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First Duck Hunt- Ammo Question

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by shaggy430, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. shaggy430

    shaggy430 Well-Known Member

    I am going on my first duck hunt ever to Reelfoot Lake in West TN in a couple of weeks and I have a couple of questions. It will be a two day guided hunt. I have a Remington 1000 with a 3" chamber. I've been hunting for 20+ years and shoot often, just never duck hunted. My questions are:

    What duck load to you recommend?
    How much ammo should I take?
    What choke should I use?

    Thanks for any input.
  2. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Ammo....Kent Fasteel or Winchester HiSpeed (Kent if you can get it) number 3 or number 2 steel in 2 3/4". This is the 1550 fps stuff. Otherwise, number 1 in 3", but I really like the fasteel stuff.

    Choke....Depends on the gun, usually I/C is good (like shooting mod in lead) or Modified for the tightest patterns. forget full exists.

    What's your limit up there? Down here it's 6 birds and I'll shoot 15 rounds to get that at most. I've never fired a box on my worst day and have walked away shooting less than a dozen, yet, I always dump two boxes in my fanny pack under my waders. Paranoid I guess, but I'd rather have too much than not enough. Still, 2 boxes is stupid excess, LOL.
  3. gspn

    gspn Well-Known Member

    I hunt west TN and eastern AR. I've hunted the Reelfoot area you're going to. I'd bring 2 3/4 or 3 inch shells loaded with 2, 3, or 4 shot. Kent Fasteel is fine. Start with a modified choke. If things go your way you'll likely be busting birds at 20 yards and low over the dekes. If they don't go your way you'll likely be taking shots at high passers from 25 to 40 yards.

    Unlike McGunner I HAVE shot more than a box on my worst day...ammo is like money, women and beer...you'd rather have too much than not enough.

    I always bring two boxes to the blind with me...just in case. ;)
  4. JC98

    JC98 Well-Known Member

    So far this year most of my shooting has been pretty far out 40+ on everything I have dropped. I use 3 inch Kent's or blackclouds in #3 shot. Picked up some Winchester hi speed as that was all they had yesterday. Will see how it shoots Thursday.

    I don't shoot 2 3/4 but if you go that route I would go with #3 or 4 shot

    I have never gone through a whole box but always bring 2, I would hate to run out.

    I always use a modified but carry my I/C as well. You don't want to use a full choke with steel.
  5. Fastcast

    Fastcast Well-Known Member

    For ducks I like:

    3" #3 - Fiocchi...Kent if I can't get Fiocchi. No Win slag in my bag...lol

    2-3 boxes should be plenty I'd think.

    Mod - choke patterns best at 40 yrds in my Beretta 390 with just about every steel load I've ever tested.
  6. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Well-Known Member

    My last 2 waterfowl hunts...one goose hunt and the other a flooded timber mallard hunt. I shot Bismuth 2 3/4" #4 with my Benelli mod choke on the ducks and full on the geese. My brother and I shot the same ammo and limited out before other guys shooting 3" mags. I haven't shot waterfowl for a few years, so don't know what else is out there, but Bismuth is high quality ammo. How much ammo to take? Ask your guide.
  7. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Well, I'd take ten bismuth 'cause it'd wipe out my IRAs to buy THAT. :rolleyes: Yeah, exaggeration of course, but I ain't a billionaire.

    The one problem I have with Winchester is it sticks in the chamber on occasion. 2 3/4" not so much, but 3" drives me crazy. My chamber has been polished, too. I know folks with other brands of shotguns that have problems with the Winchester ammo. I seem to do okay with the 2 3/4", though, just the 3" that gives me fits. And, at least the stuff is available...and cheap. I MUCH prefer Kent when I can get it. There's a little tackle shop in Rockport, Texas, when I can get down there, that carries it or I can order it. Stuffs rare is small towns that are dominated by Walmarts. I could get it in Corpus, of course, but we're moving up to a small town near Eagle Lake (Goose hunting capital of the world :D...self proclaimed). There's a Bass pro up in Katy about 80 miles away, might pick it up there, occasionally, and there's a Gander Mountain over in Sugar Land about 80 miles, an Academy down the road in Victoria about 60 miles. Hell, I might end up handloading home made black powder before it's all said and done. [​IMG] But, there's always Winchester HiSpeed down at the Wallyworld in Hallettsville if I get desperate and it shoots just as well. Just stick to the 2 3/4" in MY gun and I'm okay. The 2 3/4" is all I need, reaches out past 40 yards, 50 or so being probably the edge of effectiveness with modified choke.
  8. IdahoSkies

    IdahoSkies Well-Known Member

    I have tried a lot of ammo, Black Cloud, that Winchester square stuff, Hevishoot, Hevi-Steel, etc, but I have come back to Kent.

    A good 3" shell in number 2 or 3 will do everything you want it to. (I've taken geese with a 3" 2 once they're committed.)
  9. Bull Nutria

    Bull Nutria Well-Known Member


    I don't know how good a shot you are, but I like to have 3 boxes of shell per day available. sometimes you have to shoot several times to kill a fleeing cripple. 3inch Kents, rios, or Rems,Win. all good shells. I like #2 for mallards. if you are shooting other medium and small ducks 3 and 4s will work fine. if you are a skilled shot use the mod choke. if you are rusty I recommend the imp cyl choke and let them get as close as 20 yds. that imp cyl will make a wing shot out of many a duck hunter!

    you can save any extra shells you don't shoot until the next hunt. there are usually no shell suppliers out in the blind if you run out--just saying !!!

  10. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Well-Known Member

    Don`t for get your federal duck stamp.........
  11. Fastcast

    Fastcast Well-Known Member

    Maybe...If the guide can get 'em into 20yrds. Easier said than done on mid & late season ducks that have been pounded hard. If chasing cripples across the lake in your boat that are still lively enough to elude the dog and wasting more shells trying to dispatch ducks on the water are your thing, you may down an extra duck or two occasionally....I'd only recommend IMP choke in wooded, narrow bays and MOD choke if you're on open water.

    Excellent point!
  12. vtbluegrass

    vtbluegrass Well-Known Member

    Kent is good as its affordable and quality.
    If this is your only duck hunt of the year and premium prices for ammo don't bother your Hevi-Metal is some good stuff. Mixed steel and Hevishot. Still 25 rounds per box and patterns are dense in my Benelli. I only go duck hunting a few times a year so I like to shoot the good stuff at birds. Where I goose hunt 6 or 7 shots a day is pretty happening so I go ahead and spring for the full high density shells. I feel like it just brings down birds better with less cripples.
  13. FITASC666

    FITASC666 Well-Known Member

    I shoot a lot of ducks; from early season teal to late season open water goldeneyes and scaup. I have days when I like the 12g/cc stuff because geese come in to play and to reach out and connect far. But I also have a baseline shell that covers alot of range and kills em dead. I suggest you try the Remington Hypersonic at 1700+ fps. The larger the load the better. If you are decoying, go for No 4 shot, otherwise No 2 will kill well. For my gun, LM, is perfect.

    Have a lot of fun!
  14. drsfmd

    drsfmd Well-Known Member

    I'm a big fan of the new Winchester Blind Side. My real favorite is Tungsten, but it's no longer readily available.
  15. FITASC666

    FITASC666 Well-Known Member


    DRSFMD - I suggest you should look into Winchester, Remington, Federal and Hevyshot as all 4 offer waterfowl ammo in the 12g/cc weight range. The exact combination of alloys varies from one provider to the other but this weight range is heavier than lead and if your on the bird will dispatch them easily at your best shooting distance.;)
  16. drsfmd

    drsfmd Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I'm aware of those, and have used them, but think the Blindside is just as good in most applications. The Federal Tungsten is over 15g/cc... hard hitting stuff!
  17. shaggy430

    shaggy430 Well-Known Member

    Well, here's an update. I ended up using a modified choke and Kent #3 shot.

    Our first day we had 50 mph gusts of wind and bad weather. The ducks were flying somewhat, but incredibly hard to hit with that wind. Our blind had 8 people in it and we killed about 10 birds. 2 I know for a fact were mine.

    Second day, we had great weather, but ducks were not flying. We killed about 95% of the ducks that came in range, but that was only about 10 ducks again.

    All in all, I think I am hooked. I'm looking to get some decoys after the prices drop after the season and am on the lookout for a cheap duck boat.
  18. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    I'd stay away from the RIOs. They're cheap but I bought a case and the rims of about 10% of them tore off with my Rem. 11-87 ejector. Then you have to get a stick to punch them out or remove the barrel. In the meantime everyone else is shooting. :(
  19. 336A

    336A Well-Known Member

    I have a question for all you duck and geese hunters. I never have gotten into the world of migratory bird hunting, I just stick to turkey and upland birds like grouse, and pheasant if I'm lucky. Therefore I never explored steel shot and the derivatives there of. My question though is won't steel shot or it's derivatives harm a shotgun barrel over time?

    Edited to add: I've read that CIP will not allow steel shot ammo to be sold in europe that exceeds 1400fps. Reason being is that it can damage a users shotgun. If that is the case steel shot of any kind will never go down my shotgun barrel never.
  20. birdshooter

    birdshooter Well-Known Member

    Your shots at Realfoot late in the season will likely be long. I would recommend 2 or 1 shot, any brand (I shoot a lot of Winchester Xpert). Modified choke due to the longer ranges though my all around preference for waterfowl is improved cylinder. I would take 100 shells though you won't likely need near that many.

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