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gopher_nation

Waterfowler newbie question

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gopher_nation

I just got an 870 Express in a fishing contest as a raffle and now I'm gonna try hunting. I've posted questions on turkeys and coyotes, and now I have a question about waterfowl. What choke and shot is best. I know I need steel shot. Is there a versatile choke I can use, I'm sure I'll need at least two different chokes but I am clueless when it comes to hunting w/o a rifle or slingshot. grin.gif

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Eric Wettschreck

If you plan on hunting over decoys, you are prolly best off with a mod choke and either 4 or 6 shot steel.

If you've never duck hunted before you need to be careful. It's almost the most addicting thing out there.

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gopher_nation

Sweet that's what it came with, now I just need a full choke for turkeys and I'm set. Thanks man!!

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2 DA GILLS

I would pattern the gun. I have a Remington 1100 and I shoot an IC choke almost all season. I will switch to a mod in the late season, but IC is the best choke for my gun with steel shot. Not saying it will be for your gun, but I highly suggest checking how it patterns with steel shot.

By pattern, I mean shot a sheet of paper at 20 yards, then another sheet at 30 yards, 40 yards and whatever distance you think you will be taking shots. Check how the shot spreads out, is it an even spread? Are there holes in the pattern with different chokes? This will help get you started off right.

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Scott M

Hey gophernation, just saw this post as well. Now that I know the circumstances with your gun, I'd recommend buying a Remington 870 choke kit. You can get the full choke for turkey, an improved choke, and an open (cylinder) choke along with a choke wrench for changing them. Your gun already has the modified in it. I've killed plenty of ducks with my 870 and Mod. choke. Unlike turkey hunting, waterfowl hunting will require some purchases....I wouldn't discourage you from it though, like boilerguy said, it is addicting and you will love it. I shouldn't admit this as a turkey forum moderator, but for me there is nothing like being in a blind and duck hunting. I would take a face full of ducks all day over a turkey or big game hunt...but not by much \:\)grin.gif

Good luck and don't worry, that gun can handle anything this state can throw at you hunting-wise. I've killed grouse, pheasant, turkey, duck, doves, and geese with my 870. If I hunted down south, I'd take down some deer with it too.

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Scott M

One more thing...shot sizes really depend on what you'll be going for. For me, it's an "On any given [saturday or Sunday]" you could see all sorts of different birds. I usually have 2's and BB for sure in my dry box, and occasionally I'll have some 4's for early season teal and wood ducks. If you know what you'll be seeing and how far away you will be shooting, you can choose a shot size. I wanted to smack some geese early season so I had some T's and BBBs. It's form fits function. Select based on what you need.

I recommend what 2 Da Gills said, paper test some of those loads. Also, the federal ammunition boxes are pretty handy. They have shot charts on Federal ammo. store displays and on their boxes with recommended loads for certain game types and shooting distances.

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Eric Wettschreck

Gopher_Nation, just so you know. The 870 is a time proven all around great shotgun. This will work great for you for pretty much anything you can hunt in Minnesota. With mine I've shot pheasants, deer, ducks, geese, rabbits, squirrels, doves, and coyotees.

Patterning your gun is a great bit of advice.

Get out there and have fun. If you've never waterfowled before, it may be good for you to hook up with someone who has done this before. This way you won't have to drop a lot of money on things like decoys and calls and that kind of stuff. It's also a great way to learn some little things like how to hide from 12 sets of little eyeballs that are flying circles around your head.

In the end, though, don't sweat the small stuff. Get out into the swamp and have fun. Be careful tho cuz like I said before, it's addicting. You may just find yourself practicing your duck calls while sitting in your car.

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doughnut03

I had a good laugh at your last sentence Boilerguy! I have a Buck Gardner(sp?) calling CD in my jeep at all times, and its the BEST place to practice calling! I just started waterfowling last year myself, and its a lot like anything. You can learn a lot by doing research on products, techniques, etc... but 10 years of reading will not be as good of a learning experience as going out a few times with someone who has a lot of experience. Im jealous as I think my next gun will be an 870 but good luck!!

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Sartell Angler

I'd second with what boilerguy and doughnut said about finding someone with some experience and latching onto them for the season (if they will allow it). I'm 23 and my brother is 21 and we took on an apprentice of our own this season...let him hunt with us whenever he could from doves and early geese all the way through the duck season and into the late goose season.

10 years of experience and know-how aren't going to come overnight so if nothing else it is helpful to have someone with you that knows the regs inside and out and makes sure you aren't messing up other people's hunt but skybusting, setting up too close to somebody, etc etc. Although with some guys that will happen regardless but you take the bad with the good sometimes out there.

Welcome to the sport and enjoy the 870! I've had mine every step of the way since it is the only shotgun I own (or plan to own, for that matter!)

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Eric Wolf

Like guys have said, pattern your gun with all of the chokes you have. If you dont like the results you are getting with the chokes you have, look at a few after market chokes. I have a Patternmaster in my gun, and it will never come out. From teal to honkers to snows, it always stays in. I shoot 2's at ducks and BB's at snows and honkers. It really hits hard. Good luck and if you have any other questions about hunting, let us know!

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SDbowhunter

Dont forget to practice... Shooting birds is much harder then shooting trap or skeet but the more time behind the gun the more natural your shooting will be. Practice with the different chokes and watch how well you are hitting clays. I plan on putting at a minimum 2 cases of shells through my gun proir to the season. This will help you determine your limits on the types of shots you should take and will put more birds in the bag and less lost in the weeds. (Plus its FUN!) Personally, for shot and chokes, I use 3-BB, 3 shot and a modified choke for early season and BB a full choke for diver hunting. Golden eyes are tough tough birds. For Geese BB and Full.

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