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<  16ga. Ammunition & Reloading  ~  Steel for Pheasants?
GaryO
PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:27 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 107
Location: Roseville, CA

For years I have used size 6 lead shot at 1200 fps to great effect on pheasants. But now here in Kalifornia we are ordered to switch over to non-toxic shot for all game birds except on private "game farms". What do you folks suggest? Thanks...

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Dogchaser37
PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:15 pm  Reply with quote
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Location: Central CT

I have been using Bismuth #5 for ducks and a few pheasants. I don't see a big difference in lead 6's and bismuth 5's.

I am not a fan of steel shot in my 16's simply because most of my 16 gauge guns were made before steel shot was mandated.

I played around with steel in the 12 gauge a little. Steel 4's seemed like the right shot size, but it isn't as effective as lead 6's in my opinion. I have tried steel 3's but I was less thrilled using them, and I went back to steel 4's. I did not use the steel on native birds, all pen raised pheasants.

I think that I would recommend either Nice Shot, Bismuth or the softer ITX.

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skeettx
PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:07 pm  Reply with quote
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Location: Amarillo, Texas

Subtract two and add two

So #4 Steel at 1400 FPS

Mike

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Charlie16ga
PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:07 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 28 Aug 2014
Posts: 835
Location: Western Kentucky

I have used both federal steel #4 and hand rolled #4 shells. I felt the factory loads were a bit weak for anything other than tight sitting wild pheasants. The faster fps hand rolled ammo seemed to pattern better.

Not sure how much ammo you burn annually hunting pheasant and ducks, but I found for those purposes reloading as dog suggested a better option. The one exception I'd reference is that I do still load steel #6 for dove loads. Where I go requires nontoxic and the amount I use make anything else cost prohibitive.

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GaryO
PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:30 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 107
Location: Roseville, CA

sorry; should have mentioned that I shoot a 16 ga O/U...

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Gary

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John Singer
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:07 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 03 Sep 2014
Posts: 109
Location: Brooklyn, MI

I hunt pheasants with a 16 gauge SxS (Stevens 5100). I shoot nothing but steel shot for game.

I have found that 2, 3, and 4 steel all work. The load that I use is 7/8 oz at ~1550 fps.

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tramroad28
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:19 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Jul 2011
Posts: 310

There is no reason steel shot will not work within any limitations anywhere of gauge or load or pellet or distance ad nauseaum.
In other words, the hunter's decision to shoot or not matters more than pellet and all else.
Will other non-tox or the dreaded lead offer a greater range of limits?
Yup.
With all that, a larger pellet would appear wise and other non-tox, wiser still.
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Little Creek
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:13 am  Reply with quote
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Location: Anchorage, AK

If you are substituting for lead, first, as always, consider the type of hunting ...pointing dog or flusher, and conditions/range expected.

We have used steel #2's in 12 gauge with great effect. These were the size recommended for pheasant by Tom Roster after his trials. It gives good effect at 40 yards. Choke seems to matter less with steel, as the main problem is getting the shot to spread at all.

I've used #4 and #6 bismuth (1-1/4) in a 12 gauge out to about 35 yards and #6 in a 16 gauge (1 ounce) about the same. No cripples using IC and Full chokes.

Interestingly, one day I killed three sandhill cranes with 1 ounce of bismuth #6 in a 16 gauge bored M/F at ranges from 30 to over 35 yards (conservatively estimated). These are big birds! No cripples.

Don't be afraid of using non-toxic, just keep the shots within 40 yards for best results.
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Little Creek
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:18 am  Reply with quote
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In my previous post I mentioned results on all wild pheasants taken in MT, ND, SD. I used #4 steel in the mid nineties and didn't think it was a consistent killer for pheasants, for all around ranges. I have also killed jumped mallards at close range with #7 steel so a lot depends on the range.
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Dave Erickson
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:53 am  Reply with quote
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If I HAVE to use steel I use the #2's in my 12 gauge auto as I use on ducks. #3's are most likely good, too, but I haven't used them. Not a finesse deal, but 3 inch steel deuces are hammer time and I don't like to worry about it if I'm on nontoxic land on an out of state trip (which is only where this happens).

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AmericanMeet
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:00 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 2817
Location: NCWa

If it was steel shot only, I'd give up hunting- fortunately there are lead substitutes that won't ruin the guns.
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GaryO
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:31 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 107
Location: Roseville, CA

I have a TriStar Hunter EX 16 gauge O/U with screw chokes. The folks at TriStar suggest that steel is fine as long as I install a modified choke as my tightest choke; I have about decided to try Kent bismouth #5's on those local roosters...
Thanks for all your council...

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Hootch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:23 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 1260
Location: Eagle, Nebraska

The bismuth #5 worked great out of my 16's this fall on wild birds.
The factory steel is crap as far as I am concerned
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Little Creek
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:47 pm  Reply with quote
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Hootch- I am surprised that you have not had luck with steel on pheasant. Perhaps the going away shots are tougher with steel. I have killed at least 25 cranes and almost as many geese primarily using BB and #2 steel. These have sometimes been taken at very long range...40 to 60 yards. I usually do not shoot at going away geese, though.
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4setters
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:12 pm  Reply with quote
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Joined: 19 Nov 2013
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Location: NW Arkansas

GO.
Back in the 90's I shot a lot of mallards in flooded timber with my 16ga Citori and M37 using factory steel loads. Back then, I mostly used #2s based on information released at the time by Tom Roster that #4s were poorer than #2s or #6s in steel killing efficiency. In flooded timber, with shots at 35 yards or less, they did just fine. Did they kill as far as lead; no, lead was good for another 5-10 yards out of my Auto-5 modified gun. On the rarer occasions when I hunted open rice/bean fields, I used my 12 gauge Benelli M90 with #3 steel, as ducks are normally shot a greater distance over open water. I also used #4 factory loads in 16 ga. on teal, which is the only duck I still routinely hunt. Deadly, if you can hit the little buggers.

I have also used factory steel reloads on pheasants on WPAs and other areas, mostly #4s. Frankly, I've had good luck with them. I hunt over dogs so most of my shots are under 35-40 yards. Shot distance is the key with steel; it loses velocity rapidly with distance.

I don't have experience with the new factory Bismuth loads; only the old original ones. I had poor luck with these, on both pheasants and quail. I suspect that the new loads are much better, as shot fragmentation is no longer an issue.

Currently, I load a lot of #7 steel reloads at relatively low velocity (see Lyman's No. 5) for quail, as I hunt a lot on federal land requiring it. It took me a while getting used to shooting steel at quail, but now I have no qualms about it at all.

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