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Has anyone switched to steel for quail? Thinking of trying out some 6 shot steel in the 20 gauge this year. I think my next step is doing some patterning to see what choke to use with it.

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If you can keep your shots close (i.e. hunting over a good dog with birds that hold), you'll be fine as long as you can get the steel to pattern and you're a decent shot. If you're a mediocre shot or can't keep things under 20 yards, you'll be chasing a lot more cripples with steel than lead. 

 

While the toxic aspects of lead concern me, the performance of steel shot is still sub par compared to lead. My suggestion is to take out steel and lead side by side. After a morning of using them next to each other, my money says you'll stick with lead. 

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If you’re gonna switch to steel try 7’s instead.  I’ve been shooting federal 2 3/4” 7’s at 1350fps for decoying ducks for a few years now and it’s a wicked load.  Birds are killed by a pellet to the wing or CNS, not body shots so the more you can get in the air the better.  I wish they made 7’s in lead in the US, I think it would be the ultimate pheasant and grouse load.  I’ve got some game bore 7’s in lead but a European 7 is more like a US 8 so I’ve actually found that European 6’s (which is like an American 7) are ideal for pheasants under 50 yards. 

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You might be right, i am going to pattern a few different steel offerings and see what it looks like on paper. I will definitely bring lead along on the first hunt, just in case the steel doesn't pan out. I just cant see spending $25-$30 for a box of 20 gauge shells.

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Yotebuster were those Federals 3/4 oz loads? I see a lot of steel in 3/4 but not as much in 7/8 or 1.

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Way back in the day when I duck hunted in the tonto I always carried 7.5 steel shot for quail as we would be hunting the creek for ducks and would run into quail. I never had no issues killing them with the steel shot. I still use it every once in awhile when I hunt the refuge down at topock. 

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15 hours ago, yotebuster said:

Sorry these were 12 gauge so they were 1 oz.  like $7 a box though. 

That’s not terrible. It’s not like dove where your shooting constantly. 

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I am going to pick up some of the new Federal upland in 7 shot, kent faststeel and winchester and see how they pattern at 30 yards as i would guess that is my average distance for gambles.

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I’m new to this forum, but have used a lot of steel shot for small game. In 20 gauge, I like a 7/8 oz versus 3/4. Kent used to have a steel dove and quail load in #7 that worked great. They have a dove steel now only in #6. Lately, I find having all non tox is easier, because I like switch to some 3” stuff and jump a tank or two while either dove or duck hunting.

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I use Kent upland fast steel #6 when I’m CA or refuges and its great for quail. Works fine on Teal over small ponds too 

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What chokes are you guys using with the steel, i have skeet, IC, Mod, IM and full to try out. I am thinking skeet and IC...thoughts?

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Modified mostly. Improved cylinder sometimes since steel generally patterns very tight do to the hardness and the fact they are fully encased in harder plastic wads.

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On 11/1/2019 at 9:50 AM, Roboz said:

What chokes are you guys using with the steel, i have skeet, IC, Mod, IM and full to try out. I am thinking skeet and IC...thoughts?

Pattern your own gun with the exact shell you plan to hunt with to be sure. I’ve learned this the hard way. Ideally, at the temp and elevation you intent to hunt. That being said, I’m shooting The federal #6 upland steel that is patterning great with an IM choke! I’ve even taking mallard with this shell, so I have a great deal of confidence in it.

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50 minutes ago, BusterAZ said:

Pattern your own gun with the exact shell you plan to hunt with to be sure. I’ve learned this the hard way. Ideally, at the temp and elevation you intent to hunt. That being said, I’m shooting The federal #6 upland steel that is patterning great with an IM choke! I’ve even taking mallard with this shell, so I have a great deal of confidence in it.

Thats funny i went out yesterday and that is my best pattern at 35 yards.  IM and the federal steel #6, i need to buy a LM and see if it patterns better than the IC.

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