The Shotshells I Use Today . . . and Why

By Randy Wakeman

Those assuming this little piece is just about one brand of ammunition will be disappointed. No one company is all things for all applications. It is the same with rimfire, handgun centerfire and rifle centerfire ammunition.

12 Gauge Clays and Dove

There were a few catcalls when Remington introduced their Clay & Field loads, partly because some folks assumed that Gun Clubs were going away (they aren't) and partly because retailers set the selling price, not Remington, so the price was higher than intended. Now, you can get them at $65 (or less) a case delivered, with no rebates to fool with.

These Remington loads pattern just as well as my best West Coast 7-1/2 shot / Green Dot reloads. They use 4% antimony, tower dropped shot and they pattern within a few percent of the top of the line STS loads. If you reload, they have a compression formed hull that has the same reloading life as the STS/Nitro 27 line. If you do not reload, many folks will be delighted to take them off your hands.

12 Gauge Pheasant and Turkey

Nothing remotely competes with the performance of Winchester Rooster XR and Winchester Longbeard XR loads. They are the best lead turkey loads ever made.

20 Gauge Dove

Twenty gauge is ideal for moderate to long range dove shooting, but only with the right shell. That means the Winchester AA one ounce, number 7-1/2 load. This is the best 20 gauge dove load there is.

20 Gauge Turkey

The Federal Heavyweight 1-1/2 ounce number 7 load is the best 20 gauge turkey load there is. In second place is the Federal 1-7/16 ounce "3rd Degree" load. In third place is the Winchester Longbeard 20 gauge 1-1/4 ounce lead load, number 5 shot, which is a superb all-lead load.

12 Gauge Ducks

Kent Bismuth number 4 loads, 1-1/4 ounces, are the best bang for the duck. The shot diameter is British standard, closer to American number 5 than American number 4 shot.

No, they are not as good as Kent's Tungsten Matrix loads, which perform just like lead. However, that performance comes with the price of tungsten.

20 Gauge Pheasant

I take a lot of wild pheasants. Remington buffered 1-1/4 ounce, number 5 loads are outstanding and so are the Federal buffered 1-5/16 ounce number 5 loads (#PFC258F).

The absolute best, regardless of price, is the Federal 1-1/8 ounce, Heavyweight #7 load. It is a 2-3/4 inch 1100 fps shell with surprisingly low recoil. It is the best there is for wild pheasants, which isn't high volume hunting, and it is non-toxic. It is a fabulous 20 gauge duck load, as well, although you might find the price prohibitive.

Finally, the 20 Gauge Home Defense Load

Use Federal #PD256 4B: 24 pellets of number 4 Buckshot.

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Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.