Federal Cartridge & Wing Shok Plus BSA USA & A New Breed of Smooth Boresby L.P. Brezny
Harpoles Heartland Lodge, located in Nebo, Illinois, was the opening act regarding the introduction of Federal Cartridges faster upland load offerings for 2005. Federal has been in the middle of some massive redesigning in terms of load offerings of late, and their attention has not turned away from upland bird hunters and their specific needs to be sure.
Later in the fall of 2004, Federal offered me the chance to test several new shotshell load options, one of which was the new fast moving upland load offering as applied to the 20 gauge upland shotgun. With the Premium shotshell label "Wing Shok" Federal has upgraded their Premium shotshell line to include loads with more velocity, better shot, and therefore greater game harvesting power.
Hunting with Ted Hatfield, the marketing manager at Benelli, and Alan Corzine the head of ballistics and engineering at Federal ATK, we took on pheasants, grouse, and quail by way of the excellent fields located at Harpoles. With our dog man, Kenneth Obert, as a guide and dog handler, which in this case were some very high quality English Pointers, it was off to see what Federal new fodder had to offer.
Gus shooting the flagship shotgun in the higher end BSA line - the "Classic S/S in a 12 bore. This gun is built in 410, 28, 20, and 12 gauge magnum.
Hunting cut grain fields and sorghum sections that were set out in neat rows about thirty five across and up to a half mile in length, we watched the pointers work back and forth into the wind as they locked onto the mixed bag of upland birds that we were pursuing. Kenneth was a quiet laid back type of guy, and he didn’t press his dogs with loud verbal commands, but rather used his laid back personality as he encouraged the best out of each animal.
I had been given a choice in shotguns this first day afield and my choice had been the well balanced and nicely built Franchi over and under. The gun retained full auto ejectors; screw in tubes that measured modified and improved. Benelli was importing this new shotgun, and it was priced to fit the ever increasing competition within the shotgun market from manufacturers out of country. With its three inch chambers, the Franchi stack barrel was charged with Federal’s new 3" 1 1/4 oz 1350 f.p.s. loads of 7 1/2 shot. This large 20 gauge payload coupled with the new range in velocity moves the 20 gauge way up on the effectiveness scale, and nothing illustrated that like the first ring neck that got up over my twin set of Franchi barrels. As the rooster lifted then went horizontal the sub gauge Federal 1 1/4 oz load jerked him from the tail and dropped him cleanly out of the air. No running or flopping involved here, as the 35 yard "painted chicken", as we call them in South Dakota, just died like it had been hit by lighting.
A bit later on in the hunt I was confronted with the task of rousting out a single quail that had gotten into some heavy cover and hard wood stands. Reaching the area that I thought the bird was located in, I was now observing Kenneth's English pointer going to a dead on rock solid point. Slapping the safety off the stack barrel within seconds was confronted by a moving darting target that was heading down a deep draw. At the shot, the bird rolled back on itself, then hit the ground hard. My eager English hunting partner was on him in an instant, and the shot had been quite noteworthy in that it had been all of 50 yards by the time I had gotten it off in the thick wooded cover. Federal’s fast movers carrying that high payload count of shot had made the difference. Of that fact I’m quite sure. Less shotshell in the sub gauge 20 bore at that range in such cover would have been a very lucky shot at best.
Why was the proceeding shot not just dumb luck? Because no less then a bird flush later I dropped a ring neck out of the air that required three dogs and our guide to locate, being it had dropped from such an altitude and range. The pheasant had been hit at all of 70 yards straight overhead, locked up its wings, then spun out in a heart shot hit well out at the 250 yard mark. The bird had in effect crossed a small marsh area and even a large stream before it gave out. Again extra velocity and payload pattern density made the difference.
With better then 35 birds in the pickup bed it was clearly evident that the 3" 1 1/4 oz Federal 20 gauge offering could hold its own against the pair of 12 bores my partners were shooting. Even with the 12 gauge guns being charged with Federal's new Premium 2 3/4" 1500 f.p.s. ultra fast movers in upland fodder, the 20 gauge still got the job done. If you’re searching for hard hitting upland ammo that carries lead reducing speed, take a crack at feathers with these new fast moving shotshells from Federal.
BSA USA/Federal High Density Ultra Shok
English pointers at work.
No, its not British motorcycles, or rifle scopes we’re talking about here. It is shotguns, and a group of new imports that rival the competition to be sure. BSA has turned up on this side of the pond with a new and complete line of scatter guns some of which are upland bird hunting tools, while other are best used in the duck or goose hunting blind. Again, as in the previous review, Federal Cartridge ATK offered up test fodder in their brand new 2005 High Density waterfowl ammo that makes use of tungsten and other elements bringing to weight of the pellets well beyond common steel shot.
Hunting with Gus Bader, the main man behind BSA Firearms here in the USA, I was treated to a hunt at Hill Crest Duck Camp located 40 clicks south of Kansas City, KS. Gus had set up a couple of days to shoot four of the new BSA offerings on late season mallards over decoys, and as such weather events were to dictate, we were in for quite a test at that.