Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

AnswersASK YOUR QUESTION

Answers

Q:
I was asked to go on a duck hunting trip this weekend, and have zero knowledge about hunting these birds. I've hunted a lot of dove and quail, but have just never had the time or insight on duck hunting. What gauge should I bring to the party? I have the options of 16 gauge or 20 gauge. How far out can I make my shots? I was told to bring 3 or 4 shot, is this good advice? Any basic duck shooting tips? All thoughts are appreciated as always guys, thanks.

Question by Panfry101. Uploaded on October 18, 2012

Answers (22)

Top Rated
All Answers
from redfishunter wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

My vote is the 16 gauge, and #4 is what I like to shoot. Your max range should be about 35 yards. They will hover right before they land, that's when I like to shoot them but you might have to take what you can get. Good luck and have fun. You will love duck hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Take the 20gauge with 3in # 3s. Its going to hard to find steel for the 16.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Ouch! In my opinion, you need to be more informed on what you are taking on than getting on this thread to find out.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckeye wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

The best way to get informed is to ask questions. I would go with the 16 if youc an find the steel or bismuth shot for it. The best way to learn is to get out there and hunt with someone who has experience and don't be afraid to ask questions.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I have a real issue with someone that sees fun in using a firearm, but has little knowledge of how to use it. And if someone has to ask the questions the poster asked, I would bet he has shortcomings in other areas. Two years ago, a friend got me to take him bird hunting. He had used a rifle, but little if any shotgun use. Birds run ahead of us as we were walking side by side, and he immediately clicks off his safety, and we continue to follow them. End of his hunting with me. And I do not want to have someone in the duck blind right next to me that isn't comfortable with a shotgun. Just sayin. I may be wrong on this one, but the poster has to demonstrate an intense interest in wanting to hunt more than just one chance to go because they were asked, and knows as little about the gauges as this guy does...SAFETY FIRST!

-5 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Buckeye, Bismuth will cost about 40bucks for 10 rounds you can get 4 or 5 boxes steel for that. A 20 is more than enough for ducks I preffer the Winchester Xpert in #3s.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Clinch, he has hunted birds before so he's not a total babe in the woods with a shotgun. Not a lot of difference between pass shooting doves and pass shooting ducks. I think he'll do okay.

If you can find 16 gauge steel that would be an okay choice. Twenty gauge 3" essentially performs the same so perhaps go with that gun. Both are a little light for big ducks. If you're looking at mallards I'd probably go with #3 or even #2 this time of year. They're going to be tough customers. Most important thing is finding the fastest steel load you can get. Pay close attention to the fps on the box. 1500 fps would be best but I'm not sure you'll find it in 20 gauge. Won't be a lot of shot going out there but it's necessary to sacrifice shot weight for speed. There is NO alternative to speed when you're talking waterfowl. Uplands are different. Hunting the federal refuges for them requires non-toxic shot and I can do okay with slower steel loads. However, for pheasants I still prefer 1500 fps no matter what I'm using, lead or steel. For tough birds like pheasants and nothern ducks I prefer punch over pattern. Will do you no good to hit the birds if the shot pattern doesn't have the oomph to bring them down. This is particularly important with waterfowl.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Clinch, I don't think the guy "knows so little about gauges," as you say. Sixteen and twenty gauges are all he has available. And really, this isn't a dumb question at all. It's a close call for what choices he has. The guns available to him are probably not what I (or perhaps he) would prefer for ducks but sometimes we have to make due. He certainly should not go out and buy another bigger gun until he determines if he is going to get into waterfowl hunting further. I found it to be an interesting and thoughtful question.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drover1 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I have a 16-guage that I love for upland hunting, but in this case, I’d choose the 20 for reasons already stated. You can shoot 3-inch shells, which probably give you about the same amount of shot as a 2 3/4 –inch 16-guage round, and steel shot is much more available in 20-guage. I use a 12-guage for ducks, but a 20 should be fine if you wait for close shots over decoys.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Ok Ontario I'll buy your assessment. Probably easier to find 20 ga. shells in 3", and cost less than 16 ga. I saw some 20 ga. steel for ducks yesterday. Then it is all about knowing your range to shoot at. See their eyes decently, and you are in range more than likely.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

It really depends on what kind of duck your hunting and how your hunting them. Over decoys I'd go with the 16 ga and 3s out of a modified choke.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Also, with said setup I wouldnt hesitate to poke ducks at 50 yards if they aren't getting closer. That being said let the guy taking you call the shots that's how it goes with waterfowl hunting. One guy is designated to calling the shots.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunting92 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

No that's not a dumb question, so what if the guy hasn't had much experience shooting ducks, a person has to start some where, and yea you must be safe I agree, but its common sense, I mean if.the guy hunts he should know how to work a gun, but back to the question, I would go with a 20ga 2 shot 3 inch, or 4 Shot , I would bring both, and you can see what works the best, I don't use 20ga but I know how guns work. But just go out and enjoy the sport of hunting, everyone has to start some where, and good luck to You

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Hunting92...I based my judgement on the first few sentences. Just skimmed the rest. Of course you have to start somewhere, but if a hunter has an intest in bird hunting, and has done it then he should know the difference between the load capacity of a 16 ga. and a 20 ga. and the fact he has to shoot steel, and needs load capacity...meaning you need a 3" shell, and can you even find a 3" steel load shell in a 16 ga.? 20's in 3" and various loads are readily avialable. I'd be for the 20 just on accessability of shells, and COST! Once that info hwy seemed broken I considered safety maybe to be an issue as well....maybe.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I read his post fully this time, and my bad. I jumped to conclusions like I can do. I expected him to know the difference in not only load capacity between a 20, and a 16ga. but availability of shells as well. I would definitely chose the 3" 20 ga. just on availability. I saw 3" 20 ga. shells at WalMart prices just several days ago. The 16 ga. is going by the wayside, and very hard to find shells, and especially in a variety of loads. Cost is more as well.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Have fun Panfry. I'm betting you will. Follow Ontario's advise about ducks being tough customers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Panfry101 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Thanks for the advice guys, I am taking a 20 with 3's and 4's, 3 inch shells, with 1565 FPS. Should do alright, and Clinchknot-I have been upland hunting since I was a child, and go to extreme precautions to be safe in the field with them. I am also aware of the differences between gauges, I was just wondering if there was a distinct advantage to having one over the other. I have a few 12's, but I lent them to a friend for his two boy's first hunts, and he has yet to bring them back to me, so I am stuck with what I have. I will be hunting Saturday morning, and will be sure to say how i did on this or another post. Thanks to everyone who posted

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

PANFRY...You the man! You fell victim as far as I was concerned because of a lot of the youthful ignorant comments, and posts on these threads.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from small game sportsman wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

20 ga.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

What's with the -1 I thought I gave sound advice.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Probably because you more than likely are shooting steel at ducks 50 yrds away. I say that is too far with a heavier 12 ga. load. Heavy shot, Bismuth?...totally a different deal...they can consistently score at 50 yds. if easy angles taken. And I think many hunters don't realize how far 50 yds really is. They misgjudge distance bad. If you stood someone on the goal line, and then moved a 30" circle with a ducks body, say a mallard inscribed inside of it, and moved it 35 MPH across the 50 yd line, I don't think there would be many pellets inside that inscribed duck's body cavity even from guys that are excellent shots.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Ive taken geese at 60 with 3" bbs out of a modified choke. But your right it does depend on the shooter, Im an junior all american trap shooter and dont hesitate to take those shots. But the question was what is the maximum range of the setup, not how far I thought he could shoot effectively.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer

from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Clinch, I don't think the guy "knows so little about gauges," as you say. Sixteen and twenty gauges are all he has available. And really, this isn't a dumb question at all. It's a close call for what choices he has. The guns available to him are probably not what I (or perhaps he) would prefer for ducks but sometimes we have to make due. He certainly should not go out and buy another bigger gun until he determines if he is going to get into waterfowl hunting further. I found it to be an interesting and thoughtful question.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Ok Ontario I'll buy your assessment. Probably easier to find 20 ga. shells in 3", and cost less than 16 ga. I saw some 20 ga. steel for ducks yesterday. Then it is all about knowing your range to shoot at. See their eyes decently, and you are in range more than likely.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Panfry101 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Thanks for the advice guys, I am taking a 20 with 3's and 4's, 3 inch shells, with 1565 FPS. Should do alright, and Clinchknot-I have been upland hunting since I was a child, and go to extreme precautions to be safe in the field with them. I am also aware of the differences between gauges, I was just wondering if there was a distinct advantage to having one over the other. I have a few 12's, but I lent them to a friend for his two boy's first hunts, and he has yet to bring them back to me, so I am stuck with what I have. I will be hunting Saturday morning, and will be sure to say how i did on this or another post. Thanks to everyone who posted

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from redfishunter wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

My vote is the 16 gauge, and #4 is what I like to shoot. Your max range should be about 35 yards. They will hover right before they land, that's when I like to shoot them but you might have to take what you can get. Good luck and have fun. You will love duck hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Take the 20gauge with 3in # 3s. Its going to hard to find steel for the 16.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckeye wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

The best way to get informed is to ask questions. I would go with the 16 if youc an find the steel or bismuth shot for it. The best way to learn is to get out there and hunt with someone who has experience and don't be afraid to ask questions.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Buckeye, Bismuth will cost about 40bucks for 10 rounds you can get 4 or 5 boxes steel for that. A 20 is more than enough for ducks I preffer the Winchester Xpert in #3s.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Clinch, he has hunted birds before so he's not a total babe in the woods with a shotgun. Not a lot of difference between pass shooting doves and pass shooting ducks. I think he'll do okay.

If you can find 16 gauge steel that would be an okay choice. Twenty gauge 3" essentially performs the same so perhaps go with that gun. Both are a little light for big ducks. If you're looking at mallards I'd probably go with #3 or even #2 this time of year. They're going to be tough customers. Most important thing is finding the fastest steel load you can get. Pay close attention to the fps on the box. 1500 fps would be best but I'm not sure you'll find it in 20 gauge. Won't be a lot of shot going out there but it's necessary to sacrifice shot weight for speed. There is NO alternative to speed when you're talking waterfowl. Uplands are different. Hunting the federal refuges for them requires non-toxic shot and I can do okay with slower steel loads. However, for pheasants I still prefer 1500 fps no matter what I'm using, lead or steel. For tough birds like pheasants and nothern ducks I prefer punch over pattern. Will do you no good to hit the birds if the shot pattern doesn't have the oomph to bring them down. This is particularly important with waterfowl.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drover1 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I have a 16-guage that I love for upland hunting, but in this case, I’d choose the 20 for reasons already stated. You can shoot 3-inch shells, which probably give you about the same amount of shot as a 2 3/4 –inch 16-guage round, and steel shot is much more available in 20-guage. I use a 12-guage for ducks, but a 20 should be fine if you wait for close shots over decoys.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

It really depends on what kind of duck your hunting and how your hunting them. Over decoys I'd go with the 16 ga and 3s out of a modified choke.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunting92 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

No that's not a dumb question, so what if the guy hasn't had much experience shooting ducks, a person has to start some where, and yea you must be safe I agree, but its common sense, I mean if.the guy hunts he should know how to work a gun, but back to the question, I would go with a 20ga 2 shot 3 inch, or 4 Shot , I would bring both, and you can see what works the best, I don't use 20ga but I know how guns work. But just go out and enjoy the sport of hunting, everyone has to start some where, and good luck to You

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Have fun Panfry. I'm betting you will. Follow Ontario's advise about ducks being tough customers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

PANFRY...You the man! You fell victim as far as I was concerned because of a lot of the youthful ignorant comments, and posts on these threads.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from small game sportsman wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

20 ga.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

What's with the -1 I thought I gave sound advice.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Ive taken geese at 60 with 3" bbs out of a modified choke. But your right it does depend on the shooter, Im an junior all american trap shooter and dont hesitate to take those shots. But the question was what is the maximum range of the setup, not how far I thought he could shoot effectively.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Also, with said setup I wouldnt hesitate to poke ducks at 50 yards if they aren't getting closer. That being said let the guy taking you call the shots that's how it goes with waterfowl hunting. One guy is designated to calling the shots.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Hunting92...I based my judgement on the first few sentences. Just skimmed the rest. Of course you have to start somewhere, but if a hunter has an intest in bird hunting, and has done it then he should know the difference between the load capacity of a 16 ga. and a 20 ga. and the fact he has to shoot steel, and needs load capacity...meaning you need a 3" shell, and can you even find a 3" steel load shell in a 16 ga.? 20's in 3" and various loads are readily avialable. I'd be for the 20 just on accessability of shells, and COST! Once that info hwy seemed broken I considered safety maybe to be an issue as well....maybe.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I read his post fully this time, and my bad. I jumped to conclusions like I can do. I expected him to know the difference in not only load capacity between a 20, and a 16ga. but availability of shells as well. I would definitely chose the 3" 20 ga. just on availability. I saw 3" 20 ga. shells at WalMart prices just several days ago. The 16 ga. is going by the wayside, and very hard to find shells, and especially in a variety of loads. Cost is more as well.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Probably because you more than likely are shooting steel at ducks 50 yrds away. I say that is too far with a heavier 12 ga. load. Heavy shot, Bismuth?...totally a different deal...they can consistently score at 50 yds. if easy angles taken. And I think many hunters don't realize how far 50 yds really is. They misgjudge distance bad. If you stood someone on the goal line, and then moved a 30" circle with a ducks body, say a mallard inscribed inside of it, and moved it 35 MPH across the 50 yd line, I don't think there would be many pellets inside that inscribed duck's body cavity even from guys that are excellent shots.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Ouch! In my opinion, you need to be more informed on what you are taking on than getting on this thread to find out.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I have a real issue with someone that sees fun in using a firearm, but has little knowledge of how to use it. And if someone has to ask the questions the poster asked, I would bet he has shortcomings in other areas. Two years ago, a friend got me to take him bird hunting. He had used a rifle, but little if any shotgun use. Birds run ahead of us as we were walking side by side, and he immediately clicks off his safety, and we continue to follow them. End of his hunting with me. And I do not want to have someone in the duck blind right next to me that isn't comfortable with a shotgun. Just sayin. I may be wrong on this one, but the poster has to demonstrate an intense interest in wanting to hunt more than just one chance to go because they were asked, and knows as little about the gauges as this guy does...SAFETY FIRST!

-5 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer

bmxbiz-fs