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Well....... I have read all the reports especially Delta's Database... well.... I was out hunting yesterday morning when and had a canvasback fly in it was about 30 yards away and inches above the water. I shot at it with 3" #4's ...... the shoot totally engulfed the duck and it hit the water. It was still swimming around so I took another shot at it. Shot engulfed the duck again and I was aiming at the head and the duck still was alive. The duck dove and never surfaced again and the dogs couldn't find it....... lost bird!!!!!

Later on in the morning a bufflehead did the same thing this time I put 3 shell in it.... and the bird got up and flew away.

According the the Delta... I was well within the stated range.

Next year I am going Hevi or Tungsten!!!!.... and I'll probably reload them.
 

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At 30 yards, I find steel #4 to be too light for big ducks. #2 performs a lot better for me. As for swatting them on the water after they're down, that's not a good test - too much shot skipping around.

I like the hevi-shot suggestion.
 

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I agree with Scoupe with the #2's. I like #4 steel for the first and second week of the season at the most. The last banded goose I shoot was with HV #4 steel. He was about 25 yards out and a foot or two off the water. I could not find my goose loads in the blind so I used what I had. The first shot he was going away. He was spinning in circles in the water so it hit him with a second shot. I added his leg bang to my lynard.

What velocity were you using with those #4's?
 

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I agree, #2 steel for big ducks like Cans. Also, a cripple on the water is difficult to kill, unless you are right on top of him. They generally sit low in the water and most of their vitals are shielded. It is not uncommon at all to foam the water all around them and have them keep swimming (sometimes with just their head out of the water). Just about have to get one in the head to kill them. A very dense pattern is needed to be sure to get that head shot. Back in the lead shot days we used to handload 1-1/2 oz of 7-1/2s to shoot cripples.
 

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I also agree with going to #2 steel. #4s are notorious cripplers where I hunt. Steel is fine if you use high vel and the right size for the job. I use #1s in strong winds.
Chris
 

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Reguardless of what anyone says #4 steel is the big crippler and shouldn't even be considdered for waterfowl hunting. (we owe the ducks better than that) #4 steel has to be flying pretty fast before it will carry enough energy to be effective past 80 feet or so.

tom
 

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i have been using the kent fasteel #3 for the past couple years now with good results and still 2 3/4" shell mostly for mallards and a few others thrown in for good measure. all have been shot over blocks though so well within the 30yd range.. .tony
 

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Here's a few informal notes from yesterdays hunt:

Clear day, birds not decoying well. Ducks, young snows and some speckled bellies in the air. Combined bag 5 geese, 7 ducks.

1. #4 shot, 3" steel: 3 ducks crippled and retrieved @ ~40 yards. 2 died by the time we got to them. One required chasing.

2. #4 hevi-steel, 3" 4 ducks and a snow goose all dead with no chasing wounded birds. Same distance as above.

3. #2 Kent Fast Steel, 3.5"--2 geese, dead when before they hit the water. ~50 yards

4. BB Win SX 3.5", one Blue Goose and one Speckled Belly. The Blue was ~50 yards up--saled 1/4 mile and retrieved. Speck was a solid hit, BB at 50 yards.

No scientific data here--#4 Hevi Steel was the smallest/lightest pellet that we are going to use in the future.

For 3.5" shells not enough data to distiguish between #2 and BB in 2.5" hulls.
 

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blunder said:
Reguardless of what anyone says #4 steel is the big crippler and shouldn't even be considdered for waterfowl hunting. (we owe the ducks better than that)
tom
I agree, hevi-shot #4's, that's different, far better penetration, but steel #4's, if they don't just bounce off, they can cripple. Used close in they may do the job, but you may as well take to the blind what will do the job best, over the varied ranges one may expect to shoot at.
 

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I've harvested a lot of ducks with #4 steel at 1550fps, it's not bad at all within 40yds max.
The only reason i switched that 1oz load to #3's was i got tired of biting into shot,or scannin the breasts with a metal detector.
I use #1 steel mainly now, but i still maintain #4 steel works quite well, i even hammered a mallard at least 40yds up with 1oz of #5 steel 2 weeks ago,i was walkin up some quail at the time to take the tedium off a slow duck day, and a flock of mallards happened overhead, it didn't flinch, came down DOA.
 

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It really doesn't matter how many times ducks will come down DOA when shot with #4 or #5 shot, the fact remains that there will still be to many times that they don't. When just switching one shot size (#3s) will cut the "don'ts" in half its foolish not to.

tom
 

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Blunder has good advice--3", 12 ga, #3 is an improvement on #4 and when used in a solid load will cover the duck space very well. It also works well on wetlands when phesant hunting requiring non-tox shot.
 

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Back in the lead shot days we used to handload 1-1/2 oz of 7-1/2s to shoot cripples.
Heck, back in the days I shot many of ducks with 1 1/8oz of 7 1/2. no magnums either. Just the promo loads everyone shoots at doves.

I laugh at the people who think steel 4s are not enough to kill big ducks. That is about all that I shoot and untill this season it was the 2 3/4" 1300 fps stuff. We killed all of the big ducks that came in yesterday with steel 4s. No crips either. However, One guy was shooting hevi out of his new 20 ga. #6 I think. The one drake he killed at 25 yards was totally destroyed. Nothing to eat. Here is an example of overkill from hevi.

It is all about gettin em in close with their feet down with steel or any ammo.

And the thought that one shot doesn't kill a bird where as another does so the second shell must be better is total crap. We are not shooting at stationary targets at fixed distances. Too many factors to evaluate ammo this way.
 

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Wow,,, did you get cut off in traffic this morning or what!!!!!

I laugh at the people who think steel 4s are not enough to kill big ducks.
And the rast of us laugh at people that care so little about the game they hunt and feel the need to prove how macho they are. If the only ducks you ever shoot are the ones that have their feet down,,,, you shoot very few ducks. And that is from someone that *calls* duck with the best of them.
Next I suppose you will come on here and brag about the goose you shot with a 7/8oz load at 90 yds
One guy was shooting hevi out of his new 20 ga. #6 I think. The one drake he killed at 25 yards was totally destroyed
Guess he should take the time to pattern his gun.

tom
 

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And the rast of us laugh at people that care so little about the game they hunt and feel the need to prove how macho they are. If the only ducks you ever shoot are the ones that have their feet down,,,, you shoot very few ducks.
Nothing macho about killing ducks. What works, works. Period. I killed a limit last time out ( I guess 6 birds could be called "very few" compared to the millions that migrate each fall) and every bird was less than 30 yards, orange feet down. #4 steel All of the big ducks were dead when they hit the water. I do go to #2 for my 3rd shot but never got that far.

No, I didn't get cut off in traffic this morning. Nor am I wanting to get into a pissing contest with someone who can "call" ducks. I just find it amusing when someone shoots shell "A" and doesn't kill the bird clean. They proceed to shoot shell "B" and get a clean kill. Therefore they show up here claiming shell "A" is not effective.

Do I get clean kills ALL the time with steel? No. Do I loose a bird OCCASIONALLY? Yes. Am I happy about it? Hardley. Did the same thing happen back in the lead days? Yup.

I bet that if most of the guys that sit around and female dog about steel spent their time scouting, changing set up, shooting clays, etc.... they would find those things more productive than changing what they shoot.

Just my $0.02

By the way, If you are where the ducks want to be and your set up is good, you really don't need to call much. But that probably makes me macho.
 

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I think if people would spend some time and understand how their weapon shoots at different ranges with different loads would make a big difference. Hell I meet people half way through the season that haven't patterned their gun. :cry:

Blunder - #4's will do the job if you know what your pattern looks like and are comfortable with it. The first goose of the year was dropped with 2.75 #4's at 40 yards. I will admit #2's are my staple but I do spend time with #4's to make sure I know what they look like at all the ranges.

So, pissing match aside #4's will do the job just fine if you spend the time with them and know how your gun shoots them.
 

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That is about all that I shoot and untill this season it was the 2 3/4" 1300 fps stuff
You are aware of the fact that #4s do not cary an ED of 235ft lb/in2 past 25 yards when shot at only 1300fps.
Blunder - #4's will do the job if you know what your pattern looks like and are comfortable with it. The first goose of the year was dropped with 2.75 #4's at 40 yards. I will admit #2's are my staple but I do spend time with #4's to make sure I know what they look like at all the ranges.
Knowing what your pattern is holds true no matter what a person is shooting, thus my comment earlier about the guy with Hevi needing to pattern his gun. It should be obvious to anyone that his 20ga shell with HS #6es in it would have less pellets in the load than it would have had if they were steel #4es. So if his HS #6es tore the bird up, just imagine what it would have done if it was steel through that same choke.(1oz of HS #6 is 207 pellets, 1.25oz of #4 steel is 239 pellets)

I think I already commented on shooting at geese at 40 yards with #4 steel. I absolutly would have never taken that shot!

You can read all the opinions about #4 steel you want (and then some) here
http://www.refugeforums.com/refuge/show ... 115&page=1

tom
 

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It is all about gettin em in close with their feet down with steel or any ammo.
Not everyone chooses to wait until the bird is committed, indeed not everyone is in a position to do so. A couple of years ago I made the decision only to shoot ducks when moonflighting; if I waited until I discerned their feet I'd have a very bored dog and a wonderfully clean gun.

Obviously I don't get big numbers so Bi or ITM does me, depending on the gun I'm using. Faststeel isn't available.

Regards
Eug
 

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You are aware of the fact that #4s do not cary an ED of 235ft lb/in2 past 25 yards when shot at only 1300fps.
Tom,

Crunch those numbers however you please. All I know is that every year I have a bunch of dead ducks w/ steel 4s with very few cripples and most are shot in the 20-35 yrd range.

So if his HS #6es tore the bird up, just imagine what it would have done if it was steel through that same choke.(1oz of HS #6 is 207 pellets, 1.25oz of #4 steel is 239 pellets)
Hmmm...."Reguardless of what anyone says #4 steel is the big crippler and shouldn't even be considdered for waterfowl hunting."

Sound familiar? If #4s would tear a bird up, why would I want to shoot something more powerful?

Maybe some people have a different hunting set up where they can be selective on taking shots. To say that a certain load should not be considered period is rather narrow minded. For my set up #2 steel is too much and I have no need to shot shots beyond 35 yrds or so. If birds don't decoy and commit, they fly. Others will commit. Limits are the rule, not the exception. However, if not shooting passing birds means 4 birds instead of 6, so be it.
 

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Better reread all of that. It is a matter of pellet count plus energy. It is normally accepted that a load should have a minimum of 188 pellets inorder to assure a pattern density of .25 pellets per square inch for Mallard sized birds. (or that we reduce or expand the pattern diameter inorder to have the desired pattern density) The energy the pellet retains is determined by the speed and the weight of the pellet. The simple fact is that a #4 steel pellet weighs less than a #6 HS pellet. (#6 HS has 235ft lb/in2 at 45yds when fired at 1325fps, while a #4 steel pellet would need to be fired at about 1700fps to do the same)
There is no factory #4 steel load which has 235ed at 40 yards, therefore my comment that it should not be considdered.

Now if my norm was to hunt a timber hole where you can't even see a duck at over 25 yds, much less get a shot at one past that distence, then of course my load choices would be different than it is. Here in Utah we will often spot birds a mile or more away, and then it is up to good calling, good positioning and decoy use that we get a chance at them. So why would I even considder limiting myself to a 25 yard range.
While I would guess that my average shot is closer to 40 feet than it is to 40 yards, those 40 yard shots are by no means out of the question.
What I personally do is always choke my gun for what I anticipate will be my average shot, and load my gun for what I considder would be the worst shot that I am willing to take. Simply put this means a little less choke and a little larger or heavier shot.

tom
 
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