Decoy Paint ... Remington Steel

B>Keeping decoys attractive to ducks...nontoxic shot for a Model 1100.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Q: I can't find any quality decoy paint that doesn't cost as much as it would to get new decoys. G&H; and Herter's is expensive, and the Parker's paint I used didn't last one day in the field, after a coat of primer and three coats of paint. I haven't been able to find any spray paint locally that matches the colors of my mallard and goose decoys. --M.

A: You might be expecting too much. You also might be priming too much. Primers are typically fairly delicate, and you might be better off roughing up your decoys lightly with 220-grit sandpaper before painting.

The guy who started me duck hunting had another solution. He was pretty broke back then (well, we both were). He didn't paint his decoys until partway through the season, when the birds started losing their eclipse plumage. He figured the dinged paint job from last season matched dull eclipse plumage pretty well, and repainted only when the mallard drakes started sporting green heads toward late autumn.

Q: I have a Remington 1100 and want to hunt where steel shot is required. Is it possible to shoot it through my 1100? Is it only a matter of obtaining choke tubes specifically made for steel, or do I need a new barrel? Is it possible for me to get a barrel capable of shooting both 2-3/4-inch and 3-inch shells, or is that only for 1100 Magnum models? --M.C.

A: Your 1100 can handle steel, and it will through normal choke tubes. I would advise using Improved Cylinder. Special steel choke tubes tend to last longer, however. Unless your gun is the 3-inch magnum model, you'll have to stick to 2-3/4-inch shells, regardless of the barrel.

You might also consider using other nontoxic shotshells. I've found 2-3/4-inch steel loads to be much less effective than 3-inch loads--and neither is as effective as 2-3/4-inch shells using Bismuth, Tungsten-Iron, or Hevi-Shot. They cost more, but you'll use less ammo to down birds. The least expensive duck load is Bismuth's nonbuffered load with No. 5 shot, but when I'm after geese I prefer Federal's Tungsten-Iron or Remington's Hevi-Shot in No. 4.