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Shotshells: Does Higher Velocity Kill or Just Increase Recoil?

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July 18, 2011

Shotshells: Does Higher Velocity Kill or Just Increase Recoil?

By Phil Bourjaily

The trend in shotshells is to higher velocities, both because speed kills and because no one ever got rich selling “slow” to the American public. How important is velocity really? Speed does kill, to a point. Shoot two clay targets at the same distance, one with something like Winchester’s 1300 fps Super Sporting and one with a 1145 fps standard target load, and there is no question that the faster load breaks the target more violently.

On the other hand, your shoulder will know which is the faster load, too. Increasing velocity increases recoil. The question isn’t “does speed kill?” but “is more speed worth added recoil?”

The lighter the pellet material, the more it benefits from high velocity to increase its downrange energy. Therefore steel, the lightest shot material, benefits the most from high launch speeds. As soon as steel velocities reached 1450 fps back in the late 90s I stopped complaining about it and started killing ducks and geese. For me, anything faster than 1550 fps kicks too much. Now we have loads as fast as Remington’s Hypersonics which, at 1700 fps are brutal at both ends of the gun. They are effective, but to my wimpy way of thinking, they are too fast to shoot comfortably in anything but a heavy gas gun.

In my opinion, lead and denser tungsten-iron pellets don’t benefit nearly as much from added velocity because they already retain energy well.

As for the notion that speed helps shooters hit targets by reducing the necessary forward allowance, I don’t think velocity makes a difference between a hit and miss very often. I do believe added speed does help some people put the center of the pattern on the front end of a crossing bird instead of hitting it in the tailfeathers.

To read Phil Bourjaily's guide to shotshells for geese, ducks, pheasants, upland birds and turkeys, click here.

Comments (48)

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from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

If you think Hypersonic Rem. steel shot punishes you, consider what it does to a 2lb duck. Lighter hunting shotguns get carried around all day and

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

If you think Hypersonic Rem. steel shot punishes you, consider what it does to a 2lb duck.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Higher speed has been shown to not create much advantage at distance..blows the pattern on steel especially out at distance.
One of the worst factors that can happen to a shotgunner is to get the FLINCHES!!!! Once it happens it is very hard to get rid of, and high velocity can cause more kick and create the flinches. And a few turkey hunters have developed it. Sit there, aim, and get ready for a kick that compares favorably to an African big game rifle.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

well a swarm of shotgun pellets dissipate in flight.. the farther from the target the worse it gets.. so concluding it, when hornady develops theire superformance powder for shotguns u can with a tighter bore kill at further distance with the same recoil.. evolution in firearms isnt as limited as phil wants it to be.. for now we have to suffer through more recoil for more speed, but that will change by simply having powder that burns more efficiently leaving less jet effect from the escaping powdergas but killing at more distance if the limitating factor of bore restriction is taken into account.. peace out ;)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

For me, shooting the higher velocity 3 inch shells is preferrable to the 3 1/2 inch loads when additional reach is needed.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

You already said it. Extreme speed is only useful with steel shot that needs all the help it can get with retaining energy for its 30-40 yard impacts. The other materials do just fine at "slow" velocities, they always have.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigsqueezer wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

if two of us were hunting birds and only one shot high velocity shells and the other shot field loads, the fellow with "field loads" would never get a shot.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I do think for hand loaders the higher velocity shot shell reduces the amount of reloads on the shell.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from derik wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Hunted with hypersonic's and dryloks in the same hunt, each counted game no more than the other. I think a lot of it is mental, some people may not have had as much confidence or felt they were out of practice before the season, and with the new loads out, they try it but they go into it with the expectation that it will outperform last years ammo, and with that mindset they are more confident in themselves and with the shot. I've hunted alongside guys shooting the fastest steel they could get their hands on and they do no better than the rest of us if not worse some days. I think it has more to do with the shooter than the ammo in many cases. Always key is to "know your limits".

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Well, that's a good question!

I do know I killed a Coyote with #6's, but it took 50 rounds to either kill it with lead poisoning, the weight of the lead or both!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from argoman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

to Clay Cooper, I don't know anybody who carries 50 rounds of shotgun ammo with them on a hunt. (here in wisconsin, we can only shoot two or three ducks). my friends used to tease me for taking 15 rounds of 12 ga. shells with a single shot. they didn't relize i kept changing shot size depending on cover. 7 1/2 for partridge, #5 for squirrels, and #2 or BB for fox. as far as shot speed, it depends on range and pattern.

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from argoman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

P.S. i know a guy that hunts turkeys with a .410

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Turkeys with a 410? What distance are the kills? A guy with field loads doesn't get a shot if the other guy has high velocity loads? Wow! What's the situation? A bird gets up to my side, and is my bird, and the guy shoots across in front of me? Hopefully Phil will step in here at some point and give us some scientific explanation. More foot lbs of energy for steel up to a point, then the speed works against the pattern is correct, I believe.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

That's precisely why I still use my trusty old BPS 10 gauge stalker. Yeah, it's a little (but not too much) heavier than a typical 12 gauge, but it's backbored and has a lengthened forcing cone. I can shoot duck and goose loads all day with very mild perceived recoil and deliver just as much shot downrange as a 31/2 inch 12 gauge.
Another shred of anecdotal evidence; I have discovered that one does not necessarily require a 30 inch shotgun barrel to roll out waterfowl at distance. I originally purchased my BPS stalker with a 24 inch barrel to use in a tree stand shooting buckshot for whitetails. I found with the correct screw in choke I can consistently roll out snow geese at 50 yards. I do that with plain old Winchester Drylock steel # 2's and BB's. This has caused me to rethink the conventional wisdom that a longer shotgun barrel automatically translates to greater range.
It is most unfortunate that the 31/2" 12 gauge shotgun has diminished the popularity of the 10 gauge shotgun.
Note: I will admit that heavy buckshot loads in 10 gauge do have a kick to them, but when shooting at game it is not as noticeable, plus you may only shoot one or two times when deer hunting versus shooting multiple times when hunting waterfowl.
Just an old fart's opinion. :-)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure one of the the secrets to happiness as a shotgunner is to black out all of the FPS notations on your boxes of shells with a permanent marker prior to patterning them.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

argoman

The 1 mile square patch of Arizona Oasis Dad and I hunted was loaded with Duck, Dove, Quail, Rabbit and plenty of Western Diamond Back Rattlesnakes. So if you tallied up all the bag limits for 4 species for an all morning hunt, you can see you will need plenty of ammunition!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from auburn_hunter wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Does anyone have Beekeeper's email? I wanted to find out what honey he has available right now.

Thanks.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Clay...How in the heck do you see a rabbit on the ground, and a duck overhead? I've seen gunners walkin the streets with one eye cocked towards the sky, and the other eye lookin at their shoes..dangerous crossin the street. :)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Do a little research in shotshell ballistics charts....the super shells velocity is all up front. At 40 yards and beyond they have slowed down to about the same as normal velocity loads. After all, we're talking about round pellets, not plastic tipped spitzers. A shotshell pellet is about the most ballistically inefficient projectile there is. I regularly break 16 yd and 21 yd handicap trap targets with Winchester's AA featherlite (24 gm @ 980 fps) With an IM or full choke, they disintegrate as hard as being hit with a 1300+ 1 1/8 oz handicap load. I believe it is a matter of choke, which non toxic shot does not like. Put enough pellets in a duck or goose, and he is coming down. In the early days of steel, we used 12 ga. 3" no. 2 steel (1 1/4oz. at 1250) with excellent results. The idea was to put enough shot in the air to break wings. We knew that worthless steel shot would not kill cleanly with body hits.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

T.O.T. or Time On Target, Higher velocity means less time for shot [or a bullet] to get sidetracked before it hits the target. For me it's always been a trade off.

For clay targets I like *reasonable* velocity to cover whatever afflictions I have for that particular day, however. I use 7/8 oz 12-ga handloads to lessen recoil.

Pattern density appears the governing factor hunting birds. After decades of playing with shotshell hunting loads I've yet to improve upon the basic trap load in 7 and 1/2's or #4's.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Mark..not sure you are right. Within a given distance, yes, and less lead necessary, BUT, factor in what wingshooter is saying...he is right on. What also happens with the inefficient round pellet, is faster loads slow down faster...they create their own wind resistance. As study I read, if you can believe studies, and it is far better than believing what I could determine about it, is..steel actually performs embarrassingly bad beyond 40ds when driven out with high velocities...the pattern actually disintegrates worse than if slower muzzle velocities were created.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Sayfu, I think you would have to concentrate on your bird limits First and seetle for rabbit after. That is how I would do it. But then I don't eat rabbits. They are rodents.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Rodents?..all in your head. How many folks luv lobster, and they are the scavengers that eat all the PCB's that accumulate on the bottom

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from argoman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

to Safu, He calls them in to about 15 yds. on his own property, there is no other guy with long-range loads. here in Wisconsin it's pretty much private land hunting, unless you want to hunt in public hunting grounds with a crowd.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

argoman. I am a former Washingtonian. Lived in Fall City, and hunted bantails up in Wayerhauser, pheasants and ducks down on Stillwater property, grouse, and had a jetboat, and hunted ducks along the Snoqualmie...got shot one time hunting stillwater, and had the best of the pheasant hunting in Eastern, WA in the hayday of pheasants around Moses Lake.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from argoman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Safu, thanks for commenting. i live about 20 miles from Fall city. i hunt the bottoms in Dunnville for small game, gets pretty dangerous down ther for gun deer hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I shoot 3" Magnum #4 turkey loads both for turkey and also for squirrels that are wayyyyy up in a tree. And never notice the recoil. But fire one at a target and boy do I feel it!

Same with slugs and magnum buckshot. Never seem to notice the kick when hunting but on the range I sure do.

BTW, all these are fired out of a pump shotgun.

Never completely understood this phenomenon but am grateful for it! So for hunting the fastest, hardest hitting load is fine with me, just be sure to have some lighter loads for busting clays!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

@ Moishe
Rabbits aren't rodents, they are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha.
There are eight different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), cottontail rabbits (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species), and the Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi, an endangered species on Amami Ōshima, Japan). There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pikas and hares, make up the order Lagomorpha.

Squirrels are however part of the Order Rodentia and are rodents, or as I refer to then, tree rats.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

And.......

Lagomorphs differ from rodents in that:

They have four incisors in the upper jaw (not two, as in the Rodentia)

They are almost wholly herbivorous (unlike rodents, many of which will eat both meat and vegetation; the few recorded exceptions within the Lagomorpha occur among members of both Lepus and Ochotona, and involve the occasional foraging for carrion as a supplementary winter food source)

The male's scrotum is in front of his pecker (unlike rodents', which is behind) and the pecker contains no bone (baculum), unlike in rodents.

However, they resemble rodents in that their teeth grow throughout their life, thus necessitating constant chewing to keep them from growing too long.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

john R...the barrel length is not about, and has nothing to do with reaching out...a short barrel can reach out just as far. It is the smooth swing, and follow through created by the wt. of a longer barrel that assists in shooting waterfowl at the angles you often get.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Without too much digression, my thoughts based on empiracle and ancedotal experiences are:
1. Higher velocities with steel are better, to a degree. I never notice recoil while shooting at gamebirds or waterfowl. You must have velocity to develop energy with lighter pellets.
2. Faster velocities do not crush clay targets better than 1150 fps 2 3/4 dram eq. loads. The resulting smoke cloud is a result of a good barrel and a good shooter.
3. A longer barrel is not necessary to maximize the potential of a shotgun, but it helps the shooter point out long crossers better than a short barrel will. How many 27 yard handicap shooters do you see shooting a 28" O/U or single barrel. Not any, 32 or 34 inch barrels are the norm. This does not mean that you cannot shoot a 26" bbl auto effectively at long ducks or geese because I do it every season.
4. The difference in lead at a 40 yard crossing shot with a 1700 fps shell vs a 1450 fps shell is measured in inches, not feet. An accomplished wingshot will be unable to tell the difference in lead, just recoil.
5. Pattern density kills and that is the downfall of steel shells. Larger pellets mean fewer pellets in the pattern and less multiple hits on the target which are required to cleanly kill game with a shotgun.*Barring the 'Golden BB' to the head which clearly points out that some days a duck's luck just sucks.
6. Good shots will consistently kill game when an unaccomplished shooter will consistently miss. Therefore, if your abilities suck, spend the money on clay targets at the sporting clays range instead of on a different shotgun and expensive shells in your quest for the magic combination because it just don't exist.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

@Zermoid,
Regarding your second and third post, how in the world would I have continued to live without all that valuable
information being passed on to me. I am sure all the others on this site are equally grateful as I am.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

RES1956 good post.

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from crowman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I think the most important thing about shotgun shells is find a brand and load that works for you and marry it. I see too many guys just buy what's on sale with no thought of velocity or load and wonder why they can't seem to hit them. I've seen velocity differences of 200 fps per box of different brands in the blinds and they wonder why they just can't hit them consistently. When your minds eye tells you when to shoot it needs the same velocity to do the job right every time for consistent kills.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Sayfu

One of those places you just had to be dar!

That 1 mile square area I never found another like it. The place we hunted is now called Arizona City. Funny thing, back then they had was the street signs up before they did anything, no markings what so ever all agricultural land.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I thought the only redeeming feature of high velocity was the reduced lead required, only to learn that it is measured in inches, not feet. Thanks RES.

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Sayfu,

Maybe you're right, but after 200-years of fiddling shotguns are still just effective to 35-yds...really. At least it is for us mere mortals.

Ah, I recall those good old days of lead shot when a 40-45 yard OMG duck kill wasn't too uncommon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MReeder wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I'll happily trade away some speed in exchange for a shoulder that doesn't look like an eggplant at the end of the day, at least when it comes to burning through shells shooting at doves. The first dozen shots of hi-V stuff don't bother me that much, but once the shoulder starts blossoming various shades of red and purple I notice my hits fall off, too. The problem is trying to find any low-velocity ammo on store shells. I finally found some last year at the local Bass Pro, but not before I had rearranged my fillings on opening day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I watched a 1/2 show yesterday put on by those bearded dudes from Louisiana that make duck calls..anyone relate to those guys? Robinson was the name of one of them. Funny guys, and they were set up hunting on the North Platte River. Hevi Shot guys..the $2-$3 a shot stuff I think. Man did that shot clobber the ducks at distance. You could see the blow delivered on impact with that stuff. A coyote came into their territory. They made it appear as if they were being stalked and attacked by this big coyote, and it was a full grown, big dog. One of them got up, snuck around some cover, and as the dog ran off at 60 yds the guy killed it deader than a nit, and dragged it back to their blind! WT times velocity with that stuff is somethin else.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

@MReeder,
The reason I load 1 1/4 oz 1350fps shells to shoot doves with is that this is one of the last venues I have available that provides volume shooting at live birds with which to improve or polish my long range shooting skills. A 1 1/4 oz of 7 1/2's will consistently kill doves at 45-50 yards through a modified choke (about 20 thousandths constriction). If your shoulder looks like red meat at the end of a couple of boxes of shells, it simply means you are not shooting enough.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

@ RES1956,
Sorry about the deluge of information, it's just that I used to raise rabbits and someone calling them Rodents really irks me..........

One of my pet peeves I guess.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Zermoid...What about those horned rabbits?...and MREEDER..that is why the new autos are taking over the market share...bang,bang,bang with 3"mag shells and little felt recoil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from argoman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

to Sayfu......Ooops! i thought you meant Fall City, wisconsin. Sorry

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Argaman....I went out to my wife and asked her if she had heard of a Dunnville that was 20 miles from Fall City? Thought it had to be a misspelling.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

When Phil brings up the question, why doesn't he make a comment?..doesn't know?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

I agree with Phil I am switching to a 20 gauge lead number 6 shot, can someone loan me cash for a plane ticket to New Zealand?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

AJMcClure...I'd drive, I'm scared of flyin.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

AJMcClure...I'd drive, I'm scared of flyin.

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Post a Comment

from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

If you think Hypersonic Rem. steel shot punishes you, consider what it does to a 2lb duck. Lighter hunting shotguns get carried around all day and

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from derik wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Hunted with hypersonic's and dryloks in the same hunt, each counted game no more than the other. I think a lot of it is mental, some people may not have had as much confidence or felt they were out of practice before the season, and with the new loads out, they try it but they go into it with the expectation that it will outperform last years ammo, and with that mindset they are more confident in themselves and with the shot. I've hunted alongside guys shooting the fastest steel they could get their hands on and they do no better than the rest of us if not worse some days. I think it has more to do with the shooter than the ammo in many cases. Always key is to "know your limits".

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

If you think Hypersonic Rem. steel shot punishes you, consider what it does to a 2lb duck.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Higher speed has been shown to not create much advantage at distance..blows the pattern on steel especially out at distance.
One of the worst factors that can happen to a shotgunner is to get the FLINCHES!!!! Once it happens it is very hard to get rid of, and high velocity can cause more kick and create the flinches. And a few turkey hunters have developed it. Sit there, aim, and get ready for a kick that compares favorably to an African big game rifle.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

For me, shooting the higher velocity 3 inch shells is preferrable to the 3 1/2 inch loads when additional reach is needed.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

You already said it. Extreme speed is only useful with steel shot that needs all the help it can get with retaining energy for its 30-40 yard impacts. The other materials do just fine at "slow" velocities, they always have.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

That's precisely why I still use my trusty old BPS 10 gauge stalker. Yeah, it's a little (but not too much) heavier than a typical 12 gauge, but it's backbored and has a lengthened forcing cone. I can shoot duck and goose loads all day with very mild perceived recoil and deliver just as much shot downrange as a 31/2 inch 12 gauge.
Another shred of anecdotal evidence; I have discovered that one does not necessarily require a 30 inch shotgun barrel to roll out waterfowl at distance. I originally purchased my BPS stalker with a 24 inch barrel to use in a tree stand shooting buckshot for whitetails. I found with the correct screw in choke I can consistently roll out snow geese at 50 yards. I do that with plain old Winchester Drylock steel # 2's and BB's. This has caused me to rethink the conventional wisdom that a longer shotgun barrel automatically translates to greater range.
It is most unfortunate that the 31/2" 12 gauge shotgun has diminished the popularity of the 10 gauge shotgun.
Note: I will admit that heavy buckshot loads in 10 gauge do have a kick to them, but when shooting at game it is not as noticeable, plus you may only shoot one or two times when deer hunting versus shooting multiple times when hunting waterfowl.
Just an old fart's opinion. :-)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure one of the the secrets to happiness as a shotgunner is to black out all of the FPS notations on your boxes of shells with a permanent marker prior to patterning them.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

argoman

The 1 mile square patch of Arizona Oasis Dad and I hunted was loaded with Duck, Dove, Quail, Rabbit and plenty of Western Diamond Back Rattlesnakes. So if you tallied up all the bag limits for 4 species for an all morning hunt, you can see you will need plenty of ammunition!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from auburn_hunter wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Does anyone have Beekeeper's email? I wanted to find out what honey he has available right now.

Thanks.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Clay...How in the heck do you see a rabbit on the ground, and a duck overhead? I've seen gunners walkin the streets with one eye cocked towards the sky, and the other eye lookin at their shoes..dangerous crossin the street. :)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Mark..not sure you are right. Within a given distance, yes, and less lead necessary, BUT, factor in what wingshooter is saying...he is right on. What also happens with the inefficient round pellet, is faster loads slow down faster...they create their own wind resistance. As study I read, if you can believe studies, and it is far better than believing what I could determine about it, is..steel actually performs embarrassingly bad beyond 40ds when driven out with high velocities...the pattern actually disintegrates worse than if slower muzzle velocities were created.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

well a swarm of shotgun pellets dissipate in flight.. the farther from the target the worse it gets.. so concluding it, when hornady develops theire superformance powder for shotguns u can with a tighter bore kill at further distance with the same recoil.. evolution in firearms isnt as limited as phil wants it to be.. for now we have to suffer through more recoil for more speed, but that will change by simply having powder that burns more efficiently leaving less jet effect from the escaping powdergas but killing at more distance if the limitating factor of bore restriction is taken into account.. peace out ;)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I do think for hand loaders the higher velocity shot shell reduces the amount of reloads on the shell.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Well, that's a good question!

I do know I killed a Coyote with #6's, but it took 50 rounds to either kill it with lead poisoning, the weight of the lead or both!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from argoman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

to Clay Cooper, I don't know anybody who carries 50 rounds of shotgun ammo with them on a hunt. (here in wisconsin, we can only shoot two or three ducks). my friends used to tease me for taking 15 rounds of 12 ga. shells with a single shot. they didn't relize i kept changing shot size depending on cover. 7 1/2 for partridge, #5 for squirrels, and #2 or BB for fox. as far as shot speed, it depends on range and pattern.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from argoman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

P.S. i know a guy that hunts turkeys with a .410

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Turkeys with a 410? What distance are the kills? A guy with field loads doesn't get a shot if the other guy has high velocity loads? Wow! What's the situation? A bird gets up to my side, and is my bird, and the guy shoots across in front of me? Hopefully Phil will step in here at some point and give us some scientific explanation. More foot lbs of energy for steel up to a point, then the speed works against the pattern is correct, I believe.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Do a little research in shotshell ballistics charts....the super shells velocity is all up front. At 40 yards and beyond they have slowed down to about the same as normal velocity loads. After all, we're talking about round pellets, not plastic tipped spitzers. A shotshell pellet is about the most ballistically inefficient projectile there is. I regularly break 16 yd and 21 yd handicap trap targets with Winchester's AA featherlite (24 gm @ 980 fps) With an IM or full choke, they disintegrate as hard as being hit with a 1300+ 1 1/8 oz handicap load. I believe it is a matter of choke, which non toxic shot does not like. Put enough pellets in a duck or goose, and he is coming down. In the early days of steel, we used 12 ga. 3" no. 2 steel (1 1/4oz. at 1250) with excellent results. The idea was to put enough shot in the air to break wings. We knew that worthless steel shot would not kill cleanly with body hits.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

T.O.T. or Time On Target, Higher velocity means less time for shot [or a bullet] to get sidetracked before it hits the target. For me it's always been a trade off.

For clay targets I like *reasonable* velocity to cover whatever afflictions I have for that particular day, however. I use 7/8 oz 12-ga handloads to lessen recoil.

Pattern density appears the governing factor hunting birds. After decades of playing with shotshell hunting loads I've yet to improve upon the basic trap load in 7 and 1/2's or #4's.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Rodents?..all in your head. How many folks luv lobster, and they are the scavengers that eat all the PCB's that accumulate on the bottom

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

argoman. I am a former Washingtonian. Lived in Fall City, and hunted bantails up in Wayerhauser, pheasants and ducks down on Stillwater property, grouse, and had a jetboat, and hunted ducks along the Snoqualmie...got shot one time hunting stillwater, and had the best of the pheasant hunting in Eastern, WA in the hayday of pheasants around Moses Lake.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Without too much digression, my thoughts based on empiracle and ancedotal experiences are:
1. Higher velocities with steel are better, to a degree. I never notice recoil while shooting at gamebirds or waterfowl. You must have velocity to develop energy with lighter pellets.
2. Faster velocities do not crush clay targets better than 1150 fps 2 3/4 dram eq. loads. The resulting smoke cloud is a result of a good barrel and a good shooter.
3. A longer barrel is not necessary to maximize the potential of a shotgun, but it helps the shooter point out long crossers better than a short barrel will. How many 27 yard handicap shooters do you see shooting a 28" O/U or single barrel. Not any, 32 or 34 inch barrels are the norm. This does not mean that you cannot shoot a 26" bbl auto effectively at long ducks or geese because I do it every season.
4. The difference in lead at a 40 yard crossing shot with a 1700 fps shell vs a 1450 fps shell is measured in inches, not feet. An accomplished wingshot will be unable to tell the difference in lead, just recoil.
5. Pattern density kills and that is the downfall of steel shells. Larger pellets mean fewer pellets in the pattern and less multiple hits on the target which are required to cleanly kill game with a shotgun.*Barring the 'Golden BB' to the head which clearly points out that some days a duck's luck just sucks.
6. Good shots will consistently kill game when an unaccomplished shooter will consistently miss. Therefore, if your abilities suck, spend the money on clay targets at the sporting clays range instead of on a different shotgun and expensive shells in your quest for the magic combination because it just don't exist.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Sayfu, I think you would have to concentrate on your bird limits First and seetle for rabbit after. That is how I would do it. But then I don't eat rabbits. They are rodents.

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from argoman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

to Safu, He calls them in to about 15 yds. on his own property, there is no other guy with long-range loads. here in Wisconsin it's pretty much private land hunting, unless you want to hunt in public hunting grounds with a crowd.

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from argoman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Safu, thanks for commenting. i live about 20 miles from Fall city. i hunt the bottoms in Dunnville for small game, gets pretty dangerous down ther for gun deer hunting.

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I shoot 3" Magnum #4 turkey loads both for turkey and also for squirrels that are wayyyyy up in a tree. And never notice the recoil. But fire one at a target and boy do I feel it!

Same with slugs and magnum buckshot. Never seem to notice the kick when hunting but on the range I sure do.

BTW, all these are fired out of a pump shotgun.

Never completely understood this phenomenon but am grateful for it! So for hunting the fastest, hardest hitting load is fine with me, just be sure to have some lighter loads for busting clays!

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

@ Moishe
Rabbits aren't rodents, they are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha.
There are eight different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), cottontail rabbits (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species), and the Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi, an endangered species on Amami Ōshima, Japan). There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pikas and hares, make up the order Lagomorpha.

Squirrels are however part of the Order Rodentia and are rodents, or as I refer to then, tree rats.

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

And.......

Lagomorphs differ from rodents in that:

They have four incisors in the upper jaw (not two, as in the Rodentia)

They are almost wholly herbivorous (unlike rodents, many of which will eat both meat and vegetation; the few recorded exceptions within the Lagomorpha occur among members of both Lepus and Ochotona, and involve the occasional foraging for carrion as a supplementary winter food source)

The male's scrotum is in front of his pecker (unlike rodents', which is behind) and the pecker contains no bone (baculum), unlike in rodents.

However, they resemble rodents in that their teeth grow throughout their life, thus necessitating constant chewing to keep them from growing too long.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

john R...the barrel length is not about, and has nothing to do with reaching out...a short barrel can reach out just as far. It is the smooth swing, and follow through created by the wt. of a longer barrel that assists in shooting waterfowl at the angles you often get.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

@Zermoid,
Regarding your second and third post, how in the world would I have continued to live without all that valuable
information being passed on to me. I am sure all the others on this site are equally grateful as I am.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

RES1956 good post.

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from crowman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I think the most important thing about shotgun shells is find a brand and load that works for you and marry it. I see too many guys just buy what's on sale with no thought of velocity or load and wonder why they can't seem to hit them. I've seen velocity differences of 200 fps per box of different brands in the blinds and they wonder why they just can't hit them consistently. When your minds eye tells you when to shoot it needs the same velocity to do the job right every time for consistent kills.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Sayfu

One of those places you just had to be dar!

That 1 mile square area I never found another like it. The place we hunted is now called Arizona City. Funny thing, back then they had was the street signs up before they did anything, no markings what so ever all agricultural land.

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I thought the only redeeming feature of high velocity was the reduced lead required, only to learn that it is measured in inches, not feet. Thanks RES.

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Sayfu,

Maybe you're right, but after 200-years of fiddling shotguns are still just effective to 35-yds...really. At least it is for us mere mortals.

Ah, I recall those good old days of lead shot when a 40-45 yard OMG duck kill wasn't too uncommon.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I'll happily trade away some speed in exchange for a shoulder that doesn't look like an eggplant at the end of the day, at least when it comes to burning through shells shooting at doves. The first dozen shots of hi-V stuff don't bother me that much, but once the shoulder starts blossoming various shades of red and purple I notice my hits fall off, too. The problem is trying to find any low-velocity ammo on store shells. I finally found some last year at the local Bass Pro, but not before I had rearranged my fillings on opening day.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I watched a 1/2 show yesterday put on by those bearded dudes from Louisiana that make duck calls..anyone relate to those guys? Robinson was the name of one of them. Funny guys, and they were set up hunting on the North Platte River. Hevi Shot guys..the $2-$3 a shot stuff I think. Man did that shot clobber the ducks at distance. You could see the blow delivered on impact with that stuff. A coyote came into their territory. They made it appear as if they were being stalked and attacked by this big coyote, and it was a full grown, big dog. One of them got up, snuck around some cover, and as the dog ran off at 60 yds the guy killed it deader than a nit, and dragged it back to their blind! WT times velocity with that stuff is somethin else.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

@MReeder,
The reason I load 1 1/4 oz 1350fps shells to shoot doves with is that this is one of the last venues I have available that provides volume shooting at live birds with which to improve or polish my long range shooting skills. A 1 1/4 oz of 7 1/2's will consistently kill doves at 45-50 yards through a modified choke (about 20 thousandths constriction). If your shoulder looks like red meat at the end of a couple of boxes of shells, it simply means you are not shooting enough.

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

@ RES1956,
Sorry about the deluge of information, it's just that I used to raise rabbits and someone calling them Rodents really irks me..........

One of my pet peeves I guess.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Zermoid...What about those horned rabbits?...and MREEDER..that is why the new autos are taking over the market share...bang,bang,bang with 3"mag shells and little felt recoil.

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from argoman wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

to Sayfu......Ooops! i thought you meant Fall City, wisconsin. Sorry

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Argaman....I went out to my wife and asked her if she had heard of a Dunnville that was 20 miles from Fall City? Thought it had to be a misspelling.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

When Phil brings up the question, why doesn't he make a comment?..doesn't know?

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from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

I agree with Phil I am switching to a 20 gauge lead number 6 shot, can someone loan me cash for a plane ticket to New Zealand?

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

AJMcClure...I'd drive, I'm scared of flyin.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

AJMcClure...I'd drive, I'm scared of flyin.

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from bigsqueezer wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

if two of us were hunting birds and only one shot high velocity shells and the other shot field loads, the fellow with "field loads" would never get a shot.

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