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Best Bird Hunting Shotshells of 2023

A deep dive into the year's best shotgun ammunition products for upland bird and waterfowl hunters.

Best Bird Hunting Shotshells of 2023

Check out the list below for a snapshot of the hottest shotshells of 2023. (Photo By: Rionegro-Shutterstock.com)

Although we may not completely be out of the ammo shortage woods yet, things have certainly been improving and continue to look up as we head into the new year. Shotshell manufacturers will keep pumping out products as fast as they can to meet the demand of hardcore bird hunters in addition to launching several new and exciting offerings. 

Best Bird Hunting Shotshells of 2023

HEVI-SHOT HEVI-Metal Xtreme

HEVI-SHOT HEVI-Metal Xtreme
HEVI-SHOT HEVI-Metal Xtreme

Coming in the Fall of 2023, this brand-new layered load contains 30% HEVI-Shot 12 g/cc tungsten pellets stacked over 70% precision steel pellets. The hard-hitting tungsten packs a punch over 50 percent harder than steel, leading to cleaner kills with less cripples and fewer follow up shots. HEVI-Metal Xtreme is packed with sister company Federal’s FLITECONTROL Flex wad that improves pattern density and brings more consistent killing power while allowing shooters to use any choke, ported or non-ported. It will be available in 12- and 20-gauge 3-inch with #4 or #6 tungsten and #1 or #3 steel, respectively. 

$60 per 25 | hevishot.com

Apex Ammunition Upland Bird TSS

Apex Ammunition Upland Bird TSS
Apex Ammunition Upland Bird TSS

At a jaw-dropping density of 18.1 g/cc, APEX’s tungsten super shot (TSS) produces exceptional performance and unrivaled ballistics This extreme density translates to smaller sized shot to do the damage, as well as more pellets per payload to improve pattern performance. Each handloaded hull features a clean-burning powder and a one-piece, tungsten-grade wad system engineered to deliver the tightest pattern possible with maximum barrel protection. Upland Bird TSS is available online in 12- and 20-gauge 3-inch #7.5, #8, and #9 shot and made to order for 28-gauge and .410 shells.

$53-$70 per 10 | apexmunition.com

Baschieri & Pellagri Competition Flyer

Baschieri & Pellagri Competition Flyer
Baschieri & Pellagri Competition Flyer

Baschieri & Pellagri USA (B&P), manufacturer of the world’s premiere shotshells for sporting clays and hunting, has added a new line of ammo to its top-tier offerings in the Competition Flyer. Built upon the concepts of speed and undeniable shot-to-shot consistency, B&P is leading the charge and pushing performance to new levels with their purposefully-built shotshells designed to deliver perfection. Available in 12-gauge 2 ¾-inch, 1 ¼-ounce loads in shot sizes #7 ½ and #8, Competition Flyer shotshells promise unbeatable performance every time you squeeze the trigger with all the benefits of the pre-cut wad and Gordon System technology built in.

$TBD per 10 | baschieri-pellagriusa.com

BOSS Shotshells 16-Gauge

BOSS Shotshells 16-Gauge
BOSS Shotshells 16-Gauge

Perfectly built for your Sweet 16, these purple hulled shells are bound to make a great day afield even better. BOSS put bismuth on the bird hunter’s map and made sure their shells were safe to shoot in your favorite vintage gun. Their superior grade, American-made, copper-plated bismuth shotshells are ideal for reaching out to long-range roosters or dropping ducks who dare to cross the edge of your decoy spread. Find it in a 1-oz 2 ¾-inch #3-#7, or a blended batch of #3/#5 for the best of two worlds.

$34 per 20 | bossshotshells.com

Remington Premier Bismuth

Remington Premier Bismuth
Remington Premier Bismuth

New for 2023, Remington Premier Bismuth is now available in all common shotgun gauges (12, 16, 20, 28, and .410). Loaded with HEVI-Bismuth, this mean green ammo hits harder and flies farther than steel, leading to improved downrange energy and increased lethality at greater distances. Premier Bismuth is safe to shoot in all barrels, include vintage shotguns.

$58-$75 per 25 | remington.com

Winchester Blind Side 2

Winchester Blind Side 2
Winchester Blind Side 2

Blind Side 2 is becoming a fast favorite of steel-shooting waterfowl hunters. The new and improved, straighter-flying, more rounded Hex steel shot shape puts 10% more pellets in the payload and increases penetrating power to cause more tissue trauma. The water-resistant DryLok wad keeps powder dry and its four-petal design leads to a better choke response. With a corrosion-resistant nickel-plated head, Blind Side 2 is ready for foul weather and is now even more deadly than the original.

$TBD per 25 | winchester.com

Fiocchi Field Dynamics Upland Steel

Fiocchi Field Dynamics Upland Steel
Fiocchi Field Dynamics Upland Steel

Whether to reduce lead shot in the environment or to comply with increasing non-toxic-shot regulations on public and private lands, more bird hunters are reaching for lead-free alternative loads. With a proven reputation for putting birds in the bag, the new Field Dynamics Upland Steel shotshells satisfies the need for hunters to utilize a high-quality load that produces reliable cycling and premium performance in every shell. The components and engineering behind the Upland Steel deliver the same rugged dependability and trusted results that experienced hunters have come to expect from Fiocchi. Two steel shotshell models are offered for the 2023 upland season chambered in 12-gauge for 2 3/4-inch loaded with either #4 or #6 steel shot.

$TDB per 10 | fiocchiusa.com


Kent Cartridge Upland Fasteel

Kent Cartridge Upland Fasteel
Kent Cartridge Upland Fasteel

If a high-performing, affordable, lead-alternative shotshell is what you seek, Kent’s precision steel shotshells deliver a reliable, tight-patterning, and premium performing product specially designed for knocking down upland birds all season long. Find it in 12- and 20-gauge 2 ¾-inch configurations loaded with #5, #6, or #7 shot.

$25 per 25 | kentcartridge.com 

Federal Premium HI-Bird Fiber Wad

Federal Premium HI-Bird Fiber Wad
Federal Premium HI-Bird Fiber Wad

Eco-conscious hunters and high-volume shooters take note, the brand-new HI-Bird Fiber Wad shotshell from Federal Premium will reduce your environmental impact with its cellulose-based construction to minimize plastic left behind, all while refusing to sacrifice on any downrange patterning and performance. HI Bird Fiber Wad is available in a high-power, high-velocity 12-gauge, 2 3/4-inch, 1 1/4-ounce, #5 load.

$25 per 25 | federalpremium.com

Winchester USA Valor Series Target Load

Winchester USA Valor Series Target Load
Winchester USA Valor Series Target Load

Winchester continues to celebrate its commitment to American freedom by supporting the spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members through a portion of sales donated to educational scholarships. They’re passing on the opportunity to contribute through your purchase of the American-made, USA Valor Series. This limited-edition target load is specially designed for trap, skeet, and sporting clays and sold in 12-gauge 2 ¾-inch #7 or #8 shot.

$TBD per 25 | winchester.com


Browning Ammunition Wicked Blend 20-Gauge

Browning Ammunition Wicked Blend 20-Gauge
Browning Ammunition Wicked Blend 20-Gauge

Up the ante with Browning for the ultimate blend of bismuth and steel. For those cerebral shooters who can’t decide on their preferred shot size, Wicked Blend comes in combinations of #1+BB, #2+#4, or #3+#5 in a 3-inch shell that brings together proper pattern density and superior knockdown power. With higher energy retention and deeper penetrating strength, this unique mixture produces wicked awesome results.

$TDB per 25 | browningammo.com

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