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What Makes Prairie Storm Steel Different From Black Cloud?

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.

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5 Responses to “What Makes Prairie Storm Steel Different From Black Cloud?”

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  1. victor says:

    How does the steel shot wear on your shotgun barrels? Is there any difference? I have been using the copper federal pheasant storm. Thanks Victor

  2. Jim Brown says:

    I shot two shots of Prairie Storm shells in the bottom barrel of my citori and they bulged the barrel right were the shot exits the shell. Any body else have this problem????????????

  3. Victor, Modern shotguns are designed to shoot all forms of steel shot. I would not recommend shooting any steel shot in an older/classic shotgun as they were not designed for it.

    Steel still fouls barrels, but is a lot harder than lead, so it fouls less. And actually, with both lead and steel Prairie Storm and Black Cloud, fouling is significantly reduced because the shot doesn’t leave the wad until after it exits the barrel. This feature is quite a bit different than standard loads where the shot comes in contact with the barrel much more. – Anthony Hauck, PF Online Editor

  4. @Jim – Jim, so far we’ve heard and had only good results with Prairie Storm. But you should definitely contact Federal’s Product Service Team at 1-800-831-0850, or prodserv@atk.com if you haven’t already. They are very good to work with and I know they would want to talk with you.

    Good luck hunting this fall!

  5. Mike Schatz says:

    I shot a pile of birds last year with the Federal Praire Storm and my SBE2. Ammo makes a world of difference! My only request would be that they would make a heavier load. 1 1/4 is light if you are a good shot and late season. :) Until next time hunt hard and safe. SD opener only 16 days away. Look out Roooooo’s here we come!

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