Posts Tagged ‘Prairie Storm Steel’

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.

New PF-Logoed Prairie Storm 100 Round Carry Pack

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

New for pheasant hunters this fall from Federal Premium Ammunition is a 100 round carry pack of the Prairie Storm pheasant load – perfect for any Rooster Road Trip.

The large packs are available at Cabela’s, and only in lead shot (the hunters on Pheasants Forever’s Rooster Road Trip will be shooting only the new Prairie Storm steel, as to avoid regulatory confusion when hunting five states in five days, including an assortment of public areas). But if your own Rooster Road Trip includes many hunters or many days, or both, the carry pack could be just the ticket.

In line with all of Federal Premium’s Prairie Storm products, this bulk pack is emblazoned with a Pheasants Forever logo, meaning with each box sold, a donation will be made to Pheasants Forever in support of the organization’s wildlife habitat conservation efforts.

Follow Pheasants Forever’s Rooster Road Trip 2011 at, on Facebook , YouTube, and Twitter (#rrt11). 

The Prairie Storm 100 round carry pack.

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

Prairie Storm Steel Travels at 1600 Feet per Second

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Federal Ammo makes a donation to Pheasants Forever's habitat efforts every time a box of Prairie Storm is sold.

When you miss a pheasant, is it because you shot behind the bird? 


It’s been my experience most of my missed shots (and the misses of others I’m hunting with) are the result of shooting behind fast-moving roosters.  Enter Federal Ammo’s new Prairie Storm Steel which travels at a whopping 1600 feet per second (fps).  Wowzers, that’s fast! And blistering compared to the many other upland loads on the market which offer just 1200 to 1300 fps.


North Dakota has an earlier pheasant opener than most states, and Jesse Beckers, Pheasants Forever’s Regional Wildlife Biologist there, has been upland hunting and using Prairie Storm Steel for three weeks. “That stuff rocks. I’ve never had steel shot perform so well. I’ve got buddies starting to buy it and thought people would like to know that it’s performing awesome in North Dakota.” 


Next time you’re in the ammo aisle of your favorite sporting goods store, check out the stats on the boxes of bird shot.  No other load comes close to the 12 gauge Prairie Storm Steel’s 1600 feet per second. 


On top of that fast fact, Federal makes a donation to Pheasants Forever’s wildlife habitat conservation efforts for each and every box of Federal shells sold featuring the PF logo, including Prairie Storm and Prairie Storm Steel.


The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

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.