|Over the course of two days we had shot limits for 10 hunters that had resulted in a data base regarding warm targets that stood at one bird completely lost that even four dogs could not find, and one bird sailed that was not recoverable due to the extreme distance. This was quite a switch from the excess number of cripples shot during my first field encounter with Hevi-Steel #4’s. |
In terms of my own experience with the loads, I shot the very same choke gun I had used previously. On two occasions I crush roosters that were overhead side slipping shots from my position that required me to flank about 75 yards ahead of the drivers on the field edge. These shots were long to the point of covering at least 55 yards. It would seem that if Hevi-Steel #4’s is not getting the daylights kicked out of it by high winds it can hold up velocity quite well. Peak performance velocity is still at about 40 yards, or 10 yards better than standard iron shot #4’s, but when my partner, MD Johnson, a fellow writer, dusted off a 75 yard rooster stone dead with three pellets under the wing and into the lungs, I was being shown a whole new book of rules surrounding Hevi-Steel #4’s.
Even with those “golden BB” hits by MD Johnson that are not at all explainable according to pure math, and hard computer ballistics data, it can be stated that for the most-part keep a close eye on both range and field conditions when using any form of #4’s in Hevi-Steel, or even standard steel shot products.
Because K&M Hunting did indeed retain a great bunch of fields and those much better than average bird dogs, yes, just about anything that can knock a bird out of the sky will tend to look good when the tally is taken by days end. However, I did get the chance to take nine birds home that were dressed for the table, and I found that those #4 steel were penetrating adequately with an average range of 45 yards, and hits on birds tended to stand at an average of four pellets.
As to still another side note. Those hunters all had ample chances to shoot at least two other load brands and shot types on that second hunt with K&M Hunting. The fact is the full case of #4 and #2 mixed Hevi-Steel became the loads of choice even when I had made it clear that my test was completed as per the full second day of hunting. By choice, hunters continued to shoot the Hevi-Steel loads, and the testing continued as a direct result of their choices in the available ammunition.
In terms of my thinking on this subject by way of both hunts illustrated here in Gundogs Online, I believe that by staying with the larger #2’s as an overall game load being decoying ducks, pheasants, or even jack rabbits, and yes, we did pop a few for the table. Hevi-Steel can get it done.
Priced at about $18.00 for 25 shotshells, but by just pulling back range a bit, keeping track of field conditions and dog quality, you can save a bunch of money by turning to these newer types of low budget non-toxic light tungsten game loads.
As a side note, I finished my e-mail with the folks at Enviornmetal early in the week then this review was sent to the editor of GundogsOnline. Enviornmetal was already taking a look at upgrading the #4 Hevi-Steel load and starting to use a new higher density level pellet. This is all in the testing stages as of this writing, but to be sure the folks at this non-toxic load supplier are thinking hard about developing a slightly higher priced Hevi-Steel load, but one that won’t have a reduced effectiveness edge when conditions start to turn ugly afield. I have been informed by Enviornmetal that I will receive field test samples to run against Perma Gel ordnance gelatin, chronograph equipment, and also put up against warm targets here in South Dakota later this coming year. With luck, late season pheasants, and warm spring water ducks.