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Can't knock ducks out of the sky...

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by dak0ta, Dec 13, 2012.

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  1. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    Hi,

    So today I was in the marsh and I was hiding when 2 mallards came bee lining towards me. I thought I was definitely in range (within 30 yards) when I popped up and shot at them with 3'' BB 1 1/8 loads at 1550 fps using a Modified choke. I swear I had both of them, but both of them sort of stopped in flight and then flew off confused.

    So my question is, were they not in range, am I using the wrong ammo, or should I be using IC choke?
     
  2. klyph

    klyph Member

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    Maybe you just missed.
     
  3. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    could you make out their feet? I never shot at ducks that I couldn't see their feet.
     
  4. wyohome

    wyohome Member

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    I use the eyeball test to determine range. If I cannot see the eye, it is too far.
     
  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    At that range, with that load and choke you probably had 12" pattern. You will either miss or shred them to pieces.

    I typically use IC with #4 shot for those conditions. If they are flying higher I'd change to #2's and modified.
     
  6. wyohome

    wyohome Member

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    At 30 yards, a modified will throw about a 32" pattern.
     
  7. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    Okay I think I will try the IC choke and maybe go buy some #4's. Do the premium Federal blackcloud or Remington hypersonic steel make a big differene over the budget Remington and Federal stuff I have?

    Also, missing is a possibility as I've switched to shooting from my right shoulder since my right eye dominant but left handed.
     
  8. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    If you changed your shotgun position then you need to go to a skeet range and shoot a round AFTER patterning your gun with shot other than BBs. Why are you using BBs for ducks anyway? They're for geese.

    You are probably aiming your gun or thinking too much about the new position rather than "going with the flow" and concentrating on the beak of the duck. Repetition with the gun from the right side will build muscle memory and more confidence.
     
  9. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    I did practice dry firing and loading from the right shoulder and it felt natural.

    Regarding leading the bird, how much do you lead?

    BB's were for geese which is what I am primarily looking to hunt, but there weren't any today so ducks it was.
     
  10. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    With smaller lead shot. With steel, especially BB's, that pattern is going to be much smaller. Probably larger than 12",but I wouldn't want to be shooting that combo at ducks at that range. You can generally expect most guns to pattern steel 1 choke tighter than normal. Since he was expecting geese at longer range that explains the choices.
     
  11. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    I found some Winchester Super-X (rebranded Xpert) 3'' Mags #2 1550 fps 1 1/8 oz loads for about $14.50, is that the right stuff paired with the IC choke?
     
  12. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Member

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    You still need to shoot a round or two. It is also my experience that ducks fly quite a bit faster than most people think. I would try a little longer lead. A head on shot like that is kinda tough. #2 in a 3" shell is what is commonly used around these parts. But you would be smart to buy one box at a time and pattern your gun so you don't wast time and money.
     
  13. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    Ducks are very fast. You are probably shooting behind them. Try leading them some more.
     
  14. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    Ducks are VERY fast, compared to Geese, those honkers are like B-52's.
     
  15. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    dak0ta,

    I didn't learn to shoot a shotgun properly until I was 66 years old. I hunted ducks since the 1960s and always had trouble hitting them. I finally was taught to let your instincts determine the lead.
    My instructor said: "Make sure the shotgun's LOP (length of pull) is correct for you. Shoulder your gun 100s of times while empty and then sight down the barrel to see if it is aiming where you thought it was when you shouldered it. That means the gun is pointing where you are looking. When hunting focus all of your concentration on the beak of the bird and DON'T THINK, DON'T AIM, JUST CONCENTRATE. When the bird is close enough and it "seems right", shoulder your gun and shoot all in one fluid motion. You will hit the bird."
    This uses the same principle as throwing a ball at a moving object. As long as you "stare down" a moving object (like a receiver in a crossing pattern in football), your brain will automatically calculate the proper lead and your hand-eye coordination will do the rest. In bird hunting the bird is the wide receiver and your hand (pointing finger) is the end of the barrel.

    After committing to this philosophy my shooting improved 300% and I seldom miss any more. I wish I had learned this technique decades ago. I would have save thousands of dollars in shells and bagged hundreds of birds that I missed.
     
  16. 303tom

    303tom member

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    If you are not leading them at least 3 feet, you are going to miss............
     
  17. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I didn't read everyone's post and someone might have mentioned this, but lead with fasteel is considerably shorter than with lead on doves or something. Often it'll take a few rounds before I dial in after shooting doves all September. But, that fasteel gets there FAST! (hence the name :D ) I don't know if that was your problem, but I'm betting you simply missed.
     
  18. gspn

    gspn Member

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    I wonder if those ducks are posting online tonight to see if anyone else has had trouble with "thunder bushes" out in the swamp.

    Could you see the ducks when you pulled the trigger?

    I read your comment that they were "bee lining toward you" to mean they were coming straight at you. If they were coming straight at you, and you could see them when you pulled the trigger then you shot behind them.

    You need to pull the barrel through before pulling the trigger on that shot...it's always been very un-natural for me to make the ducks disappear behind my barrel before pulling the trigger but in high, head-on shots it's necessary.

    If they were crossers then you just missed. They could have been out of range...do you know where the 30 yard line is in front of your blind? When I started out I'd measure it and have a natural marker on the ground. If ducks were closer than the marker then they were within 30 yards. It was really tough for me to tell distances on birds when I started. I began hunting beaver ponds in MS where everything was close...when I went to a buddies place in AR the first time I kept letting ducks go by and he'd ask why I wasn't shooting. "Because they're out of range" was my answer. He said I needed to recalibrate my "vision" on distance...and he was right...I was way off in estimating distance in those huge open rice fields.

    Your ammo was fine...albeit a little large for ducks. 1 1/8 oz of steel BB's is 81 pellets. By comparison the same weight of number 4's is 216 pellets. Clearly number 4's throw a much denser pattern...but I don't think that was your problem.

    It sounds like you need a confidence boost. Go pattern your gun. Take some poster board or butchers paper and shoot those loads in 10 yard increments to see exactly what your pattern looks like...hell...go so far as to draw a duck on the paper and count how many pellets hit it. Look for "duck sized holes" in the pattern where a bird might feasibly "fly through" the pattern. The more you know about your equipment the more confidence you'll have and the better equipped you'll be to make the right decisions in the field.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  19. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    Thanks for the feedback guys, I think I missed obviously, and probably shot behind the birds as they came straight at me.

    In that 3 round burst, I fired 2 different brands.. Remington and Federal out of that Mod choke, so most likely they were just misses. I was jump/pass shooting too so distance estimation was a little hazy too.

    I also have a box of 1 1/4 3'' BB Winchester Xperts, do you think the extra payload at 1440 FPS will give me those few extra pellets to create a denser pattern and improve hit probability? Is 1440 FPS enough 'speed kills' for late season mallards?

    Will keep your advice for next time and hopefully have pictures to prove it!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  20. drsfmd

    drsfmd Member

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    No, it's really not. A few inches of difference at most... well within the diameter of the pattern.
     
  21. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Range dependent.



    On coming birds, I use a swing through technique. Hard to sustain lead when the barrel covers the bird. It's a tough shot until you get the hang of it. BB shot is a might big for ducks. Fewer in the pattern than a number 3 (my favorite). 2s do well for me, but I don't go as big as BB on ducks.
     
  22. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I've always used #4 or #6 for ducks, any thing smaller is for Geese. Shooting head on is the hardest shot for me because of the lead is up which is not natural. Beside with the #4 or #6 you have more shot in the pattern to help you.
     
  23. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    Got some Kent Fasteel 2 3/4'' #2's today. I hear good things about this brand. I'm going to try my IC choke tomorrow morning! Excited!
     
  24. SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE

    SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE Member

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    If they are flying at you start under them and raise the gun untill the barrel covers them and shoot , keep swinging the gun ! Kevin
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Should be some birds on the ground about now, I'm a thinkin'. :D I won't know for a few days as we're moving in to our house permanent today and I don't have an ISP, yet. Bummer. I wanna hear this hunt report. :D
     
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