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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went out in a blizzard along the shore here yesterday and birds were flying like crazy, low down and both ways, zinging along with the wind and bucking the wind almost standing still.

It took me three hours to get a limit of pintails and I missed so many I could have been done in 40 minutes.

I was using #3 shot and a buddy told me later that was too light for the wind velocity we had yesterday.

This was pass shooting at 20 to 30 yards.

Should Iuse #2 or BB shot in heavy wind like that?

I use 2 3/4 inch steel.
 

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3 inch 2's or BB's - preferably HeviShot in the heavier 1300 fps loads. The steel is more affected by wind due to its weight (density) and the hi-velocity even moreso.

In really strong winds you might have to adjust your lead(s).
 

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Steel shot is more suseptible to to being blown sideways by the wind, but not as much as a big, fluffy bird. So on side shots with the bird passing downwind you must lead more than usual. Bird passing upwind you need much less lead than normal. The effect is even greater with heavier shot, which is less affected by the wind. Then a bird flying upwind is a sitting duck - you shoot it almost as you would a rifle. Downwind you have to lead even more than with steel. I have found that downwind shots are almost impossible in any wind over 30mph. But I love those upwind shots. Seldom miss, especially the ones overhead.
 

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YEah I think steel #2 or #1 would have worked better for you that day. Obviously any other denser than steel shot would have worked as well.
 

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I find that when I am shooting on a very windy day I need to move the gun alot faster to stay ahead of the birds. I am sure the high wind has some affect on the shot string but I would think about the the increased speed of your target as well.
As a good hunting buddy of mine always says "Its not the arrow ,its the Indian....." :idea:
 

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MD said:
It took me three hours to get a limit of pintails and...
three hours to get one bird??
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Where I hunt it's four, and I had them pretty fast.

The rest of the time was spent picking out (and missing) other species.
 

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MD said:
Where I hunt it's four, and I had them pretty fast.

The rest of the time was spent picking out (and missing) other species.
It had me scratching my head as well.

I of course assumed that MD meant Maryland.... not unreasonable I suppose when you live in VA.

West coast of the US I presume?
 

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Wouldn't worry so much about shot size...I would increase the lead to what feels right, and then lead some more.....JMO....I was amazed at how much the wind affected the shot....Hunted in a heavy wind a few years ago, shooting at a cripple on the water, and kept missing right of the bird...Finally figured out that it was the wind pushing the shot....40yds out, put the bead on the duck, and missed almost 2 feet to the side!!!
 

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That only works on the downwind shots. The wind always affects the bird a lot more than it does the shot. You will miss if you overlead a bird flying upwind. In the time it takes the shot to get there he may only travel about that two feet that the wind was blowing your shot toward him. So even out at 40 yards, you only need a couple feet of lead in a really heavy wind when shooting at a bird flying upwind. Shooting into or directly with the wind, you make no compensation except to shoot a little under him if he is going away downwind. A bird coming toward you either up or down wind you handle in the usual way. Bring the sight up from under him and fire when you can't see him anymore.

By the way, ducks seldom approach decoys downwind when it is really blowing. The dekes represent shelter to them, and they don't want to get blown way past them. Also, a downwind landing is trickier. So they try to come in upwind to land right at the downwind edge of the decoys. If they come in downwind, they will usually make a flaring turn into the wind to land. If the wind is blowing left to right, say, try to position the dekes left of the blind so that the birds will be trying to land right in front of you.

Steel is really hard to use in a high wind not only because of the increased windage for the larger, lighter shot, but because any gust over 30 mph will raise hell with the pattern. Try it on the pattern board sometime when the wind is blowing hard. After you find out how much windage you need, it will only take a couple of shots to show you that you are now shooting a pattern like an IM but more erratic. Move in to 30 yards and you will get a few more pellets, but what you usually expect at 40 yards you will get at more like 25.
 

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Spacegold said:
any gust over 30 mph will raise hell with the pattern.
You're saying wind blows some of the shot in your payload around, but not all of the shot??
:shock:
 

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The gusts are what cause the trouble. Your shot is strung out, and gusts have turbulence and variable velocities within the gust. Try patterning on a gusty day. You'll see.
 

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Spacegold said:
Your shot is strung out, and gusts have turbulence and variable velocities within the gust.
Your hypothesis would be true, if the gusts were of the same or higher velocity than the shot column.
As it is, the shot is so much faster (like, 45x) that the gusts cannot affect "just portions" of the column. Doesn't have time; the shot isn't in the gusts long enough. (how big are gusts, anyway? how many "gusts" can a payload go through between muzzle and target? How much velocity delta between the gusts and non-gusts? )
 

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Maybe the explanation is wrong then. Sorry. You tell me what causes what you see when patterning on a gusty day with winds over 30 mph.
 

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I see the pattern moving around, in its entirety. I attribute this to the wind moving the entire shot column and/or ever-so-slightly affecting the muzzle just as the shot is touched off.
(hard enough to hold a shotgun steady in the calm, let alone in a high wind...and I consider 30mph to be "high winds")
 
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