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 Post subject: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:30 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:45 pm
Posts: 32
Most of the time, we do mixed bag small game hunting. If the opportunity comes to bag a duck or something else to add to the pot, I would take it if I were shooting steel. Most of our small game hunts are obviously with lead.

The new favorite spot for us has a lot of waterfowl. After getting buzzed by several wood ducks and a goose, I decided to switch to steel so we can add the wood ducks to the pot. HIP certified but never pursued waterfowl. In fact only recently started using the shotguns to hunt, which was a great idea. Have had more fun together chasing small game with shotguns than with all other hunts combined!

The federal 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #4 fast steel isn't too expensive and really lays the smackdown on squirrels. At around 46 cents apiece, definitely still worth it if you can manage a squirrel per shot. Still, I am inclined to find a more economical all purpose load. If not, something around the same price that might be a better all purpose load, for small game and waterfowl. Not a dedicated waterfowl load, but that would make us legal for taking waterfowl should the opportunity arize, hunting squirrels near water. And still be reasonably effective, obviously. I wouldn't shoot lead 7's at squirrels, forget about steel. Even lead 6's seem marginal on squirrels in the treetops here.

But maybe I am wrong and ya'll can provide some insight. Again, looking for a steel small game load that is economical enough yet also effective to actually use it on waterfowl, ethically.




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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:40 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:24 pm
Posts: 122
Location: Boston, Ma. USA
I don’t think there is any one load, but I can’t think of too much that Bismuth #6s wouldn’t do for me. I have no issue with shooting #6s at grouse, woodcock, pheasant, ducks, hares, and rabbit. If I were to shoot at a goose it would be a target of opportunity, so I would seriously consider the range to the bird. In close, 20-25 yards, I’d take a shot. Further than that I’d pass.

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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:34 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:19 pm
Posts: 254
Location: Clemmons NC
For everything but waterfowl, or turkey, the old pigeon load, 3 1/4 1 1/4 nos 5 6 or 7 1/2 at 1220 fps does everything an upland hunter will ever need to do.


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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:12 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:52 pm
Posts: 78
Location: The Ozarks
hunterdcb wrote:
For everything but waterfowl, or turkey, the old pigeon load, 3 1/4 1 1/4 nos 5 6 or 7 1/2 at 1220 fps does everything an upland hunter will ever need to do.


{hs# ^ That. I tend to prefer the 3 3/4DE 1 1/4 oz of 5 or 6, just a little bit more power if your shoulder can stand it. Fours work well also, especially on squirrels in tall timber, they seem to still have the oomph at distance that sixes don't. I have used some variation of this load for several years and have found it more than adequate for whatever I needed. I have even killed deer with it, albeit in the rain while they were laying under a cedar tree ~ 25 feet away. I'd take lead too, and not worry about the [email protected] ducks. Squirrel and rabbit is much, much better tasting IMO.

Mac


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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:45 pm 
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Location: Coastal NC
I use 7 1/2 exclusively for everything upland. I carry some 6s in my pouch for turkey or squirrels in tall trees. If I could have only one size, it would be 7 1/2s. I have taken everything except deer with 7 1/2s and have taken a deer at close range, around 6 yards when a buck sneaked up on me while sitting in my ground blind.

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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:13 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:11 am
Posts: 4099
Location: Western Tampa, FL
hunterdcb wrote:
For everything but waterfowl, or turkey, the old pigeon load, 3 1/4 1 1/4 nos 5 6 or 7 1/2 at 1220 fps does everything an upland hunter will ever need to do.


+1 Great load and patterns beautifully in any gun I have tried. Unlike MacAR I much prefer 1,220 fps to the 1330 fps of the 3 3/4 dram equivalent load. Different jolts for different folks!


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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:24 pm 
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For small game and birds (non-migratory), I like 1 1/4 ounce of #5 lead. That'll do the job on most anything legal to shoot. OTOH, if your game might include fox, racoon, and coyote, then I'd change to #4 lead as my "all around" load.

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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:41 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:42 am
Posts: 7
evbutler wrote:
I use 7 1/2 exclusively for everything upland. I carry some 6s in my pouch for turkey or squirrels in tall trees. If I could have only one size, it would be 7 1/2s. I have taken everything except deer with 7 1/2s and have taken a deer at close range, around 6 yards when a buck sneaked up on me while sitting in my ground blind.


I'm with you. I used to have a variety of shells in #5 down to #8, but now use #7 ½ for everything (pheasant, grouse, cottontail, snowshoe hare, squirrels and casual clays), 1 ⅛ oz for 12ga and ⅞ oz for 20ga.

Edit: just noticed that the OP was asking about steel shot ... oh well


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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:03 pm 
Limited Edition

Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:32 pm
Posts: 459
My choice for a do all load would be steel #3's. 1 1/4 to 1 1/8 at 1400 fps or a little faster. Should be able to find them for 8 to 9 bucks a box.


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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:26 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2003 12:52 am
Posts: 5620
My 2 cents matches Big River's advice though I would lean more heavily toward #2 steel if dealing with mallard sized ducks, pheasants, and geese on a more regular basis. I have not been overly pleased with 4 steel, I seem to get more cripples with that than larger shot. I haven't shot a squirrel for the pot in decades but would prefer something a bit heavier than #4steel if one was hesitant with lead 6s.


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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 12:11 am 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:36 pm
Posts: 869
Location: Endless Mountains of PA
Gentlemen,

I would never pick just one load for hunting, too much fur and feather to hunt. However #5's will put down just about everything, even if you must use Bismuth. No need to limit yourself to just one shell for sure.

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:31 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:32 pm
Posts: 571
2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #3 steel @ 1,450 - 1,550 fps is an all around load. Works as an upland load and will take geese.
If primarily hunting pheasants then I prefer steel #5. The higher pellet count likely breaks a leg and a wing reducing runners.
If I'm primarily hunting ducks/geese steel #1 @ 1,500+ are better than all of the above.

#5 lead will take anything that flies and most things that run. I've shot raccoons with everything from #9 to #2 lead. #2 is more better :wink: but anything in the middle works.


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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:59 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:45 pm
Posts: 32
I really appreciate all the input. You guys are great!

I was looking at stocking up on a good load for everything. As it stands I have a good variety of shells now. I keep lead #4's and slugs in the truck with my old Baikal.

Do you guys ever go after fox squirrels? They are some big tough squizzers and almost every one we find is in the tippy tops of the pines. They are huge, like 2-3 pounds. Easily double the meat compared to a grey.

I have since moved to Texas and we don't see the fox squirrels like we used to in NC.

I assumed wild ducks would be very tasty fatty birds. I guess not? The only duck I ever ate was at a chinese place!


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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:09 am 
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I have eaten a lot of different species of ducks. My favorites are Teal and Mallards by far.
Don't hunt them anymore. Not as much fun playing in the mud as it used to be.

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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:07 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:52 pm
Posts: 78
Location: The Ozarks
regularguy11B wrote:

Do you guys ever go after fox squirrels? They are some big tough squizzers and almost every one we find is in the tippy tops of the pines. They are huge, like 2-3 pounds. Easily double the meat compared to a grey.



Sure, why wouldn't you? When we go squirrel hunting, we hunt squirrels regardless of shape, size, color, or gender. You might say we're equal opportunity squirrel slayers :mrgreen: . The foxes aren't as common as the little gray's, but I maintain as in my earlier post that 1 1/4oz of sixes will knock 'em out of the tallest tree in this country. I've never used steel shot, so I can't say how well that'll do on them but I'm sure it'll be fine. And if all else fails, just take a crack-shot friend along with a 22 WMR. If that big wad a' shot don't get 'em, the magnum will! That's what we do, anyway: a rifle for the sitters and a shotgun for the runners. Plus you get the pleasure of good conversation while browsing the woods.

Mac


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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:27 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:45 pm
Posts: 32
We don't descriminate against the greys, hope I didn't give you that impression. But we are always looking specifically for the fox squirrels.

North Carolina has some beautiful big black fox squirrels and they are as nice to eat at as they are to look at. If I recall you can only keep one fox squirrel per person per day in NC, or at least on Fort Bragg. Maybe two a person a day state regs but we never got more than one nice fox squirrel a person out there anyway.

But yeah we don't descriminate against the greys or the cottontails or any other good eating small mammals when we hunt like that. But we do specifically target those fox squirrels. A fox squirrel in the bag is like an 8 pt buck to me.


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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:19 pm
Posts: 1398
Location: NSW Australia
I've used Remington 34gm #4 nitro steel on Bunnies and ducks, it would do me.
I actually I prefer steel on Bunnies as it bruises less meat.
But most of my small game includes foxes so I usually take out 46gm 3" #4 lead.
So if I was going for a do all steel load it would be nitro steel in #2 shot.
But for what your after #4 should be fine.

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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2006 9:04 pm
Posts: 1395
Location: Upstate NY
Personally, I would not use steel shot for rabbit hunting. The ricochet risk is very real.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:05 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:19 pm
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Location: NSW Australia
That does happen around here, actually the bigger risk is fire, we have a lot of iron stone and it sparks when hit.

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 Post subject: Re: If you could pick one load for everything except deer...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:01 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:50 pm
Posts: 2447
Location: SE Ohio...where ruffed grouse were
Steel shot and the risk of fire?

That's new one for me.

Going to be a good day.




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