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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After getting a few of these shells from a hunting buddy, I dissected and patterned these shot shells to assess their component consistency and performance from a Rem-choke Modified choke at 40 yards.

Five shells from the same box as the shells to be patterned were cut open and the components (powder and shot) were counted, weighed, and measured for consistency.

Patterning was done with a 12-gauge Remington 870 having a 28-inch Rem-choke barrel and using a factory flush Modified Rem-choke measuring .018-inch constriction from a bore gauge.

The 40-yard (muzzle to target) pattern data is the result of hits registered in a 30-inch post-shot scribed circle from five separate pattern shots.

12 GA 3" Hevi-Hammer Upland load (bismuth/steel)
1 3/8 oz #3 Bismuth (55 pellets) + Steel (126 pellets) = 181 total pellets @ 1350 fps


PELLETS / WEIGHT / SHELL (In-shell pellet count (bismuth + steel) / total weight (grains)
183 / 568.9 gr
183 / 565.1 gr
181 / 557.3 gr
179 / 545.9 gr
178 / 549.9 gr
Aver. 180.8 pellets / 557.42 gr (1 3/8 ounce/601.6 gr)
(bismuth 55.4 + steel 125.6 = 181 pellets/shell)
flax seeds/16.38 gr/shell

PELLET SIZE (25 pellets, 5 pellets/shell, bismuth #3 & steel #3)
Bismuth pellet diameters
.149”, .148”, .148”, .146”, .146”, .146”, .145”, .145”, .143”, .143”, .142”, .142”, .141”, .140”, .140”, .140”, .139”, .138”, .138”, .138”, .137”, .137”, .136”, .134”, .131” / Aver. pellet diameter/.14128” (#3 pellet dia./.140”)

Steel pellet diameters
.141”, .141”, .141”, .141”, .141”, .140”, .140”, .140”, .140”, .140”, .140”, .140”, .140”, .140”, .140”, .140”, .139”, .139”, .139”, .139”, .139”, .139”, .139”, .139”, .137” / Aver. pellet diameter/.13976” (#3 pellet dia./.140”)

POWDER / SHELL (small ball powder)
40.0 gr
40.0 gr
39.9 gr
39.4 gr
39.4 gr
Aver. 39.74 gr

PATTERNS / 40 YARDS (Modified choke / .018” constriction)
107
102
102
100
94
Aver. 101.0 (55.8%)

How does the Hevi-Hammer Upland load compare to two other Hevi loads and some other low-cost steel loads. Well, here are a few of my pattern numbers with those loads using the same gun and choke at 40 yards for your comparison. Anyway, now you can be the judge.

Good luck!

PATTERNS / 40 YARDS (Modified choke / .018” constriction)
Fed. Speed-Shok 3" 1 1/4 oz #3 steel (186 pellets) pattern 128 (69%)
Rem. Sportsman 3" 1 1/4 oz #3 steel (193 pellets) pattern 146 (76%)
Win. Xpert 3" 1 1/4 oz #3 steel (195 pellets) pattern 131 (67%)

Fed. Speed-Shok 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (154 pellets) pattern 115 (75%)
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%)
Rem. Sportsman 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (152 pellets) pattern 110 (72%)
Win Xpert 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 steel (146 pellets) pattern 106 (73%)

Here's a photo of the average pattern from the 5-shot string of pattern shots.

Font Circle Pattern Rectangle Symmetry
 

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Thanks Joe, as always a wonderful review and useful comparison.

In your opinion would it be worth moving to an IM choke tighten down the bismuth be useful or do you think the added weight of the bismuth shot justifies the bit more open pattern?
Not a load I will likely ever shoot, just curious on your opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In your opinion would it be worth moving to an IM choke tighten down the bismuth be useful or do you think the added weight of the bismuth shot justifies the bit more open pattern?
Not a load I will likely ever shoot, just curious on your opinion.
Thanks for the kind words.

Maybe or maybe not on the IM choke. You would have to shoot it in order to really know if it changed the performance.

As far as me purchasing and using this load on pheasants or ducks, I won't. First off, there is the cost and secondly, I do just fine on those two bird types with steel #3s or #2s when I have to use nontoxic loads.

Good luck!
 

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So looking at the info I have, a Remington barrel is around .727 and the .018 constriction places it around .710. In my experience .720 is the ideal option if you wanted one choke for all Duck loads at ethical Flooded Timber ranges——30 - 35 yards and in. Some of us are on the run all the time and we do not reload. We need a decent all around choke that works with a variety of factory loads so if we forget to bring shells, we can run in store and get what they have off the shelf. I hunt flooded timber exclusively. Switching chokes while standing in waist deep water is a receipe for losing a choke tube.
 
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