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Pheasants and Steel Shot: A Good Combo, But Rough on Teeth

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July 03, 2012

Pheasants and Steel Shot: A Good Combo, But Rough on Teeth

By Phil Bourjaily

I hunt pheasants with non-toxic shot a lot. Some places I hunt, non-toxic shot is required. Any time waterfowl season is open, I load up with non-toxic because I want to be able to shoot at a duck, snipe or goose if it happens by. Mostly I rely on my dwindling stash of Kent tungsten-matrix, which is by far my favorite non-toxic pellet in the uplands: nearly as dense as lead, easy on gun barrels and teeth, and lead-like in its response to choke. Unfortunately it costs $2.50 or more per shell. Last season I did my pheasant hunting with steel since it is the cost-effective choice.

My field test coincided with the worst pheasant year at home in recent history, although I did find a few local birds and I made a trip to South Dakota as well. What I saw last fall was just what I have seen off and on for years when I have used steel shot on pheasants: it works.

I shot Winchester’s 1-1/4 ounce 4 at 1,400 fps in South Dakota, more or less the equivalent of a high  velocity 1-1/4 ounce load of 6s, my usual lead pheasant load. If I shot birds, they fell dead with the exception of one I hit hard that fluttered off weakly instead of folding, but it was recoverable. At home I hunted with Winchester Xperts in 1-1/16 ounce of 3s at 1,500 fps. I used an IC choke in my Montefeltro and IC/M in my Gold Label. The only cripples my shorthair had to find for me were two birds I hit with only one or two pellets in the wing at close range through pure bad shooting.

My sample size was small but it seemed consistent with the findings of Tom Roster, a ballistician who conducted a large-scale study in North Dakota in the late '90s. In the test, hunters used steel 2, 4 and 6 shot and hunted with trained retrievers.

Roster found 2s (and while he did not test 3s he rated them the second-best choice) performed best at all ranges. The hunters were required to take shots at various long and short ranges, and by far the most crippling occurred beyond 40 yards. The overall crippling rate (birds hit and not retrieved) with 2s was 8.5 percent which is comparable to the numbers I have seen for crippling rates with lead.

When hunters kept their shots inside 30 yards, where the vast majority of pheasants are shot, the crippling rate with all three sizes of steel dropped to under 3 percent, which is outstanding. Roster’s study used 12 gauge loads that only contained one ounce of shot, the payload of a 3-inch 20 gauge.

Although the price of steel has come down and the price of lead has gone up, steel does have its drawbacks. Steel works, but lead does work better. And, my experiment ended abruptly after my wife bit into a steel 3, grimaced in pain and said, “That’s it. Start shooting them with something softer.”

 

Comments (38)

Top Rated
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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Or buy a cheap metal detector....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I bet your post was made half in jest, but I wonder if a metal detector would work? Any beach-combers have any thoughts on this?

Crown-work is expensive. More so than metal detectors, I bet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Half and half. Why not?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Holly Heyser wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

We eat so much more duck than pheasant that we're conditioned to biting and chewing all the birds we eat gently. Ain't no big thang.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I must use steel shot on the federal refuges and I also find it works fine with pheasants. I use #4 but may take the advice to move up to #2 and see if there's any difference. Where I hunt most of the steel loads over the counter that sell at all are high velocity (circa 1500 fps) duck loads. I also don't see much evidence of crippling with high speed steel. If they're down, they're usually good and dead. I'm pretty careful about cleaning my birds. Haven't bit into a pellet in twenty years I don't think. But I usually cut the meat into strips for marinade rather than cooking them whole "under glass."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Good report Phil. Keep the cold weather shooting stories coming.

Happy Independence Day to Gun Nuts everywhere!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longhunter wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I use to hunt ducks over decoys and used #4 Bismuth for several years. It worked extemely well and fortunately I never had to experience it's effect on my dental work. Beautiful Gold Label by the way. I have not seen one of those in several years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from springerman3 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Phil, You know me, won't stop using lead until they pry it from my cold dead hands ....
Pb Head: back at you !!
Holly Heyser: Ain't no big thang .... Welcome to the Gun Nut blog :)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buckshott00 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I am not a fan of steel shot but I understand its use. I just dislike having to use so much more powder and larger shot sizes to make up for the momentum loss to do drop in density. I would actually rather shoot tungsten like in the article, but it is too expensive. There really is no good alternative. All of the denser metals are toxic or extremely expensive.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Take a 12 penny nail and flatten the sharp end of it and pick the shot right out.
Works for me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

tO ALL;
tHIS IS A MIGHTY GOOD THING pHIL AND dAVID HAS GOING HERE.
iT BRINGS ME GREAT PLEASURE TO READ ALL THE COMMENTS FROM REAL OUTDOORSMEN.
nOTHING LAST FOREVER AND i WOULD LIKE FOR SOMEBODY TO COME UP WITH A WORTHY GIFT (ANYTHING) TO SHOW THEM OUR APPRECIATION.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cliff68 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

My experience with steel and wild late season pheasants, better have a good dog.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from duckcreekdick wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Even a lead pellet is not fun to bite on. Holly is right though. Eat slowly, chew carefully and enjoy!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Cliff, what speed, gauge, and shot size are you using? Can't get away with using the same light loads in steel that worked fine with lead. Prepare to get smacked around a bit if you expect steel to work.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

My experience and observation is steel shot isn't much good after 35-yds no matter what size. Name your curse: Too large steel shot=no pattern density. Too small shot=exercising the fauna at 15-yds, plus. A game bag becomes *luck*.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul Wilke wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Go to a woodworkers store, find a hand held metal detector, used to find nails in wood and save blades, dig the nails out.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

since we don't have anything new going,I took a look back, in the archieves, Oct. 2008, and boy, has the neames and thoughts changed, excepting old timers like WAmtnhunter,snafu and ralph.
Everything is in a constant state of change.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Same question to you, Mark. How FAST are your steel loads? If they're not approaching 1500 fps or better, I agree, it's pretty much a losing battle. That's why I feel guys who want to shoot the smaller guns are often at a disadvantage. It can be a lot harder to find fast steel loads in 20 gauge. For example, I know Federal makes some 20 gauge steel loads that reach 1500 fps but to be honest I have never seen them in stores up here. But our selection is usually limited.

I typically have about a .500 batting average or better shooting geese with fast BBs in my 3" 12 gauge. I don't get many shots under thirty yards and almost never shoot at anything further than forty. My deeks are usually set up at least thirty-five yards away and further as the season wears on. The geese get too cagey to decoy to a fenceline (I don't like shooting off my arse). So I take them pass shooting mostly. So, steel can be effective if the right choke, speed, shot size, and gauge are used. The combination has to be exactly right. The stuff is not as forgiving as lead, that's for sure.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Steel stinks! Why? Many, many gunners do not know effective distances, and want to pull the trigger, and prey it falls out of the sky. Steel penetrates much more so than lead with little knock down power at distances, and birds fly off and die.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I use #4 lead for South Dakota pheasant hunting and have since my first pheasant (1953). I let them get out to about 30 yards before I shoot but am able to reach further if necessary. Steel works OK when you have a good dog but my primary reason for continuing with lead is to save my teeth. I guess I enjoy pheasant too much and am too impatient to roll a bite of pheasant around in my mouth for five minutes to ensure there is no pellet. Crowns ARE expensive and steel shot HURTS when you bite down on it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Dry conditions can leave little, if any scent for a dog to track, and a running rooster can put large tracks of distance between a dog, and them in a hurry. Steel stinks! Next time you are in South Dakota, and a large number of hunters are driving a field watch how many shots are often taken at one, or maybe two birds, and they fly off with the thought that everyone missed. It often isn't the case with steel. They were hit, and the steel penetrated well, they just did not come down...dead bird for a coyote maybe. And in South Dakota hunters don't have to use steel, and few if any do, thank God.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Back to the 20 ga. verses 12 ga. issue, on phesants. Try to stay with me here Iowa boys, after all I did choke down three to four meals a week, for two months of the things. I felt like I was back in the great depression. In eastern Iowa, you get about 35 inches of annual percipitation, you have deep topsoil, and high fertility. So you say, what does that have to do with shooting a 20 ga.. I'll tell you, just about everything. You get much more vegitative growth in your cover, so the birds, feeling more secure will sit tighter, giving closer shots. Also, I'm sure that a lot of your habitat is in low areas, where the corn farmer can't get to because it's to wet. That means cattails, again heavy cover, close shots. In western South Dakota, we get about 14 inches of precip. a year, our topsoil is thin, our fertility, is poor, and our grasshopper population is great. Our cover is thin, our phesants don't sit. I hardly ever see a 10 yard flush, in December. I do see many 30 yard fushes. You are under gunned with a 20 ga. in the western dakotas. If you want to talk more about shotguns, or shotgunning, you can call me. You can't find my name, or number, you say. Google South Dakota state skeet shooting champion, that might get you there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pig Pen wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Use a compass needle as a metal detector.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I have never shot pheasants with steel shot, however, I believe that the 3" Rio #3's @1500 fps will kill any rooster stone dead at 40-45 yards, based on what I saw them do to big old late season mallards.
Had I been required to shoot steel, I would have tried to dig out any pellets I could possibly find in the pheasant, much the same as I do when cleaning the ducks for the table.
I will say that I do not shoot 3" lead and have been perfectly well pleased with Kent Fastlead 2 3/4" #5's on pheasants, that would have been a heck of a duckload back in the day,,,,

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I too love the Kent Tungsten matrix shells, but you are correct in that they are not cheap. Yhey are OK for a guy like me who doesn't hunt pheasants as often as you do, but if I had to buy them regularly, it would put a pinch on my hunting fund.
As far as steel goes, I use #2 or BB for everything waterfowl wise. The hefty payload of my 10 gauge BPS Stalker helps a bit too. Of course, it goes without saying I wouldn't use the 10 gauge on pheasants. I would think that to be a bit rude.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Noelie84 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Whenever I shoot a bird with steel I take a good strong cattle magnet to a good-sized steel finish nail and wipe the nail down a few times. After I've gone thru and cleaned the bird, I'll push the nail into each pellet hole. The magnetic nail pulls the pellet back out with it. I've gotten so that each bird only takes a couple of minutes to do, and it beats the hell out of a trip to the dentist.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Damn, that is a good tip. Thanks, Noelie. Stuff like that makes this forum worthwhile.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

give me lead till I'm dead

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

give me lead till I'm dead

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from M1jhartman wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Phil, have you ever opened up a Winchester Xpert shell and looked at the shot?

I won't be buying any.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from springerman3 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Deadeyedick: I am with you man ! sdditchpig: I believe you are referring to a post I made on another topic. While your analogy on cover type is correct, that still does not mean that I could not bring down enough roosters to make my trip there satisfying with the paltry 20 gauge. I said " most " hunting situations in that post. While I am not a skeet champion that does not mean I am not capable of killing things with my shotgun of choice. I have hunted enough to know there are times when I would have to beef up my load for the shots presented to me OR not take those shots because they are beyond the range I can do what I a supposed to do with a shotgun in the field. On the lighter side really, how many people shoot skeet in South Dakota ??
Have a great day !!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD Bob wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Every time this topic comes up I amazed at what I see? I never use lead for pheasants and my favorite load is an ounce and an eighth of #3's in a 12 gauge. I do not have problems with cripples and it's not because my dog is great (even though she is), it's because my co-workers and I spend all spring and summer shooting skeet. I don't hunt private land either.

Sayfu-where are you getting your information? Steel is mandated in South Dakota if you hunt Game Production areas or Waterfowl production areas,basically state owned lands. Private and federally owned land allows the use of lead. As far as few if any hunters are using steel? A substantial amount of hunters here are shooting steel at pheasants. We sell pallets and pallets of steel shot specifically for pheasant hunting and each year we sell more.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

M1jhartman -- I have cut open Xperts, patterned them and killed birds with them. No question they are misshapen and I suspect those deformities are one reason they pattern more openly. For upland birds and the first shot at ducks over decoys, they are fine. For longer ranges, you are correct: shoot something else.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from springerman3 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Phil: Maybe those Expert shells would make good grouse loads ? I have some in size 7 shot.
SD Bob: What load would you suggest for my paltry 20 gauge ? You & your friends must be the group that sdditchpig competes against in skeet ? Do you shoot steel or lead while skeeting ?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

SD Bob: You cannot hunt uplands with lead in most federal bird refuges. Some federal game management areas do allow use of lead. For example, one can shoot uplands with lead on the CM Russell Game Refuge (managed by the BLM) while only non-toxic shot is allowed on Medicine Lake Wildlife Refuge or any other refuge managed by US Fish & Wildlife. All federal land is not managed the same when it comes to lead shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Josh Giannino wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I find that when im hunting the reciol from a higher or lower load dont affect me, so why not use whats gonna get the job done right?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michelle Garcia wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I'd definitely recommend some airsoft guns, check out airsplat.com for some great deals on airsoft gear

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD Bob wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I'm in remiss, the federal lands I'm referring to are National grasslands and BLM's in South Dakota. Federal refuges that I've never heard of I won't tell people what is legal and what is not.

Springerman3: I'd use Kent Fasteel 3" with 2's or 4's. I haven't seen three's available anywhere but that doesn't mean it's not. I shoot lead when when skeet shooting. I have never knowingly met sdditchpig and if he is winning the state championship he would be doing better than me.

I don't shoot with S

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Noelie84 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Whenever I shoot a bird with steel I take a good strong cattle magnet to a good-sized steel finish nail and wipe the nail down a few times. After I've gone thru and cleaned the bird, I'll push the nail into each pellet hole. The magnetic nail pulls the pellet back out with it. I've gotten so that each bird only takes a couple of minutes to do, and it beats the hell out of a trip to the dentist.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from duckcreekdick wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Even a lead pellet is not fun to bite on. Holly is right though. Eat slowly, chew carefully and enjoy!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Or buy a cheap metal detector....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I bet your post was made half in jest, but I wonder if a metal detector would work? Any beach-combers have any thoughts on this?

Crown-work is expensive. More so than metal detectors, I bet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Half and half. Why not?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Holly Heyser wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

We eat so much more duck than pheasant that we're conditioned to biting and chewing all the birds we eat gently. Ain't no big thang.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I must use steel shot on the federal refuges and I also find it works fine with pheasants. I use #4 but may take the advice to move up to #2 and see if there's any difference. Where I hunt most of the steel loads over the counter that sell at all are high velocity (circa 1500 fps) duck loads. I also don't see much evidence of crippling with high speed steel. If they're down, they're usually good and dead. I'm pretty careful about cleaning my birds. Haven't bit into a pellet in twenty years I don't think. But I usually cut the meat into strips for marinade rather than cooking them whole "under glass."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Good report Phil. Keep the cold weather shooting stories coming.

Happy Independence Day to Gun Nuts everywhere!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longhunter wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I use to hunt ducks over decoys and used #4 Bismuth for several years. It worked extemely well and fortunately I never had to experience it's effect on my dental work. Beautiful Gold Label by the way. I have not seen one of those in several years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from springerman3 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Phil, You know me, won't stop using lead until they pry it from my cold dead hands ....
Pb Head: back at you !!
Holly Heyser: Ain't no big thang .... Welcome to the Gun Nut blog :)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buckshott00 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I am not a fan of steel shot but I understand its use. I just dislike having to use so much more powder and larger shot sizes to make up for the momentum loss to do drop in density. I would actually rather shoot tungsten like in the article, but it is too expensive. There really is no good alternative. All of the denser metals are toxic or extremely expensive.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Take a 12 penny nail and flatten the sharp end of it and pick the shot right out.
Works for me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

tO ALL;
tHIS IS A MIGHTY GOOD THING pHIL AND dAVID HAS GOING HERE.
iT BRINGS ME GREAT PLEASURE TO READ ALL THE COMMENTS FROM REAL OUTDOORSMEN.
nOTHING LAST FOREVER AND i WOULD LIKE FOR SOMEBODY TO COME UP WITH A WORTHY GIFT (ANYTHING) TO SHOW THEM OUR APPRECIATION.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cliff68 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

My experience with steel and wild late season pheasants, better have a good dog.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Cliff, what speed, gauge, and shot size are you using? Can't get away with using the same light loads in steel that worked fine with lead. Prepare to get smacked around a bit if you expect steel to work.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

My experience and observation is steel shot isn't much good after 35-yds no matter what size. Name your curse: Too large steel shot=no pattern density. Too small shot=exercising the fauna at 15-yds, plus. A game bag becomes *luck*.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul Wilke wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Go to a woodworkers store, find a hand held metal detector, used to find nails in wood and save blades, dig the nails out.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

since we don't have anything new going,I took a look back, in the archieves, Oct. 2008, and boy, has the neames and thoughts changed, excepting old timers like WAmtnhunter,snafu and ralph.
Everything is in a constant state of change.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Same question to you, Mark. How FAST are your steel loads? If they're not approaching 1500 fps or better, I agree, it's pretty much a losing battle. That's why I feel guys who want to shoot the smaller guns are often at a disadvantage. It can be a lot harder to find fast steel loads in 20 gauge. For example, I know Federal makes some 20 gauge steel loads that reach 1500 fps but to be honest I have never seen them in stores up here. But our selection is usually limited.

I typically have about a .500 batting average or better shooting geese with fast BBs in my 3" 12 gauge. I don't get many shots under thirty yards and almost never shoot at anything further than forty. My deeks are usually set up at least thirty-five yards away and further as the season wears on. The geese get too cagey to decoy to a fenceline (I don't like shooting off my arse). So I take them pass shooting mostly. So, steel can be effective if the right choke, speed, shot size, and gauge are used. The combination has to be exactly right. The stuff is not as forgiving as lead, that's for sure.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I use #4 lead for South Dakota pheasant hunting and have since my first pheasant (1953). I let them get out to about 30 yards before I shoot but am able to reach further if necessary. Steel works OK when you have a good dog but my primary reason for continuing with lead is to save my teeth. I guess I enjoy pheasant too much and am too impatient to roll a bite of pheasant around in my mouth for five minutes to ensure there is no pellet. Crowns ARE expensive and steel shot HURTS when you bite down on it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Back to the 20 ga. verses 12 ga. issue, on phesants. Try to stay with me here Iowa boys, after all I did choke down three to four meals a week, for two months of the things. I felt like I was back in the great depression. In eastern Iowa, you get about 35 inches of annual percipitation, you have deep topsoil, and high fertility. So you say, what does that have to do with shooting a 20 ga.. I'll tell you, just about everything. You get much more vegitative growth in your cover, so the birds, feeling more secure will sit tighter, giving closer shots. Also, I'm sure that a lot of your habitat is in low areas, where the corn farmer can't get to because it's to wet. That means cattails, again heavy cover, close shots. In western South Dakota, we get about 14 inches of precip. a year, our topsoil is thin, our fertility, is poor, and our grasshopper population is great. Our cover is thin, our phesants don't sit. I hardly ever see a 10 yard flush, in December. I do see many 30 yard fushes. You are under gunned with a 20 ga. in the western dakotas. If you want to talk more about shotguns, or shotgunning, you can call me. You can't find my name, or number, you say. Google South Dakota state skeet shooting champion, that might get you there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pig Pen wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Use a compass needle as a metal detector.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I have never shot pheasants with steel shot, however, I believe that the 3" Rio #3's @1500 fps will kill any rooster stone dead at 40-45 yards, based on what I saw them do to big old late season mallards.
Had I been required to shoot steel, I would have tried to dig out any pellets I could possibly find in the pheasant, much the same as I do when cleaning the ducks for the table.
I will say that I do not shoot 3" lead and have been perfectly well pleased with Kent Fastlead 2 3/4" #5's on pheasants, that would have been a heck of a duckload back in the day,,,,

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I too love the Kent Tungsten matrix shells, but you are correct in that they are not cheap. Yhey are OK for a guy like me who doesn't hunt pheasants as often as you do, but if I had to buy them regularly, it would put a pinch on my hunting fund.
As far as steel goes, I use #2 or BB for everything waterfowl wise. The hefty payload of my 10 gauge BPS Stalker helps a bit too. Of course, it goes without saying I wouldn't use the 10 gauge on pheasants. I would think that to be a bit rude.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Damn, that is a good tip. Thanks, Noelie. Stuff like that makes this forum worthwhile.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

give me lead till I'm dead

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

give me lead till I'm dead

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from M1jhartman wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Phil, have you ever opened up a Winchester Xpert shell and looked at the shot?

I won't be buying any.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from springerman3 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Deadeyedick: I am with you man ! sdditchpig: I believe you are referring to a post I made on another topic. While your analogy on cover type is correct, that still does not mean that I could not bring down enough roosters to make my trip there satisfying with the paltry 20 gauge. I said " most " hunting situations in that post. While I am not a skeet champion that does not mean I am not capable of killing things with my shotgun of choice. I have hunted enough to know there are times when I would have to beef up my load for the shots presented to me OR not take those shots because they are beyond the range I can do what I a supposed to do with a shotgun in the field. On the lighter side really, how many people shoot skeet in South Dakota ??
Have a great day !!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD Bob wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Every time this topic comes up I amazed at what I see? I never use lead for pheasants and my favorite load is an ounce and an eighth of #3's in a 12 gauge. I do not have problems with cripples and it's not because my dog is great (even though she is), it's because my co-workers and I spend all spring and summer shooting skeet. I don't hunt private land either.

Sayfu-where are you getting your information? Steel is mandated in South Dakota if you hunt Game Production areas or Waterfowl production areas,basically state owned lands. Private and federally owned land allows the use of lead. As far as few if any hunters are using steel? A substantial amount of hunters here are shooting steel at pheasants. We sell pallets and pallets of steel shot specifically for pheasant hunting and each year we sell more.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

M1jhartman -- I have cut open Xperts, patterned them and killed birds with them. No question they are misshapen and I suspect those deformities are one reason they pattern more openly. For upland birds and the first shot at ducks over decoys, they are fine. For longer ranges, you are correct: shoot something else.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from springerman3 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Phil: Maybe those Expert shells would make good grouse loads ? I have some in size 7 shot.
SD Bob: What load would you suggest for my paltry 20 gauge ? You & your friends must be the group that sdditchpig competes against in skeet ? Do you shoot steel or lead while skeeting ?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

SD Bob: You cannot hunt uplands with lead in most federal bird refuges. Some federal game management areas do allow use of lead. For example, one can shoot uplands with lead on the CM Russell Game Refuge (managed by the BLM) while only non-toxic shot is allowed on Medicine Lake Wildlife Refuge or any other refuge managed by US Fish & Wildlife. All federal land is not managed the same when it comes to lead shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Josh Giannino wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I find that when im hunting the reciol from a higher or lower load dont affect me, so why not use whats gonna get the job done right?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michelle Garcia wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I'd definitely recommend some airsoft guns, check out airsplat.com for some great deals on airsoft gear

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from SD Bob wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I'm in remiss, the federal lands I'm referring to are National grasslands and BLM's in South Dakota. Federal refuges that I've never heard of I won't tell people what is legal and what is not.

Springerman3: I'd use Kent Fasteel 3" with 2's or 4's. I haven't seen three's available anywhere but that doesn't mean it's not. I shoot lead when when skeet shooting. I have never knowingly met sdditchpig and if he is winning the state championship he would be doing better than me.

I don't shoot with S

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Steel stinks! Why? Many, many gunners do not know effective distances, and want to pull the trigger, and prey it falls out of the sky. Steel penetrates much more so than lead with little knock down power at distances, and birds fly off and die.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Dry conditions can leave little, if any scent for a dog to track, and a running rooster can put large tracks of distance between a dog, and them in a hurry. Steel stinks! Next time you are in South Dakota, and a large number of hunters are driving a field watch how many shots are often taken at one, or maybe two birds, and they fly off with the thought that everyone missed. It often isn't the case with steel. They were hit, and the steel penetrated well, they just did not come down...dead bird for a coyote maybe. And in South Dakota hunters don't have to use steel, and few if any do, thank God.

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