Pellet Percentages
by Bill Jordan
When steel shot, which is actually made of soft iron, was required for waterfowling, hunters quickly learned that the harder, and often rounder, steel pellets patterned more tightly than lead. Also, when fired through some extra-tight full chokes the steel would slightly bulge the gun barrel. Never shoot steel in a "turkey-tight" choke.

Extremely tight patterns are hard to hit with and too-tight chokes can "blow" the pattern, scattering pellets wildly. Most hunters went to a modified choke and began to hit more birds. This also solved the barrel bulging problem. Some goose hunters shooting very big pellets found they might need an improved cylinder for a good pattern.

Now we have alternative materials for nontoxic pellets, some of which are very much like lead. Federal’s tungsten-iron is close to steel and chokes appropriate for steel shot work fine. However, Bismuth, Federal’s tungsten-polymer and the new matrix pellets are soft, like lead. They won’t damage older barrels and may require a return to full choke for long-range results.

Advantage Wetlands
The Official Camo Pattern of Ducks Unlimited

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