Duck Hunting 101: What Shells to Use for Maximum Success


Duck hunting is a favorite pastime for many people across the country. It involves patience, skill, and the right equipment to succeed. One of the most critical factors in duck hunting is choosing the proper shotgun shell to use.

Types of Shotgun Shells

When it comes to duck hunting, there are several types of shotgun shells you can use. These include steel shot, tungsten shot, bismuth shot, and lead shot. Each has its advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before making a decision.

Lead Shot: Though this was once widely used in waterfowl hunting; however, it’s now prohibited because of its toxic nature.

Steel Shot: This type is commonly used in modern waterfowl hunting due to its non-toxic characteristics that make it legal everywhere.

Tungsten Shot: Contains higher density than steel and a better choice when looking for power-packed shots with extended range capability while still maintaining reasonable pellet count per ounce.

Bismuth Shot: Although not as dense as Tungsten or Lead; Bismuth falls between Steel & Tungsten which gives an ideal balance giving hunters extra distance along with enough weight needed for good penetration on ducks.

Choosing The Right Size

When selecting shells for duck-hunting purposes; size comes into consideration depending on what species you’re targeting during your hunt. Generally speaking – #3 through 1-shot sizes are suitable choices if mallards or larger birds are your targets since these provide high energy impact at longer ranges that deliver more lethal blows upon contact compared other options like BBs’.

If smaller ducks such as teal or wood-ducks are more common around where you’ll be shooting them down then lighter loads (#6-#8) would suffice just fine giving hunters adequate knockdown power within average distances from their positions making them less likely escape after being hit.


Duck hunting is a challenging and exciting activity that requires the right gear to achieve success. When it comes to shotgun shells, picking the right ones can make all the difference on your next hunting trip. Consider factors like shot type and size when making your choice and happy hunting!