Upland Hunter's Guide to the Latest Loads & Chokes

Upland Hunter's Guide to the Latest Loads & Chokes

The selection of loads and specialized chokes for upland hunters has never been better. Here's a rundown on the latest.

Shotshell makers keep finding ways to make more effective loads, and choke makers respond with tubes designed to enhance that effectiveness, so we can put more No. 5 shot on the pheasants. The converse is true as well, with shell makers designing loads for specific tube constrictions or configurations. The result is a synergy we shooters all benefit from, and here's a quick rundown of some of the latest and greatest.


Federal Hi-Bird

Federal matched hard-hitting lead with a specialized wad to create high-power 12-gauge loads with long-range lethality. Their lead shot was engineered to the optimum blend of hardness and density for even patterns. Meanwhile, the two-piece wad features SoftCell technology to decrease perceived recoil and produce consistent patterns. The 2¾" shells are available in 1¼- and 1 1/8-ounce loads in 6 and 7½ shot. $11-$13 | federalpremium.com


Kent Fasteel

When Fasteel first came out its advanced powders and precision steel components were a quick hit with waterfowlers. Now Upland Fasteel offers the same performance in 1- and 1 1/8-ounce 12-gauge and 7/8-ounce 20-gauge loads at speeds that range from 1,400 to 1,500 fps in shot sizes 5, 6 or 7.  $18 | kentgamebore.com


Remington American Clay & Field 

Made in America with high antimony lead shot for hard-hitting, even, tight patterns at all ranges, A&C features STS primers for consistent muzzle velocities; Power Piston wads that cushion the shot for less deformation and uni-body hulls with premium brass-plated steel caps for reliable, reloadable performance. $10-$12 | remington.com


B & P Heavy Dove/Quail 

High-quality components and innovative processes deliver the pattern efficiency needed to pulverize small game. Shells are available in a wide range of sizes: .410, 28-, 20- and 12-gauge. B&P also offers a Heavy Pheasant shell in 20- and 12-gauge for the roster-obsessed. $9 | baschieri-pellagriusa.com


Winchester Rooster XR

Suitable for virtually all upland game but designed specifically for one of our toughest birds, Rooster XR features Shot-Lok technology. The manufacturing process involves pouring a resin over the shot where it hardens and acts as a buffer that protects shot from deformation. The hardened resin then shatters and flies free, providing for tighter, longer-range patterns. Available in 2¾" or 3" loads in 4, 5 and 6 shot. $22-$24 | winchester.com


Browning BPT 

The 12-gauge Handicap No. 7½ load was designed for trap shooters but is hell on doves and quail too with plenty of lethality on fast-moving targets. The 2¾" shell is loaded with 1 1/8 ounces of shot. $9-$16 | browningammo.com


Hevi-Metal Pheasant

H-M Pheasant utilizes Pattern Density technology, a process where steel pellets are layered with Hevi-Shot. This configuration produces 20 percent more pellets on target, reducing cripples and putting more birds in your bag. Available in 12- and 20-gauge 4 and 5 shot. $27-$28 | hevishot.com  


Rio Bismuth

Softer than steel, Bismuth offers a safe, non-toxic alternative for shooters of classic guns that want the similar shot density of lead. Available in 12, 16, 20, and 28 gauges and .410 in both 2¾"  and 3". $21-$25 | rioammo.com


Mojo Fatal Shot

Fatal Shot chokes were designed and field-tested to achieve optimum performance, holding patterns longer and producing a more consistent point of impact. Quickly switch between the complete set of short, mid, and long-range chokes. They're proudly made in the U.S. from 17-4ph stainless steel. $80 | mojooutdoors.com


Kick's High Flyer 

Kick's extended and angle-ported HF choke tubes are designed for waterfowlers but work equally well for upland hunters looking for long-range patterns. Their conical parallel design improves the pattern and diagonal ports reduce felt recoil and muzzle jump for faster, more accurate follow-up shots. They're manufactured from 17-4PH stainless steel with a black finish, and do not require a wrench for install or removal. High Flyer chokes are offered in four sizes, IC, M, F and XF for 10-, 12-, and 20-gauge. $70 | kicks-ind.com


Patternmaster Anaconda 

PM engineered the 0.715" Mid-range with gas-over-constriction technology that harnesses gas expelled from the ammunition, creating a stranglehold around the wad. This feature, together with patented left-twisting Coil Zone technology, creates a counter-spin between the load and coils applying resistance to the wad and forcing a tighter pattern up to 50 yards. Safe and effective with lead, steel or other non-toxic shot. $60 | patternmaster.com


Trulock Stevens 555 

Trulock has developed a new line of 12-gauge chokes from cylinder through turkey constrictions for the Stevens 555 O/U shotgun in three styles. The first is a flush-style tube. The second is an extended-tube with black oxide finish. The third is an extended "bright" choke designed for sporting clays. They're manufactured from 17-4 PH-grade stainless steel, CNC-machined from solid bar stock and heat-treated to a high strength level (200,000 psi) to resist wear. Also available in ported versions. $45-$47 | trulockchokes.com


Carlson's Prairie Storm

This titanium-coated choke uses a special field-tested constriction and length to get the most from Federal's Prairie Storm. And, it performs equally with lead, copper, nickel, Hevi-Shot and steel loads. Available in 12- and 20-gauge, the early season tube is a light-modified constriction and the late season is an improved-modified. Compatible with all sizes and speeds of steel shot. $52 | choketube.com

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