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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I normally shoot Kent Fasteel, but it has gone up to around $200/case. I saw some Rio's and PMC's for less than $150 for 3 1/2" #3's 1550 fps. I bought some Winchester Xperts (3 1/2" #3's 1550f ps) two years ago and they were 100% crap; went back to the Kents. I was just wondering about these other cheaper shells and what anyone's experience with them has been. Thanks.
 

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I've never felt the need to shoot larger than a 3" shell. Bring the birds into a respectable distance to ensure quality kills. Also take some time with different loads and chokes. Quite often you'll see people who shoot 3 1/2" shells start to pattern their guns and end up finding a much more suitable 3" shell with lesser costs being able to put twice as many pellets on target. I went through quite a few different "preferred" brands so I thought to later start to dissect the shell to find poor quality wads, crimps and oblong shaped pellets. I too was a Kent shooter until I tore a couple apart and found that they were half the quality inside as the least expensive Federal Blue box. Then I patterned through a custom cut choke to my barrel from a local gunsmith called Drakekiller. Night and day difference.
 

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Shot 2 cases of the Faststeel 3" last season as a trial from normally shooting Xpert for several seasons with no problems. Also shot up some Federal 3" 2's that were left over from a couple of years earlier. Did not find any significant differences between any. They all kill well in normal ranges on ducks both diver and puddler, snows, ross' specklebelly and several sizes of Canadas. I maintain it is the shooter not the shell that really makes the difference. I do find it hard to shoot well any 3.5" load because I probably tend to close my eyes just before pulling the trigger in anticipation of the pain.
 

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PMC- Optima used to be mfg in Boulder City NV. but the company was sold and I think the shotshells are made overseas...was never a fan.....I think Rio is made in South America

I prefer Winchester or Remington when shooting skeet, used to reload but havent for awhile

I like Kent Faststeel or Bismuth
 

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A 3.5" shell has no more effective range than a 2.75" shell. Number 2's at 1550 are the same no matter how long the shell is. The only differene is pellet count. I preffer to shoot less pellets and not shoot the birds up as bad. Shot shells are like shot guns. They come in all sizes in quite a price range. When I was starting to shoot trap I was told you can't buy a good score you have to shoot it. Put the pellets where the bird is going to be and let the bird fly into the shot string just like shooting clay birds.
 

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I have always shot kents and x-perts, both shot good for me but I still prefere kents. Idk know about the two listed but shot some fiocchi steel-yuk. There might be good deal out there but from my expierence I like to stay with a proven performance shell.
 

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David,

I used Heavy Shot (3" #4s) last year after swearing I would never pay that much. I bought a couple of boxes just to try. Two limits in two days with 5 shells left over, and I was converted. The $ per kill isn't that much more if any when you factor in lost birds, swatting cripples, etc. I also figured that if I was paying for a lease in Arkansas, gas, motel, food, etc. that a few dollars more for shells wasn't that big of a deal.
 

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Reputation of Rios---well go ask someone who is a trapshooter to find out about them. I can't speak for their steel. I have also shot 3 1/2 " Winchester Xperts Steel and will never buy them again. I will shoot Winchester in other sizes. Winchester and Federal are my choices. As for cost, and I don't mean to be sarcastic, it went down dramatically when I improved my shooting. Far fewer misses these days means fewer shells needed for the season.
 

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Has Kent really gone up that much?! Good gosh.

I shot a few Rio's on a trip up to OK several years back, and I swore that I would never shoot them again. Misfires were the biggest problem I had with them...and I don't want my shells to be misfiring when there are mallards to be had.

I've always liked Kent's shotgun shells...every distant now and again you may have a misfire, but they're fair,y consistent and they throw a nice even pattern without much shot deformation. They're the shells our clients shoot in Canada.

I've had great luck with Winchester ammunition as well.

One shell I would stay away from is Remington's Hyper-Sonic. Those things will absolutely beat you up! I didn't even make it through the first box before I gave them away.

You don't need those 3 1/2's for anything either. Use 3 inch shells for everything and get yourself a quality aftermarket choke(Patternmaster).
 

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don't walk, RUN from the Rio's

Its the only shell I have found that will not cycle in my SBE2, crescent moon pattern and stinks to high heaven when shot. Buddy of mine bought a case for dirt cheap and gave me 2 boxes as a joke to watch me fight them and miss everything that came in. I still have a box and a half.....Don't even make good field poppers for training!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the replies. I shoot 3 1/2" shells because I can. I also like the higher pellet count, I realize there is no difference in the ballistics. I use a Kicks Choke in Improved Cylinder in my SBE and SBE II, which is another reason I like the higher pellet count. I guess I'll stick with the Kent's.
X2 on the Hypersonic Remingtons. Macks sport shop won't even sell them; the gunsmith there said they have torn up a bunch of guns and they are shoulder wreckers.
 

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Thanks for the replies. I shoot 3 1/2" shells because I can. I also like the higher pellet count, I realize there is no difference in the ballistics. I use a Kicks Choke in Improved Cylinder in my SBE and SBE II, which is another reason I like the higher pellet count. I guess I'll stick with the Kent's.
X2 on the Hypersonic Remingtons. Macks sport shop won't even sell them; the gunsmith there said they have torn up a bunch of guns and they are shoulder wreckers.
Why an IC? Do you hunt in the woods all the time or in really small bodies of water? IC is a good choice for a few very limited scenarios, but for the most part I prefer a tighter choke. With a Patternmaster(I use the extended long range) you either cleanly kill or cleanly miss the bird...there isn't much in between.

Have you tried Heavy Metal yet? That stuff is KILLER.
 

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The Rio 209 primers got stuck in my launchers. They loaded fine, but expanded so much after they went boom! that I had to pound them out.

I'm totally clueless about ammo, but I take it this is not a good sign of quality.
 

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Why an IC? Do you hunt in the woods all the time or in really small bodies of water? IC is a good choice for a few very limited scenarios, but for the most part I prefer a tighter choke. With a Patternmaster(I use the extended long range) you either cleanly kill or cleanly miss the bird...there isn't much in between.

Have you tried Heavy Metal yet? That stuff is KILLER.
I, too, shoot a Kicks Improved Cylinder on a Benelli. Clean kills on anything 15 to 40 yards. Great combination for decoying ducks.
 
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