My Indian Creek performs amazing in my Super Nova Steady Grip using HEVI 13 3" #6 2oz and Winchester Long Beard 3" #6 1-3/4oz. Here is a review I did for another forum.
After hearing all the hype about this new turkey load I thought I would give it a try just to see how it performed in my set-up. Up until now I have tried several different turkey loads with varying results. Before I get into the results let me explain how I test each shell.
I first make sure my gun is zero'd in - I get up close & personal and use target loads to make sure I am punching out the bull of the target like a clean paper punch and then I back up to 20yds and throw a known performing turkey load at paper so make sure the pattern is evenly surrounding the center of the target - that verifies I am zero'd in on the target. My targets are standard 11x17 pieces of paper with a 10" circle around a bull (used only for centering the scope). I do this every year to make sure my scope has not been bumped or knocked out of alignment.
For my evaluation I shoot the same 3 shells at different distances (20, 30 & 40yds). What I am looking for is a consistent (and dense) pattern around the center of the target - you do not want holes or an inconsistent pattern. I only count the hits on the 40yd target because the 20 is usually a big jagged hole and the 30 is still too dense to count. The reason I count is because I want to make sure the pattern keeps its integrity out past 30yds and does not open or fall apart as the shot velocity diminishes - and it allows me to compare one shell to another. So my set up for these shell tests was a Benelli Super Nova Steady Grip topped with a matching Burris 1.75-4x20 scope and an Indian Creek Choke - like many beautiful ladies good ole Nelli has had some 'work' done to her - cones were lengthened, and I took some weight off the trigger and took some of the creep out of the trigger so she snaps nicely at just around 3lbs.
My present turkey load for my gun set-up is the infamous HEVI 13 (3" 2oz #6) - the reason why I say infamous is because the shells are $8/shell (USD) and are like hens teeth to fine up here in Canada, but there is a reason why they are $8 shell........these things are deadly!! I have seen lots of #4's and #5's and that illegal blend that BPS always markets this time of the year #5, #6, & #7.5, but the 2oz #6 seems to be rare, but for good reason. I am down to my last 7 shells and that was part of the reason why I am looking for options.
I have tried a couple of different HEVI 13 shells and the 3" 2oz #6 patterned the best. I tied the 3" 1-3/4 oz #6 but the results were terrible! I was getting better patterns out of standard Winchester HV's but when I tried the 2oz load the results were amazing!! They have a very consistent pattern and since these are denser than lead they will be harder hitting then a standard copper plated lead shot. I have killed many turkeys with these shells and have taken some shots north of 50yds and they drop the birds in their tracks. Here are two targets I shot at 40yds with HEVI 13.......one had 162 hits and a very consistent pattern and one had 154 hits and you can see that I pulled the shot a bit........but is would still be one dead bird regardless.
Winchester Long Beard XR
As I mentioned earlier I have been hearing nothing but good things about the new(er) Winchester Long Beard so I decided to give it a whirl. I did no research on what shell to try so I went with my standard offering of a 3" #6 (1-3/4 oz). First thing I noticed was the way the hull was crimped - it looked like a solid piece of plastic with perforations where it would have been crimped. Probably waterproof but the overall quality of the shell looked very good. My 20yd shot was a ragged hole (which even a target load can do) but my 30yd shot showed lots of promise as the pattern was very dense and consistent around the center of the target. I went back to 40yds and threw a shell into Nelli and steadied for my shot and slowly squeezed the trigger and BOOOM. I racked the action sending the spent shell to my right and then I set the gun down and got up and walked towards the target. As I get closer the pattern comes into view and my exact words were WTF!! The pattern was amazing..........seriously it was really amazing! Anything in that 10" circle was simply dead. Winchester definitely nailed it this time - these Long Beard XR's perform better (at least from a pattern point of view), but I cannot talk to the downrange energy difference. I would assume that the HEVI 13 would have more down range energy because of the more dense shot compared to the standard copper plated lead that the XR uses.
Now.....what to do on the 25th........what shell to bring with me?? I think I will stick with my present set-up because I think there is something to be said about the higher downrange energy of the ‘heavier than lead’ shot over standard copper plated lead. Now with only 7 shells left of HEVI 13 I feel comfortable that I now have a replacement that performs equally as well and is a fraction of the cost.