Steel shot & dove

Discussion in 'Shooting - Reloading Forum' started by Squaller, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. Squaller

    Squaller Elite Refuge Member

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    I have on occasion shot steel shot at dove, but this past weekend was the first time we were required to do so everywhere (for everything).

    Gotta' say... Not a fan.

    Ducks as it turns out are a considerably easier target than are doves.... Tighter patterns and shorter shot-strings are apparently a humbling experience.

    I am often hunting open areas, and the birds are generally 30+ yard dipping/diving shots (which with a dove looks a lot further than it is). Seems like steel #6's run out of steam right around the 30-35 yard range. Far more pellets in the meat.

    And shooting a 20 gauge OU with a 7/8 oz load has considerably more recoil than a 1 oz load in the far heavier 12 gauge at the same speeds.

    Not at all looking forward to hunting valley quail with dove. A crippled dove is easier to find for the dog, whereas a crippled quail is a ghost. They get into rocks and thickets that no dog can get into... And hunting open ground will preclude a lot of shooting.
     
  2. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob Elite Refuge Member

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    I've hunted with steel exclusively for around 10 years now. There aren't a lot of good choices for small game. The 6s run out of steam for doves at 35 yards just like you observed. About all that could be done with the game and target 6's is increase velocity but then added recoils raises its ugly head. I found myself shooting a lot of 2 3/4" 4's, again with that added recoil. Overkill in many situations, they are perfect for bandtailed pigeons, feral pigeons and blue grouse. I actually liked 2's for rabbits.

    What small game loads are really lacking is the availability of 5's in several velocities, IMO in the 1300-1400fps range would be best. I always thought 1 ounce of 5's around 1400 fps would be a good load. Before my latest eye trouble I had planned to change out the 6's in the Xpert game and target loads with 5's. It would have been about like a 1oz load of Kent tealsteel. One idea I never got to try was using blindside with an open choke for grouse and rabbit. The reputation they have as a spreader load was worth looking in to. A spreader load of 5's for tight holding quail? Just thinking out loud.

    Sorry for the rambling but after 10 years of shooting nothing but steel I have a lot of ideas and opinions on the subject.

    Because of deteriorating retinal issues I am placing my bets on my Rem 1100 .410 with bismuth 6's to get enough pellets to kill at 30 yards. I hate the idea of $1.30 per shot but it is what it is.

    I would assume that now that Commiefornia has banned all lead shot that the ammo manufacturers will step up to the plate soon to fill the small game niche. More states will do the same soon so the market will be open for whatever companies decide the investment is worth it.
     
    JRS likes this.
  3. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Sponsor

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    This is for both of you guys, with factory steel loads you don't have the velocity you need to make steel 6's effective much beyond 20- 25 yards. If Squaller had increased his shot size up to steel 4's his results would have been totally different IMO. Even if you have to go to light #4 steel duck loads, the extra energy you would get from the 4's would make them carry enough/ have enough terminal energy to be effective.
    As I've commented in the past, I have done experiments with steel 6's in my 16 gauge on doves and early teal. They are effective at speeds at or over 1600 fps, since you can't find that in off the shelf loads your other alternative is larger shot sizes.
    Don't be thinking that steel 4's are going to tear up birds, think that they will kill birds for you much more efficiently than smaller off the shelf shot sizes will.
     
  4. OneShotBandit

    OneShotBandit Elite Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    Can’t use steel lager then #6 on State area’s for Doves. So we are limited as far as production loads. I am using some old Rem. Sportsman High Speed 1 oz. #6’s (steel) @ 1365 FPS.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  5. Ravenanme

    Ravenanme Elite Refuge Member

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    With Steel 7's being very effective out to 35 yds in a 1 ounce load with 433 pellets for Dove's.......must of been some poor shooting going on ?
    Again , with #6's in steel in a 1 ounce load having 290 plus pellets they are good on Dove's out past 45 yds.....your ability to hit a Dove , must have been off ?
    I grant you opening day of Dove season , for a hunter that hasn't been practicing his shooting ( with steel shot ) , is humbling !
    Keep shooting as it will get better ! OH , 1350 to 1400 fps is just right for doves , as far as you can hit them with steel shot ! Guaranteed !
     
    OneShotBandit likes this.
  6. NW BIRDHUNTER

    NW BIRDHUNTER Senior Refuge Member

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    Oregon
    I've had good success on doves with Winchester Xpert 12ga. 2 3/4" 1oz #6's @ 1325. Seems to have enough power to cycle any 12 gauge semi automatic also.
     
  7. Drundel

    Drundel Elite Refuge Member

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    I haven't shot a lot of doves with steel, its mostly when we are teal hunting and some fly over, but I think one hunt I shot 6 or 7 mornings flying over us with Winchester Xpert 12ga. 2 3/4" 1oz #6's @ 1325. I normally shoot Skeet or CYL choke at teal, so that is what I had in there for the doves. No issues.
     
  8. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Sponsor

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    Well that stinks for sure !!!
     
  9. PaulinKansas

    PaulinKansas Elite Refuge Member

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    I use Lightning Steel #10 with 1 oz. of 6 shot for doves in areas where non-tox is mandatory. 1540 fps.
     
  10. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob Elite Refuge Member

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    My field experience was 4's have similar limitations as 6's do for doves 30-35 yards) but because of not having the pattern density. There are about 120 less pellets per ounce and doves are tiny without all those feathers, small enough to fly though holes in the pattern sometimes without taking a pellet to the body. If you tighten up the choke close birds are destroyed. I did find that the 4's don't tear up doves unless I tighten the choke but there are a lot of 1 pellet kills and cripples if I don't tighten the choke. This is why I feel 5's are such an over looked option. That compromise we search for.

    Steel gets the job done but finding that balance is impossible with todays offerings. I always found myself wanting a few more pellets with less recoil than waterfowl loads offer. There is a large niche' to be filled for upland. I wish I had the knowledge, confidence and skill at reloading as some of you do to experiment with my ideas.
     

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