The Best Bang For Your Buck
Evaluated by Tanner Bizer and Jake Hubbell
You look on your calendar, and the day you’ve been waiting for all year is coming up in the next week. The start of bird hunting season. A small wave of excitement washes over your body, reminiscing on the fun adventures that you’ve experienced with good friends and family, and you think with excitement of what the coming year can hold. Then that euphoria quickly evaporates when you realize you don’t have any ammo for the soon upcoming season. Panic sets in, and the need to be prepared is vital. There are thousands of different types of ammo that can be used for bird hunting, and which ammo is the best suited for the type of hunting in the North Fork Valley. To help with this dilemma, we are going to test six different types of ammo and narrow down the choices of which ammo will help ensure a successful hunt in the great outdoors.
To narrow the hundreds of different types of ammo down, it is crucial to know that in the North Fork Valley there are really only two types of bird hunting: upland birds like pheasant, quail, chukar, and ptarmigan, and waterfowl: duck and goose hunting. That brings your search down to 2 categories of ammo. Small lead shot for upland birds, and large steel shot for waterfowl. From there, it is necessary to get the best bang for your buck. There will be three different types of ammo tested for each the lead and steel type ammunition, for the lead ammo competition we will test Winchester, Federal, and Remington ammunition. For the steel ammunition we will test Kent, Fiocchi, and Remington shotgun shells. From there, each will be evaluated depending on: velocity (feet per second), cost, pattern (how it spreads), and the damage the round has. All four tests will give points to the winners, and in the end, the best type of shotgun ammo is what I’ll be carrying on my next bird hunt.
•Points will be awarded on a scale of 1-10.
•At the completion of all four trials, total points will be tallied.
•Each shell will be shot from the weapon that it is best suited to.
•Upland shells will be shot from a Ugartechea side-by-side shotgun.
•Waterfowl shells will be shot from a Remington model 870 pump-action shotgun.
•Each shell will be evaluated for each type of hunting.
•Criteria consist of price, velocity, spread in a 16” diameter circle, and damage.
•The most effective brand will be chosen as the winner.
•Test 1 will evaluate the cost of each type of ammunition per box.
•Test 2 will evaluate the muzzle velocity of each type of ammunition.
•Test 3 will test the spread of each type of ammunition.
•Optimal spread for the steel shot of the waterfowl hunters is a tighter pattern, for longer distance shooting. The steel waterfowl ammo will be shot from a pump-action waterfowl shotgun, used for waterfowl hunting.
•Optimal spread for the lead shot used in upland bird hunting is a wider pattern, for lighter birds. The lead upland bird shot will be fired from the gun almost exclusively used for upland hunting, a double barrel shotgun.
•Each type of ammo will be shot at a butcher paper target, and the total pellet amount will be counted, and the higher the number of pellets, the more points will be awarded.
•The fourth test will be an evaluation of which ammunition causes more damage, helping ensure a more successful hunt, criteria will be from velocity, shot weight, and pattern.
After all the testing and the grading criteria to evaluate the ammo, the final results tell you which ammo is the best type of shotgun ammo to use for hunting in the expansive North Fork Valley. When you go to town to stock up for the upcoming upland bird and waterfowl season, you’ll know that for your adventures in a duck blind, the shells you should be keeping in your pocket should be the Fiocchi steel magnum ammo. When you’re walking the broad plains of Scenic Mesa, your best choice of shell to bring down pheasants at upwards of 50 yards is the Remington shurshot heavy dove ammo.