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Steel Shot Failure!!!!

7158 Views 72 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  Gold fan
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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You can pattern your shot and it can pattern beautifully on paper but it also has to have the energy to penetrate the bird. That is the difference between steel and TM and hevi-shot.
Pellet energy is pellet energy. Granted the denser non toxic material loads can use a smaller pellet or lower velocity than a steel load. That is why when using steel you use a two shot size larger than lead for similar pellet energy. With the denser non toxic you use one size smaller than lead for similar pellet energy.

If one guy were shooting #6 in Hevi Shot and the other #6 in steel at the same velocity. There is a big advantage for the Hevi Shot energy wise. If the guy shooting steel was using #3 then there would be similar pellet energies. The smaller and heavier the pellet, the more down range energy it will retain.
More often than not the ducks hit with steel shot don't die with the first shot. It isn't unusual to see a duck take up to 3 hits before they finally drop with steel.
Time for you to find new hunting partners. Don't blame steel shot for incompetent shooters. I laugh when I hear these stories. My last waterfowl outing, three shots - three dead ducks (#2 steel), 8 shots - 6 dead geese (BB steel). I must be using some sort of magic steel. :wink: :wink:
There isn't any magic steel. Steel is a crippler. No. 3 or no. 2 steel doesn't penetrate as much as the smaller denser no. 5 and 6 in hevi-shot and tungsten matrix. When you clean the ducks you find the steel shot right beneath the skin. Steel is the best thing that ever happened to ducks. A big percentage of the cripples survive when they fly off just missing a few feathers and with a couple of pellets just beneath the skin. You can't even attempt the longer shots because you know you can't kill them. Most duck hunters if they are honest with themselves know that they wound a lot of ducks with steel shot. You can tell when a duck is hit. Feathers don't just fly off in every direction without a steel pellet hitting the skin. When you see that duck fly off wounded just know that with better shot you would have killed it. I do it every weekend. I kill the ducks with my little 20 gauge with tungsten matrix and hevi-shot after the guys I am hunting with shoot their big 12 gauge 3 1/2 inch canons and wound them. It is always easy to see which ducks I hit and which they hit. The ducks I hit fold immediately. The ducks they hit with steel either fly off or flop slowly to the water and start swimming.
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Zeeks, you and I will have to agree to disagree on this one. You have your experiences and I have mine and they seem worlds apart. I'll tell ya right now that if you find pellets just below the skin that bird was out of range. I don't doubt that HS is ballistically superior but I strongly disagree with your blanket statements that steel is a crippler. Used within it's limitations steel is quite effective. I wouldn't use it if it wasn't. I hate chasing down cripples as much as the next guy.
What the heck did people blame for cripples before steel shot came along???
This may stimulate some discussion.

On a windy Snow Goose hunt near Katy, Texas we observed the following:

1. Increasing wind speed requires larger steel shot. Moving from BB to T work well in both 3" and 3.5" guns.

2. Hevi Steel B was visibly more effective than BB Steel, Federal Ultra Shock.

3. HeviShot was excellent in both #4 and #2 pellet size but a tighter choke and lead are still needed. Holding dead on a flying bird in the wind with Hevi just means you've missed. Performance is the same as with steel ;O

4. The folks shooting #2, 3, steel shot were glad that there were some T shot shooters in follow up positions and lots of BB to pass around.

5. Apparently a box of 1996 vintage Fiocchi 3" 1 1/4 oz BBB was better than 2 boxes of Win Super X #2 Steel. More birds fell to the BBB than during the previous two boxes.

6. #4 steel worked for chasing the three cripples, on two other's TT worked better and left the bird more intact.

7. Practice getting into shooting position from the bottom of a corn field furrow 'cause there is no such thing as a good gun mount when you are in the ditch and trying to get a head of the bird.

Come shoot some Snow Geese in Texas and bring a variety of your favorite shells :wink:. There are lots of Snow Geese and a lot of shooting to be had.
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I just got these this morning
three of the ducks with 3" fed hull 1 3/16 oz #3 steel at 1560fps
and 4 of em with 3.5" cheddite hull 1 3/8oz #1 steel at 1525fps,
all dead, no wounded ones,
ranges from 20yds,to 40+yds
11-87SP 3.5" mag w/ factory internal mod choke.

The quail we got after limiting on ducks, took a little walk with 1oz #5 steel
at 1540fps,CSD100 wad.

Yep, that steel just don't seem to work worth a darn :roll: :roll:

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well said ultramag. got a question for you though. what the heck kind of limits do you have there. 7 ducks is a strange limit. we are six here in NY.
I can believe the 20 yard shots. No way you could drop to many mallards at 40 yards with steel and not wound some. Those no. 1's have the energy but not very many pellets. Even with your big 3 1/2 inch load. But that is the beauty of the internert. You can say anything and there is no way to verify it. I will be duck hunting tomorrow with 3 more guys with steel shot. I am sure I will see the same crippling that I am used to. It always happens that way in the real world.
But that is the beauty of the internert. You can say anything and there is no way to verify it.
You mean like this?

I will be duck hunting tomorrow with 3 more guys with steel shot. I am sure I will see the same crippling that I am used to. It always happens that way in the real world.
Zeeks - You're right about the 40 yard shots. I won't shoot past 30 yards with steel.

You can say anything and there is no way to verify it.
If you're ever up this way you're more than welcome to look in both my ammo cabinet and my freezer. :D

I will be duck hunting tomorrow with 3 more guys with steel shot. I am sure I will see the same crippling that I am used to. It always happens that way in the real world.
If steel is so bad why do these guys keep using it? Apparently three out of four guys in your group think steel is just fine. :wink:
A Steel load of 1 3/8oz of #1's = 142 pellets.

A Hevi Shot load of 1 1/4oz of #4's = 134 pellets.
A Hevi Shot load of 1 1/2oz of #4's = 161 pellets.
Nice haul Ultra. :) I must say you have topped my greatest feat with the quail. :shock: I thought I was doing good after shooting a season of dove with 2.75 #6's 1 oz steel loads with my 20 gauge.

If people would just spend time with their gun and a pattern board, they wouldn't worry about 40-yard shots. :( I wouldn't say I prefer them by any means but if that is the only shot that will be presented I am taking it. When I take it I will be taking it with confidence in my gun and shooting ability.

I think too many people are getting caught up in the steel and forgetting it doesn't matter what you are shooting if you don't know what it looks like at the various ranges. In the end you will take the shots you are comfortable and confident with, as will I.

Good hunting to you all. :)

Oh surely you didn't shoot those quail over a retriever? :shock:
ShotgunT said:
What the heck did people blame for cripples before steel shot came along???
I was there back then and they blamed it on the lowly 2 3/4 inch shell, surely it couldn't have been there poor shooting ability. Funny thing was that everyone of my buddies that got a 3 inch chambered gun missed/crippled with the same consistency as they did with the 2 3/4 inch chambered gun. Now that I think about it they might have missed/crippled more with the 3 inch shells because they took further shots.
BTW, I have a freezer full of ducks, all shot with Remington, 2 3/4 inch, 1 1/8 oz of #2 steel shot.

Paid $4.00 per box of 25 on sale at Bass Pro Shop.
here we go again :roll: , steel can't kill birds. hay shotgun T, this spring I will open my feezer and let the ducks fly back to ontario and you can put them in the feezer for the summer because they can not be dead since I used steel. Maybe the Canadian ducks are easier to kill!! Funny thing is, the only time I ever used hevi I had to chase 2 ducks into canada :shock: . boy the bourder patrol were not happy with us. :oops:
Re-read the thread, Shotgun T never said steel won't kill.
I didn't say shotgun T said that. I was refuring to us both using steel and maybe working togeither since I live so close to canada. I was simply saying that this is the way this discussion is going. I was think, though, that I may have figured out how I killed so many ducks with steel. They were all shot previously by some canadian hunter using steel and when they crossed the bourder, they were half dead and I just finished them off. I also think that gbottger is absolutly correct saying that people need to spend time at the patturn board. I beleive that is most of the problems with steel.
My bad.
gbottger said:
Oh surely you didn't shoot those quail over a retriever? :shock:
Shun the thought..
Over my brother's American Water Spaniel,
She retreived all the mallards,and is one of the best upland dogs
i've seen in a long time 8)

Here's some Pic's of her.

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