Deciphering New Non-toxic Waterfowl Loads

Determining which non-toxic load to sling at ducks can be confusing, but Jeff breaks it down for you.

Headline: New non-toxic, high-density shotgun ammunition is pricey and complicated

Summary: Author John Hayes of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette brings up a good point with his headline. Nontoxic shot for waterfowl was mandated in 1991, and used to be fairly simple with steel shot being the only viable choice. Now, however, with new technology, metals and companies looking to cash in, hunters have more choices than ever. That's a good thing, but unfortunately the cost of materials has driven prices through the roof. Indeed, Hayes is correct when he writes that picking a duck load can be a confusing, bank-breaking and potentially barrel-breaking affair.

Jeff's Advice: Let the confusion end here. Read below to see popular loads, metals used, densities, hardness and Cabela’s current listed prices (12-ga., 3-inch, No. 2) of various non-toxic loads.

**For comparison’s sake, the density of steel shot is 7.8 grams per cubic centemeter (g/cc) and has a hardness of 90-120 on the Diamond Pyramid Hardness scale (DPH). Lead is: 11.0 g/cc.; 35 DPH. Denser pellets retain more downrange energy. Harder pellets should not be used with full chokes that were designed for lead ammunition.

1. Environmental Hevi-Shot Duck (iron, nickel, tungsten); density—12.0 g/cc; dph—200; $24.99 per 10.
2. Kent Impact
(tungsten, polymer); density—10.8 cc/g; dph—?; $40.88 per 10.
3. Federal Black Cloud FS
(steel); density—7.8 g/cc; dph—90-120; $23.99 per 25.
4. Winchester Xtended Range
(tungsten, iron, copper, nickel); density:12.0 cc/g; dph—100; $31.00 per 10.
5. Federal High Density
(tungsten, iron); density: density—10.4 cc/g; dph—90-120; $28.99 per 10.
6. Remington Wingmaster HD (tungsten, bronze, copper, tin); density—12.0 cc/g; DPH—100; $21.99 per 10.

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1 Response to Deciphering New Non-toxic Waterfowl Loads

Josh wrote:
November 17, 2009

Jeff: Out of the shells listed, what's your favorite? 3" or 3 1/2"? You're a fan of 2's I take it? Can't believe non-toxic shot is as hard or almost as hard as lead.