Posts Tagged ‘Prairie Storm’
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.
Friday, February 1st, 2013
In my previous life in professional baseball, I worked with ballplayers who exhibited incredibly strong affinities to particular brands and models of gloves, bats or cleats. Some of those affiliations had to do with sponsorship (some with superstitions), but mostly those loyalties derived from success on the field. As I’ve written before, I continue to be amazed by the correlations between bird hunters and ballplayers. Another one of these parallels exists in pheasant hunters’ brand loyalty and that’s what my focus is today.
In my estimation, pheasant hunters are largely gear junkies and that gear, in priority of importance, revolves around: their favorite breed of bird dog, shotguns, boots, ammunition and hunting vests.
So today’s blog post surveys the nation’s most well-renowned bird hunters to poll their favorites in each of these five categories. My assumption as I send out this survey is that like baseball players, expert pheasant hunters have a wide array of affiliations and there likely won’t be too many common answers. Let’s find out.
To start, here are my favorites:
1) Bird Dog Breed: German shorthaired pointer
2) Shotgun: Beretta 686 Onyx 12 gauge over/under with skeet chokes in both barrels
3) Boots: Danner Santiam
4) Ammo: Federal Premium Ammo’s Upland Steel 12 gauge 3” 5 shot
5) Vest: Wing Works Upland Vest
Ron Schara, Host of The Flush presented by Pheasants Forever on Outdoor Channel
1) Bird Dog: Raven, the black Lab, whistle trained
2) Shotgun: Benelli Super Black Eagle or Benelli Vinci with Carlson choke tubes
3) Boots: Irish Setter
4) Ammo: Federal Ammo’s Prairie Storm 2-3/4” lead 5 shot
5) Vest: Still looking for a good one; need deep pockets for ammo; easy reach for bird carrying pouch
Bill Sherck, Co-Host of The Flush presented by Pheasants Forever on Outdoor Channel
1) Bird Dog: My love of hunting dogs is pretty basic. I want a dog that can find downed birds, always. That’s A-1 in my book.
2) Shotgun: I have a 1929 LeFever Nitro Special 20 gauge that became a best friend of sorts. It is, by far, my ugliest, most beat up shotgun, but I shoot it well and I love the history. Serious patina.
3) Boots: Irish Setter 894s, Irish Setter 894s, Irish Setter 894s….
4) Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm is over the top! I absolutely love the stuff. No wounded birds, only kills (when I don’t miss!).
5) Vest: I’ve become a fan of mountain tech vests. I have an old Mother’s lightweight I still use a lot. A Buck’s is my next big investment.
Scott Linden, Host of Wingshooting USA Television
1) Bird Dog: German wirehaired pointer . . . is there any other breed?
2) Shotgun: Webley & Scott Model 2000 in 20 gauge
3) Boots: Meindl Perfekt from Cabela’s
4) Ammo: Depends upon the situation: Kent Cartridge Fast Lead or Fiocchi Golden Pheasant
5) Vest: Filson Mesh Vest
Hank Shaw, Author of Hunt, Gather, Cook and speaker at National Pheasant Fest
1) Bird Dog: Pudelpointer
2) Shotgun: Franchi Velochi 20 gauge
3) Boots: Asolo
4) Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm #5s
5) Vest: Filson
Lee & Tiffany Lakosky, Hosts of The Crush on Outdoor Channel
1) Bird Dog: Black Labrador retriever
2) Shotgun: Tiffany shoots a 12 gauge Beretta Silver Pigeon and Lee shoots a 12 gauge Franchi Instinct
3) Boots: Under Armour Ridge Reaper early season & Under Armour HAW’s late season
4) Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm
5) Vest: Badlands Pheasant Pack
1) Bird Dog: Labrador retriever . . . or any dog that loves to hunt.
2) Shotgun: Browning Citori 20 Gauge
3) Boots: Danner Fowlers
4) Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm 20 gauge 3” 6 shot
5) Vest: J.L. Powell, waxed cotton
1) Bird Dog: German shorthaired pointer
2) Shotgun: Caesar Guerini 28-gauge Magnus Light
3) Boots: Danner Pronghorn
4) Ammo: Polywad Gram Crak-R and Spred-R 28-gauge
5) Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite Strap Vest
Billy Hildebrand, Host of FAN Outdoors Radio on KFAN
1) Bird Dog: American Brittany
2) Shotgun: Beretta 686 Onyx Over/Under 12 gauge
3) Boots: Danner Pronghorns
4) Ammo: Federal Upland Steel 3s or 5s
5) Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite Jacket
Note 1: Billy also prefers SportDOG Upland 1850, Chevy Z71, Folgers Coffee and “special” sandwiches.
Note 2: Billy’s hunting partners do not like his “special” sandwiches!
Justin Larson, Outdoors Media Specialist for the nation’s pheasant capital, SOUTH DAKOTA
1) Bird Dog: Prefers Labs, but doesn’t own his own at the moment
2) Shotgun: Winchester SX3
3) Boots: Muck Boots
4) Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm
5) Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite
1) Bird Dog: Springer spaniel
2) Shotgun: Beretta 391
3) Boots: Danner Uplander
4) Ammo: Federal 12 gauge 5 shot Pheasants Forever loads
5) Vest: A Pheasants Forever strap vest
1) Bird Dog: English cocker spaniel . . . and I wouldn’t mind another
2) Shotgun: Remington 870 Wingmaster, in the market for my first O/U
3) Boots: Irish Setter Havoc when it’s dry, Muck Boots when it’s not
4) Ammo: Federal Premium Upland Steel #4s . . . served “chilled”
5) Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite Strap Vest
Steve Ries, Owner of Top Gun Kennels
6) Bird Dog: German shorthaired pointers
7) Shotgun: Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon over/under 20 gauge
8) Boots: Irish Setter Upland DSS Gore-Tex hunting boots
9) Ammo: Winchester
10) Vest: Gander Mountain Guide Series Hunting Strap Vest
Chad Hines, Owner of Willow Creek Kennels
1) Bird Dog: German shorthaired pointer
2) Shotgun: Beretta 686 Onyx over/under 20 gauge
3) Boots: Merrill Moab Hiking boots – I use these for almost all hunting.
4) Ammo: Federal’s Black Cloud
5) Vest: Bird ‘n Light Vest
1) Bird Dog: A tandem of German Shorthair Pointer and Labrador, trained to honor each other of course!
2) Shotgun: Ruger Red Label 20 gauge early season, 12 gauge late season. Skeet and IC chokes early season, IC and modified chokes late. Sadly, they’re not making them anymore.
3) Boots: Red Wing Irish Setter (short uppers) early season and Meindl Scotland GTX (or similar) late season
4) Ammo: Federal Upland Steel 4 shot. 3 inch in the 20. 2 ¾ in the 12.
5) Vest: Filson mesh strap vest for short walks, Bird ‘n Lite strap vest if I’m in the field all day or carrying Bob’s birds.
Jeff Fuller, host of Sporting Dog Adventures
1) Bird Dog: Labrador Retriever
2) Shotgun: Benelli
3) Boots: Danner Pronghorn
4) Ammo: HEVI-Shot Upland
5) Vest: Browning vest
Now it’s your turn. What are your favorites?
The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Earlier this week, I received an email from a Pheasants Forever supporter who recently purchased his very first over/under shotgun. The gentleman asked a variety of very good questions. I couldn’t immediately answer all of those questions, so I reached out to Ryan Bronson at Federal Premium Ammunition for some help. Following are those questions with answers thanks to Bronson’s assistance.
What kind of shot pattern am I looking for out of my pheasant hunting shotgun?
(See photo to above) This image appears on the side of every box of Federal’s Prairie Storm pheasant load. According to Bronson, “This is an actual target that we shot with Prairie Storm. This pattern is actually off to the right a little bit (wind drift, shooter error, etc.). This was a 40-yard patterning target and we look for pellet counts in the 30 and 15 inch rings. Shotgunners should be looking for even distribution with few openings in the shot pattern that a bird could fit through. Even though this shot is 6 inches to the right, there are still plenty of pellets in the critical zones.”
What do people do for chokes in the upper and lower barrels of an over/under? Your best choke choice is determined after patterning your gun with your preferred shot brand and size. Personally, I like shooting open chokes. I start with a skeet choke on the top barrel to open up the pattern as much as possible for that first closest shot. I’ve found this to be an especially important factor in shooting Prairie Storm as the shot performs best with very open chokes. My second barrel has an improved cylinder choke in it to retain a more open pattern, but not quite as open as my first shot, considering the bird is now rapidly getting down range.
Is it the ammo or the choke that determines the best pattern? It’s the combination working in harmony with your shotgun. Finding the correct recipe through the three variables (gun, choke and ammo) will determine the best pattern for you. If you already know your gun, then the choke and ammo choices are determined in unison.
Bronson offered a few additional thoughts to keep in mind when patterning your pheasant shotgun:
I would emphasize understanding what your gun/ammo/choke is capable of at various distances. Sometimes you are better off letting a bird get out away from you a little before shooting it, especially if it is a tight pattern at 15 yards.
And if you shoot steel shot, then open the choke up too. Steel patterns tighter than lead. Plated lead shot, like the copper and nickel plated shot in Federal Premium will tend to pattern tighter than plain lead shot in value-priced loads because the un-plated shot will have more deformation. But these are all general rules. You only find specifics by shooting paper and testing.
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.
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
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.
Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
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.
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
In September, I blogged about my early season hunting clothes selections in a post titled A Bird Hunter’s Suitcase: Everything but Underwear. As you read today’s post, I’m headed west for my fourth visit to SoDak this pheasant season. On this particular trip, I’ll be hunting with FAN Outdoors radio host “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand in temps approaching zero, so I thought it appropriate to detail my favorite late season duds.
By the way, please tune in to www.KFAN.com this Thursday evening from 7 to 8PM CST and this Saturday morning from 6 to 8AM CST for live broadcasts from the pheasant fields of Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Beretta Wind Barrier Sweater: If I were stuck on a polar ice cap, this is the piece of clothing I’d want with me. There is no hyperbole in the statement that this is the single warmest, most efficient, best piece of hunting clothing I’ve ever owned. ALL SIZES NOW IN STOCK.
Boyt Base Layers: I used to be an Under Armour guy until I started wearing Boyt’s merino wool zippered top. There exists no more comfortable “long underwear” item than this one. The other notch in the belt is that Boyt supports conservation groups like Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever and Ruffed Grouse Society.
Boyt Heavy-Weight Uplander Socks: Speaking of our friends at Boyt, they make a heckuva good pair of toe-coverers. Tired of socks that slide down your boot? This pair ain’t cheap, but how much would you pay for warm feet on a hunting trip?
Stormy Kromer: As a native Yooper, it’s my duty to don the cap of the northwoods even in the pheasant field.
Wrangler Upland Jeans: When it comes to comfortable pants, I’m a jeans guy and these are the best out there.
Filson Tin Cloth Chaps: If there’s heavy snow, then I throw these babies over my jeans and the snow just slides off without ever melting . . . in other words, my jeans never get wet and cold because Filson chaps protect my legs like armor.
PF’s Leather Trophy Gloves: I like to feel the safety and trigger, so I go with unlined gloves. These babies will keep me warm as long as the temps don’t sink below freezing.
Browning Strap Vest: I have short arms, so I am really conscious of bulky clothing to enable quick shouldering of my scattergun. Consequently, I’m a guy that likes to wear strap vests. Thanks to the warmth of my Beretta Wind Barrier Sweater, I can afford a game bag that doesn’t come in coat form.
Danner Santiam Boots: I have two pairs of these bad boys. They are warm and comfortable. Unfortunately, Danner discontinued this model in the spring. I’ve been told they are bringing it back . . . but so far it’s not appeared on their website. This bums me out because both of my pairs won’t survive till the 2011 opener.
Pendelton Wool Board Shirt: I discovered these 100 percent wool shirts on the closeout rack of a local mom & pop sporting goods store last spring. BEST DISCOVERY EVER! Talk about the perfect shirt for cold weather hunting. The only downside is the exorbitant price. If you can find them on sale, buy six.
Garmin Astro: I’ve got my new toy along for this trip too.
Snowshoes: Ever tried to walk through two feet of snow? These babies will save you from a heart attack. Honest; you’ll be surprised at how much easier your walking will be, and you’ll be surprised by the balance.
See you on the airwaves this evening and on Saturday morning bright and early at 6AM!
The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
While the fine folks in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado may disagree, I consider December 1st the beginning of late season pheasant hunting. By now, most states’ roosters have been flushed a time or two. Many have evaded canines and errant shooting. Along with the birds’ “education,” I believe the arrival of snow changes the game for bird dog and hunter. As I write this evening, I’ve just finished packing for a South Dakota pheasant trip where 6 to 8 inches of snow is expected to fall by the time I arrive. Here are some of the flurries in my head:
Only opening day fills me with more excitement than the morning after the season’s first snow fall. It’s been my experience the birds move to thermal cover (cattails, thickets, willows, shelter belts, etc.) as soon as the snow falls and they hold tight that first morning. For a hunter with a close working pup, it can be magical. The other benefit of a fresh snow is the ability to see tracks. Not only can you locate where the birds are, you can also eliminate where they’re not. I don’t know about you, but when I KNOW the birds are there, I focus better on being ready and shoot with more accuracy.
In my opinion, snow that’s been on the ground long enough to develop an icy crust creates the most difficult conditions to hunt. Not only does it make the walking tough, but each step is a warning blast to “educated” roosters planning their escape hundreds of yards out of your gun’s reach.
At 5’7″ (some would say I’m only 5’6″), I have short legs for busting cattails. However, I am just tall enough to get poked right in the face with every pointed cattail spear. I also have a long-legged grassland running pointing dog ill-suited to busting cattails. Cattails are my least favorite part of pheasant hunting. No matter how much I protest, I know one simple fact: pheasants love cattails sloughs, especially in the winter.
Like any hunter, I am very focused on keeping my hands warm enough to have a good feel on my shotgun. I’ve found that these leather gloves keep me warm on days with temps into the single digits. If it drops below zero, then I keep the leather trophy glove on my trigger hand and jump up to a heavier wool glove for my other hand.
I also battle with being warm enough to comfortably start the day’s hunt, but also try to prevent dressing so warm that I start sweating heavily during the hunt. This isn’t a major issue if you’re just hunting one spot all day, but most of the time I hunt multiple spots in a day and have to jump in the truck to get from spot one to two to three; try staying warm as you emerge from the truck to hunt spot #3 with a sweaty back and soaked clothes. Certainly Under Armour and merino wool base layers that wick moisture away from your body have made major advances; however, I am still a firm believer that the key is layering. The minute I start to feel a little too warm, I yank off a jacket and tie it to my game vest. I probably average five different layers of clothing on a cold weather day of hunting.
Ice Covered Utopia
Hard water isn’t just for ice fishermen anymore. Frozen ground opens up acres upon acres of public ground and roosters that have been protected by those hunters in fear of soggy feet for the first couple months of the season.
If forced to choose between early season and late season, I admit to being an early season October and November fan first. That being said, I’d certainly rather it be late season than the off season. So here I come snowy South Dakota. I’ve got my Stormy Kromer, a new pair of gloves and a box of Prairie Storm.
The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.
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.
Friday, February 26th, 2010