Im done with steel shot

503

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Just got back from duck hunting in Arkansas. I had a great time with my friends and my son.

However I think I'm finished using steel shot. I think I'll permanently switch to tungsten. It's $$ but the cost for ammo is low compared to the cost of the whole trip and everything. Especially if you're only hunting a few days a year it's totally worth it.

Several times birds were hit with steel and flew away and/or showed little effect. It's surprising how hard it is to kill ducks past 35 ish yards with steel. I hit one cleanly at around 25 ish and it dropped but the dog still had to chase it halfway around the field.

It's amazing how lead #4 will easily kill a turkey at 40 to 50 yards but steel will barely kill a duck at across the street distances.

From now on I'm spending the extra money for the good ammo and saving the steel for crows and varmints.


Fellow duck hunters, your thoughts?

503
 

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After you are used to knocking birds down and watching them just fly away when using steel it is frustrating.

Using steel, I always use much bigger shot sizes.
BB, BBB, T.
Nothing below BB for ducks ever.
Modified choke for passing shot. IC for early season decoyed birds.



I agree, Tungsten can certainly be worth it for those special days.
 

503

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I usually run a kicks full which patterns well with most steel. I agree larger shot is usually better but patterns suffer even at normal ranges. I hit a snow goose at 20 yards with a 3 inch #4 and it went down but was still very alive.

#1 steel does well on geese but again, it's annoying to have to empty your gun on one bird while the rest fly away. Not that I'm the greatest shot ever, but I know I was squared up on several at decent ranges and they acted like nothing happened.

TSS or bismuth at the very least. Life is too short to miss birds due to crappy ballistics
 

Hunt anything

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Since about 2000 ( or whenever black cloud came on the market )I’ve used #2 3 1/2 inch Blackcloud on all waterfowl except early teal #6steel and giant Canada geese, swans and Sandhill cranes I switch to BB 3 1/2“ black cloud. I rarely lost a bird thanks to some great Chesapeake Bay retrievers. This constitutes anywhere from 150 to 250 ducks and geese a year, mostly mallards, gadwall, pintails, white fronted geese, small Canadas and snow geese with a good sample of sea ducks and both Atlantic and black brant thrown in. Let em get in good range and shot em in the face and no problem! Prior to black cloud I used BB Kent fast steel on everything except early teal season.
 

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Yes I am TSS fan also. That said you might try Bismuth. The cost is better than TSS and it hits like the lead of old. I am currently using both Bismuth and TSS depending on the hunting
 

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I suspect over the last thirty-five years we have mortally wounded more unrecovered waterfowl than were ever lost to lead poisoning.
 

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I've been hunting ducks and geese for a long time and using steel shot since 1988. The stuff was really crap when it first came out and we were all trying to adapt to the larger shot size, lousy patterns and velocity drop off. But in recent years things have gotten a lot better, at least in my humble opinion. I use Kent Faststeel, 3" #2's for most ducks, #4's for teal and I have used some tungsten on a few swans. In my old Browning Gold, I use an extended, lightly modified choke tube for just about everything.
I'm headed down to Florida next weekend to try and complete my North American waterfowl slam, my son in law is going with me and he bought us some TSS to try, but I still have my good old #2's packed. We'll see how it goes but I'm thinking that I will start out with steel.
 

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I’ve not hunted anything airborne other than dove and quail. I use steel with good success, but sometimes I think a loud sneeze could bring down those birds. I hope to get out for sand hill crane soon. For low volume or special occasion hunting (re: traveling for the hunt), I would stick with TSS. It’s expensive, but it has no competition. Shoot farther and hit harder, it is much less likely the bird will fly off wounded.
 

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When we switched over to steel we used T shot, since then all my shells for both my 12 and 10 ga are loaded with BB.

Haven't had a complaint in 20 years.
 

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Seems like the guys pushing the TSS always talk about shooting farther, do you know how hard it is to actually shoot farther? It would take a fair amount of practice I would think to be able to hit a fast-flying target way out past the decoys. Something that I personally am not interested in doing. A lot of the thrill of duck hunting is coaxing them into effective range.
 

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I've been hunting ducks and geese for a long time and using steel shot since 1988. The stuff was really crap when it first came out and we were all trying to adapt to the larger shot size, lousy patterns and velocity drop off. But in recent years things have gotten a lot better, at least in my humble opinion. I use Kent Faststeel, 3" #2's for most ducks, #4's for teal and I have used some tungsten on a few swans. In my old Browning Gold, I use an extended, lightly modified choke tube for just about everything.
I'm headed down to Florida next weekend to try and complete my North American waterfowl slam, my son in law is going with me and he bought us some TSS to try, but I still have my good old #2's packed. We'll see how it goes but I'm thinking that I will start out with steel.
Interesting. By slam do you mean all North American species? Curious what would be unique to Florida. I think I have taken everything except the black bellied whistling duck (though could illegally shoot one here at the place nearly every spring.)

I will never go back to steel. Tungsten or Hevi-shot #2 or #4 are deadly on geese and #6 is perfect for ducks. Both far outperform any steel design. In fact, both significantly out perform lead. And I will never trade those lovely full patterns for the gaping holes produced by the large steel shot used on geese.

shot_performance_chart.jpg
 
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Hunt anything

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Jduckhunter, going to florida for a fulvous whistling duck? I need that , king eider and Barrow’s goldeneye for mine, let me know how it goes and the details if you get a chance.
 

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I am a duck hunter. I've been shooting ducks since before the steel mandate. Slow, small steel pellets are terrible at killing ducks. But, something almost magical seems to happen if you get the muzzle velocities up to or over 1,500 fps. If I had to shoot steel, I'd shoot a 1,550 fps, 1 1/8 ounce of #2s in a 3" shell. I shot those loads for years and did fairly well on ducks. I've even killed a fair number of 16-18 pound tundra swans with that load. One thing about steel is that there's not as much shock as soft non-toxic loads. Birds can be hit hard but still have a few seconds of trying to get away, dive or hide.

I have recently switched to Kent Bismuth loads. 2 3/4" #4s. These loads don't kick nearly as hard as the Kent Fasteel and I think I get a lot more DRT kills with these loads than with steel. They are about twice as expensive but I still probably spend less on shells than I do gas...
 

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