Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs
Speed Killsby Bill Hanus
A new generation of shotshells has come to the marketplace which promises big benefits for birdgunners.
Back in the 1990’s, when steel shot became the law of the land for waterfowl hunters, the ammunition companies discovered that in order to give lightweight steel shot (compared to heavier lead shot) any sort of killing capability you pretty much had to crank up the velocities to the 1300 to 1500 FPS range. Regular lead field loads are in the 1100 to 1200 FPS range.
At almost the same time, interest in a new shooting sport -- Sporting Clays -- began to grow. Since ammunition used in sporting clays is not restricted to 1200 FPS velocities as it is in Skeet and Trap, it didn’t take long before the high-speed technology that worked for steel shot was applied to Field and Target loads.
Faster velocities have two important benefits for bird hunters:
FIRST -- Higher FPS numbers extend the effective distances by maybe five or ten yards, which means you can not only reach out further, but you can utilize smaller shot sizes. Yes, you can shoot 35-yard pheasants and desert quail with No. 8’s when they leave your IC barrel at 1325 FPS!
Once, when Mike Dotson was the distributor for B&P, he was asked by Bob Brister, the author of SHOTGUNNING - The Art and the Science, for help with a particularly difficult 60-yard (as measured by a friend’s golf pin range finder) sporting clays target. The result was a 12 gauge, one ounce load of buffered, very hard and very round nickel-plated No. 7-1/2’s with a 1450 FPS velocity. Brister's first order was for three cases. 60 Yards!
SECONDLY -- Higher speeds cut you some slack on your leads. Yep, you can fudge your leads and get away with more often. When you are shooting shotshells 1300 to 1500 FPS velocities, you are shooting stuff that's 10% to 25% faster that regular field loads. It helps the hunter who is a nanosecond or two late in getting off the mark and it’s a win-win situation for pass shooters, like dove hunters. Instead of having to worry about leading "about the length of a school bus" -- and he leads it a SUV instead -- he still scores. Higher velocities put the shot string out there farther and quicker, which improve the odds on connecting.
Who’s who in the speedy ammunition business today
Superior components, consistent ballistics, plated or buffered high antimony shot are the principle ingredients that go into fast, long range shotshells.
Baschieri & Pellegri --lots of 16 gauge bird hunters consider this to be among their top field loads
16 Gauge F2 Classic, Type 1 29 gram (1-1/32 oz.) lead @ 1325 FPS
Federal Cartridge -- offers high speed loads in several of the product lines in their Premium® Wing•Shok™ brand, including Magnum, High Velocity - Pheasants Forever, High Velocity and High Brass, shown here by load number:
P156 12G 1-1/2 oz. copper-plated @ 1315 FPS
PF154 12G 1-1/4 oz. copper-plated @ 1400 FPS
P128 12G 1-1/8 oz. copper-plated @ 1400 FPS
P 138 12 G 1-3/8 oz. copper-plated @ 1400 FPS
P283 28 G 3/4 oz. copper-plated @ 1295 FPS
H126 12 G 1-1/4oz. lead @ 1330 FPS
Fiocchi Ammunition -- their Golden Pheasant line offers:
New! - 12GPX-Extreme Speed 1-3/8 ounce nickel-plated @ 1485 GP
16GP 1-1/8 ounce load nickel-plated @ 1310 FPS
New! - 28GP 7/8 ounce load nickel-plated @ 1300 FPS.
Fiocchi's High Velocity line includes:
12 HV 1-1/4 ounce lead @ 1330 FPS
New!.. 123HV 1-3/4 ounce lead @ 1330 FPS
16HV 1-1/8 ounce lead @ 1300 FPS
28HV 3/4 ounce lead @ 1300 FPS
Kent Cartridge -- manufactures both a non-toxic IMPACT™ plus ULTIMATE UPLAND® and VELOCITY® lead loads that offer high velocity choices:
K122UGNT36 12 G 1-1/4 oz. Tungsten Matrix® @ 1330 FPS
K122UGNT32 12 G 1-1/8 oz. Tungsten Matrix® @ 1425 FPS
K16UGNT30 16 G 1-1/16 oz. Tungsten Matrix @ 1315 FPS
K20UGNT28 20 G 1 oz. Tungsten Matrix® @ 1350 FPS
K122SSC32 12G 1-1/8 oz. Diamond Shot® @ 1330 FPS
K122HV28 12 G 1 oz. Diamond Shot® @ 1300 FPS
K122ITR24 12 24 grams (7/8 oz.) Diamond Shot® @ 1350 FPS
K122UG42 12 G 1-1/2 oz. Diamond Shot® @ 1400 FPS
K122UG36 12G 1-1/4 oz. Diamond Shot® @ 1330 FPS
Lyalvale -- a top British maker with a wide variety of high speed ammunition in all gauges. Lyalvale has a new US distributor -- intaSport.
H.V. Supreme 1-1/8 oz. lead @ 1400 FPS
HV. Super Game 1-1/8 oz. lead @1400 FPS
H.V. Super Game 1-1/4 oz. lead @ 1375 FPS
H.V. Super Game 1-1/2 oz. lead @ 1350 FPS
H.V. Max Game (3" case) 1-7/8 oz. lead @ 1400 FPS
World Cup 1 oz. lead @ 1500 FPS
16 Gauge (2-1/2" case) 7/8 oz. lead @ 1350 FPS
16 Gauge (2-1/2" case) 1 oz. lead @ 1375
Super 20 7/8 oz. lead @ 1400 FPS
Super 20 1 oz. lead @ 1400 FPS
Super 20 3/4 oz. lead @ 1350 FPS
28 Gauge Game 19 gram (9/16 oz.) lead @ 1350 FPS
28 Gauge Game 3/4 oz. lead @ 1350
.410 Bore (2-1/2" case) 5/16 oz. lead @ 1350 FPS
.410 Bore (3" case) 5/8 oz. lead @ 1350 FPS
Remington Arms -- as you would expect, Remington concentrates most of their high velocity offerings in their Express® High-Velocity Extra Long Range and Extra Long Range loads:
SPHV12 12 G 1-1/4 oz. copper-plated @ 1400 FPS
SPHV20 20 G 1 oz. copper plated @ 1300 FPS
SP12 12 G 1-1/4 oz. lead @ 1330 FPS
SP16 16 G 1-1/8 oz. lead @ 1295 FPS
SP28 28 G 3/4 oz. lead @ 1295 FPS
HGL12 1-1/4 oz. lead @ 1330 FPS
HGL16 16 G 1-1/8 oz. lead @ 1295 FPS
STS12NSC 12 G 1-1/8 oz. lead target shot @ 1300 FPS
STS12IT 12 G 24 grams (7/8 oz.) lead target shot @ 1325 FPS
Winchester Ammunition -- many of Winchester's high velocity loads are in their SuperSport™ AA® Sporting Clays line, which offers a good selection of smaller shot sizes in Winchester’s new HP (High Performance) hull:
AANL12 24 gram (7/8 oz.) lead @ 1325 FPS
New! - AASC12 1-1/8 oz. lead @ 1300 FPS
AASCL 12 G 1 oz. lead @ 1350 FPS
AASC20 7/8 oz. lead @ 1300 FPS
AASC28 3/4 oz. lead @ 1300 FPS
New! - AASC41 1/2 oz lead @ 1300 FPS
Winchester's popular Super-X® liner includes:
New!.. X12PH 12 G 1-3/8 oz. copper-plated @ 1300 FPS
New!.. X20PH 20 G 1 oz. copper-plated @ 1300 FPS
X12 1-1/4 oz. lead @ 1330 FPS
X16H 1-1/8 oz. lead @ 1295 FPS
Think of high velocity shotshells as a sort of insurance policy -- to get a few more yards of reach . . . or compensate for a slow start on a flush . . . or to take and make that once in a lifetime pass shot. Big help in an itsy bitsy package.