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Geting any bigger than #2 is thinning the pattern out to the point of not being very efective. I would go to something like hevi shot if you need a bigger shot size. Hevi shot #4 would be devastating.
 

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The most powerful steel pellet loads for 20 gauge are either the Federal 1 oz #1 @ 1350 fps, or the Fasteel 7/8 oz #2 @ 1550 fps.

The Federal load has theoretically 102 pellets, the Fasteel theoretically 109. Neither of these is adequate for large ducks, you would have to throw at least 90% patterns. But they should be ok for decoying geese. However, Remington's 1 1/8 oz #4 HD load of 3" 20 gauge will dramatically outperform either of them. Right now Remington is running a serious rebate deal, $15/box on the HD!

-Dave
 

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Researcher said:
The Federal load has theoretically 102 pellets, the Fasteel theoretically 109. Neither of these is adequate for large ducks, you would have to throw at least 90% patterns.
Now I know you haven't been duck hunting that long and have raved about TM and so one. These loads are very adequate at killing ducks. Heck I only load these shot weights in my 12 ga and have absolutely no problems killing ducks. My favorite load is 7/8 oz of #1's when I am combo hunting (honks/snows/mallards). You did hit it right as my o/u does pattern these loads in the high 80's but to speculate that these aren't suitable is just hogwash.
 

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By adequate I think he means that it will consistently kill a duck out to 40 yards in a 30" circle. He saying that the particular load does not have a enough pellets to do that. I bet he's right too. Now if you let the birds get a little closer, that's a different story.
 

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I can tell you that at 40 yards these loads will (and can) consistently kill birds. With less pellets in the pattern one needs to make sure that they do have a high % on the board. Anymore pellets in a given load that aren't in the circle (fringe of pattern) are going to be cripplers rather than killers anyway whether it be the 10-20 that don't hit in a light load to 50+- in a heavier load. If one goes by some studies(ie... the Delta study) about waterfowl loads than by golly there sure seems to be a whole lot of ammo on the shelves right now that can't cleanly kill a duck. Now research is great but field experience can contradict research and I'll take my personal field experience over some study any day of the week.

Now don't get me wrong on this either; I am not advocating this as a long range load obviously the designer loads work better at long range. I'm merely stating that field results tell me that it sure 'nuff is an adequate load at killing ducks.
 

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Does anybody make a steel BB load in 20 gauge, or at least something larger than #2s?
The obvious answer here is 'No'. We could let it go at that and be done with it. And if you're happy with that, I guess we should be also. However, maybe you had an intended purpose for such a load that you'd care to share with us and we could offer some advice on an alternative loading that would do the job for you. Your call.
 

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Federal *did* make such a load at one time... I've got a couple of boxes that I picked up for a buck apiece at K-Mart probably 5 years ago. I don't have much use for them, but for a buck, I just couldn't leave them behind!
 

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Winchester used to make BB also, but discontinued it. I spose theres just not enough pellets in the shell to kill effectively?

As for the 20ga loads not having the umph for large ducks, not true. I can kill decoying greenheads just fine with the Winchester X-pert 7/8oz loads of #2 shot. It's just a matter of putting the pattern on the bird within a certain range. For the #2 shot, it was about 30 yards. #4, I don't know. Havnt tried it. Yet.
 

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I was looking for a close in goose load. I had heard BB was available but hadn't seen it anywhere. I guess hevi-shot would probably be better for this application in a 20 gauge.
Absolutely yes - HeviShot would be the way to go. Number 4 shot will 'Git R Done' at ANY reasonable range. I've killed over 300 geese over the past 6 years using #4 shot and I can tell you for sure it is all you need.
 

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Heavy Hitter said:
Researcher said:
The Federal load has theoretically 102 pellets, the Fasteel theoretically 109. Neither of these is adequate for large ducks, you would have to throw at least 90% patterns.
Now I know you haven't been duck hunting that long and have raved about TM and so one. These loads are very adequate at killing ducks. Heck I only load these shot weights in my 12 ga and have absolutely no problems killing ducks. My favorite load is 7/8 oz of #1's when I am combo hunting (honks/snows/mallards). You did hit it right as my o/u does pattern these loads in the high 80's but to speculate that these aren't suitable is just hogwash.
Speculate? Ok, I'm as conservative as the next pro-gun guy, so I don't ever like to sound elitist, but reading a series of articles based on scientific studies and then drawing a conclusion that is consistent with the results of those studies is not defined as "speculation."

Actually, if I was to engage in speculation, I would guess that there are good reasons why certain shot loads become popular. I have noticed, for example, that two of the most popular lead loads of all time are 1 1/4 oz of #4 and 1 oz of #5. Both these loads have roughly 170 pellets. Thus, I am not convinced by George Secor's contention that it takes 188 pellets in a load to reliably achieve clean kills on mallard size birds at 35 yards+. However, my state issued hunting guide book says you should have at least 90 pellets in a 30" circle for taking large ducks, or 50 pellets for geese. These numbers seem more reasonable to me, based on everything I've read.

Since I shoot most of my ducks in the 30 to 45 yard range, I like to pattern my loads at 35 yards. I also harvest more small to medium sized ducks than I do mallards. Thus, I like to see 150 pellets inside a 30" circle at 35 yards. Is it necessary to have such a pellet count? No. But if I was a gadwal or a teal, I'd be mighty grateful somebody was doing their homework to try and minimize my suffering - if I must die, I'd like to go as quickly and painlessly as possible!

#1 steel is a mighty fine mixed hunting pellet, IMO. But its range is limited on geese because of pellet energy, and its range is limited on ducks because of pattern density. If you are hunting large ducks and small geese, as you described, then I can't imagine a better steel shot size than #1. But I would personally prefer a 1.5 oz, 3.5" load of them to the 7/8 oz loads you described, Heavy Hitter. Especially if I was a duck.

Call me "nature-boy" for identifying with my quarry too much if you want, but my contention that a load with barely over 100 pellets is inadequate for taking ducks is not based on "speculation." I contend that ducks are wounded more often than necessary because people reject the scientific research that is available to them in favor of hearsay, or one person's experience.

But, if you like taking one person's word for it, google Tom Roster. He has shot more ducks with steel than any one else in the world. See what he recommends. It ain't 7/8 oz of #1! :p

-Dave
 
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