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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do I really need the extra edge of shootin 3 1/2" to hit ducks?
Do you hit ducks you normally wouldn't if you were shootin 3" steel?
Should I save myself some $$$ and just buy the 3"?
I started out shootin an 870 with Winchester 3" #4's, when I went huntin with my buddies.
2 years back I was given a used SBE for Christmas, with it came 4 boxes of Hevi Steel #4's. Evertime I've gone huntin with the father in-law he always gives me a few boxes of Hevi Steel before we head out to the blind.
Because of work I dont get much time to scout, much less hunt as much as I could. This also makes it a forced hunt when I go, so in many cases its not a good day to hunt and birds aren't flying so there's really not an opportunity to shoot either. I have picked up shootin skeet to better improve the shots though.
The main reason for this question is because I'm thinkin about going back to shootin my 870 because I like the way it shoulders, the feel of the gun compared to the SBE.
All opinions are welcome and from reading in this forum I know theres alot of SBE fans out there.
 

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You can get more speed out of the 3.5" loads up to 1 3/8oz of steel, than the 3" loads of the same weight. That's wherein any 'better' lies, imo....I have plenty of 3" patterns that are better than 3.5" patterns, and 3" is pretty much all I use. I will say that if you are shooting ducks past 50 or geese past 60 (way long for most folks), you don't gain a whole lot for the extra you put into it. 1 3/8 oz of steel at 1550 is better than 1 1/8 at 1550 and 1 1/4oz at 1620 is probably better than both....but I think 1 1/2oz of steel is the upper end for consistent patterning from a 12ga bore, though the overbore guns may stretch that some. I think it's more about how much you are throwing in relation to the bore size than it is the length of the hull. There are many on here and other sites with much more experience, insight, and loading knowledge that'll probably chime in here and aggree/disagree.....but I don't normally feel a need for a 3.5" shell, and even shoot mostly 3" shells from most of my 3.5" chambered guns. It's hard to beat an A5, Hastings barrel and Terror or other good tubes and 1 1/8oz of fast steel. :biggrin:
 

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I had a SBE 1 and have a M2. I also had an Xtrema 1. In the stable are a lot of 870's including a 3 1/2". I shoot my 870 SPS 3" gun most of the time now for ducks and geese and when I am not I am shooting the M2. The 870 fits me and shoot the best of any gun I have ever owned including some nice target guns and O/U's. I say always pick a gun that fits the best and feels the best to you if it shoot on. That is what kills birds more than fast shooting or big payloads.

The whole 3 1/2" thing is over rated. Proper load selection for speed, pellet size, and choke is all that is important and with that you can do all you need to do with 3" at reasonable range. I have 3 1/2" guns and all I have in 3 1/2" ammo is a box of turkey loads. The only thing that gets me thinking 3 1/2' is snow geese and shooting combo ducks and geese. In those situation I can see some logic in keeping the pellet count up with the fast loads of larger steel shot.
 

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You only need 88 pellets in the 30" circle to put 4 pellets in a mallard. I prefer 100 pellets in the pattern without holes. This will take care of the smaller ducks. You can accomplish this with 2 3/4" loads of 4's and 3's. A good all around load is 1 1/8 oz of steel 1's either in a 2 3/4 or 3" load. I shoot mostly 2 3/4 7/8 oz loads with 4's and a 1 oz with 3's for ducks. I shoot mostly steel 2, 1 and B's in a 7/8 oz load at 1724 fps for geese. The B load has killed geese to 50 yds. I shoot mostly IC, Light Mod and Mod chokes. For Snows I shoot Terror chokes with 3" steel 1's or BB's. Commercially available fast steel is all you need unless you have a rich father in law. :yes: :yes: :yes:
Ned S
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well thanks for the info and keep it comin. Looks like I may stick with my 870 after all.
From what I'm readin I want somewhere between a 1 1/8 to 1 1/2 shot will have to see what happens.
As for the Fast Steel I dont know if its worth all the money I spend on it and I cant depend on the father in-law for all my ammo.
Lookin at goin back to Winchester or tryin out some Kent, I want cost effectiveness and downd birds.
 

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Kent fast steel 1500's fps range 3" loads of #3 perform as good as #4 hevi steel at far less $$ give they both patter well for you. The hevi steel #4 is a good load, just not necessary. If someone is buying I would shoot them though. :yes:
 

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Ned S said:
You only need 88 pellets in the 30" circle to put 4 pellets in a mallard. I prefer 100 pellets in the pattern without holes. This will take care of the smaller ducks. You can accomplish this with 2 3/4" loads of 4's and 3's. A good all around load is 1 1/8 oz of steel 1's either in a 2 3/4 or 3" load. I shoot mostly 2 3/4 7/8 oz loads with 4's and a 1 oz with 3's for ducks. I shoot mostly steel 2, 1 and B's in a 7/8 oz load at 1724 fps for geese. The B load has killed geese to 50 yds. I shoot mostly IC, Light Mod and Mod chokes. For Snows I shoot Terror chokes with 3" steel 1's or BB's. Commercially available fast steel is all you need unless you have a rich father in law. :yes: :yes: :yes:
Ned S
Too much stats. In reality you only need one pellet in the head or neck.
 

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Ned S said:
Then tell us how to do that!!!!!!! :hammer: :hammer: :hammer: :hammer: :hammer: :hammer:
Well I'm not going to give you some BS formula that is so technical it serves no purpose in the real world, but pattern your shotgun and if it is even and puts pellets in the circle shoot it. Ned you have a lot of great info but you tend to make it sound like killing ducks/geese a lot harder than it really is. Infact having great places to do it is 100X as important as the shotgun shell/gun.
 

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F SHOT said:
Ned S said:
Then tell us how to do that!!!!!!! :hammer: :hammer: :hammer: :hammer: :hammer: :hammer:
Well I'm not going to give you some BS formula that is so technical it serves no purpose in the real world, but pattern your shotgun and if it is even and puts pellets in the circle shoot it. Ned you have a lot of great info but you tend to make it sound like killing ducks/geese a lot harder than it really is. Infact having great places to do it is 100X as important as the shotgun shell/gun.
dude why do you keep this up :no: ned is a good guy with a lot of good info. You could try backing off and lighten up a little and learn a little from a man who has a lot of experience. I am not going to say that ned knows everything and I sure don't agree with all he say's but he has been around a long time and has taught me a few things :thumbsup:
 

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Fshot, I have been in a duck blind every year since I was 4 yrs old, This fall will make 75 consecutive years. I got to shoot with the old guys when I was 12 yrs old. We used live decoys until I was 7 yrs old. I got to throw my pet Judas duck "Suzy"" for the gang. I starting hunting geese in about 83 with the Hereford gang. At that time they were killing 400-600 geese a season. One year we had 3 days of killing over 100 snows each day. The last two years have been terrible because of lack of water. Lake Meredith has dropped 50 ft from a 15 mile lake to about a 6 mile lake eliminating good duck and goose hunting. Castro County had the driest year ever last year. It's getting desperate. Irrigation has dropped the water table terrible. Where there use to be spring fed ponds, there are none. We have been using goose decoys that are 40 yrs old. Next year we will have 24 dozen new goose decoys and layout blinds. The Six Hereford gang members are 60 to 87 yrs old averaging around 78. Ned S the young 79 yr old who has killed more than his share of waterfowl.
 

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DUCKSHOT WROTE:
The main reason for this question is because I'm thinkin about going back to shootin my 870 because I like the way it shoulders, the feel of the gun compared to the SBE.


Lack of time to hunt is a common complaint, therefore shoot what makes you happy in the limited time you have to enjoy your sport.
I like the SBE because of the light recoil and functionality of the simple mechanism - no malfunctions.
I agree, for a commercial load the Winchester's tend to produce the results I'm looking for.

Good luck and happy hunting[/b]
 

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DUCKSHOT said:
Lookin at goin back to Winchester or tryin out some Kent, I want cost effectiveness and downd birds.
I think Kents are about the best deal out there right now in terms of cost compared to performance. They're quality shells, pattern well in a wide variety of guns/chokes, and haven't increased in price at the same rate recently as many other brands. I shoot almost no factory loads, but when I do, they're usually Kent's these days. I shoot some federals on occasion too because I love the hulls for reloading.
 

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Not that I agree with everything F shot says, but, if he has a different view SO BE IT. I am kind of in the middle of him and Ned, but I know that when somebody questions Ned they normally have hell to pay for it, on this site. If I read right he does say that Ned has some good information, He just does not agree with all of it.

You holier than thou people need to lay off!!! There are some different opinions out there and just because people disagree..... rebute with facts. Just because you disagree DOES NOT MAKE you right. It is good to get different opinions. Some of the people on this site want to censor different opinions. If they do not like how you disagree you might as well leave...in their opinion. If you have to cry to the mods because you do not like something, I'm talking mainly to you. Get you a crying towel and join the democratic party. You'll be a lot happier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
:hijacked: ANYWAY BACK TO SHELL SIZE

Well looks like I will lean towards the Fast Steel but have heard that if you get a case than you should expect 3 or so miss fires.
I'm still hearin some good stuff about Hevi Steel from people who used to shoot Fast Steel. They went from #4 Fast Steel to #6 Hevi Steel and they shoot less because they dont cripple as many birds and throw a denser pattern.
I'll be goin up to Cabelas in a few weeks and will get a box of each and see how they pattern and the winner gets my vote.
 

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DUCKSHOT said:
Well looks like I will lean towards the Fast Steel but have heard that if you get a case than you should expect 3 or so miss fires.
Who the he** have you heard that from? Pretty much guarantee they're talking out of their a**. The quality control at kent is top notch. Do a search on here looking for complaints and you'll find squat.

- sidenote - they are also one of the only shotshell manufacturers that still has the actual listed weight in the shotshell. More and more companies are shorting us on their listed payload.
 

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I bought a case of Kent 3" the past year and didnt' have a single misfire in my benelli nova.. however, i have a friend who bought a new xtrema 2 this season and he was shooting an identical case and had atleast 10 misfires.. however, there was one difference.

i take my shells int he house each day after hunting and take them out of my belt.

he left his in the back of the truck and they stayed wet plenty..

wet shells = some misfires (most of the time)
 

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Thundersnow said:
Not that I agree with everything F shot says, but, if he has a different view SO BE IT. I am kind of in the middle of him and Ned, but I know that when somebody questions Ned they normally have hell to pay for it, on this site. If I read right he does say that Ned has some good information, He just does not agree with all of it.

You holier than thou people need to lay off!!! There are some different opinions out there and just because people disagree..... rebute with facts. Just because you disagree DOES NOT MAKE you right. It is good to get different opinions. Some of the people on this site want to censor different opinions. If they do not like how you disagree you might as well leave...in their opinion. If you have to cry to the mods because you do not like something, I'm talking mainly to you. Get you a crying towel and join the democratic party. You'll be a lot happier.
There is nothing wrong with a little FRENDLY disagreement. This issue here is keeping is civil. We are all just trying to learn and enjoy the sport in other areas of it and many of us on the off season time. So let's debate, but let's keep it civil. We are just trying to have some fun not create strife and rivalry. At least most of us are. I have no problem with Fshot's point of view. When I do have an issue it is due to his tone or perceived tone and I take it as sarcastic to the point of insulting on occasion. Maybe it is not, but that is how it comes across to me sometimes. :rolleyes:

Here is F shot's statement

"Well I'm not going to give you some BS formula that is so technical it serves no purpose in the real world, but pattern your shotgun and if it is even and puts pellets in the circle shoot it. Ned you have a lot of great info but you tend to make it sound like killing ducks/geese a lot harder than it really is. Infact having great places to do it is 100X as important as the shotgun shell/gun."

Now that is not all that bad, but It adds up when your reed these all the time and the underlying issues is obvious. Most of us are big boys and girls here and can take a little crap, but I for one get it all day so why do I want it on my off time? We also have many young eyes on here so let's set good examples.

Here is the same thing minus the insulting parts.

Well I'm not going to give you more technical stuff just incase your are finding all this a little confusing. If you want to go the simple route just shoot some patterns and if they are nice and even with good coverage go with it. Ned you have a lot of great info, but sometime I think it is too technical for some people……………….

Now I think that gets the point across without being insulting. I also think that technical stuff is helpful for people to see how many pellets are minimal for good coverage. I would also say that I don't care how good your spot is if you have a crapy load, gun and choke combo you will get a lot of shooting and cripple a lot of birds so if you are not going to do you homework go hunt a spot without birds and let someone that does the work get the good shooting and save the cripples.
 
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