Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby Ned S » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:06 pm

With the smaller number of shot with 2's in a 7/8 oz load you probably would cripple more birds. I would go with 4's and 3's but your gun may work fine with 2's. Pattern 2's at 30 and 40 yds to see. You,re working with 108 pellets. 2's work fine on geese over decoys and out to 50 yds. Good luck. Ned S
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby kenner » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:10 pm

At what velocities will #2's work for geese @ 50yds?... 1550fps? For Canadian geese? I was planning on loading steel BB's for them...??

So,, if I did use a tighter pattern with the #2's, will fewer, larger shot ruin less meat than more, smaller shot??,, or should I be thinking about thinning out the density of my smaller shot pattern?


p.s..... I did order the shorter-range version of the WadWizard today,, the SWAT. I have the mid-long range version, and really like it. This SWAT is more for decoy and upland hunting. Just started reloading and am looking forward to many years of "experimenting".

Thanks!
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby Ned S » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:54 pm

Ken, 7/8 oz of 2's at 1725 fps will penetrate to kill to 58 yds at 32F and sea level. Pattern them and see what you get. With the proper choke they should easily be good to 55 yds. Pattern them in your WW and see what you get. I would use a Lightning Steel Load. Good luck. Ned S Your WW is made by Jeff Hajjar who makes the WW for the owners.
Last edited by Ned S on Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby J J Mac » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:14 pm

Ned S wrote:Ken, 7/8 oz of 2's at 1725 fps will penetrate to kill to 65 yds at 32F and sea level. Pattern them and see what you get. With the proper choke they should easily be good to 55 yds.

Not likely! At 65 yd, the velocity is 546 fps and the penetration is only 1.23" in ballistic gelatin which is not really adequate for reliable kills on big ducks. Yes, you will kill ducks with this penetration but you will also wound significant numbers of them.
Other info:
55 yd, 624 fps, 1.5" penetration - will kill big ducks reliably but not geese
42 yd, 1.8" penetration, probably OK for snows and small Canada geese
For 1550 fps 3-ft velocity, there is 1.5" penetration at 51 yd which is 4 yd less than the 1725 fps load at the same penetration
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby kenner » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:00 pm

I've used free bullet energy calculators.... Are there free, online shot energy calculators??
Maybe I take the weight of one pellet and enter the grain wt.?.....

What energies are needed to kill mallards and Canadians(geese)?
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby Ned S » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:23 pm

As the pellet size increase the pellet energy of a pellet to penetrate increases due to the larger frontal area entering the bird. Using the velocity of 600 fps for mininum velocity to penetrate takes the size of pellet into consideration. No one has proven the 600 fps rule of thumb not to work. I keep saying that I have found the 600 fps rule of thumb works. I do not know about it working below size 3 shot yet. I have just begin taking data on #4 steel shot and probably will not hunt waterfowl any more. Ned S the young 81 yr old.
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby kenner » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:36 pm

I'm just wanting some ballpark figures that'll definitely take birds.... I don't want to spark debates over penetration of sub-inches at differences of 10 ft.... I tend to shoot at much closer ranges than the people around me, in the public lands.

So,, 1550 fps with #4's will cleanly kill ducks to 35 yds? And BB's at 1550 fps killing honkers at ???? yds?

Thanks!.... Ken
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby Ned S » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:39 pm

J J Mac wrote:
Ned S wrote:Ken, 7/8 oz of 2's at 1725 fps will penetrate to kill to 65 yds at 32F and sea level. Pattern them and see what you get. With the proper choke they should easily be good to 55 yds.

Not likely! At 65 yd, the velocity is 546 fps and the penetration is only 1.23" in ballistic gelatin which is not really adequate for reliable kills on big ducks. Yes, you will kill ducks with this penetration but you will also wound significant numbers of them.
Other info:
55 yd, 624 fps, 1.5" penetration - will kill big ducks reliably but not geese
42 yd, 1.8" penetration, probably OK for snows and small Canada geese
For 1550 fps 3-ft velocity, there is 1.5" penetration at 51 yd which is 4 yd less than the 1725 fps load at the same penetration


I made a mistake. The penetration distance for 7/8 oz of 2's at 1725, sea level and 32 F is 58 yds. 65 yds is the value where I hunt at 4000 ft. There is no data for ballistic penetration vs waterfowl penetration except what some reloaders have found. Sorry about that. Ned S the young 81 yr old.
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby kenner » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:43 pm

50+yds is a long ways down the river and way further than I'd ever shoot in the marsh.
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby J J Mac » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:02 pm

[quote="Ned S"]As the pellet size increase the pellet energy of a pellet to penetrate increases due to the larger frontal area entering the bird. Using the velocity of 600 fps for mininum velocity to penetrate takes the size of pellet into consideration. quote]

Your statement about large pellets requiring more energy to penetrate because of larger frontal area is true but that is not the whole story. The larger pellet contains more mass and this more than overcomes the increase in area so that the penetration of the large pellet is more than the penetration of a smaller pellet at the same velocity. It is easy to show that for the same density, two different shot sizes will have the same penetration in ballistic gelatin if V2 D2=V1 D1. Here V is velocity and D is diameter. So to have the same penetration, V2=V1 D1/D2.
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby J J Mac » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:25 pm

kenner wrote:I'm just wanting some ballpark figures that'll definitely take birds.... I don't want to spark debates over penetration of sub-inches at differences of 10 ft.... I tend to shoot at much closer ranges than the people around me, in the public lands.

So,, 1550 fps with #4's will cleanly kill ducks to 35 yds? And BB's at 1550 fps killing honkers at ???? yds?

Thanks!.... Ken

At 32 F and 1000 ft elevation, the 4 shot should kill big ducks by vital organ penetration to 37 yd and probably a little more. (based on 1.5" ballistic gelatin penetration) If you get head and neck shots, would kill to longer distance.

At the same atmospheric conditions, the BB shot should kill large Canadas by vital organ penetration to at least 52 yd (2.25" ballistic gelatin penetration) and probably to 60 yd (2.0" ballistic gelatin penetration) for most shots but not for going away shots. Head and neck shots would give you more distance.
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby J J Mac » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:31 pm

kenner wrote:I've used free bullet energy calculators.... Are there free, online shot energy calculators??
Maybe I take the weight of one pellet and enter the grain wt.?.....

What energies are needed to kill mallards and Canadians(geese)?

KE= 1/2 m v^2
Energy and energy density (KE/cross-sectional area) do not correlate with lethality. Killing ducks and geese is done by vital organ penetration by the shot. The best measure of this (IMO) is penetration in ballistic gelatin. Ballistic gelatin penetration may be calculated using Shotshell Ballistics by Lowry and Garner. Unfortunately, this software is no longer available. I like the following numbers:
Big ducks - 1.5" ballistic gelatin penetration
Small geese - ~1.75" penetration
Big Canadas - 2 - 2.25" penetration
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby kenner » Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:50 pm

Thank you, Gentlemen, for getting to the nitty-gritty for me! I have a hard time estimating distances in the open and the distances I shoot are generally quite close... (I'm a recurve/longbow archer,, so for me, it's up close and personal)... I have a skewed perspective of target range.

Surface/Volume ratio: (I'm a biology/anthropology/physical science teacher)..... S/V is huge in soooo many ways... It's about energy transfer from mass to mass. That can be thought of as wind resistance, or flesh resistance, or so many thing.

But tell me..... Are fewer big pellets going to ruin less meat than more smaller pellets??? I want to eat my birds, not just kill them "deader than dead".

Thanks!! Ken
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby Ned S » Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:03 am

Ken, yes less pellets will help in not ruining the meat. I shot 1650 fps 1 oz of 3's for years and they go clear thru drake mallards out to 40 yds. 4's at 1650 fps go clear thru drake mallards out to 30 yds. In the old days the old timers shot 1 1/4 oz of lead 4's which had 169 prellets. 7/8 oz of 4's at 1725 fps has 165 pellets just 4 less than the famous lead load and over decoys like you and I shoot will not butcher up the ducks using an IC choke. When the heavy feathered late mallards get here I prefer 1 oz of 3's over decoys with an IC choke. I like around 100 pellets in the pattern at the distance I kill. 1 oz of 3's at 1650 fps will kill mallards to 55 yds. My Pastor Son has killed 12 drakes at 55 yds GYD. I collected kill distances for over 10 yrs using steel. Ned S the young 81 yr old.
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby kenner » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:10 am

Very nice, detailed info and discussion, gentlemen! I really appreciate you guys getting to the specifics.

Thank you! Ken
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby kenner » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:40 pm

Initial report:

Have bagged three pheasants: Shooting skeet choke at around 20-25 yds at most,, a couple shots put a few pellets into the birds, probably because I was trying to avoid a straight-on shot; but the 7/8 #4's and the 1oz #3's just crushed the birds. I think the skeet choke is a little tight for the range I'm hunting. I'll be patterning different size shot around these loads. The #4's went straight up the bird's tailpipe, breaking legs and pelvis and going right out through the breast and gone.
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby kenner » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:01 pm

End of 1st Pheasant season:

At closer ranges, ~20yds, the #4's and #3's were too dense with a skeet choke. The #3's weren't bad if I let the bird get out a ways. I went to 7/8 oz. #2's and with a skeet.. performed nicely in close, but the pattern thinned at 25/30yds (I still haven't done enough patterning).

So, I went to the Imp. Cyl. choke with the #2's.... I've never seen such bone destruction, as with these 1700+ fps #2's.... Overly-dead birds. It wasn't the meat that was destroyed by the shot, but rather by the bone fragmentation.

My next plan is to stay with a smaller payload of larger shot and a tighter choke (IC) and go down to 1390/1425 fps.

While the skeet, or even cyl. bore is nice for close range, it loses pattern density fast. More to play with...

Thank you all, who have written in. Thank you Ned, for your advice and in recognition of your years of experience.

More another time.... Ken
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby MK10 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:08 am

Hi Ken,

Firstly, in my opinion, your pellet size consideration is great as a middle-of-the-road option for both duck and pheasant. Having said that, 7/8 ounce load will limit your shooting ranges to well under 30 yards, even more so with very light choking such as skeet (0.005-inch constriction) – this will require extra vigilance on your part to keep shots under 20-25 yards in order to avoid wounding and losing birds. The load velocity you’ve quoted is in my opinion not warranted or desirable for achieving consistent pattern performance. It will also cause issues with your shooting timing from target loads to field loads and the recoil is substantial. Go and fire 2-3 packets of these loads at clays and tell me how you’re feeling afterwards. I dare you to drop the velocity back to around 1,300-1,350 fps and see what difference this makes to your patterning results. More importantly, try it in the field on both duck and pheasants, I think you'll be pleasantly suprised at the results.

Personally, I’ve used 7/8 ounce loads in steel and they leave nothing to be desired, particularly as birds are not always accommodating. A 1-ounce load is better and a 1-1/8 ounce load is better still, particularly with bigger pellet sizes like 2, 3, and 4’s. My preferred first barrel load for pheasant is a 1-1/8-ounce load of 3’s which is pushed out at a velocity of 1,280 fps (@ 3’). Typically, I use a Light Modified (0.015-inch constriction) choke out to about 35 yards. My second barrel load is always the same, it’s a 1-1/4-ounce load of 2’s at 1,330 fps (@ 3’) and the choke is either an Improved Modified (0.025-inch constriction) or Light Full (0.030-inch constriction).
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby brad43 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:19 pm

MK,
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!!

Cheers......
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby MK10 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:50 pm

brad43 wrote:MK,
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!!

Cheers......


Hi Brad43,

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.

Cheers :thumbsup:
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby brad43 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:13 pm

MK,
My 7/8 oz load of steel #4 is bascially the same number of pellets as the historic 1 1/4 oz lead #4 loads, nobody thought they were inferior pellet counts? Sorry, I don't follow your logic, but if it works for you, that's all that matters!!

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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby MK10 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:15 pm

brad43 wrote:MK,
My 7/8 oz load of steel #4 is bascially the same number of pellets as the historic 1 1/4 oz lead #4 loads, nobody thought they were inferior pellet counts? Sorry, I don't follow your logic, but if it works for you, that's all that matters!!

Brad


No one thought they were inferior pellet counts? Historically, we knew that we need minimum pattern density values for varying sized game species. Even Sir Gerald Burrard had come up with figures several decades ago, it's only been over the last couple of decades that we've had a better fix on what's actually needed thanks to extensive emperical testing. Even a lead 1-1/4 ounce load of 4's will cripple birds if suitable pattern densities are not achieved for corresponding game species.

Again, as per my earlier post, IMO many shotgunners will not achieve the minimum desired pattern density needed to harvest small game birds effectively when using a 7/8 ounce load of steel shot #4's at 1,700 fps through an Improved Cylinder choke at ranges over 30 yards.

And yes, it does work for me.

Cheers :smile:
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby Ned S » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:57 pm

MK10 wrote:
brad43 wrote:MK,
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!!

Cheers......


Hi Brad43,

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.

Cheers :thumbsup:


My components from Bucks Run got here the afternoon the day the duck season opened back in the '80's. I bought a box of Federal steel 4's to shoot. This shot bounced off the Gadwalls that were here at 30 yds. I did not kill a duck that day but crippled my limit. My two Labs had a ball. They said 1250 fps on the box. Later I learned they were only 1000 fps and slightly less. My friend that was also hunting with me and shooting the same load later checked the velocity.
Also you do not need 130 pellets to kill teal. I kill them with 7/8 oz of 4's with 165 pellets. I shot and killed wood ducks in Iowa with 1 1/4 oz of lead 4's with 169 pellets. I used an IC choke with both loads. I always hunted with Labs also. Will you reloaders that kill teal with 7/8 oz of steel 4's please come forward. Ned S the young 81 yr old.
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby mikeyLikesIt » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:32 pm

This year I've been shooting nothing but 7/8 oz # 4 Lightning Steel load 14. Been only jump shooting stock ponds and the river. Killed Teal to Mallards and haven't yet seen a need to use anything else. Reading Ned's posts in the past got me interested in the load after wasting alot of money trying other loads. Good luck this season. Mike
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Re: Choke 12ga 7/8 oz #3 steel close-in pheasants/ducks?

Postby kenner » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:00 am

While skeet worked well out to 20yds and a lucky 25yds with the #2's, I think the Imp Cyl I went to would be better with 7/8 #2's out to 30yds... BUT, the 1700 fps is just too much and splintered bones in the meat are not my choice.

If we're talking 40 yds,, I imagine more a full ounce, or 1-1/8 oz of something... to be figured out with whatever choke fits my hunting situation.
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