August 17, 2017
Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads they're bringing to market. Keeping shot patterns together longer is key, but we all have different opinions when it comes to killing ducks. Whether you love speed, crave knock-down power, advocate smaller pellets for uniform patterns, or bigger BBs for long ranges, there's a shotshell load to suit you. Just remember, whether your shooting a $40 box of shells or a $14 box, it's all about getting the bead on the bird. Here are 11 of the best new shotshell loads for waterfowl that are hitting the market this season.
B&P Magnum Steel
Italians make fine shotguns, and a great-performing, waterfowl load has come along in B&P. Made in an array of offerings, check out the 3½" 1½-oz if you really want to pound the birds (we did on late geese). B&P offers Tungsten non-toxics too, and all their loads pattern like no other.
$15 (start) | baschieri-pellagriusa.com
Hevi-Shot Speed Ball
This haymaker combines incredible speed (up to 1,625 fps) and heavy energy driven by a mix of premium steel and tungsten. The cork-style ball seated in the hull controls chamber pressures during release and transfers that energy down the barrel into fowl-crushing performance.
$27-$33 (10 Shells) | hevishot.com
Whether you want to carry a classic gun, or never worry about winging another duck, Bismuth brings modern performance to grandad's double. Available in 12, 20, 16, and 28 gauges with a max velocity of 1,450 fps.
$18-$32 | kentcartidge.com
Black Cloud Flex
Federal redesigned Black Cloud to make it compatible with all chokes. A new Flex wad keeps shot together longer, retaining more energy for higher pattern density. Cleaner primers and powders mean less sludge in the chamber. Check it out in 10-, 12- or 20-gauge.
$25-$35 | federalpremium.com
Rio Blue Steel
Blue Steel is a great bang for your duck considering this premium load runs out the muzzle at up to 1,550 fps. Hard-hitting, we swatted a mixed bag of eight different species with buddies in Missouri last year with the 3" No. 3s with few misses and fewer cripples.
$15 | rioammo.com
Remington Nitro Steel
A trusted and dependable load, Nitro Steel consists of zinc-plated pellets that zap birds up close or long range. Compatible with aftermarket ported and wad-stripping chokes, it puts bird on the ground for good. Available for 10, 12 and 20 gauges.
$20-$30 | remington.com
Perfect for that old side-by-side or sporty 28-gauge, Bismuth hits with the ballistic performance of lead. Available in different loads for 12-gauge to .410, so you can target teal with the sub-gauge and honkers with a man's gun.
$20-$27 (10 Shells) | rioammo.com
Winchester Blind Side
Winchester took its legendary Drylok Super Steel System and added cutting edge Hex steel packed in the hull as tightly and efficiently as possible. Combined with the diamond-cut wad, you have one deadly shotshell. Available in 12 and 20 gauges. This stuff wrecks birds, period.
$23-$32 | winchester.com
Fasteel is the blue-collar workhorse of duck loads, and we've shot 3½" 1s and 2s on geese for years with great results. Made with clean premium powders and steel in a smattering of offerings for 12 and 20 gauges.
$14-$22 | kentcartridge.com
The newest run of BXD blends high-velocity and quality steel pellets on target with a new cutting-edge wad. The aerodynamic stabilized wad delivers penetration and a uniform pattern at longer distances. Offered in 12-gauge 3" and 3½", as well as 20-gauge 3".
$20-$30 | browningammo.com
Sixteen percent denser than lead, the 3" ITX13 hits harder than steel or bismuth, so if you're shooting straight, ducks die with one shot. Available in No. 2s or 4s, Backridge is also releasing options in 10-, 16-, 20- and 28-gauge, as well as .410
$TBD | backridgeammunition.com