Hunters in this Golden Age of Waterfowling have the best guns and shotshells in history. Oh, you can rue the passing of dense lead shot, but the tricks manufacturers have pulled with iron, tungsten, bismuth and hybrid non-lead shot are impressive.
Shotshells Winchester’s hex-shaped Blind Side iron shot with functional Diamond Cut Wad patterns throws some of the densest patterns ever recorded with steel shot—at more than 1600 fps. Federal’sBlack Cloud ammo with FliteStopper steel shot and Flitecontrol wads has been delivering dense patterns and crowd-pleasing performance at 1500 fps for several seasons now. Remington’sHyperSonic Steel blasts off at 1700 fps to catch up with ducks and geese fast.
Shotguns Autoloading shotguns keep pace with ammunition improvements, too. Models from nearly every manufacturer are now faster cycling, like Beretta’sA400 Xtreme, which touts 4-shots in under one second speeds, and softer-shooting due innovations such as the ComforTech Plus recoil reduction system found in Benelli’s Vinci, and more reliable than ever. Most, like Browning’sMaxus, include back-bored barrels, extended choke tubes and waterproof/rustproof camouflage finishes. Three-inch chambers are the new standard, and many, like the Stoeger 3500, go to 3.5 inches.
The best guns and ammo for the best waterfowl migration in modern history? It could all be happening this year.