These shotshells have proven their worth on waterfowl.
Duck hunting season is quickly approaching, and all the waterfowl hunters out there are stocking up on the shotgun shells they know will perform. We all have our preferences, but to help make sense of the multitude of options out there, we wanted to share a list of the five brands and variations we feel are going to be reliable for any level shooter.
Maybe these choices are ones you already use, or maybe you'll be introduced to something new; in any case, you're going to find these options appealing for a variety of reasons.
What shotgun shells are you shooting this duck season?
View the slideshow to see our picks for the five shotgun shells worth shooting this duck season.
Kent makes a great waterfowl shell in their Upland FastSteel option. The 2 3/4-inch shells loaded with #5 shot at 1400 feet per second pattern excellent with several test guns. The load of 1 1/8- ounce packs plenty of punch for decoying ducks without substantial recoil. While duck season is not yet opened, we were able to try them on crows and preserve pheasants. These shotgun shells hit with a lot of visible impact and knocked the birds down hard.
Kent's Tungsten-Matrix are heavy loads in 3-inch shells loaded with #3 shot (other sizes are available). The 1 1/2-ounce load has a velocity of 1350 feet per second. Patterns were very consistent with few flyers. This ammo hit birds very hard and penetrated completely even at distances out to 40 yards. These shotgun shells are a best bet for longer range shooting.
Federal Premium's Black Cloud has been around for a while and has developed a cult-like following. With variations including Close Range, High Velocity and Snow Goose, there is a product for every waterfowl situation you may encounter this season. FlightStopper wads keep patterns controlled and the special pellet shape increases penetration and the size of the wound channel. These shotgun shells are mid-priced and have a proven track record.
The Winchester Blind Side incorporates hex shaped shot with a diamond cut wad to produce a hard hitting, high performance non-toxic shotgun shell. The shot sizes are somewhat limited with only #2 available in 2 3/4-inch ammo and #1, 2, 3 and 5 available in 3-inch. While the penetration seem to vary at different ranges due to the hex shaped shot, the shape does tend to increase terminal wounds.
Remington offers the fastest velocities in one of the least expensive non-toxic shotgun shells worth shooting this duck season in their HyperSonic Steel shotshells. At 1700 feet per second, these cartridges have velocities at least 100 feet per second faster than the closest competitor. Remington uses a special primer and powder that moves the Xelerator wad very fast to increase overall velocity thereby increasing downrange energy.