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Thread: Steel Shot

  1. #1
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    Default Steel Shot

    I have a couple of questions about the use of steel shot. I have not hunted ducks in a long time. Back when lead was still used. I took my son out and he hit a malard dead on and it flew away like nothing happened. I chalked it up to using a 20 guage. It was only around twenty yards out. I missed a couple a little later with my 12 guage that were within twenty yards. I am a prety good shot so I was a little supprised. This weekend a friend went with us to catch a couple of fish and shoot some ducks if they were around. He used a 10 guage and did not get a clean kill the first shot and had to shoot the duck again to kill it. We never did find the other one that was wonded. Talking to other people they have had the same luck with still shot. Is this normal? Maybe now I understand why people are shooting 3 1/2 inch shells. The season is over fo me this year but next year I would like to be ready. Any help would be great thanks.

  2. #2

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    I use a 20 gauge Benelli with 7/8 ounce of #3 steel that is launched at 1550 fps (Kent Fasteel). I have great success with that gun and ammo. On several occasions this season I have paused long enough on a bunch of birds to get two to converge. One shot and both birds fell - stone dead. Believe it or not, two birds with one pattern of 7/8 ounce of shot.

    There is nothing wrong with steel shot if you shoot FAST pellets. You also need to use a suitable choke. I use a Comp-N-Choke light modified choke for all of my shooting. You need to have the correct size pellets. Number three steel seems to work best on ducks.

    Fast steel loads like the Kent Fasteel seem to kill just as well as the lead loads of the past. Slow steel loads, especially the older #4 steel loads, are cripplers.

    If you shoot shoulder busting 3 1/2 inch mag shells with the maximum payload you stand a decent chance of developing a flinch. Once you start flinching you will likely come home with a empty duck strap.

  3. #3

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    Buy better shot if your having issues with lethality- 8 dollar box of steel shot will go bang but probably not as lethal as premium shot. I knock em stone dead with black cloud #3, #2, and BB anywhere from 20 to 60 yards. I also shot remington nitro steel for years with great success in #2.

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    Also, time spent on the range practicing cannot be replaced by any premium shell.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    One of the things that many people do not bring up is patterning your gun with a couple of different loads. I have found that fast steel shot is less forgiving than lead. With my factory choke tubes I had a duck sized hole at 30 yards. With my Carlson extended tubes I get a nice pattern at all distances. The IC tube pattern stays nice and tight out to 40 yards with a good even spread.

    If you have a fixed choke gun you need to experiment with a couple different shot sizes to figure out what is happening down range.

    The only times I have had problems with steel shot is when I have used cheaper low speed shells. Kent fast steel has never let me down when I did my part and followed good shooting skills.

    If you are only going to hunt a couple times a year and you have a fixed choke gun, it may pay off to use the new heavy non tox shot shells which perform like lead. Several times more costly than steel. You will still need to pattern the gun.

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    I've only been out of school for a year, so this was the first season I could afford Black Cloud shells, but I think they are the best thing going. They have the odd-shaped pellets, but the thing that makes them better is the wad, which is almost backwards and keeps the shot together longer. Steel shot in a traditional wad will create holes in the pattern because the hard pellets bounce off each other going down the barrel and even in flight. Lead shot never does this because the pellets crush and keep on going. One other thing I've noticed... those HV shells that are $14 at Sportsmans' are garbage and should only be shot at stray dogs

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    With regard to the actual shot, though, the Black Clouds (and their lead cousins the Prairie Storms) do kill birds very dead. I've picked a couple of #3s out of duck breasts and they're mean looking little pellets with ring around them that sorta looks like Saturn. The first time I noticed a difference, my dog brought back a duck with a missing wing which I assume got torn off by one of the FS pellets. The very same thing happened this weekend with a grouse when I was using one of the Prairie Storm shells... dog fetches the bird and it's got a dangling wing. So, Reader's Digest condensed version from two posts... if you don't want your birds to fly away wounded, shoot some decent shells.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    One of the things that many people do not bring up is patterning your gun with a couple of different loads. I have found that fast steel shot is less forgiving than lead. With my factory choke tubes I had a duck sized hole at 30 yards. With my Carlson extended tubes I get a nice pattern at all distances. The IC tube pattern stays nice and tight out to 40 yards with a good even spread.
    Amen to that. I shoot tru-lock extended chokes and pattern the crap out of my guns. I strive for 75% or better patterns for the range I plan on doing most my shooting. Realistically I only wind up with about 65-70 though after poi/poa are factored in.

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    Member AK DUCKMAN's Avatar
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    What works good in one gun may not work good in another. AK Ray is 100% about patterning your gun. I use kent also, only I didn't pay $14 a box for it. I got it on close out at 10.99 a box with 5% off the case. Trust me I killed and recover my share of ducks with it. I know people that has shot black cloud and it just didn't work for them. Go pattern that gun and see what works for you.

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Good point. Kent shells used to be pretty cheap back in TN and I shot a lot of those and liked them really well. The old addage about shooting ducks in the lips holds true too... a big feathery mallard can soak up a few pellets in the body, but even a skeet load will kill a duck if it hits the head. Having them backpedaling at 25 yards over the decoys helps the kill ratio too.

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    Member Skookumchuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK DUCKMAN View Post
    I know people that has shot black cloud and it just didn't work for them. Go pattern that gun and see what works for you.
    Put me down for that! I couldn't hit a thing with a box of black cloud #3. Worst $25 I've spent on duck hunting. Gave half of them away, and even my friend couldn't hit anything with them. I do fine with fast-steel or the cheap Winchester HV. I like the 2 3/4", most of the smaller loads have a higher muzzle velocity. Good choke tubes help a lot too.
    Nice Marmot.

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Have any of you shot Fiocchi duck shells? I saw some in Frontier yesterday and I'd never heard of them.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    Have any of you shot Fiocchi duck shells? I saw some in Frontier yesterday and I'd never heard of them.
    No, however, guys I know down in the states shoot nothing but Fiocchi which they buy on sale by the case at huge discounts. These guys shoot at least one case a season between them and their sons.

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    They were pretty cheap but I think the muzzle velocity was about 100 fps less than the Kent Fasteel. I'm not sure how much difference 100 fps makes at 30 yards with a three pound bird, but they were half the price of Black Clouds and at least $5 less than regular Federal Premiums.

  15. #15
    Member Skookumchuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    Have any of you shot Fiocchi duck shells? I saw some in Frontier yesterday and I'd never heard of them.
    I've shot down tons of ducks with Fiocchi shells. They are usually my second choice if I can't find what I'm looking for.
    Nice Marmot.

  16. #16
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    3-1/2 inch shells don't gain you much at all. With steel - I am convinced that speed is what kills. I have a mixture of old 3" and 2-3/4" shells - they all seem to pattern good enough at 30 yards for my old 870 12ga with a PM choke. The old stuff seems to shoot good out of my 870 20ga too. That lil 20 with #2's in 3" worked fine in Colorade and MT for big geese - only reason you aren't killing little ducks with them is because they either aren't patterning well in your gun or you aren't hitting them good. I shot late season mallards in CO with the 20 also - dead ducks at 50 yards on a day when I was shooting good.

    Is steel as good of a killer as lead - no. Will steel kill ducks and geese - YES.

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