Game Guides: Choosing the Right Ammo

These Upland Game/Waterfowl Guides, and Caliber/Game Usage Charts will help get the beginning or inexperienced hunter off to a good start before he or she steps into the woods, fields, sloughs, or on the range. If you would like to become more familiar with shotgun terms, such as choke, and learn all about shot sizes, and if you would like some tips for patterning your shotgun, check out Shotgun Patterning TipsAs you read these charts, you also will see some options for gauge and shot size. The options in BOLD type are those recommended for beginning shooters for the best results for their shooting skill level.

Upland Game Guide

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For a fine selection of shotgun ammunition, click the button below.

**If you are hunting upland game on a Wildlife Management Area or Wildlife Protection Area, lead shot may be prohibited. Call your local Department of Natural Resources for your local regulations.


There are many choices of non-lead shotgun ammunition for waterfowl hunters. The ban on the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl became nationwide in 1991. It also is banned in Canada.The shot types that are approved for waterfowl hunting include steel, bismuth, and several combinations of tungsten, iron, nickel, tin, etc. Steel shot is lighter and harder than lead. Steel's more aerodynamic shape than lead shot creates shot strings (the shot pattern length) that are smaller in length and diameter, delivering more dense patterns.As you read this chart, you will see some options for gauge, shot size as well as choke recommendation. For shot, there will be a recommended size given for steel shot as well as the other approved non-toxic alloy types. The options in BOLD type are those recommended for beginning shooters for the best results for their shooting skill level.

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Target Shooting

Skeet  Skeet is best shot with skeet bore or improved cylinder in all gauges. #9 shot is by far your best bet. Lead shot is legal for target shooting but always check with your range to be sure of rules and regulations.Trap  Trap is a mainly a 12-gauge sport (you can use any gauge, however) and full or trap chokes are most common. #8 lead shot under normal circumstances is preferred  #7-1/2 lead for handicapped or windy conditions. Sporting Clays  Sporting clays are best shot with a 12-gauge and #7-1/2 lead shot with a modified choke.

Caliber/Game Usage Chart

The Caliber/Game Usage Chart will help the hunter decide which caliber rifle works best on the game being hunted. Remember, no matter the game being hunted, the responsible hunter knows the effective range of their firearm.

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