Clean economic shell?

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Clean economic shell?

Postby hurtin_honkers » Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:25 pm

Hey boys, been a hot minute since I've bought ammo, the Corps has cut a few seasons away from me the past few years. I've been living off a case of Federal blue box, 3 1/2 #3. I like the federals, but good lord do they shoot dirty.... And unbeknownst to 18 year old me at the time, you do not need a 3 1/2 to kill wood ducks..... :lol3: :lol3: . So, gents, any suggestions out there to add for pattern testing this spring? much obliged,
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby azdukhuntr » Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:48 am

When I shoot my 12ga for ducks I use Fiocchi Speed Steel 3" #3. Rated at 1550fps and a proven duck killer load for me. Everything from teal to mallards. Thanks for your service.

Semper Fi
John 3:16-18 Matthew 24:3-14 Luke 21:28

"There's nothin' better than watching the day come alive from a duck blind"
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby Joe Hunter » Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:08 pm

[quote="hurtin_honkers"]any suggestions out there to add for pattern testing this spring? much obliged,[/quote]

Here are a few of my pattern numbers (that I've posted before) to give you an idea of the kind of performance you might get from several of the popular ducks loads on the market. Hopefully, this will allow you to eliminate low performance loads. Anyway, now you can be the judge!

Patterning results from a 12-gauge 3-inch Remington 870 Special Purpose with a 28-inch barrel and factory flush Rem-chokes (pattern average of five, 30-inch post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, in-shell pellet count average of five, and true choke constriction from bore gauge).

40 YARDS Mod. (.018” const.)
Remington Sportsman 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #4 steel (218 pellets) pattern 164 (75%)

Winchester Xpert 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #3 steel (162 pellets) pattern 111 (69%)

Federal Speed-Shok (old) 3" 1 1/4 oz #3 steel (186 pellets) pattern 128 (69%)
Remington Sportsman 3" 1 1/4 oz #3 steel (193 pellets) pattern 146 (76%)
Winchester Xpert 3" 1 1/4 oz #3 steel (195 pellets) pattern 131 (67%)

Remington Sportsman 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) pattern 116 (84%)
Remington Hyper-Sonic 3" 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (141 pellets) pattern 78 (55%)

Federal Speed-Shok (old) 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (154 pellets) pattern 115 (75%)
Federal Ultra-Shok 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (147 pellets) pattern 109 (74%)
Federal Black Cloud (old) 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (144 pellets) pattern 92 (64%)
Fiocchi Golden 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (156 pellets) pattern 115 (74%)
Hevi-Metal 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 / #5 (164 pellets) pattern 93 (58%)
HEVI-STEEL 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (148 pellets) pattern 100 (68%)
Kent Fasteel 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (155 pellets) pattern 103 (66%)
Kent Silver Steel 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (153 pellets) pattern 112 (73%)
Remington Sportsman 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (152 pellets) pattern 110 (72%)
Remington Nitro Steel 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (151 pellets) pattern 117 (77%)
Winchester Xpert 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (146 pellets) pattern 106 (73%)
Winchester Drylok Super-X 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (162 pellets) pattern 121 (75%)

Winchester Blind Side 3" 1 3/8 oz #2 steel (176 pellets) pattern 104 (59%)

Good luck!
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby 3200 man » Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:38 am

Well here's my 2 cents !
Joe shows some good info on shells pattern percentages so in looking at them , look at the 2 3/4 " loads ?
Be aware that any shotshell loads velosity that's within 100 fps , produces about the same impact with the same size shot .
So these shorter shells will do the same job , as the longer ones ! The only reason for needing a longer hull is for Bigger
shot sizes but up to size 3's , the shorter hulls will hold a sufficient payload ! FWIW :yes:
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby garlicsalt » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:12 pm

Blue box is great, if you enjoy unspent powder in your EYE. I went to the 3'' FIOCCHI AND WILL NEVER LOOK BACK!
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby mudpack » Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:14 pm

I've shot a good deal of Fed Blue Box over the years. I shoot gas-operated autoloaders. Never once had a problem with powder in my eye. Had a fair amount of powder in the bore after the last shot, but that doesn't hurt anything.
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby z51 » Fri May 29, 2020 3:38 pm

The new Federal Speed Shok is cleaner than the older version. If you just want a clean shell, shoot Winchester Xpert. :fingerhead:
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby mudpack » Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:48 pm

3200 man wrote:Well here's my 2 cents !
Joe shows some good info on shells pattern percentages so in looking at them , look at the 2 3/4 " loads ?
Be aware that any shotshell loads velosity that's within 100 fps , produces about the same impact with the same size shot .
So these shorter shells will do the same job , as the longer ones ! The only reason for needing a longer hull is for Bigger
shot sizes but up to size 3's , the shorter hulls will hold a sufficient payload ! FWIW :yes:


The problem with the lighter payload 2 3/4" shells is....their lighter payload. Even if they exhibit increased pattern percentages, they may not exhibit as many pellets in the pattern or on target as a heavier load that gives lower pattern percentages.
Math is key to this.

Which would be better: a 1 1/8oz load of #4's at 85% or a 1 1/4oz load of #4's at 80%?

I'll save you the trouble; the 1 1/4oz @ 80% load....which is a standard 3" loading....has more shot in the effective pattern. Not much, grant you, but this illustrates the problem with ONLY going by pattern percentages.
In my experience, pattern percentages are not useful in evaluating loads. More important are pattern density and uniformity. Pattern percentages ARE somewhat useful in comparing different chokes while shooting the same load.
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby Joe Hunter » Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:26 pm

+1

Percentages show load/choke "efficiency" not "effectiveness"!

And, I believe Brister said... "percentages don't kill, pellets do!"

So yes, make sure your load/choke combo has adequate pattern density for the bird you are after at the distance of your shots!

Aim high and keep swinging! (Gould?)
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby mudpack » Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:29 am

Joe Hunter wrote:Percentages show load/choke "efficiency" not "effectiveness"!

Well said, Joe, well said.
(mind if I use your quote in the future?)

To the OP: a good, clean-burning, economical duck load is the Remington Sportsman. They're getting hard to find these days, so if you can't find them, try the Peters Blue High Velocity. They are made by Remington and appear to have components identical to Remington Sportsman. I shot several boxes last season and had no issues...cleanliness-wise or otherwise. Just ordered two more cases of them yesterday, so I know they're available and in a nice selection of shot sizes, too.
Last edited by mudpack on Mon Aug 17, 2020 5:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby Joe Hunter » Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:22 pm

Feel free to use it, since it's probably not mine anyway! I probably paraphrased and/or plagiarized it from others that I've read over the years like Zutz, Brister, Roster, Oberfell, Lowery, Dr Jones, Burrard, Buck, Winston, etc., but just can't remember!

Good luck!
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby Sagebrush » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:59 pm

Todays factory steel ammo iwill do the job on ducks.

I try to get 3" shells for geese but I have no problems using 2 3/4 12 Ga. for ducks.................

if they come with a good price.

Good luck finding ammo.
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby Dave in AZ » Sun Aug 16, 2020 1:45 pm

I will concur with the fiocchi 3 in number 3 1 1/5 Oz 1550 FPS. They shoot very clean, and last time I dissected one it had very good components, and there was actually almost one of the quarter round shot.

I've also shot some Rio Blue Steel, which seemed to work fine and left my boards clean.

And Federal was my go-to because I bought a flat of it when I was first starting. I I've never minded it being a bit dirty, but two years ago they did reformulate and advertise the hell out of their shells being clean now, so I wouldn't hesitate to purchase Federal now.

When I reload I like 2.75 inch shells and can get all the performance I need from them. However commercially the 3 in 12 gauge are much more available and usually cheaper and have no downside to purchasing them really oh, so that's what I buy.
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Re: Clean economic shell?

Postby z51 » Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:17 pm

The new Federal Speed Shok shoot pretty clean in 3" . I like #3 shot early and #2 later in the season.
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