Waterfowl Shotshellsby L.P. Brezny
If the shotgun is at the core of a waterfowl hunter’s tools, the shotshells without question are the heart of that system. In fact, lacking good shotshell ammunition leaves waterfowl hunters dead in the water, and out of business.
This year the ammunition industry has continued to roll ahead with advanced load development so as to make the job of gunning ducks and geese more effective for the hunter. If anyone thinks that lead shot is ballistically good, well you have not seen anything yet, because many of the advanced loads that are on the drawing board and being packed in boxes for the store shelf are almost beyond belief in terms of effectiveness afield.
With the aid of completely new combined elements that make up non-toxic shot we will soon see better pellet shape, greater density, or in this case ballistic down range mass energy, and higher payloads of shot at the same time. With very new and different payload delivery systems being developed by at least one manufacturer, the top of the sky is the limit in terms of future shotshell load effectiveness. If you ever thought lead was a long range hard hitting product, well hang on folks, because that stuff was a simple walk in the marsh compared to what’s ahead in 2005.
As older ammunition companies are regrouping both product lines and marketing systems, others are rising from the ashes of other business ventures, the future is very bright in terms of non-toxic load options you can take into the field this coming fall. As always, by looking to Gundogs Online throughout the year you will be kept abreast of all the future, and current “wet bird” as well as upland load developments.
Author and mallards via #2 Federal High Density Tunsten. Hunting with Avery Outdoors in North Dakota
Federal Cartridge ATK
Federal cartridge has come into the 2005 waterfowl hunting season with Ultra Shok High Density non-toxic waterfowl ammunition. Advanced real time field testing this past year by this writer clearly indicates that Ultra Shok is an outstanding performer against everything from small ducks to big geese. Hunting from North Dakota to Kansas, the new Federal fodder was pushed to its limits by way of both high end autoloaders, and some basic pump action shotgunning systems. The fact is simply that based on my field results these loads are so good that they make their own choke when a simple modified is used over goose decoys or even at pass shooting ranges (beyond 55 yards).
Based on a density rich material composed primarily of tungsten dust, the semi-soft pellets that are completely bore safe in any shotgun designed to shoot common steel shot retain a weight about the same as the early bismuth shot pellets. However, being very round, and sent aloft with ATK technology, meaning the latest in propellants and wad containers, the new loads even in a standard 3” 12 gauge magnum are absolutely outstanding performers. With the current spring snow goose season about to get started I have placed a case of these loads in 3” 1 5 / 8 oz BB’s in the pickup truck already, as I await the phone call from my partners in east river South Dakota regarding the first arriving spring white birds of 2005.
The special High Density loads will be offered in BB+, #2, and just announced #4” pellet sizes and payload ready in 3 and 3 1 / 2 “ shotshells. These loads will be pushed out of your 12 bore at 1450 f.p.s. and due to the special cast shot type retain great terminal or at target velocity well out to pass gunning ranges.
In the older tungsten shot Federal is still offering the “Metro” loads designed as a low recoil waterfowl load in a 2 3/ 4” 1 1 / 8 oz BB payload package. These “ Metro” loads are designed for the special Metro Gun System TM designed by this writer for in the city close up and personal waterfowl hunting, or anyplace sound, recoil, or over extended range is a problem. The “Metro” loads are the last of the Federal line using the older heavy tungsten iron shot, but they are not bore dangerous in that they are shot at a muzzle velocity well under 900 f.p.s so as to reduce report when used in conjunction with the Metro Gun System TM.
Tack on the list of high grade Federal Ultra Shok steel shot loads to this ever building high performance high density tungsten load list, and you have another winning year regarding Federal shotshell ammunition.
Enviornmetal Inc. has turned from selling shot to other companies,(Remington) to starting to offer a specialty series of their own non-toxic loads. Last year it was “Dead Coyote” that got the snow goose hunters attention with its pellet size and high velocity. This year it will be an improved version of “Hevi-Steel”. From the first load introduction last season Hevi-Steel has been greatly upgraded. I know we covered Hevi-Steel in Gundogs Online previously, but with additional late season waterfowl hunting by way of Gus Badger out of Kansas, and the BSA gun works folks, we found that late season birds were hard to bring down with the #6 Hevi-Steel pellets. Still later in the year in adding to the problems surrounding Hevi-Steel I also found out that the loads were in fact producing hang fire, and duds, as well. It seemed that the slower powder selected for use just got to slow as later fall temperatures fell off to the minus 30’s F.