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Shot and your preference


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I've just been trying to find one shot type that will be versitile enough for everything. I'm sure that isn't possible by while I was checking out this chart from Federal's website , I noticed that some shot sizes and chokes used were all in common.


What I'm wondering is why do people use lead versus steel versus tunsten, etc...? And why the different sizes and what are the advantages to these differences?


What I'll be hunting:


-Grouse (several variety: Ruffed, Blues, Sage, Prairie)

-Quail (Maybe, not a lot of these in my area)


-Ducks (Ranging is size from Mallard to Teal, so large, medium and small sized ducks)

-Geese (Maybe, not sure about geese yet or not)


So, from the chart on that website, the commonalities I am seeing are this:

-Modified choke. Should be good for 20-30+ yards, and is recommended for all of the birds I've listed above.

-Size 6 shot for the Upland game birds, with the exception of Dove which looks like 7 is the largest recommended for that.

-Size 4 shot for Duck.

-Size BB shot for Geese.

-Lead or steel for upland game birds.

-Steel or Tunsten for Waterfoul.


So, what are your preferences? I'm thinking if it patterns well I could just go with:

-size 6 steel shot with a modified choke for upland game (with the exception of Doves maybe).

-Size 4 steel shot with a modified choke for ducks.

-Size BB steel shot with modified choke for geese.


So that would be the same choke, and three diffent sizes of steel shot. I guess the only other consideration would be price, as I assume that lead shot is cheaper than steel shot?

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Sdkididaho, here is one guys humble opinion.


First, steel shot sucks… However lead shot is banned in most states when hunting duck or geese ( lead poisoning of the water).

Steel shot is faster out of the barrel; but it looses inertia faster and doesn’t have the knock down power of lead at further distances since steel is less dense then lead. ( This is based on the same shot size when comparing steel vs lead. )


I blasted several pheasants out of the air with #6 steel shot and watched them get back up and fly away again laughing at me. ( apparently pheasants in eastern Colorado are bullet proof ) anyways, I switched to lead and the problem has been aliviated! To be fair I don’t hunt with dogs, so my shots are a little further than most pheasant hunters.


Couple things you need to know about steel shot, that you might not know that are IMPORTANT.


To get the equivilant shot power out of steel vs lead reduce the shot size number by two.


For example if you are hunting with 6 shot in lead, if you switch to steel you need to shoot 4 shot in steel to produce the same result as a 6 shot in lead.


Steel shot shoots tighter by aprox one choke size since steel pellets don’t deform like lead does.

This means that shooting lead through a modified choke = modified pattern. If you shoot steel through a modified choke it is actually a full choke. ( just always add one choke size when using steel ). IC=M, etc.. Most owners manuals will tell you not to shoot steel through a full because it will over choke and blow the pattern apart.

I hunt upland game with an emphasis on pheasant, very little duck or goose and Turkey on occasion.


For Pheasant I use #5 in lead with Modified when the birds are skiddish and jumping far away, and I swap to IC when they make you step on them to get them to jump.

When forced to use steel because I was to lazy to buy ammo early and now all the lead is gone, I will use #4 steel through an IC.


Doves, I go with lead and will very #7 to #8 depending on the manufacturer of the ammo I choke to suit the situation

All through a benelli, and all 12 gauge ( Supersport or montefeltro depending on mood).

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