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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been using 3.5" Black Clouds in my Mossberg 535 with good success on geese for three seasons, I use BB size shot and the original full choke, and get first round kills to 50 yards. I've seen Blindside shells for sale for a bit but never tried them, they do have a slightly heavier payload, at 100 fps slower, but I'm primarily concerned about patterning. Anyone used/patterned both? I know that what works for others may not work for me, but I'm hoping to find some sort of consensus before I drop 45$ on a box of untried ammo. I'm also considering dropping to #2 shot if anyone has any thoughts on that. Thanks for the input in advance fellas.
 

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How far are your shots on average?

Is this the only combination you have tried?

Have you patterned this gun, choke and shell combination?
 

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Virginian said:
Two notable marketing triumphs, both 'convincing' us that 100 plus years of ballistics is wrong.
100 years ago nobody thought it possible to make highly concentric, boat tailed, high ballistic coefficient rifle bullets nor reliably expanding jacketed hollow point pistol bullets that would feed reliably through semi automatic handguns.

Time, technology, and human ingenuity and knowledge march on and leave those who are unable or unwilling to understand progress behind.
 

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if the other rounds are more shot but slower, I don't think I would be looking to go from bb t #2. I would say buy a box and pattern them both. personally, I have not seen the high end steel rounds to kill better than a properly patterned/choked plain old steel round.
I have not patterned black cloud steel, but I have patterened some federal turkey loads that use the flitecontrol wad, same as the black cloud I believe, one thing I found with the turkey loads ws that when choked tightly they would throw a doughnut pattern that was very light in the middle. the turkey loads patterned very nice and tight for me with a mod rem choke.
 

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huntingsgr8 said:
but I'm primarily concerned about patterning. Anyone used/patterned both?
Blind Side patterns wide open, exactly what you would expect from a miserably poor form factor pile of pellets. Black Cloud is better than Blind Side, but the best / most consistent loads are with spherical shot.

Lead or steel, there is no exception to that. The rounder the pellet, the better.
 

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I've been using the Black cloud in 3" in my Cz mallard on geese BB shot size. I have been tearing them out of the air. I've shot 4 geese and they do somersaults in the rain when I hit them. I recently add some carlsons waterfowl chokes to the equation. I haven't had the chance to pattern test but the results have been good. My son shoots the Blind side but I haven't been impressed...
 

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Sobrepuesta said:
Time, technology, and human ingenuity and knowledge march on and leave those who are unable or unwilling to understand progress behind.
Do you stand in front of a mirror and practice pompous? Non spherical pellets that are easier on the manufacturing process are a far cry from the advancements in rifle and pistol bullets.
 

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This is like all the patterning threads on here......completely missing the point.

The purpose of waterfowling cartridges is to kill effectively, not to make pretty patterns on paper. What kills better, Black Cloud, Blindside, or perfect balls?
 

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Black cloud and Blind side IMO. They make a heck of a wound channel...I think they transfer more energy to the animal.
 

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deadeye8 said:
Black cloud and Blind side IMO. They make a heck of a wound channel...I think they transfer more energy to the animal.
:lol: :lol: :lol: Mmm-hmm. The idea is not to "traumatize" a duck or a goose, it is to take it quickly. Energy has nothing to do with whacking a bird: pellets crush tissue, and #2 steel is a big pellet to a 2-1/4 lb. duck.

Spherical pellets have better exterior ballistics, have less drop and windage, and hit with a higher impact velocity. Contrary to what some might think, a smaller pellet tends to be more lethally effective.

Steel is a very poor shot material compared to lead and other denser materials: horribad by comparison. However, steel is slightly better than first believed and the reason is form factor.

As Tom Roster has noted:

Lead pellets are frequently called round and drawn round in shotshell ads. But in truth if made by either the tower-dropping or Bliemeister methods lead pellets are seldom very round. Today only steel pellets fulfill the common misconception that shotshell pellets are highly spherical.

BlindSide takes the only advantage steel had and destroys it. Really, really dumb.

There is only one way to get more out of steel: increase velocity. The improvement is not large, not as large as the corresponding recoil increase to be sure, but it is improvement nevertheless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
First of all I would like to say outright that I don't buy Federal, or Winchester's marketing BS, I think that Hex shot and FS steel are a joke. That said when the FS steel pellets do hit the bird they are very damaging, but the penetration is limited, I would be happier with a full load of completely spherical shot. My only interest in these two brands are their payloads. I have patterned this load in my gun, and would consider 50 yards to be the maximum range as far as pattern density is concerned. I also patterned Winchester high velocity steel, 1 3/8oz of shot, size BB again, and it was severely out performed by the Black Clouds. I lack a good decoy set up, I just can't afford one, right now my spread includes two turkey hen decoys and two ducks, most of my shots are at 30-45 yards. Just as an interesting point I also patterned 3" #2 black clouds from the same gun at 35 yards, and the pattern was significantly better with the modified choke than the full, (not the case with the 3.5" BB), the ironic thing is that for all of Federal's marketing, and the 30$ price tag for a box of 3" shells, cheap 15.99 3" Challenger shells patterned better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Also, my logic behind changing to #2 steel from BB is that in all the geese I've shot it was pellets to the neck and head that killed the bird, pellets to the body created significant wounds, but seldom made it deep enough to kill. On a flying bird they more often than not just went into the breast, and stopped at the breastbone, or into the less vital abdominal organs. My thinking is that if pellets to the body aren't killing them anyway, I might as well downsize to a pellet that will still make it into the head/neck area, and give me additional pattern density for those shots. By that logic someone might say that I might as well downsize to #4 shot, I have mulled it over, in fact I used to keep a few #4 steel handy for crippled birds. I crippled a goose last year, ran out into the field to finish it, and shot it at 20 yards, I aimed just below its head, and it collapsed. When I got to it, it raised its head and began trying to fly and walk away. I had to break its neck, never something I enjoy. I counted no less than 18 individual pellet holes in the bird's neck and head. Many pellets were stopped by the spine, or deflected around it, the ones that went through the arteries made wound tracts the size of pin holes, terminal, but not immediately lethal, the ones that struck the skull directly penetrated, but did not exit it. 3 pellets IN the skull, and 15 in the neck, and the bird survived, and likely would have for several minutes longer, for that reason I refuse to use anything smaller than #2 steel on geese. The load was 2 3/4" Winchester Drylok #4, 1 1/4oz of steel, 1350fps, never again.
 

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statistics show that the Winchester kills 1.15x more fowls than the Federals.

Those statistics are published by Winchester , but I PROMISE they're true.

:roll:
 

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I don't have any experience with the Win. Blind Side but I have used the Black Cloud ammo on geese. Over the years I've used lead (2 & BB), standard round steel (BB & BBB), bismuth (BB), Kent tungsten (1), and Black Cloud (BB). The tungsten and the Black Cloud stones them. On my last goose hunt, I had a double on geese using Black Cloud ammo and I also experienced them doing somersaults in the air. I was shooting over decoys with the birds out about 30-35 yards. Since we can't use lead anymore, the best I've used since those days have been the Kent Tungsten and the Black Cloud steel.

ps. I used an O/U with 3" chambers and with IC and Mod chokes, and didn't do any patterning so I don't know if there were any holes in the patterns that killed those geese.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sobrepuesta said:
This is like all the patterning threads on here......completely missing the point.

The purpose of waterfowling cartridges is to kill effectively, not to make pretty patterns on paper. What kills better, Black Cloud, Blindside, or perfect balls?
Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but if a load is going to be effective isn't the first requirement that it patterns well? If it patterns well that means good pattern density, and ample opportunities within a shot cloud to make a kill. Now of course the pellets need sufficient energy but that isn't really a question in this case, #2 and BB will kill just fine. Pattern density and the pellets ability to penetrate (energy/momentum->mass/velocity) seem to be the primary variables in terms of the ability of a load to kill (all else being up to the shooter and environment), neither can reliably compensate for a lack of the other, and most certainly not for crap shot. Are you saying that the best way to find out what's most effective is to just jump in the field and start shooting?
 

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huntingsgr8 said:
Also, my lock behind changing to #2 steel from BB is that in all the geese I've shot it was pellets to the neck and head that killed the bird, pellets to the body created significant wounds, but seldom made it deep enough to kill. On a flying bird they more often than not just went into the breast, and stopped at the breastbone, or into the less vital abdominal organs. My thinking is that if pellets to the body aren't killing them anyway, I might as well downsize to a pellet that will still make it into the head/neck area, and give me additional pattern density for those shots. By that logic someone might say that I might as well downsize to #4 shot, I have mulled it over, in fact I used to keep a few #4 steel handy for crippled birds. I crippled a goose last year, ran out into the field to finish it, and shot it at 20 yards, I aimed just below its head, and it collapsed. When I got to it, it raised its head and began trying to fly and walk away. I had to break its neck, never something I enjoy. I counted no less than 18 individual pellet holes in the bird's neck and head. Many pellets were stopped by the spine, or deflected around it, the ones that went through the arteries made wound tracts the size of pin holes, terminal, but not immediately lethal, the ones that struck the skull directly penetrated, but did not exit it. 3 pellets IN the skull, and 15 in the neck, and the bird survived, and likely would have for several minutes longer, for that reason I refuse to use anything smaller than #2 steel on geese. The load was 2 3/4" Winchester Drylok #4, 1 1/4oz of steel, 1350fps, never again.
Ok, i see your logic, but misunderstood the reasons behind the switch.
Thats interesting food for thought on the shot size vs killing power as well as the patterning of the different loads.
For most of my duck hunting this year i will be trying 3" fiochi #3 shot. Ill se how that goes.
 
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