great back then. I have a 7/8 oz load pushing above 1700 fps range that patterns 80% at 40 yards with #4 steel in IC choke. Interestingly enough a wood duck flew into this load this weekend at about 30-35 yards........and when it hit the water not a twitch. Many of the pellets were complete pass thru. At 20-25 yards skeet choke with #3 in a fast load will "powder" pheasants and ducks, too much so IMO..........I've considered adding wood chips to the 1700+ loads for a little added smoke flavor!!
Interesting response! Just to answer your question, the load I’m using is an Italian made/loaded Remington Nitro-Steel Magnum.
Firstly, who said that ammunition back in the 80’s didn’t work well, particularly with relation to load velocities.................was it the same Doubting Thomas’s who continue to use 2-3 packets of ammunition to bag a couple of birds?
No, contrary to your view, modern science has proven without a doubt that a load velocity as low as 1,280 fps is more than capable of bagging birds effectively and consistently with steel shot provided that the correct shot size/load weight and choke constriction have been matched appropriately to the bird hunting activity. What’s more important for me, is that I’ve been using this stuff since the late 80’s and have taken hundreds of birds and have proven to my self that it works. What I've also learnt during that time is that ultra-high velocity loads provide no real added benefit. In fact, they make controlling patterns much more difficult and the effects of increased recoil are proven to impact on hunters shooting ability.
80% pattern with an IC at 40 yards using a 7/8 ounce load of 4’s at 1,700 fps!
Well, all I can say is that you are extremely fortunate as most hunters would be struggling to achieve this pattern percentage at 30 yards wityh this load configuration. Whilst we’re on the subject of proven data (not armchair theories), it may interest you to know that it has been determined that a minimum pattern density (pellet strike count in 30-inch circle) of 130-140 pellets is needed to ensure that small birds such as Wood Duck are taken effectively and consistently at any range. The in-shell pellet count for a 7/8 ounce load of 4’s will be around 167. If we assume 80% pattern average this is brings our pellet strike average down to about 133. As I said earlier, many hunters will be struggling to achieve this level of pattern density at 30 yards let alone 35 or 40 yards.