Posts Tagged ‘Federal Premium’

Ten Pheasant Shotgun Patterning Questions Answered

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013


This is the year to finally pattern your pheasant hunting shotgun. Mike Holm and Erik Carlson of Federal Premium Ammunition bring their expertise and cut through the technical world of patterning to help you master the basics and get ready for wingshooting.

1. Most pheasant hunters never pattern their shotguns. Why should they start?

“All hunters should pattern their shotguns to see what their point of impact looks like at different distances,” says Mike Holm, Federal Premium Product Manager, “Not all shotguns shoot dead center. Knowing your pattern can increase your ability to hit game in the field.  Patterning also lets you see the pattern density and can help you choose the right choke constriction.”

2. At what range(s) should you pattern your pheasant hunting shotgun?

Holm says it’s good to pattern your shotgun at both 20 yards and 40 yards. “This gives you a representation of what your pattern will be for an up-close flushing bird and a more distant flyer.”

3. Should you pattern for both early season and late season pheasant hunting?

“By patterning your shotgun at 20 yards and 40 yards you are preparing yourself for both early and late season hunting.  As we all know, not all early season birds are close,” Holm says.

4. How many different pheasant loads should you plan on patterning?

The most important thing, Holm says, is to pattern the load you plan to take to the field and know what it does. But patterning different loads can be valuable. “It can be interesting to pattern two different loads to see the performance differences. You might even find performance differences that fit different hunting conditions,” Holm says.

5. What choke is a good starting point to begin patterning?

“When patterning Prairie Storm® with the FLIGHTCONTROL® wad, start with Improved Cylinder (IC) chokes, because they generally provide a great combination for up close and at distance,” Holm says, “If you are using a load with a standard wad system, try both IC and Mod (Modified) chokes.”

6. How many rounds should be fired to make an accurate assessment?

Shoot three rounds at three separate targets and then go look at the patterns, says Erik Carlson, Federal Premium Engineering Manager, “This will give you a good idea of what you are getting from a choke and load combination because it averages out any shooter error.”

7. How do you assess your results?

Before you shoot, draw a 3-inch circle in the middle of the paper with a 30-inch diameter ring around it. “If you want to get extremely technical, you can also put a 15-inch diameter ring inside the 30-inch ring,” Holm adds. “You can use these rings to check the average point of impact, pattern density and pattern coverage.”

8. What are the desired results on paper you’re looking for?

For pheasant hunting, Holm says it’s a pattern that is consistently split 50/50 both up and down and left and right from center. “The pattern density should be consistent from edge to edge within the 30-inch circle.”

9. Does steel shot pattern much differently than lead shot?

Steel loads will tend to open up faster than lead loads due to the lower pellet density (this depends on shot hardness, velocity, payload weight, buffer and wad design). “If you hunt lands that require non-lead loads, Prairie Storm® Steel performs similar to a 2 3/4-inch No. 5 lead load,” Holm points out, “It has a similar pellet count, time of flight to 40 yards, and penetration energy at 40 yards.”

10. When should you consider purchasing an aftermarket choke tube?

Holm proclaims aftermarket choke tube makers are experts in their craft.  “Each of them has a unique way to look at patterns and performance. If you are looking to perfect your shotgun pattern, do some research and go with the one that best fits your hunting style and preferences.”

This story originally appeared in Pheasants Forever’s eNewsletter. Return to On the Wing.

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.organd follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Your Pheasant Loads Can Double for Turkeys

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

A tom turkey in full strut. Pheasants Forever File Photo

I hunt turkeys each spring as my annual reminder of why I love hunting pheasants so much more – pheasants never frustrate me, turkeys always do. But I like to stay in hunting mode, and this May I’m also introducing a newbie to hunting’s ranks.

I’d describe myself as a casual turkey hunter – one hunt per year – which means I like it enough to go but not enough to make significant gear investments. I don’t have a specialized turkey gun, and this year will be borrowing a blind, calls and decoys for my May hunt.

One other area I’m looking to pinch pennies for this year’s turkey hunt is on ammunition. I’ve got a few boxes of Federal Premium Wing-Shok Pheasants Forever High Velocity loads in 12-gauge 5 and 6 shot left over from the past few pheasant hunting seasons. Before I spring for shells that picture a big tom on the box, I’m going to put a full choke in my gun and pattern these loads. With 1 ¼ ounce shot weight, if they pattern well enough, my wallet won’t take a hit but the strutter will.

Do your pheasant loads double for spring turkeys?

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

What Makes Prairie Storm Steel Different From Black Cloud?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

New for 2011, Prairie Storm® FS Steel®. Look for the PF logo, as each box sold supports Pheasants Forever.

Federal Premium has unveiled its new upland load for 2011, Prairie Storm® FS Steel®. Federal’s Black Cloud waterfowl loads, which employ similar technology, have been on the market for a few years, and I know many uplanders who, especially on combo hunts, have used Black Cloud loads for pheasants. So how do they differ?

First, let’s look at the similarities. Both Black Cloud and Prairie Strom Steel have Premium Steel round pellets and FLITESTOPPER pellets. The FLITESTOPPER pellets have sharp, Saturn-like rings around them that really wreak some havoc and create a killing wound channel. Both also contain the FLITECONTROL wad, which is designed to hold the shot and release it at various determined distances to produce a more consistent pattern.

Now, the differences. First is the ratio of Premium Steel vs. FLITESTOPPER pellets. Black Cloud has a 60/40 mix, with 40 percent being FLITESTOPPER pellets. The FLITESTOPPER pellets actually fly different than your standard round pellets to give duck hunters greater killing power at longer ranges. The Prairie Storm Steel loads have a 50/50 mix of the two pellet types. This is due to the fact that shots at a flushing rooster are typically closer, giving you a denser pattern at rooster range!

Next, the FLITECONTROL wad. This really is the magic of the Black Cloud and Prairie Storm loads. There is a crazy rear braking effect which holds the pellets for a controlled release, giving you a specific pattern for the birds you are after. Federal Premium engineered the cuts in the wad to adjust the distance at which the cup will release the pellet load. With the Black Cloud loads the wad will hold the load out to around 15 feet before falling off, giving you a denser pattern at the longer ranges. With the Prairie Storm Steel loads the FLITECONTROL wad will drop off between 7 and 10 feet allowing the pattern to open up more at closer rooster ranges. Pretty cool stuff.

Now if you’re also a duck hunter, like me (and 40 percent of Pheasants Forever members), your mind starts to wander to decoying mallards or a hunt in green timber where your shots become closer – you may want to try the Prairie Storm Steel for those tight ducks! Wow, I may have given the folks at Federal a million dollar idea…and remember, a portion of the proceeds from each box of Prairie Storm Steel sold go directly to Pheasants Forever’s conservation efforts. Again, pretty cool stuff.

The Pheasant Fest blog is written by Brad Heidel, Pheasants Forever’s Director of Corporate and Special Event Sales. Look for Brad’s column, “The Gun Shop,” in the Pheasants Forever Journal.

Federal Premium’s New Black Cloud Snow Goose Ammo

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Since I’m just waiting on a phone call from my brother to boogie out of the city, my mind is one tracking it on light geese today. For those of you also considering chasing these wary birds this spring and later during the fall, Federal Premium Black Cloud ammunition has new loads designed especially for you.

Black Cloud Snow Goose loads feature the same proven FLITECONTROL Wad and FLITESTOPPER® (FS) Steel to hit geese at longer ranges. The new 1-1/8 ounce, 3″ 12-gauge (#2 and BB) loads feature a muzzle velocity of 1635 fps for added effective range. These Snow Goose loads are available in stores now. Federal Premium’s new Prairie Storm pheasant loads utilize this same Black Cloud technology, so it’s a great way to get acquainted until Prairie Storm is available this summer.

Storm Report – Inside the New Prairie Storm

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Free Tees, Dr. Death and Other Pheasant Fest Happenings

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Pheasants Forever’s Bob St.Pierre has a hard to top must-see list for this weekend’s National Pheasant Fest. So do I. While I likely won’t get to do them all (I am working, ya know), here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish at the show.

"Storm Reports" - videos from Pheasant Fest - coming to the Pheasant Blog this weekend.

  • Storm Reports – We’ll be posting video “Storm Reports” all weekend long from National Pheasant Fest, brought to you by Federal Premium Ammunition, the Official Ammunition of Pheasants Forever and makers of the all-new Prairie Storm pheasant loads (available summer 2010). “Storm Reports” will be posted here at the Pheasant Blog and also at Pheasants Forever’s Facebook page (
  • Predators Rx – Don’t bring your pet coyote in for a checkup. The Coyote Doctors (think Kevorkian, not House) will be giving presentations on calling these wily predators. A pastime I’m just getting into; and I need a professional diagnosis.
  • Classic Guns Rock – Parker Gun Collectors Association, at booth #642 and also a pair of seminar presentations, will be profiling classic American double guns. And I like looking at guns.
  • Remington, Benelli, Beretta, Browning/Winchester, DPMS, booths etc. – Did I mention I like looking at guns?
  • Free T-Shirt – Word on the street is that you can check out the new Prairie Storm pheasant load at Federal Premium booth #625 and pick up a free t-shirt to boot (limit of 1,000). But you didn’t hear that from me…
  • Makin’ Acres – Since my parents will be taking in the event this year, I’d like to go through the Landowner Habitat Help Room with my dad and see where we could add a few acres of habitat on the family farm.
  • Snows & Toms – If you’re like me and the spring snow geese & tom turkey dates are coming up fast on the calendar, snooping around for some deals on the show floor might not be a bad idea. Maybe back to the Federal Premium booth for a look at the Black Could Snow Goose load. And maybe a visit with an outfitter or two.
  • National Pheasant Fest 2010 Banquet – At Pheasants Forever’s 25th Anniversary in Saint Paul, I took in the evening banquet with my parents and Pheasants Forever colleagues Bob St.Pierre and Mike Traxinger. Now a law student at Drake, “Trax” will be back volunteering for “The Habitat Organization” this weekend. Could be déjà vu all over again. I wonder if Yogi will be in attendance????

Ever Used .000000000000001 Shot?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

No, that is not a "Micro Machine" in front of a standard-issue shotshell.

Or would it be BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB? This gigantic shotshell homage to Federal Premium Ammunition can be found at Long Lake Lodge in Brandon, Minnesota, where I had the enjoyable experience of hunting and snowshoeing this past weekend. I couldn’t zoom out far enough to picture the Godzilla-sized shotgun.

Know of any other such tributes? Post ‘em below.

Get a Load of Federal’s “Prairie Storm”

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Ryan Bronson, Conservation Specialist with Federal Premium Ammunition, left, and Howard Vincent, President and CEO of Pheasants Forever, at the premiere of "Prairie Storm" Pheasants Forever loads.

The biggest news for pheasant hunters to come out of this week’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas is the unveiling of Federal Premium Ammunition’s “Prairie Storm” Pheasants Forever shotshell loads.

What will make these loads so attractive to pheasant hunters is they utilize the same technology that makes Federal Premium Ammunition’s “Black Cloud” loads the number one choice for waterfowlers.

Even better, the Pheasants Forever-logoed “Prairie Storm” loads will function like the on-the-box-royalty program that Federal and “The Habitat Organization” have had in place in recent years. Every box of “Prairie Storm” sold will help Pheasants Forever’s wildlife habitat conservation efforts.