astomb said:Dave and the A5 Guy are right. You do get what you pay for but you should only pay for what you need.
Before you go out and lay down a lot of cash for shells, take a serious and analytical look at your waterfowl shooting and shooting abilities. Are you a good judge of distance? Do well over half of the ducks that you shoot at fall where you can retrieve them.
If you are a better than average shot and have the dicipline to keep you shots 35 yards and under, steel shot is adequate to the task. If you are shooting 40 yards and more you should examine the other non toxic alternatives to steel starting with HeviShot.
So can I assume there is a performance improvement with each price increase when comparing most inexspensive steel to next jump in price and so on until reaching most costly bismith, toungsten prices?
It is possible to consistently shoot steel on the longer shots and down ducks and geese, but the leads increase rapidly past that almost magical distance of 35 yards and you had better hunt with a good dog.
Remember also that steel and HeviShot pattern tighter than lead and for decoy shooting you may want a skeet or IC choke in the gun and steel #3 for ducks and Steel BBB for honkers. I have pretty much settled on a light mod choke and 1 3/8 oz steel for most of my waterfowl hunting.
I hope that helps.