2014 Gear

On Target: Ammo & Chokes

On Target: Ammo & Chokes

The innovation packed into modern nontoxic shotshells would impress even the most diehard waterfowl hunter from days gone by. Combined with choke tubes that provide consistent patterns at longer distances, and today’s duck and goose hunters have the tools for consistent clean kills. Look to Delta Waterfowl advertising partner companies when restocking this fall.

It was a good problem to have: Federal Premium Ammunition’s Black Cloud loads patterned great for big birds at max ranges, but too tightly for ducks inside of 40 yards. The solution is Black Cloud Close Range. At its heart remains the FliteControl wad, but the payload is 100 percent FliteStopper steel shot to achieve full pattern spread at short distances. Close Range is available in 12-gauge, 1¼-ounce 3-inch loads of nos. 2, 3 and 4 shot, humming at 1,450 fps.

For the economically minded waterfowler, Hevi-Shot is reintroducing the Hevi-Steel line. Featuring denser steel pellets and a wallet-friendly price, Hevi-Steel is a great choice for high-volume shooting when the birds are decoying inside 40 yards. Hevi-Steel is available in 2¾-inch or 3-inch 20-gauge loads, and up to 3½-inch for 12-gauge. Shot sizes run the gauntlet, from No. 3 to BBB, with muzzle velocities topping 1,550 fps.

During the past couple decades, many waterfowlers became hooked on the benefits of tungsten shot because of its similarities to lead. But despite the scarcity and cost of the metal, Kent Cartridge continues to offer its outstanding Tungsten Matrix. Kent offers shotshells to fit any need in 12-gauge and 20-gauge loads up to 3½-inches. Velocities range from 1,260 to 1,525 fps, in nos. 1, 3 and 5 shot. Kent’s blend is safe in most fixed-choke barrels, too.

At a blazing 1,700 fps, Remington HyperSonic Stee lays claim to the title of world’s fastest 12-gauge nontoxic waterfowl loads. And the line now includes 20-gauge 3-inchers at 1,600 fps, and 10-gauge 3½-inchers with a stout 1½-ounce payload at 1,500 fps. At the heart of each HyperSonic Steel load is the Xelerator wad, with a unique ignition chamber to create higher velocity at safe pressures for shot sizes of No. 4 to BBB.

If your dream of a perfect ducking day includes taking a brace of webfoots with granddad’s old side-by-side, Rio Ammunition Bismuth shotshells are the perfect choice. Rio Bismuth is nearly lead soft and safe for thin-walled, tightly choked barrels. With velocities reaching 1,400 fps, 2¾- and 3-inch 12- or 20-gauge loads are available in nos. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 shot. Look for 16-gauge, 28-gauge and .410 options by hunting season.

Ever hunt with the guy who claims every duck? Bring a few boxes of Spectra Shot to even your odds. These 12-gauge, 3-inch shells incorporate high-quality, American-made nos. 2 and 4 steel coated in fluorescent colors. The coating is permanent and safe for humans and the environment. The transparent hulls reveal shot color — yellow, orange, green or blue — at a glance. Assign each hunter a color and you’ll know exactly who the sharpshooter is — or isn’t.

For the waterfowl season ahead, Winchester Blind Side shotshells are available in an even wider range of stacked, fast and deadly loads. Speeds on the high-velocity 12-gauge 3-inch and 3½-inch shotshells clock in at 1,675 fps, and the 20-gauge, 3-inch load zips along at 1,500 fps. Stacked hex shot sizes include BB, and nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 to handle everything from tiny teal to giant Canada geese in heavy winter plumage.

Whether shooting a Benelli, Browning, Beretta, Winchester, Remington or most any other brand of shotgun, Carlson’s Choke Tubes offers chokes to maximize patterning efficiency. From the latest waterfowl hunting loads, including Federal Black Cloud and Winchester Blind Side, Carlson’s extended tubes are titanium coated for durability and performance and come in long-range and mid-range constrictions. Knurled grips make changing and checking easy, and they are clearly marked inside and out.

To save Hevi-Shot shooters time and money on patterning their shotguns, Environ-Metal offers a full line of ported and non-ported choke tubes specific to their premium loads. Available for all popular shotguns in 12-gauge and 20-gauge, they’ve fired thousands of rounds to determine optimum constriction for each firearm family. Mid- or extended-range tubes are extended with knurled surfaces for easy switches, and are available individually or as a money-saving set.

Rather than constriction, Patternmaster Chokes rely on studs inside the tube to delay the wad a fraction of a second, allowing shot to depart unimpeded. The resulting shortened shot string effectively creates denser patterns at all ranges by simultaneously putting more pellets on the target. Patternmaster Classic, Code Black and Anaconda choke tubes work with most nontoxic loads, and Patternmaster offers tubes designed specifically for Federal Black Cloud and Winchester Blind Side.

Successful hunters are prepared for any turn the day’s adventure might take, and when it comes to adapting shot patterns to the conditions, Trulock Chokes Waterfowl 3-Pack covers the bases. Birds in close? Screw in the CR (Close Range) tube. Not quite finishing? The all-around MR (Mid-Range) is right. Wary migration veterans staying long? Install the LR (Long Range) tube. The three-packs are available for a wide range of popular shotgun models and gauges.