1 1/8 Ounce (32 Gram) Cartridges For Geese

Panther Shooter

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I was having a telephone conversation with a close American friend of mine today , and one of our topics was the subject of goose shooting . I told my friend that I have been using Winchester Australia 2 3/4 inch 12 Bore 1 1/8 ounce ( 32 gram ) AAA cartridges ( which hold 42 pellets to the cartridge) for hunting our local Bangladeshi greylag geese with great success , ever since 1975.
0BC8FCF5-F551-424E-B7E9-D44E45DE8CCE.jpeg

CD536070-BFBA-46E2-BEDB-A248519EB0A1.jpeg


My friend got a little surprised and told me that in America , Europe and Australia 1 1/8 ounce ( 32 gram ) cartridges are considered to be too light for geese . He told me that in most parts of the world , 1 1/4 ounce ( 36 gram ) cartridges are viewed as the minimum appropriate shot weights for geese .
It made me curious , and thus I must ask :
What are each of your preferred shot weights for geese shooting ? I certainly do hope that I am not alone in preferring 1 1/8 ounce ( 32 gram ) cartridges . I find that they work marvelously for greylag geese , when fired from my 12 Bore William Wellington Greener Side By Side Wildfowl Gun .
 

Red Leg

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If using lead or heavy shot I generally use 1 1/4 ounce no. 2 shot. I have killed geese with loads as light as 1 1/8 ounce 7 1/2 shot deliberately trying for head and neck shots, but 1 1/4 ounces is pretty much minimum in North America. Heavier 3” and even 3 1/2 inch (an abomination) loads are more common - particularly if steel.
 

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If using lead or heavy shot I use 1 1/4 ounce no. 2 shot. I have killed geese with 1 1/8 ounce 7 1/2 shot deliberately trying for head and neck shots, but 1 1/4 ounces is pretty much minimum in North America. Heavier 3” and even 3 1/2 inch (an abomination) are more common.
Red Leg
Thank you for your educational response . It helped me to understand more about goose shooting in the USA . I have also heard that AAA ( The pellet diameter of the Australian variety , which I use is 5.08 millimeter) is not a very popular shot size in USA for geese . I am much inclined to agree with you about the atrocious recoil of 3 1/2 inch 12 Bore cartridges. My son in law owns a 12 Bore Remington Model 11-87 semi automatic shotgun . He purchased it specifically to use 3 1/2 inch cartridges in it.
In the last eight years , he only fired 3 1/2 inch cartridges through that shotgun twice ( when he first decided to try them out ) . Due to the immense and nerve shattering recoil , he now only uses 3 inch cartridges in that shotgun .
 

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I have killed geese with a 1 1/8 load of lead shot from a 2 3/4" chambered gun. I prefer a heavier load, and my favorite shotgun for both geese and ducks now has 3" chambers. Most goose hunters that I know use size 2 shot (if it's lead or one of the heavy tungsten alloys rather than steel), or they use size BB or BBB shot, especially if it's made of soft steel. There is no doubt that the load you mention will kill geese, though, especially if the range is not too long.
 

Panther Shooter

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I have killed geese with a 1 1/8 load of lead shot from a 2 3/4" chambered gun. I prefer a heavier load, and my favorite shotgun for both geese and ducks now has 3" chambers. Most goose hunters that I know use size 2 shot (if it's lead or one of the heavy tungsten alloys rather than steel), or they use size BB or BBB shot, especially if it's made of soft steel. There is no doubt that the load you mention will kill geese, though, especially if the range is not too long.
Stephen Ausband
Thank you for your educational response. The left barrel of my shotgun is fully choked , while the right barrel is an improved modified choke.
2BF2D829-3283-45E5-BA18-E0D1FFD5E16B.jpeg


My shots are typically taken at around 45 yards range .
 

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I think this is a discussion quite similar to many others about which rifle cartridges are most suitable for hunting a particular game animal. The simple truth is many things work, and the biggest variable is the person behind the gun and the hunting methods they use. I personally have used similar AAA cartridges for hunting geese many years ago and did find them effective, especially for pass shooting at large species of geese. Greater Canada geese weigh over 5 kg / 12 lb and the big lead pellets work well for them at longer range. But I came to prefer a somewhat denser pattern that I got by using a slightly heavier charge of shot and somewhat smaller pellets. When we were still allowed to use lead shot, I killed many geese with 1-1/4 oz loads of BB or #2. I use the same sizes now with steel, but seldom pass shoot any more, we usually hunt over decoys at quite close range. We tend to have mixed bags of large geese, small geese and ducks. The steel loads I use are 2-3/4" and are very high velocity loads ( over 1500fps) and are filled with 1-1/16 oz of the lighter steel pellets. Most other hunters in Western Canada use 3" / 76mm or sometimes longer shells with heavier shot charges and often bigger pellets. Our daily limit for geese is 28 birds, and 8 ducks. On a good morning one can quite easily shoot a couple boxes of shells. I find I'm less fatigued and a somewhat better shot if not being beat up by the recoil that heavier shells produce.
 
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PS........the state in which I reside in the USA was one of the last, if not the last, to outlaw lead shot for waterfowl. That was 1991. Hence, difficult to compare pellet sizes. The AAA you use (42 pellets to 1 1/8oz) is about 11.7 grains per pellet, and that is T shot here (0.20 inch or 5.08mm diam). It is the largest legal size for water fowl here, although F shot was legal for several years (.22inches or 5.58mm) but of course this is soft iron (called steel). I have used it many times on large geese (5kg plus), but it is far less effective than lead. In these large sizes, iron shot suffers from both bridging and galling in the chokes, especially of older guns. A standard 3" load of steel for geese is now 1 1/8 oz (Kent, for example) or 1 1/4 oz for, say, Fiocchi. While steel shot is called non toxic, for its effects in digestion, in its early years, that phrase seemed to apply to its effect on birds when being shot. Or so was the joke. There are now several non toxic materials that are far more effective than lead in any of its alloys. But steel shot has been improved upon to the degree that it will answer most....most waterfowling needs when used in a 12 gauge. The US Fish and Wildlife Service survey found most USA hunters preferred BBB (.19 inches or 4.83mm) for large geese......and AAA, if we could use lead, would still do the trick well.....good shooting ........FWB
 

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How large are the geese Panther Shooter? Also I think your American friend might be thinking of steel shot, which isn’t nearly as effective as lead.
Wyatt Smith
Our largest geese in Bangladesh can easily weigh up to five kilograms . Oh , yes !
It often escapes my memory that legal regulations in the USA often mandate the use of non lead shot pellets for the hunting of waterfowl.
 

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Long Walker
Those are some extremely marvelous looking specimens of geese ! I see that you and I both share a mutual passion for the art of geese shooting. Indeed, I have observed that BB seems to be the most popular shot size for the Shikar of geese.
Here in Bangladesh, the most popular shot sizes for hunting our largest Bangladeshi greylag geese are English AAA ( pellet diameter = 5.16 millimeter) or Australian AAA ( pellet diameter = 5.08 millimeter) or American No. 4 buckshot ( pellet diameter = 6.16 millimeter) . As you have so wisely noted , we partake in a great deal of pass shooting.
 

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Wyatt Smith
Our largest geese in Bangladesh can easily weigh up to five kilograms . Oh , yes !
It often escapes my memory that legal regulations in the USA often mandate the use of non lead shot pellets for the hunting of waterfowl.
Fortunately, a number of bismuth and tungsten matrix loads have been developed for waterfowl hunting over the last couple of decades. Many are safe to use in older tightly choked guns, and they are loaded and sized essentially like lead. These loads are also more expensive than steel (often significantly more), but their performance on game, at least in my opinion, is dramatically superior to steel.
 

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PS........the state in which I reside in the USA was one of the last, if not the last, to outlaw lead shot for waterfowl. That was 1991. Hence, difficult to compare pellet sizes. The AAA you use (42 pellets to 1 1/8oz) is about 11.7 grains per pellet, and that is T shot here (0.20 inch or 5.08mm diam). It is the largest legal size for water fowl here, although F shot was legal for several years (.22inches or 5.58mm) but of course this is soft iron (called steel). I have used it many times on large geese (5kg plus), but it is far less effective than lead. In these large sizes, iron shot suffers from both bridging and galling in the chokes, especially of older guns. A standard 3" load of steel for geese is now 1 1/8 oz (Kent, for example) or 1 1/4 oz for, say, Fiocchi. While steel shot is called non toxic, for its effects in digestion, in its early years, that phrase seemed to apply to its effect on birds when being shot. Or so was the joke. There are now several non toxic materials that are far more effective than lead in any of its alloys. But steel shot has been improved upon to the degree that it will answer most....most waterfowling needs when used in a 12 gauge. The US Fish and Wildlife Service survey found most USA hunters preferred BBB (.19 inches or 4.83mm) for large geese......and AAA, if we could use lead, would still do the trick well.....good shooting ........FWB
Flat Water Bill
You are pinpoint accurate , in deciphering the pellet size of the AAA cartridges , which I employ .
AD50B926-820B-4C06-B4A8-1292731217DE.jpeg

These 12 Bore 2 3/4 inch 32 gram AAA cartridges , each hold 42 pellets inside them. The diameter of each pellet is 5.08 millimeter. Our largest greylag geese weigh up to five kilograms , as well . Unfortunately , I have seen quite a few vintage side by side shotguns ( with modified , improved modified or full fixed chokes ) have their barrels bulge ( and in one case , even burst ! ) after firing cartridges loaded with steel shot pellets. I believe that only vintage side by side shotguns which possess very open chokes ( such as cylinder or improved cylinder ) , are safe to employ steel shot .
 

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Fortunately, a number of bismuth and tungsten matrix loads have been developed for waterfowl hunting over the last couple of decades. Many are safe to use in older tightly choked guns, and they are loaded and sized essentially like lead. These loads are also more expensive than steel (often significantly more), but their performance on game, at least in my opinion, is dramatically superior to steel.
Red Leg
Yes . I have seen some 12 Bore shotgun cartridges imported into Bangladesh , which employ bismuth shot pellets . The ones which I have seen are from the British company , “ Eley Hawk “ . @Major Khan Sir has tried them out a few times in his 1957 made Belgian side by side shotgun without suffering any negative effects .
 

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I think this is a discussion quite similar to many others about which rifle cartridges are most suitable for hunting a particular game animal. The simple truth is many things work, and the biggest variable is the person behind the gun and the hunting methods they use. I personally have used similar AAA cartridges for hunting geese many years ago and did find them effective, especially for pass shooting at large species of geese. Greater Canada geese weigh over 5 kg / 12 lb and the big lead pellets work well for them at longer range. But I came to prefer a somewhat denser pattern that I got by using a slightly heavier charge of shot and somewhat smaller pellets. When we were still allowed to use lead shot, I killed many geese with 1-1/4 oz loads of BB or #2. I use the same sizes now with steel, but seldom pass shoot any more, we usually hunt over decoys at quite close range. We tend to have mixed bags of large geese, small geese and ducks. The steel loads I use are 2-3/4" and are very high velocity loads ( over 1500fps) and are filled with 1-1/16 oz of the lighter steel pellets. Most other hunters in Western Canada use 3" / 76mm or sometimes longer shells with heavier shot charges and often bigger pellets. Our daily limit for geese is 28 birds, and 8 ducks. On a good morning one can quite easily shoot a couple boxes of shells. I find I'm less fatigued and a somewhat better shot if not being beat up by the recoil that heavier shells produce.
Longwalker, Your description and those photos make this old waterfowl shooter's heart envious. Wonderful!
 

Major Khan

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How large are the geese Panther Shooter? Also I think your American friend might be thinking of steel shot, which isn’t nearly as effective as lead.
Here is a Bangladeshi Greylag Goose which I shot last month , Master Smith .
IMG_20200314_183527.jpg

IMG-53568a2a64d04774c6a775f439812bac-V.jpg

I used 36 gram Lyalvale Express 12 Bore 2.75 inch AAA cartridges ( which hold 45 pellets in each cartridge , with the pellet diameter being 5.16 mm ) .
Panther Shooter uses Winchester Australia's 12 Bore 32 gram 2.75 inch AAA cartridges ( which hold 42 pellets in each cartridge , with the pellet diameter being 5.08 mm ) . Our lockdown gets lifted 3 days later , and I hope to use these very same cartridges on Greylag Geese in May .
IMG_20200415_181148.jpg
IMG_20200415_184115.jpg


I honestly do not believe that 3 less pellets and a slightly smaller pellet diameter ( 0.08 mm smaller ) will really make much of a difference .
 

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I shoot a lot of greylag geese and my favourite shell is a 50gr BB in lead, we can still use lead away from water. Any shotgun cartridge will kill a goose as long as the range is right.
 

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52A49023-3377-48AC-AE5A-6D631BBE72F0.jpeg
I use 3 1/2 regularly and don’t notice the recoil-mine is an autoloading 12 gauge. My favorite load (using steel) is 3 1/2 number 1 or bb shot. I’ve killed them with 3” number 2 shot but the bigger shell is much more effective. That is for Canada geese with dense late season feathers and mostly pass shooting but once in awhile we get them in decoys and can use a smaller load.-
 
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Stephen Ausband

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These are all interesting comments on Panther Shooter's original post. I remember that when I first started hunting canada geese, in the late 1950s, all anybody shot was 2 3/4 inch shells, usually with 1 and 1/4 ounces of #2 or BB lead shot. I don't remember how many geese my father, brothers, and I shot, but I do remember never feeling under-gunned with the 2 3/4 inch loads. I'm sure some folks used 3" shells, but at that time I had never even seen a gun chambered for 3" shells. Yes, I now shoot 3" shells usually for waterfowl, but that is mainly because of the mandate for non-toxic loads.
 

Frank Ragle

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Currently use 3 1/2 BBB shells in northern Illinois if exclusively hunting geese. Plan to get a 10 gauge for geese, as I do agree about the points made about 3 1/2" shells. Wish our limit was as high as my friends back in Canada. Only just raised to 3 bird limit a day last year.
 

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