Tom Roster's 2016 Nontoxic Shot Lethality Table

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Tom Roster's 2016 Nontoxic Shot Lethality Table ©
Proven Nontoxic Loads for Waterfowl, Doves, and Upland Game Birds ¹ Vel. Range Tested: 1,225 - 1,700 FPS

Activity
Observed Hunters' Typical Shooting Range During Activity (Yards) Most Effective Nontoxic Shot Size(s) for Birds Listed Under ACTIVITY at the Distances Listed in the Second Column Minimum Load Weight (Ounces) Minimum Pellet Hits Needed on Lethal Areas for Clean Kills Minimum Pattern Count Needed at Any Distance for Clean Kills (# of Pellets in 30" Circle) Most Effective Choke(s) at Distance (Given in Lead Shot Choke Designations)
Large Geese at Long Range
Giant, Western, Atlantic and Interior Canadas
50-65
50-70
Steel BBB to T
HEVI-Shot 2 to B
1-¼
1-½
1-2
1-2
50-55
50-55
Improved Modified
Improved Modified, Full
Large Geese Over Decoys 35-50
35-50
Steel BB to BBB
HEVI-Shot 2 to B
1-¼
1-½
1-2
1-2
50-55
50-55
Improved Cylinder, Modified
Improved Cylinder, Modified
Medium/Small Geese Long Range
Snow, White-fronted, Lesser Canadas
50-65
50-65
Steel BB to BBB
HEVI-Shot 2
1-¼
1-½
1-2
1-2
60-65
60-65
Improved Modified
Improved Modified, Full
Medium/Small Geese Over Decoys 35-50
35-50
Steel 2 to BB
HEVI-Shot 4 to 2
1-1/8
1-¼
1-2
1-2
60-65
60-65
Light Modified, Modified
Improved Cylinder, Modified
Large Ducks at Long Range
Mallard, Black, Pintail, Goldeneye, Gadwall
45-65
45-65
Steel 2 to 1
HEVI-Shot 4
1-1/8
1-¼
1-2
1-2
85-90
85-90
Improved Modified, Full
Improved Modified, Full
Large Ducks Over Decoys 20-45
20-45
Steel 6 to 2
HEVI-Shot 6 to 4
¾-1
1-1/8
1-2
1-2
85-90
85-90
I.C. (20-35 Yds), Mod. (35-45 Yds)
I.C. (20-35 Yds), Mod. (35-45 Yds)
Medium Ducks Over Decoys
Wigeon, Scaup, Shoveler
20-45
20-45
Steel 6 to 3
HEVI-Shot 6 to 4
1
1-1/8
1-2
1-2
115-120
115-120
I.C. (20-35 Yds), Mod. (35-45 Yds)
I.C. (20-35 Yds), Mod. (35-45 Yds)
Small Ducks Over Decoys
Teal, Rudy, Bufflehead
20-45
20-45
Steel 6 to 4
HEVI-Shot 6
1
1-1/8
1-2
1-2
135-145
135-145
Mod .(20-35 Yds), Full (35-45 Yds)
Mod. (20-35 Yds), Full (35-45 Yds)
Ring-Necked Pheasants 20-50
20-50
Steel 3 to 2
HEVI-Shot 6 to 4
1
1-1/8
2-3
2-3
90-95
90-95
I.C. (20-30 Yds), Mod. (30-50 Yds)
I.C. (20-30 Yds), Mod. (30-50 Yds)
Turkeys (Head and Neck Shots) 20-40 Steel 4
HEVI-Shot 6
1-¼ 3-4 210-230 Full or Extra Full
Mourning Doves 20-45
20-45
Steel 8 to 7
HEVI-Shot 7½
5/8-¾
¾
1-2
1-2
200-210
200-210
IC-8's/LM-7's (20-30 Yds); Mod>30 Yd
I.C. (20-30 Yds); Light Mod (30-45 Yd)
Northern Bobwhite Quail 20-30 Steel 8 to 7 5/8-¾ 1-2 200-210 Imp. Cyl., Light Modified
Swatter Load for Wounded Birds 20-30 Steel 7 to 6 1 1 175 Improved Modified, Full
Note: The pellets in the steel shot loads listed in this table were traditional, highly spherical ball-shaped pellets of ~7.86 g/cc density and 90-95 DPH hardness. The HEVI- Shot pellets were of 12.0 g/cc density and are harder than traditional steel pellets.
This table summarized Tom Roster's analyses to date of the lethality data bases for certain of the 16 U.S. steel vs lead waterfowl and dove shooting tests published between 1968 and 2014 and one steel-only pheasant shooting test (1999) plus lethality data bases owned by ammunition companies for birds taken with nontoxic shotshell loads Roster tested for them and the CONSEP Org.
Note: Steel #BBB (.190") and HEVI-Shot #2 (.150") have exhibited the best all-around performance for taking geese; steel #3 (.140") and HEVI-Shot #4 (.130") the best all-around performance for taking ducks; steel #2 and HEVI-Shot #4 (.130") the best all-around performance for taking ring-necked pheasants; and steel 7's (.100") the best all-around performance for taking doves.
¹These findings are derived from testing 2¾" 28 gauge; 3" 20 ga.; 2¾", 3" and 3½" 12 ga.; and 3½" 10 ga. steel loads; plus 2¾" 28 ga.; 2¾" and 3" 20 ga.; and 2¾" and 3" 12 ga. HEVI-Shot loads.
© Copyright 2016 by Tom Roster. For answers to questions on this table contact: Tom Roster, 1190 Lynnewood, Klamath Falls, OR, USA 97601. tomroster@charter.net