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How far to lead ducks


openorice

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I used to drop ducks with no problem but as I've aged I'm really struggling and I can't decide if I'm not leading them enough or if I'm leading them too much. Any rules of thumb for leads would be appreciated.

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If your using anything that's 1550 fps or greater your probably shooting ahead of them. So on the other side if things if your shooting 1400 or lower your nipping there tail feathers. Find the swing and your golden on all the speeds. If your decoying birds you could use even slower loads and still kill.

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I've learned fallowing through is the most important, ("butt, belly, beak, bang") and if I actually lead the bird, its a far/high shot, I probly shouldnt take.

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shoot the middle stations at skeet and you'll have your answer, well sort of. If you aren't breaking anything, obviously you'd be off. The score keeper or friends could stand behind you to tell.

Another aspect would be distance, are most of the shots 20 yards? 50 yards? Makes a huge difference.

The only thing you could really do (outside of putting a camera on your gun) is practice skeet, sporting clays and 5 stand to gain confidence. And if you haven't patterned, maybe do that as well.

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I agree with the previous posts and would add the following.

Try using steel for everything you shoot - pheasants, grouse, even some practice rounds of trap or skeet. I found switching between lead and steel caused my timing to be off. Figured out steel at long distance needs to more of lead then my old lead shot, ducks up close need almost no lead with steel shot. Basically, steel starts out fast and slows down quickly and I needed to figure that out and get use to it - one variable done. Then there is the adjusing to how fast the ducks are moving...that is tricker based on size - big ducks look like they are moving slower then they really are - at least to me.....good luck. I used to complain about steel compared to my old fast lead reloads.....now I am prety happy 3 inch steel loads.

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My guess is that you are still shooting behind them.

I have often thought on the same lines of you and when I ask someone to watch me shoot they say that I am shooting behind the bird and I have caught myself stopping and not following thru with my lead/swing of the gun.

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I've had people ask me 'how far do you lead them' and I truthfully can't say, just keep banging away, thats the fun part about good duck hunting, you get more opportunities. Now when you miss that one pheasant that you had a shot at after walking 3 miles, thats a cusser!!!

Best advice above is more practice and shoot steel all the time, take away that variable. I shoot 2 shot steel for both ducks and geese, if they're close, hold off on your shot so you don't blow them up.

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I used to be able to hit anything, back in the day of only lead. Today, I cant hit anything. I blame it on having to switch between lead and steel. But I just need to stop switching back and forth, and just hunt steel. Last year duck hunting I shot 2 boxes of steel one day, and didnt even hit one duck. So I went to the range, and practiced a bunch with steel, then went pheasant hunting with lead. Ughh, I couldnt hit a pheasant then.

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I usually tell people that it is a lot harder to over lead a duck then it is to shoot behind it this usually applies to really fast ducks(teal,woodies,bluebills). Follow through and make sure you are getting the stock up to your cheek and you are looking down the rib of the gun.

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10 4 I start just behind the bird catch up to it along the path it's flying and once I take the lead on the lead I let her go, certainly the speed of the type you're shooting at and distance factor in. I have had a tough time on geese with Hypersonic 3.5", the recoil is so severe I can't keep swinging so those shells are toast and so is my shoulder,finger, and collarbone some. I think a good nights sleep helps also and picking out a single drake in my case anyway not worrying about shot 2 and 3, thankfully my dad forced me to use a single shot 20 growing up until I turned 13 then I started running the big heater. It's very rare for me to fire all 3 out of a pump, the third is often just in case there's a cripple or a sailer. Practice a bunch, maybe test some rounds and count pellet hits in the zone to make sure your gun etc. is matching up well with the loads you want to use.

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every time I'm consciously thinking about leading birds or putting the bead on them... I miss. And when I get excited about birds, I usually miss.

Lead, steel, whatever, I'll hit >75% shooting skeet and 100% shooting trap.

When a bird comes in out of nowhere and I jump up, shoulder the gun, and pull the trigger I'll hit 'em. If they circle around 5 times and then come in with the gear down on the decoys, yeah I'll probably miss.

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