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Amberjack
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12 Gauge waterfowl 1 1/8 oz or 1 1/4 oz shot?

So, I just turned 17 in October this year (2018) and am going to be duck hunting by myself this year for the first time ever, and being that the last couple of years that I have gone duck hunting it was with either my father or my grandfather, and because of this I wouldn't really have to do anything to prepare for the hunt. So my question is what kind of shell to use, being I am shooting a 12 ga. Benelli Nova Pump action. Now I did hunt the first couple of weekends that duck season was open for, but out of all the days I hunted ( 5 days) I only shot for so, in other words, I'm not exactly a good shot yet. That being said, I wanted to know whether I should stick with what I am shooting know which is Winchester 3" 1 1/8 oz #2 shot, or if I should switch over to some shells that are like 3" 1 1/4 oz #2 or #3, and I'm not exactly familiar with the difference between shooting decoying birds and pass shooting birds. I do know that most of the time I am shoot birds that are flying in or over my decoys, and normally that's at about maybe 30-35-40 yards. While at the same time I am using a full choke being that all I have at the moment. So, any kind of help and info you guy's can provide me with I would much appreciate it.
 

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If you will be pass shooting, ie: longer shots, I would recommend the 1 1/8 oz shot. More velocity = less lead = more killed birds.
If you are hunting flooded timber and the shots will be closer use the 1 1/4 oz shot. more pellets on target.


Not a huge difference in either one. Just be sure to shoot steel, Bismuth or Heavy shot. Lead is not legal for waterfowl. Good luck. I've been duck hunting since I was about 10 years old. I'm nearly 60 now. I still get a thrill watching a bunch of mallards working the decoys, responding to my calls.
 

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Get yourself a modified choke...steel tends to pattern a choke tighter i.e. modified would shoot like a full and full would shoot like an extra full. Set your farthest decoy out at 40 yards...if they are inside of that you should be good to go. Try to get birds to finish, i.e. come into your spread committed to landing, feet down wings cupped...easy shots. they all like to land into the wind. As Boardfeet mentioned not a huge difference either way in the two loads your looking at.
 

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I used to exclusively hunt waterfowl in MN except for maybe a couple weekends of deer during gun season. Ive never had an issue with full chokes and steel. But I did use modified if i knew the shots would be shorter. My go to shot for ducks was 3" #4 and for geese was 3" BBB. I used some 3.5" as well. Mostly for geese.
 

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May want to take your gun and shoot at some news paper ( or something large) with couple different loads and chokes. Set up a 35 yard shot. You'll know which combo your shot gun likes. If you can, go shoot skeet for practice.
And as mentioned above, ducks like to land into the wind. I've had better luck setting up with the wind quartering to my back vs directly at my back.
Good luck.
 

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Shotgun ballistics are really no harder than rifle ballistics. Take for example a 1 1/4 bucket of shot. This applies to any gauge. If it says on the box that it is 1 1/4 ounces, it is the same whether fired from a 20 ga or a 10 ga. The same as a 150 gr projectile fired from a 270 to a 308. It just depends on the platform you are shooting it from. Naturally, if you are using a 20 gauge, you won't get the same velocity as a 10.


Where shotguns differ, is choke choice. When the day we were allowed to shoot lead shot, a full choke was the preferred. When all that was available was steel, modified to improved modified was the choice. Now we have Heavy Shot and all other new products similar. For shotgun shooting, especially for waterfowl, you need to consider the length of the shot string. Shorter shot string you need to be a better shooter.

Bottom line, you need to evaluate your gauge, choke, and size of your shot. They are all players.
 
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