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I know this topic has been brought up in many variations so I apologize for the repeat, but I still can't get conclusive answers for myself. I have just been introduced to Duck hunting this year and love it. Last weekend we were duck hunting over about 20 duck decoys from a boat. A lone goose came in low and just as he cupped his wings about 5 feet off the water - all 3 of us stood up and unloaded on him. He was about 30 yards away from us and he flew away seemingly unphased. You could say we are bad shots, but it is not often a duck gets by us, especially when we are all shooting. And this was an easy shot, right at us, wings cupped - I was really perplexed. We have also had a fair number of crippled ducks (1 in 5 can't fly but still dive). I stumbled upon this site when researching if a 3.5 inch gun would be a difference maker. It seems from my reading there might be a slight advantage, but more attention should be paid the ammunition than the gun. So, on to my question. I know from reading the first thing you will tell me to do is to pattern my gun with different shells. But as a rule of thumb for better knock down numbers and cleaner kills, would you rather have less shot and a higher velocity or the other way around? Do you even have to compromise one for the other? That question seems to lead to Hevi-shot or Tungsten Matrix etc. However, there are very mixed reviews on the Hevi-shot and other similar loads.

For no other reason than I was told to use #3's for duck hunting I have been using Winchester XPERT Hi Velocity Steel Shot. 3 inch #3's, 1 1/4 oz, 1400 fps in my Remington 11-87.

I look forward to your comments.
 

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I don't see any problem with that load. What kind of choke are you using and what distance are the shots you are taking? I use 2's for the most of my hunting with a modified choke and have no problems. I think the federal's in 2's are 1550 but really the load you are using should be more then enough.

Many people will tell you it is harder to knock a goose down when he is coming at you. I tend to wait till they flare a bit and are heading up or to one side other the other. Then I try and head shoot them. Yes I have a lot of clean misses but when I connect their is no doubt about it. Look at your birds when cleaning them and see where you are connecting.
 

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I usually use 1 1/8oz #2 at 1,550fps in a 3" shell for ducks. BB's would be good for geese. I like 1 3/8 oz of BB's at 1,550fps in a 3 1/2" shell for geese.
The 3 1/2" shell lets you shoot traditional load weights at higher velocities. Take Kent's newest load. It's a 3 1/2" shell with 1 1/4oz at 1,625fps. It's the fastest factory steel load.
The more speed and weight a pellet has, the more energy/nock down power. Velocity is more important for steel than it is for the heavier non-toxic loads.
Get a box of a few different loads and see what your gun/choke likes the best.
 

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If I am shooting over blocks I stagger loads; First shot is #3 - Second Shot #2 - Third Shot #1, with cheapest #4 for possible cripples...Seems to meld well with working birds...May switch off and add #BB on ocasion but always start with #3's...I also try to keep FPS about the same so as not to have to dick around with calculating leads.
 

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Last year the same thing happened to me. We had a goose come straight in and we unloaded about 25-30 yards away...the goose kept flying without blinking an eye. I was using a 12 gauge, 3 inch shells and 3 shot steel.

This year I switched to Hevi-shot #4 and an IC choke. Trust me when I say it sure does a number on the birds. I had some shells left over from last year and decided to use them again. Although I was able to knock them out of the sky, a few of the birds were wounded -- the Hevi-shot left no survivers.

Later this year, I got tight on cash and decided to go back to steel shot. I went with 3 inch, #2 shot. This shell does a good job on most larger ducks. I have not had a chance to shoot a goose with it yet, but I will let you know very soon how it works.

Hope that helps a little.
 

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When 3 people unload on a goose @ 30 yards and he flies off something is wrong and I bet it is not your shells. One of a few things happened:

1. He was farther out than you thought.
2. Everyone needs to hone their shooting skills. :lol:

At 30 yards with 9 shots someone is bound to hit the head or neck. Even #4 steel would kill at that range.
 

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When choosing hunting ammunition you have two things to consider: Penetration and pattern density. Shotguns kill by putting enough pellets on target to ensure that a vital organ is taken out (head, neck, spine, heart, flight bone, etc...). In order to be effective the pellets have to have enough energy to penetrate through the vitals. The tough part is making sure you have large enough pellets to maintain adequate energy while also ensuring enough pellets are on target to hit a vital spot.

Here's a link to a very interesting article:

http://www.deltawaterfowl.org/magazine/ ... ooting.php

It goes into great detail about determining the lethality of different loads. It even has a table with most factory loads rated for effectiveness. I think you will find it helpful.
 

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I have killed Canada geese at 30 yards with 1 1/8 oz steel #4s reloaded to 1375 fps. I don't recommend it, but I've done it. I'd bet the goose was farther away than you thought. They look awful big when they're coming in. I wouldn't recommend anything smaller than # 1 steel for geese. Spend some time shooting sporting clays or, if that's too expensive, get a portable trap and have a buddy throw some clay birds at all sorts of angles. When you can hit the clays consistently, you'll be surprised how much more effective your steel shot loads become! Nothin kills "em better than hittin' 'em!
 

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Bug Doc said:
When choosing hunting ammunition you have two things to consider: Penetration and pattern density. Shotguns kill by putting enough pellets on target to ensure that a vital organ is taken out (head, neck, spine, heart, flight bone, etc...). In order to be effective the pellets have to have enough energy to penetrate through the vitals. The tough part is making sure you have large enough pellets to maintain adequate energy while also ensuring enough pellets are on target to hit a vital spot.
Right on, preach it brother Bug Doc! On paper it's way easier to achieve the desired nexus of pellet energy and pattern density with tungsten-based non-toxics, or even bismuth, than it is with steel.

jon55nj with regard to your lost goose, i have to go with Bob N, it sounds like a case of the goose looking closer than it was. I'm pretty new to waterfowling too, and I find it especially hard to judge distances on geese when I've been focused on ducks for a while.

Dave
 
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