Because all buckshot size pellets took fox and coyotes during winter prime fur periods, every animal was skinned and processed and every pellet of shot was tracked, and if in the animal, it was recovered. The information was priceless to the ballistic observer, and what I found was that Hevi-Shot in pellet sizes ranging from #1, through BB did a nasty job against shoulder blade and tissue, as well as cutting into deep vitals at ranges as great as 55 yards. All this was accomplished in most cases with reduced velocity loads that ran under 1100 f.p.s., and only carried 1 1 / 8 oz of shot in a 2 3 / 4" 12 gauge hull. In those early days we just didn’t understand much about Hevi-Shot and we were always concerned that it would have an adverse effect on shotgun barrels and chokes due to its hardness. Therefore, we started out with light loads, and even so, only observed deadly results at that.
Author gunning spring geese with Knock’m Down during the very first field testing of Remington “B”. This shot will drop these geese to any range you can hit a bird.
It was only when we dropped the muzzle velocity to under 750 f.p.s did we start to see some reduction in performance at 50 yards. It seemed as though once you got Hevi-Shot moving it just stayed that way over a very long distance. The density of this material tends to react that way, and now with the new fast movers in large pellet size it has massively extended range to a point to which it could be regarded as spent.
Hand loaded in the 20 gauge 3" payloads of #2 in Hevi-Shot put the little gun back on the map over goose decoys. Moving to Hevi-shot #1 s and B shot, things only got wilder in the hands of a darn good shot. Even pass gunning was not out of the question regarding the smaller sub gauge 3" magnum 20 bore. I took some heat from the shooting public when I wrote about the 20 gauges performance on geese, but I will stick to my observations and often field a 20 over the heavy 12 gauge when taking on ducks or geese in the decoys (using Hevi-Shot, Tungsten Iron and Bismuth in almost all cases).
Hevi-Shot has changed the face of shotshell ballistics due to its ability to out strip the ballistic performance of even pure black lead shot. The new "B" shot is not just an advancement, but makes Hevi-Shot in a factory wrapper the hardest hitting shot type ever developed for general field use. With the previously mentioned extreme range extension that is possible with the big pellets (90 yards) the hunter must make sure of his or her backstop at all times. This new shot will carry well beyond normal range limits, and with its use comes additional safety responsibility on the hunter’’s part.
Hunting this past fall in both Rochester, Minnesota and Mount Ayr, Iowa for Canada geese with the new B Hevi-Shot produced some very interesting results to say the least. In Rochester, Minnesota, I was the guest of Casey Hancock and Randy Gruhlke, of the Broken Wing Hunt Club. The hunt took place on a section of land I had previously hunted almost 25 years prior to that event. In effect, I knew the refuge like the back of my hand and what kind of possible shooting these commercial guides would face on the morning before Thanksgiving 2003. As geese came up and off the Zumbro River bottoms in Rochester they closed to Casey’s decoys, and by way of the loads I had passed out to both guides via the new Mossberg 935 gas auto 3.5" 12 bore, the two hunters proceeded to fill out limits of birds selecting shots regardless of range at will. Shooting at ranges exceeding 60 and even 75 yards upon occasion geese died like they had been hit by ball lighting. I mean no slow kills, walking wounded, or anything of the sort. At one point I observed Casey shoot at 70 yards double straight overhead thereby filling out his two birds for the day. With extra ammo left over even a few clients in the commercial pits gave the gun / load system a try, and they also returned some positive results via the new lighting fast and deadly heavy weight goose shot by Remington.
This lab didn’t have to wait around long for work when the new Hevi-Shot “B” went up at birds.
Rochester was the start, but the cap was set tightly in place regarding this new shot when it went to Mount Ayr, Iowa. Here during a hunt with Knock’m Down Productions and Aaron Volkmar, a local guide in Des Moines, IA, I took both the Mossberg 3.5" 775 bore gas gun, and 3” Hevi-Shot “B” into the field. While hunting was less then massively productive largely because of weather conditions that were off the charts in terms of wind speed, I did dust Canada geese in the giant goose weight and size range via the new heavy big pellet shot size.
It seems as though every time I pull the trigger with this new load system something falls out of the sky. What is taking place to my way of thinking, and it goes back to my old roots in the pass shooting world of the late 1950’s, this new load allows the hunter to command total air space to within any range you can hit a bird . In effect, you own the air over a full 90 yard radius if you had a gun / choke system that could bring a workable pattern to bare on an airborne target. There is the primary problem because choking Hevi-Shot can be a bit of a challenge at times.
Chokes with Hevi-Shot “B” need to reduce muzzle strain. Muzzle strain or stress, as it is sometimes called, is the pressure generated at the choke constriction during the period the shot passes through the tight section of the tube. I have observed even soft lead jam a choke constriction so tightly when a load failed that it took a large hammer and a heavy steel rod to dislodge the mass of stuck shot in the choke. This same mass passed through this area at velocities that exceed 1350 f.p.s. That, my friends, is stress on a choke system. Hevi-Shot won’t give a single millimeter when compressed due to its very hard resistant nature.
Hunting with Hevi-Shot by way of both my Mossberg 935 and an old stand buy Remington 870 3.5" Express, I elected to stay with light modified and even skeet tubes much of the time. With the Mossberg I used with success the Mossberg Accu-Choke Modified tube from the factory, and also the newer H.S. Waterfowl .725 tube. With the full 10 gauge back bore .775 of the Mossberg 935 3.5" 12 gauge, even the quick constriction step to .725 didn’t effect the gun’s performance saved for bringing down geese clean afield.
Environmetal, the company that owns and has developed Hevi-Shot used by Remington and others, has lifted the scale to a point that is completely off the charts. Just announced about the time I wrote this review is the new Hevi-Shot .20 cal T pellet loaded in a Jay Menniffee Polywad developed 12 gauge wrapper. That’s a subject for still another day as we are just starting to get this new super shot on paper and warm targets.