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Shotgun Ammo: Maybe Speed Kills After All

Shooting

Shotgun Ammo: Maybe Speed Kills After All

I have been skeptical of the current trend to high velocity lead shotshells. Unlike steel, which benefits from high velocity, lead is dense and retains energy well. Therefore I have always thought lead doesn’t need to be driven at high speeds to be effective. I have shot a lot of pheasants with lead loads ranging from 1,220 fps to 1,500 fps and noticed no apparent difference in how the birds react nor in how many I bring to bag.

However, recalling my trip to Uruguay made me reconsider.

As I mentioned, we pass shot pigeons in grainfields. While South American doves, ducks and perdiz may be 20 gauge birds, spot-winged pigeons most definitely are not. To give one example of how tough they are: I hit one solidly twice, it flew 100 yards to where my friend Greg was standing and he shot it twice. By then the pigeon was weighted down with enough pelllets it could only fly around Greg in a dazed circle. He reloaded his O/U and killed it with a headshot.

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