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Old 03-15-2012, 10:55 PM
Karas3434 Karas3434 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Central NY
Posts: 641
Default Choke/ammo combo for Goose Hunting

Got a Mossberg 535 12 guage with slug and turkey barrels. They opened up a new extended season on snow geese here and was thinking about giving it a try. Special conditions on new season are electronic calls CAN be used and NO barrel plugs needed. My question is what choke/ammo would be best for this? The turkey barrel that came with the gun is an accu-choke barrel so i can fit pretty much any choke into it. Im assuming the XX-Full turkey choke isnt the best choice for goose hunting. what size shot? steel or lead? what size choke? how far will i be able to shoot with the choke/ammo combo?
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Old 03-16-2012, 08:36 PM
Phil T Phil T is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Moorhead, MN
Posts: 4,819

Mossberg has special steel shot choke tubes. Mine extend beyond the end of the barrel and are black-colored stainless steel. Steel full is like a lead shot modified, or maybe improved modified. Depending on the size of shot you chose, different chokes are recommended. The larger the shot, the more open the choke. Snows aren't that big, you shouldn't need T or F shot. Use whatever you use for mallards.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:21 PM
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yarcraft91 yarcraft91 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Somewhere in the middle of..., Michigan.
Posts: 10,241

For my snow goose hunting, #2 steel has been ideal for shots to 75 yards. I shoot either cylinder or improved choke 3" 12 gauge.
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:52 AM
Noah Cantell
Posts: n/a
Default Where are they flying?

And how far away is your set? All 3" to 3.5" shells. Passing shots at high flier = full choke/BB'S. Calling them in to land IC/#4's (If set is no more than 20 yards out or you are in a body bag blind amongst the decoys). I found the best all around - Mod/#2's. You may want to load a sequence of diff loads (the birds and weather will tell you what you need). If shooting steel, go up one size from what is listed here all around other than BB's.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:33 AM
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bigwalleye1 bigwalleye1 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: East Bethel, MN
Posts: 2,021
Default Experiment

Modified seems to generally be the best choke pattern, but you should try a number of different loads and pattern them to see what the gun likes. My Benelli SBE and Nova like 2's for ducks and BB for geese in field hunting situations. Tried 1's, but both guns pattern poorly with them, lots of big holes in the pattern. We shot a lot of 3" in Canada for years and did pretty well on the white geese. We'd typically load up 2s for the early duck shoot and then switch to BB when the whites started flying. Seems like mfg made less difference that shot size.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:40 PM
Kyle Posterick Kyle Posterick is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Little Falls, Mn
Posts: 755

Originally Posted by yarcraft91 View Post
For my snow goose hunting, #2 steel has been ideal for shots to 75 yards. I shoot either cylinder or improved choke 3" 12 gauge.
I call BS on this, I have watched hundred of folks shoot at ducks, geese, doves, pigeons, and clay targets and NOT ONE can hit anything with any consistency much past 40 yards, myself included. Some always get a lucky shot in, but its not normal or consistent.

Steel #2 lacks enough energy to do much to any goose at 75 yards. In all reality you were probably shooting in the 40-50 range if you were knocking birds down. Go out and pattern with a full size bird target at 45 yards, you will see what I mean, it looks like a long **** ways.

I have literally worn out two shotguns over the last few years shooting thousands of rounds at game and clays, I just got back from a snow goose beatdown in SD.

For all around performance on geese its really hard to beat BB sized shot (steel). I prefer 3.5's for extra pattern density, but when the decoying is fast and furious I use 3 inch shells. I use quite a bit of 2 shot in Canada each year but we havent taken a bird over 30 yards in 4 trips.

Federal did a patterning testing a few years ago and found that BBB, T, and F shot lacked any usable patterns to consistently kill birds, as a result they dropped T and F shot from waterfowl offerings.

White geese are the most annoying bird to hunt IMO, they either give you the finger as they fly by or decoy to your bootbags at an unbelievable rate, this makes load and choke choices important.

For chokes steel acts almost opposite to lead, super full chokes tend to blow out patterns and create tons of wasted pellets (reported in other peoples findings and my own patterning testing). IC has shown the most potential for me, with good patterns to 35 yards in my guns.

I personally use a patternmaster for a choke tube, some call it bull**** and maybe its just confidence in my weapon and ammo/choke combo, but that thing flat out whacks birds, it produces far less cripples than standard chokes for me and about 5 friends.

How far you can shoot depends on a ton of things, going out and shooting a few rounds of clays can bring you confidence that translates into extra distance. For me personally I dont like shots past 35 yards, and I prefer decoying birds to be 10-15 yards before we lay into em, your shot percentages go way up when there good and close.

The non-toxic shot offerings mess up things, 2's and 4's kill geese like the finger of doom, the combination of small pellet size and higher energy per pellet makes for an awesome combo.
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:38 PM
oilguy oilguy is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Alberta
Posts: 257

I think Kyle hit it right on the head as far as steel goes. It will mess birds up when they are close, but it will also give a lot of birds belly aches if you are faced with longer shots. In Canada, we have no choice but to use non toxic shot and it has taken some getting used to!! If you are still legally allowed to use lead, I'd suggest a full choke, #2, and 3" shell (or something close to that). Unless you want to pay big $$ for ammo, non toxic shot just doesn't carry the hitting power you need at extended distances like lead does.

We've had good success with the Kent Faststeel. For the price, it is very hard to beat. I personally like the Blackcloud ammo. Since we usually have a mixed bag of Greater and Lesser Canada's, Specs and Snows, I prefer BB's with an IC choke (I believe....it's been a while since I played with the choke) and a 3 1/2" shell. If it is only Snows you are hunting, you may want a smaller pellet (but I'd stick with BB's).

Bottom line....if you can get them close, you'll knock them down with any old 12 gauge shell, but if they are at a distance don't even bother wasting ammo if you are shooting steel shot. I'd love the chance to go against anyone shooting a steel shot 3 1/2" cartridge and use a 3" #2 lead cartridge. Lead was soooo good on close AND far birds. If you get a chance, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzkGoKvwZjk

I was asked by the outfitter (friend of mine) to help out in filming a promotional video a few years ago. I'm the one who has the snow goose land in my blind. The lay down blinds are tough to get out of when you need to quick!! That was a lot of fun! He had a few guys who haven't shot birds much (as you can tell with the amount of gunfire to birds falling) so we got to see a lot of flocks of birds before we were limited out.

Good luck hunting!
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