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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was fortunate enough to draw a tundra swan permit this year, and I'm so excited! But, I'm not sure about appropriate loads for this monster bird! I generally use either 3" BB (steel) or 3" #2 Hevi-Shot for geese. What do you recommend for tundras?

- PJ
 

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PJ,
Your #2 Hevi will do the job nicely at normal ranges (out to about 45-50 yds). If you're pass-shooting then you might think about Hevi B's.
 

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Get as close to lead as you can. Forget the steel. This may be the only time in your life you get this opportunity. If you have a double, shoot #2 in the first barrel and BB in the second.
 

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I've shot 4-5 tundra swans with BBB steel shot, it worked well enough. Most often used was a 10 ga with 1 5/8 oz of shot. Next most frequent was a 12 ga with 1 1/4 oz. I've shot a couple with BB bismuth from a 3" 12 ga and it worked well too. I shot one swan with the old Federal Tungsten/Iron 1 1/8 oz load and it worked well too. I have shot all my swans at rather close range, I'd say 35 yards has been the max I've shot one at with it usually being much closer. The majority of my swans were taken as they flew into a pond, kind of a pass shooting opportunity but at close range. The others were taken jump shooting small ponds after I saw the birds there.
With current ammo choices I would recommend #2 or larger Hevi-Shot or similar type shot. If you could have the opportunities I did, I would not hesitate using BBB steel again either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks y'all. I'll pick up and extra couple of boxes of #2 HD next time I'm at the store, and maybe a box of "B" HD as well. I think I was subconciously wishing everybody would say "Get a 10 ga!" :D

I sure hope they're easier to bring down than the woodies were this morning! I swear they were laughing at me... First time I've hunted woodies in about 15 years, and the very first time I've ever tried pass shooting them. Very humbling experience.

- PJ
 

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PastorJimmy said:
I think I was subconciously wishing everybody would say "Get a 10 ga!" :D

- PJ
PastorJimmy,

There is no way that even these super 3 1/2" primo non-toxics 12 gauge loads could ever bring down one of those B-52's. I think you should definately get a 10 gauge. I think a new Browning Gold 10 will do what you want nicely! :wink: :lol:

Did that help? :lol:
 

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I was going to mention 10 ga, but the original question referred to shot size. I thought waterfowlers were born knowing that 10 ga. is the proper gun for their trade, especially in these days of steel shot. Browning or Remington are both good. An Ithaca Mag 10 will also get the job done, as will a used double barrel.
 

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I have taken them with single shots of #BB Bismuth from my 10ga SxS and with 3" #2 Hevishot from my 12ga Browning A5. All of these birds hit the ground dead. Ranges were from 35 yards to less than 50 yards. 6 birds total in the last 40 years.

If you have a room to display it, have your taxidermists make a flying mount for you. My friend did this some years back and it is very impressive.
 

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Spacegold said:
I was going to mention 10 ga, but the original question referred to shot size. I thought waterfowlers were born knowing that 10 ga. is the proper gun for their trade, especially in these days of steel shot. Browning or Remington are both good. An Ithaca Mag 10 will also get the job done, as will a used double barrel.
10ga Is a great gun but they have some things going against them. For one their shells are $7 or so more/box.

Second and this one is huge....the ammo makers must not have put as much research into the 10ga loads because many of them don't offer 10ga shells in many of their product lines and some companies don't offer them at all. The ones that do are not very impressive...for example:

Winchester Supreme 10ga 1 3/8 oz 3.5" shell run at 1450fps??? I have 12ga that shoot the same load at 1550fps. Hell Winchesters Surpreme 12ga loads come in 1.5oz and are 1475fps?? Why do they make a 12ga load that has a bigger payload and is faster? I don't get it...but I do know that 10ga load is slower and has a smaller payload.

Same thing with Federal Premiums. They have 10ga loads that come in 1.5oz and are 1450fps....but their 12ga loads come in the same 1.5oz but are 1550 fps.

I know that a 10ga has the potential to be the better waterfowling gun because it will throw better patterns...but speed is very important w/steel shot. I want to shoot something in the 1500fps range if I can. To me with a 10ga hull you should be able to shoot bigger faster loads than a 12ga could but with the current offerings it doesnt seem like that's the case.

If I had a 10ga or was thinking about getting one I'd seriously look into reloading before I bought it to see what kind of steel loads are out there.

Finally if you are shooting 12ga Hevi Shot you really don't need any more leathal killing power than that...a 10ga with Hevi would be a waste of money IMO. I would want a 10ga to shoot steel and reload it to make the cost more in line with that of 12ga shells....but reloading steel is a real pain so who knows.
 

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I would usually say that the bigger the better. One little piece of advise, when hunting swans it is very easy to mis-judge their distance. Always-always when you get ready to pull the trigger completely forget their body. Give your complete attention the their head. Shoot at their head. In doing this you can use just a bit smaller shot which will give you a more dense pattern and their head is REAL easy to kill.
 

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Not to change the subject or hijack the thread, but does anyone eat swans? Or are the strictly a mount. I've seen them while hunting snow geese (and they actually landed in the spread), but we can't shoot them here, so until I get to NC or ND or PA adopts a season (now that would be cool :twisted:) I won't have to worry about it too much . . .
 

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Captn66 said:
Not to change the subject or hijack the thread, but does anyone eat swans? Or are the strictly a mount. I've seen them while hunting snow geese (and they actually landed in the spread), but we can't shoot them here, so until I get to NC or ND or PA adopts a season (now that would be cool :twisted:) I won't have to worry about it too much . . .
They make mighty fine jerky.

Like everything else, I have heard people say they love them and people say they hate them.

I have killed four (and for the last three years now haven't been drawn in VA.. what gives we are rotten with the fool things everywhere I hunt). The first one I killed, I donated to a friend for a mount he wanted (I think it ended up in his relatives restaurant or something). They are awfully pricey.... in the 800 and up range. The other three, one I tried to grill half the breast. This is difficult to do, because just like a goose, the meat will dry up in a big hurry. And you have to cook it on high heat... so its tough to get a big chunk of meat cooked through.

The next two, I cut into strips and made jerky in the convection oven, and just like goose, it makes AMAZING jerky... so there is always that route.

As to loads. First one I shot with steel T shot, which is what I used to shoot geese with too. Subsquent birds were all shot with hevi-shot. One with 4s and two with 6s. No complaints... just remember how long that neck is...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm heading to the field this coming Tuesday with a couple of friends who have decoys. I haven't found the right deal on a 10 bore yet, so I'm taking my trusty old Mossberg 500 loaded with #2 Remington HD, with a backup of a box of BlackCloud BBB just in case I blow the first 10 shots :oops: .

If all goes well, I'll have a Tundra at the taxidermy shop on Tuesday night!

Thanks for all the replies.

- PJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, I filled my Tundra permit! I was guiding a couple of boys on a goose hunt, and had loaded my Mossy 12 ga with BBB Black Cloud ammo to back up the boys in case they had a wounded bird try to get away from them.

Tundras started flying over the decoy spread of Canadas, and would circle a few times before flying off. A friend who was calling for us pulled out a few white bags and spread them out behind the blind and called in a few birds. I picked out a large bird in the group and dropped it at 53 yards. The boys were absolutely ecstatic. I tried to keep my dignity, but had to shout along with the kids!

I didn't weigh the bird, but the taxidermist estimated 25#. Wingspan is somewhere in the 7' range. Such a beautiful bird! Both boys limited on geese the same morning, and my son got his first goose. It was quite a day for all of us.

By the way, the BlackCloud ammo was superb! It was very effective out to just over 60 yards, and all the birds I shot (following up the boys' shots) dropped the geese like rocks. The BBB were a bit much on the birds. I'll go to B for geese in the future.

If I can figure it out, I'll post a couple of pics.

Thanks for the advise on loads. I really appreciate it.

- PJ
 

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You need to posts some pics. Sounded like an awesome hunt!

I'll second the Black Clouds. I havent used them all that much but when I have they have dropped the birds stone dead. I shot a double on some specklebellies the weekend before last..both dead when they hit the ground. A few weeks before I dropped a sandhill crane stone dead too...those are some big birds as well.
 
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