2017 Shotshell of Choice?

THelms

Administrator
Staff member
Okay, I'm pretty sure this has been debated on here before but let's update it for this year... what has your go to shotshell been so far this year?

For me, I've been experimenting with the new Federal Black Cloud loads with their new Flite Control Flex Wad, in a word... SUPERB!

Ducks - I've been shooting the Close Range flavor in 3's and have been very impressed, virtually no cripples!
Geese - The Standard Black Cloud loads in 2's have been working well. Although I wish I'd have opted for 3.5" BB's for these late season birds. The 3" 2's work well but I prefer a bit more punch on our fattened and feathered up honkers in the late season.

All Around - So when I've been hunting the rivers where ducks and geese are mixed together the Standard Black Cloud 3" 2's have been my staple. I have killed some geese with the Close Range 3's but I'm letting them get really close before I shoot... think inside of 30 yards. Much further and I don't shoot. The water is high and fast this year and anything crippled on the water has been a nightmare for the dog.

Your turn!
 

johnsd16

Active Member
Mar 16, 2014
353
3
N Idaho
I've always been a fan of patterning. Aftermarket chokes are great but just because you spent >$100 on a choke it doesn't mean you can go buy the cheapest shells out there an expect to crush birds at 55 yds. Same can be said for high end shells, they don't automatically kill everything if you don't optimize the rest of the system. Way back in the day (late 90s) I was big fan of tungsten matrix from Kent. It crushed everything it seemed. Realistically though, for high volume waterfowlers, most ultra-premium loads that used to come in 10 rd boxes is not financially feasible, and the prices have outpaced the benefit.

My go to has been to pick a choke, whatever one you think you will want/use the most whether it be the factory Mod or IM that came with the gun, or some fancy extended ported thing. Then, go buy 5-8 boxes of shells in each of the two sizes of shot you will shot for ducks and geese respectively. I prefer 2s or 3s for ducks, but usually buy 3s, and then BB for geese (have used everything from F to 5s for them over time). Then get yourself a ton of cardboard and make a whole bunch of 40" circles on those pieces of cardboard (I tie a 20" string to a sharpie with a nail at the other end of the string). Sit at 40-45 yards and shoot two of each of the rounds at the pattern board. You will be surprised that some shells will fall off the list right away. Look for huge gaps in the pattern (bigger than an orange or softball as a duck can fit in those gaps), or ones that have the most concentrated part of the pattern way off on the edge one way or another. If there are a bunch of similar results, take those few targets and make a 20" circle in the middle and see which ones have the highest pellet count in there and those are your loads. You want as even a pattern as you can get, and have as much of that pattern centered on your point of aim IMO.

I shoot a drake killer choke custom made for my benelli cordoba, and it likes federal blue box (speed shok) BB in 1 1/4 oz (not 1 1/8) in 3". It won't shoot Remington hypersonics for crap, and hevimetal is also spotty. In my browning citori satin with browning invector plus Duck Commander LM and IM, I shoot kent fasteel 3" 2s. The benelli shoots blue box 3" 3s in 1 1/4 oz just fine as well. I've tried some testing with black cloud loads, and some other but have been satisfied with the performance of the federal and kent (I know) that I can't justify the higher cost of the other stuff.

Also, if you are shooting geese at the footbags of the blinds or tight in the decoys over pits, or ducks parachuting into a narrow river, you can probably just shoot anything. I only believe much of this makes a difference 30yds and out.
 

Hilltop

Veteran member
Feb 25, 2014
3,113
553
Eastern Nebraska
Teal/Pheasant - #4
Big ducks- #2 or #3
Geese- BB/BBB

I seem to shoot the normal 3" full loads from Remington and Federal about the same so I buy what's on sale.
 

ElkTrout

Veteran member
Feb 2, 2012
2,443
43
Parker, CO
I shoot 3? Winchester expert #2?s for both ducks and geese. I have always had great success with this load but I know many others that don?t care for it. I also use a pattern master choke!


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Fink

Veteran member
Apr 7, 2011
1,939
147
West Side, MoMo
I refuse to shoot a duck or goose that's not feet down, in the decoys, less than 30 yards, so I'm probably in the "you could shoot anything" crowd.. But, I like my ducks and geese dead when I hit them. Black Cloud seems to kill them deader than other rounds, but I hate how dirty it is, and as stated in a previous thread, it's turning my gun into single shots.
I really like Remington high velocity Nitro Steel, in 2's for geese, 2's or 3's for late season ducks, and 4's for early ducks/teal. It hits birds hard, kills them dead, and patterns well.
 

arwaterfowler

Active Member
Dec 4, 2011
219
7
Omaha, NE
I refuse to shoot a duck or goose that's not feet down, in the decoys, less than 30 yards, so I'm probably in the "you could shoot anything" crowd.. But, I like my ducks and geese dead when I hit them. Black Cloud seems to kill them deader than other rounds, but I hate how dirty it is, and as stated in a previous thread, it's turning my gun into single shots.
I really like Remington high velocity Nitro Steel, in 2's for geese, 2's or 3's for late season ducks, and 4's for early ducks/teal. It hits birds hard, kills them dead, and patterns well.
X2


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