SCdcomnder wrote:I need to know what you all have had succese with and what you opions are on Kent Fast-steel, Blind-side, Black cloud, HeviMetal or Experts
Here's a look at the loads you listed.
Kent Fasteel: Good quality standard round shot. Should be relatively easy to get decent patterns with most chokes. In my experience, the pattern from loads like this tend to last a bit longer than some of the other loads (remain effective over a greater distance). Personally, I've had good success with all the Fasteel loads, but prefer the 1 1/4oz offerings, particularly in #2s for ducks and BBs for geese. The one down side to these loads is their sensitivity to moisture. I've never had any issues, but a friend had four failure to fires in one box.
Blind Side: This one has to be the greatest marketing hoax ever perpetrated on the hunting public. Cube shot? Really? The idea for cube or misshaped shot was developed well over a century ago by the British. At the time, choke was all the rage and most guns were pretty tightly bored. This was fine for the driven pheasants and ducks at the manor, but when hitting the swamps and the bocage for woodcock, more open patterns were needed. Rather than spend a good bit of money on another gun, the solution was a load that would open very quickly. And so cube shot was born. This stuff (cube shot) is so ineffective that Winchester needed to develop a special wad just to hold the pattern together for a semi practical distance. Basically it's a 35 yard load. Test it yourself. Take a golf ball and throw it and study the flight. Then take a child's block and do the same. Besides being erratic, it looses velocity, and therefore penetration, much more quickly.
Black Cloud: This one basically falls into the same category as the Blind Side loads, though not as bad. The load is comprised partly of standard round shot and partly of the "FliteStopper" pellets. Federal hailed these pellets as a great innovation that improved trauma. As far as being an innovation, those pellets are the result of the early phases of the creation of standard round steel pellets. In other words, they're not finished. Like the Blind Side pellets, their aerodynamics is pretty pathetic. Same issues as the cube shot, rapid velocity loss and a resulting loss in penetration. And again, a special wad was needed to lend some level of control to these loads.
HeviMetal: This load is comprised of two different pellet materials in two different sizes that are said to be the ballistic equal of each other. The advantage to these loads is the increase in pellets per load. But, it isn't necessarily what you start with that matters, it's what you put on the target that counts. EMI has a superior product in HeviShot. They even had a good product in HeviSteel. But as the price of tungsten went through the roof, they were basically priced out of the market. Since then, they've tried to sell several different versions of snake oil while remaining in the marketable price range. Going by my own pattern testing, these loads tend to open quickly and the pattern life isn't as long as standard round steel. Since the pellets are "ballistically matched", the governing factor is the weakest link in the chain. In other words, it's really no better than plain round steel at a considerably higher price tag. One of the things that was noticed was that since the HeviShot portion of the load is loaded on top of the shot column, those pellets migrate out of the pattern very quickly. In one pattern I shot, every single HeviShot pellet was in the 20 to 30 ring by 35 yards.
Xperts: Of the loads you listed, these are the least expensive. The pellets are less than uniform, and the shells are not waterproof. Because of the inferiority of the pellets and lack of a "special" wad, the pattern is a little difficult to control, especially in the higher velocity offerings. But they do kill ducks if you keep your shots within their limitations.
All of the loads will work if you keep the range inside of 35 yards. And you can probably stretch that to 40 in most cases. This is important, because the ammo manufacturers know this. They also know that 95% of the waterfowlers out there cannot hit anything with any kind of consistency much beyond 35 yards and that they mostly don't know exactly what 35 yards looks like anyway. They use this information, coupled with sexy packaging and sensationalized advertising to charge more money for these loads.
I would recommend that you stick with standard round steel loads at modest velocities. the Kents are a good start, but also have a look at the Winchester Dryloks and the Remington NitroSteel loads. The Federal Speed Shoks are also a good load, but be advised, they are dirty. The offseason is a great time to get a box of each and do some patterning through your guns and chokes.