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, click here.
As 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
For a fine selection of shotgun ammunition, click
** 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.
Skeet -- Skeet is best shot with skeet bore or improved
cylinder in all gauges.
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
-gauge sport (you can use any gauge, however) and full or trap chokes are most common.
lead shot under normal circumstances is preferred --
lead for handicapped or windy conditions.
Sporting Clays -- Sporting clays are best shot with a
lead shot with a modified choke.
Caliber/Game Usage Chart
© 2006, The Sportsman's Guide.
Enjoy the Outdoors!