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Has anybody figured out how to get steel shot to open up inside 20 yard? I'm shooting a Skeet tube in an 11/87 (actual constric

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  • Has anybody figured out how to get steel shot to open up inside 20 yard? I'm shooting a Skeet tube in an 11/87 (actual constric

    Has anybody figured out how to get steel shot to open up inside 20 yard? I'm shooting a Skeet tube in an 11/87 (actual constriction is.003 per my barrel mic) and am shooting heads off ducks or when I'm a little further back, blowing big holes in them. Never had a problem like this before. I've patterned Winchester Experts, Black Cloud, Blue box Federal, and Rio Blue Steel. At 20-25 yards they are plum tight. .003 ain't much choke and I have used this tube for years. It is clean with no plastic or carbon build up. Only thing I can figure is that wads have changed causing tighter patterns, but in all manufacturers? Go figure,,,

  • #2
    www.Briley.com has a chart that shows you are between improved cylinder and skeet with .003. Skeet with steel shot is .000 and improved cylinder is .005 according to their chart.

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    • #3
      Either way, I wouldn't think the pattern would be that tight. Mind you, I only shoot full and modified in my two shotguns and won't take a twenty yard shot if I can avoid it. I was shooting steel at pheasants on the federal bird refuge and sometimes close shots presented themselves over my newly perfected Britt pointer. Usually I hold off shooting till they were out beyond twenty yards. I was using Winchester low base #6 steel shot and only one bird was mangled badly (but not smashed by any means). He was about twenty yards. I would have waited longer but I was already half frozen (solid!) and in a hurry to get it over with. Too much of a hurry. Though he was shot with fixed full choke he was still very salvageable. Clobbered but certainly nothing like blowing its head off! Just counted up the leftovers from that box tonight when I washed my hunting coats. Half a box left. Seven birds in twelve shots. Who would have thought puny low base sixes would do the job so well. Wasn't much steel on the shelf in Sheels at Grand Forks that wasn't high speed waterfowl loads (#2 & #4) so I took a chance on these cheap things. Should have picked up some more on my way back through to Ontario. But I was still frozen and in a hurry ... to get home.

      I guess the answer is wait a little longer for ducks to fly by further before shooting or take your shots earlier and flare them before they get so close. I presume you're hunting over deeks?

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      • #4
        Jimbo, there will be variance of inside diameter of all barrels, and while in one barrel this same choke tube may be .000, it may be .007 in another. In my particular barrel, it happens to be .003. Interesting note, I put an extended RemChoke marked "light Modified" that in this barrel had .011. The pattern at 25 yards with this choke was not appreciably tighter than it was with the skeet choke, maybe 1/4 to 1/2" wider.
        Honker, I hear ya about not shooting them so close, but when there is 3 or 4 guys in the blind you have to wait for the flock to get in the kill zone so all shooters have a chance at them. Knowing the shot is wadded up like this will make you look a lot closer at the heads other than the whole duck than you did before.
        My sons got after 'em yesterday afternoon and the oldest brought a greenhead in that had the majority of it's head removed, shot at about 25 yards. Maybe these new glasses are making a difference-LOL.

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        • #5
          Res,
          Try a lower power load or a substitute for steel and see how that works.

          Jim

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          • #6
            That pattern sounds way too tight. Thanks for clarifying the reasoning behind -25 yard shots. I hunt alone so that didn't occur to me.

            Can you reload? Maybe try slipping a twenty gauge paper wad in the middle of the shot load. I did that when I was a kid to get spreader loads for grouse. My shotgun only had fixed full choke and I was too poor to buy a second gun. Anyway, it seemed to work well.

            Also, if your boys are using 3" or 3.5" they should think about stepping down to 2.75" shells. At least for the first shot. Shove the canon loads up the tube for last shot. One nice thing about using 2.75" shells with a 3" pump shotgun is it is fairly easy to quickly pull one out of the chamber and drop a three incher in if geese are coming. Not so easy with an auto though. Because the chamber is always closed automatically, one must eject the shell, let the gun feed the second shell, and then struggle with shoving a replacement up the tube (reloading my Browning A-5 with cold fingers is definitely a struggle!). Also, never a problem adjusting a pump to eject a variety of lighter and heavier loads. If I had the choice and was in a situation where I was hunting from a blind with opportunities for both ducks and geese, I would definitely be using a pump. But I don't have a choice. My waterfowl gun has always been a 3" Remington 870. Been shooting the same shotgun at ducks and geese since 1968.

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            • #7
              I should clarify: With most autos one can only get rid of a shell in the chamber at the expense of one in the tube. Therefore, if hunting ducks with a gun loaded with 2.75" #4 shot shells, to get a 3" BB shot goose load into the chamber the hunter must eject the shell in the chamber, feed in the next 2.75" shell in the magazine, shove the three incher into the tube, and eject the 2.75" shell that was just loaded to load up the 3" shell. Then put another another shell in the tube. Then watch the geese that just flew over disappear on the horizon!

              With the 3" pump I can pull the bolt back 3/4 the way, carefully eject the 2.75" shell while keeping the shells in the magazine frozen, bolt stays put while I locate and drop in the 3" shell, close the bolt, and fire. I can actually do all that without my eyes leaving the birds as they are coming in. Done it hundreds of times.

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              • #8
                Actually had that happen to me using Kents. Flock of mallards get up off an irrigation ditch, and I pick out a greenhead, dump it, and when I pick up the duck off the opposite bank the head is blown clear off....mutilated, and no other part of the body appeared shot. Think the barrel needs to be cutback to about 22", and holster the Buntliner Special up for those steel loads.

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                • #9
                  "...puny low base sixes would do the job so well..."

                  Honk
                  I regularly take 24 pound gobblers with hi-brass 7 1/2 shot.
                  I shoot a Rem 870 wirh an "extra full" tube. The gun has a 3" chamber. I only shoot 2 3/4" ammo.
                  At ranges up to 35 yards, he's mine.
                  Will do the job at 40 to 45 yards! I've done it! ...but that's pushing it a bit too far!
                  I prefer 40 yards or less. At 45 yards and beyond, I prefer the .22 Hornet.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Some shot cups or wads are made to hold the steel together a long time, making them almost like slugs for the first 15-20 yards. When reloading, I use the ones that give me the pattern I desire. If you are shooting factory ammo, you might try other ammo that might better meet your needs. Some feel that you have to shoot the most expensive ammo on the shelf. I prefer the ammo that matches my hunting needs. Even cheap ammo might actually produce better results if your shooting that close.

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                    • #11
                      Firstbubba: Turkey hunting is about shooting a standing bird in the head with lead shot. Nothing like shooting pheasants on the wing with low base steel. I don't hunt turkeys but most guys I know who do use 7 1/2 lead shot. Nothing unusual about that. Not much armor on their noggins. I don't recall ever picking up anyone else's low base empties in the pheasant fields. In fact, I had never even seen a low base steel shot shell until I bought a box of them this past fall! However, been seeing a lot of 3" empties in the fields these days. Ugh! I would be ripping pheasants to bits if I was using 3" mags!

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                      • #12

                        Nope, you would not be ripping them up unless you are very fast on the draw, and they are getting up at your feet. I've said it many times now, that in the hayday of Eastern WA pheasant hunting I reloaded my own 2 3/4" hulls with 1 3/8 oz of #2 lead, and at around 1,350 fps. would clobber roosters, and very little evidence I even shot them when cleaned...no damage. Never took shots in close, and never what I considered out of range.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Actually, when I think MORE about it, the even tighter patterns using steel, are created when the wad cup is separated from the steel shot column early.... separation occurring right at the muzzle, and not staying with the pellets after leaving the barrel. The waterfowl choke with the flutes is my case in point. Or the flight Master wads by Federal that have the flutes as part of the wad causing early separation. That technology tightens the pattern even more! I now tend to think it is just a property of steel that can cause the problem, OR maybe they are susceptible to FUSION caused by high heat as apposed to lead.

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                          • #14
                            Dangle, you're thinking cap has blown a fuse! Way out to lunch on this one. Exactly one-eighty degrees! Federal Flight Control wads (not flight Master) open LATER not earlier causing the shot pattern to be much tighter. These wads are designed to retain the shot column up to 25 yards past the muzzle. That would certainly account for heads blown off mallards!

                            "FUSION" of steel pellets? If that was the case lead pellet shotgun shells would be belching out slugs! Anyone who has messed around with guns and ammo AT ALL should know that lead melts at much lower temps than steel (lead melting point is 375C and iron is 1538C [steel melting points vary according to the alloy but none below iron's melting point]).

                            As to shooting 3" shells at pheasants: hunting over my dogs I would prefer to be equipped to shoot at birds at close range rather than taking pot shots out there forty plus yards. That's because most of my shots will be close range. Dogs give me the edge of knowing a bird is about to get up so most of the time I should be ready and not have to take real long shots. Fellas who are "blockers" sitting at the end of cornfields while others drive birds to them might want to be loaded up for long range shooting. But I don't care to hunt that way.

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                            • #15
                              This has been a very informative thread (except for some of the later contributions!). I am required to use steel when hunting uplands on federal refuges and in the future I am definitely going to make every effort to avoid using waterfowl loads. I have had problems in the past with them blowing the beejesus out of my birds (especially Federal shells). Now I know why. Tight patterns at 40+ yards are almost a necessity as one needs to hit the birds with everything possible when using steel at those ranges. For pheasants more is not better. They don't carry the same armor and shots are typically closer if working over dogs. I'm going to hunt down more of those low base steel shells and stock up on them!

                              Comment

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