what is the best size shot for duck


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By tacoma12 - 10/23/2009 8:31:19 PM
what is the best size shot for duck hunting?  Does it make much of a diffrence if it is bb or not?

     "LETS GET TO SOME WOODIE WACKIN"

By mjwendorf - 10/23/2009 8:51:31 PM
I have had good luck with #3's.
By Rigger26 - 10/23/2009 9:02:29 PM
BB, 1, 2, 3, and 4 shot are all fine for killing ducks and geese of any size in my opinion although Im sure there will be some criticism of my post
By Joe Hunter - 10/23/2009 9:19:17 PM
It really comes down to what kind of ducks are you shooting and how far do you want to shoot them. Obviously, shooting teal at 30 yards is a different load and choke proposition than shooting mallards at 50 yards.

If you get ducks inside of 40 yards they just aren't that hard to kill, just tough to put the pattern on their front end sometimes. At normal decoying ranges (20-40 yards), steel #4s, #3s or #2s (provided they are choked properly) will take care of most any duck business you have. Obviously, it is better to use small pellets on small ducks to increase pattern density and larger pellets for larger ducks to maintain pellet energy, but generally any of these would be a good starting point for ducks over decoys.

It doesn't take a 3 ½" or even a 3" shell to kill ducks. A 2 3/4" 1 1/8-ounce load @ 1,375 fps will kill ducks at reasonable ranges if it is choked properly for the distance you are shooting.

For chokes, take your IC, LM and Mod with your shell/load of choice and head to the pattern board to see which one works best in your gun at the distance you shoot your birds. Out to about 30-35 yards the IC will probably do best, 35-45 the LM may be the top performer, and from about 40-50 the Mod. may be the best choice. The ONLY way to find out is to pattern them!

Normally, I am shooting steel #4s and an IC for close decoying and/or small ducks and later in the season when I'm shooting mostly mallards I shoot steel #2s with a Mod. choke. Steel #3s are a great compromise, but many times I can't find them so I go with some combination of #4s and #2s like having #4s in for the first two close shots and following them with a #2 for the last longer going-away shot.

As far as velocity, get loads in the 1,300 to 1,500 fps range and neither you nor the duck will ever know the difference. Many in the high-velocity bunch don't agree with me on this but the facts are you just don’t need super high-velocity pellets to kill ducks!

I'll give you a few of my gun’s pattern numbers so you can see what you might get, but you still need to pattern your gun/chokes/loads because they may differ.

Remington 870 SP 12-Gauge 3" w/ 28" barrel and factory flush Rem-chokes (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).

30 YARDS IC
Rem. Sportsman 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #4 steel (218 pellets) – pattern 181 (83%)
Rem. Sportsman 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) – pattern 120 (86%)

40 YARDS Mod
Win. Xpert 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #4 steel (222 pellets) – pattern 141 (64%)
Rem. Sportsman 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #4 steel (218 pellets) – pattern 150 (69%)

Win. Xpert 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (136 pellets) – pattern 87 (64%)
Rem. Sportsman 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) – pattern 110 (79%)

Those are dead ducks if I do my part and put the pattern on their front end! If you don't believe me just look at CONSEP/Roster's Lethality table numbers for proven duck killin' pellet sizes and minimum pattern counts.

Good luck.

By drake4 - 10/23/2009 9:20:41 PM
they are all good as long as you know the range and pattern of each one.

 i personaly use 3.5 #3's & #4's for ducks and 3.5 BB's & 3.5 BBB's for geese

By honkaddict - 10/23/2009 10:19:28 PM
bbs, 1, 2, 3, 4s are all very good shot sizes for ducks although for teal and woods bbs may be a little over kill but it will do the job biggest thing to remember is pattern and also remember that the bigger the shot you go with the more you have to open up the choke....

t,bbb,bb it is recomended improve cylinder to modified chokes only

1,2,3,4 modified to full for optimum performance

By SGT_Shotgunner - 10/23/2009 10:58:59 PM
I like 3" #3 Kents, 1 1/4 oz through a Carlson's Pass choke. Shoots a good pattern @ 30 to 45yds. Just my opinion.
By tubby 2 - 10/24/2009 7:23:06 AM
I shoot Kent 3" #3 and#4 and have really good luck(when I do my part)
By NJ217bands - 10/24/2009 11:02:13 AM
I like Hevishot number 6.
By bentstick - 10/24/2009 4:40:09 PM
I use Blackcloud #3-#4 3" for ducks and #2-BB 3.5 for geese with stellar results Good luck and hit em hard
By Otis McGonigle - 10/25/2009 11:15:20 AM
I have been using Black Cloud 3 inch, 1-1/4 oz #2's  @ 1450fps with a mod choke for everything with very good results.  I spent a little time on the patterning board at 40 yards and using this combination with my Berretta AL-391 w/26 inch barrell I'm throwing a fairly consistant 60/40 pattern.

I would prefer to use #3's for ducks and maybe B's for geese but I've tried  carrying different loads and always find myself fumbling around trying to change loads when the action is fast.  The #2's have proven themselves to be a decent compromise between pattern density and downrange stopping power. 

Personally, I think anything bigger than 2's will give you too loose of a pattern for ducks.  I was using BBB's last year and they worked pretty well on honkers but I was missed a lot of ducks that I should have had.  I don't blame the load as much as my bad shooting, but I do think it was a contributing factor. 

Being that as it may, I've decided that with a 3 inch load I don't want to go any larger than B's for exclusive goose hunting, and 2's for general waterfowling.  Probably 3's or 4's for exclusive duck hunting, but around here you never know when you are going to get a shot at a goose, so I'm sticking with the 2's.

Obviously these are just my observations and are largely subjective. 

By eman7717 - 10/25/2009 3:56:42 PM
i shoot 3's at ducks and BB's at geese
By Creek Boat - 10/25/2009 7:19:40 PM
#2's
By jcsanders79 - 10/25/2009 7:38:15 PM
3's for ducks.
By jcz - 10/25/2009 7:49:51 PM
I use 3" #2 KENT FASTEEL. All I need now are some ducks to shoot at!!!

I shoot at very few geese so I dont carry shells just for them.

By wade MI hunter - 10/26/2009 9:04:48 AM
when hunting bigger water i use #2. 3 1/2" then when hunting small pot holes i use #4. 3" my reasoning is that the 3 1/2" shells will have more shot on target at 40 yards.

i also try to use the heavy metal when i can find it and black cloud second to that.

this year i shot a grouse while walking to my duck pond with black cloud BB 3". one BB went through half the breast and made a hole you could put your thumb through.

also shot a woodcock while sitting in some flooded timber flying about 8' from my barrel and completely took its head off. using #4 3"
By collander - 11/2/2009 10:24:35 PM
Joe Hunter 10/23/2009
It really comes down to what kind of ducks are you shooting and how far do you want to shoot them. Obviously, shooting teal at 30 yards is a different load and choke proposition than shooting mallards at 50 yards.

If you get ducks inside of 40 yards they just aren't that hard to kill, just tough to put the pattern on their front end sometimes. At normal decoying ranges (20-40 yards), steel #4s, #3s or #2s (provided they are choked properly) will take care of most any duck business you have. Obviously, it is better to use small pellets on small ducks to increase pattern density and larger pellets for larger ducks to maintain pellet energy, but generally any of these would be a good starting point for ducks over decoys.

It doesn't take a 3 ½" or even a 3" shell to kill ducks. A 2 3/4" 1 1/8-ounce load @ 1,375 fps will kill ducks at reasonable ranges if it is choked properly for the distance you are shooting.

For chokes, take your IC, LM and Mod with your shell/load of choice and head to the pattern board to see which one works best in your gun at the distance you shoot your birds. Out to about 30-35 yards the IC will probably do best, 35-45 the LM may be the top performer, and from about 40-50 the Mod. may be the best choice. The ONLY way to find out is to pattern them!

Normally, I am shooting steel #4s and an IC for close decoying and/or small ducks and later in the season when I'm shooting mostly mallards I shoot steel #2s with a Mod. choke. Steel #3s are a great compromise, but many times I can't find them so I go with some combination of #4s and #2s like having #4s in for the first two close shots and following them with a #2 for the last longer going-away shot.

As far as velocity, get loads in the 1,300 to 1,500 fps range and neither you nor the duck will ever know the difference. Many in the high-velocity bunch don't agree with me on this but the facts are you just don’t need super high-velocity pellets to kill ducks!

I'll give you a few of my gun’s pattern numbers so you can see what you might get, but you still need to pattern your gun/chokes/loads because they may differ.

Remington 870 SP 12-Gauge 3" w/ 28" barrel and factory flush Rem-chokes (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).

30 YARDS IC
Rem. Sportsman 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #4 steel (218 pellets) – pattern 181 (83%)
Rem. Sportsman 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) – pattern 120 (86%)

40 YARDS Mod
Win. Xpert 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #4 steel (222 pellets) – pattern 141 (64%)
Rem. Sportsman 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #4 steel (218 pellets) – pattern 150 (69%)

Win. Xpert 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (136 pellets) – pattern 87 (64%)
Rem. Sportsman 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) – pattern 110 (79%)

Those are dead ducks if I do my part and put the pattern on their front end! If you don't believe me just look at CONSEP/Roster's Lethality table numbers for proven duck killin' pellet sizes and minimum pattern counts.

Good luck.

wow great info!  I'll be changing my loads based on this post.  thanks!

By RedneckSharpShooter - 11/7/2009 8:15:42 PM
Look.  You started a tiff...:D
By Greenhead25 - 11/8/2009 12:01:08 AM
Drylock 3" 1 1/4oz #4s early season then i change to #2s in late season...not alot of big ducks here...but they have yet to fail me and with as few birds as we see that are quality every shot counts...
By texas yankee - 11/8/2009 4:34:57 PM
I love to see threads like this. The facts are the shot that has the best pattern through your barrel and choke will be the most effective on ducks as far as the gun is concerned. There is an old man in North Texas that shoots ducks amd geese with a 7/8 oz #2 shot load. Another group hunt North Texas every year shoot Lesser Canadians and Specks with 410 guns. The real thing is how tight and well adjusted is the nut behind the recoil pad is, if that is not right no gun or shell will bring down a bird.  
By Kaiyudsai - 11/8/2009 5:37:16 PM
I agree on the black cloud...... great ammo..... I use 3" #4 black cloud for pass ducks andf the BB and BBB black cloud 3.5 inch for geese... Kent steel and Winchester Xpert also stays in my blind bag...... different situations call for a different round.... and choke... pattern your gun with the diff chokes and different rounds in the summer..... and keep a good variety of what works best in your blind bag..... There's no secret recipe that works all the time...
By Tbone - 11/9/2009 12:12:33 PM
I too like the Black cloud Loads #3's

I did buy a box of Remingtons new "Heavy metal" over the weekend (3"-#3's)

to pattern and check in the next couple of weeks...I have not seen any one mention these in the past...Any tried the "Heavy metal" load?