Best New Shotgun Loads for 2015

Best New Shotgun Loads for 2015

Hunters are always looking for an edge, some sort of advantage to help knock down more game with fewer shots. Thankfully, shotshell manufacturers are hunters, too. That's why they are constantly working on new, improved loads that hit harder and perform better.

This year's SHOT Show saw a host of new loads designed to help you bring home more game. Whether you hunt upland birds, waterfowl or even whitetails, there was something new to stuff into your favorite gun. Here's a look at the latest shotshell offerings.

Federal | 3rd Degree Turkey Loads

Can't decide which shot size to use in your favorite turkey gun? Federal made your life a little easier with the introduction of the 3rd Degree turkey load. It includes a layer each of Federal Heavyweight No. 7, 6 and 5 pellets packed in such a way to offer maximum knock-down power at extended ranges. Available in 3- and 3 ½-inch 12-gauge loads, they travel at 1,250 fps. If that's not enough to convince you to try these new loads, a portion of the proceeds of each box goes toward the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Price: $21.95-$24.95 for a 5-count box

Hornady | American Whitetail Rifled Slug

Hornady's American Whitetail line-up just grew with the addition of a rifled slug made for smoothbore shotguns. With a muzzle velocity of 1,600 fps and 2,848 foot-pounds of energy, these loads are ideal for hunters limited to shotguns for deer hunting. Sighted in with a 100-yard zero, the slug drops just 11.4 inches at 150 yards. The 1-ounce, hollow-point, Foster-style slug is only available in 12-gauge.

Price: $10.51-$14.20

Kent | Ultimate Fast Lead 20-gauge 3-inch

Kent's Ultimate Fast Lead has been around for several years, but up until this year, there were no 3-inch loads for 20-gauge shotguns. That's changed. Starting this year, the company will offer Ultimate Fast Lead in 3-inch, 20-gauge shells loaded with 1¼ ounces of either No. 5 or 6 Diamond Shot. The load travels at 1,300 fps. Be patient, though. The loads are so new, they have not been released yet. Kent doesn't even have an official photo of the box yet, but it will reportedly look identical to the 12-gauge Ultimate Fast Lead packaging.

Price: $12.49

Remington | Nitro Steel

Remington took its popular waterfowl load and made it even better. The new Nitro Steel has increased energy and more velocity without any additional recoil. If that's not enough, the engineers at Remington added zinc-plated pellets for corrosion resistance, along with a waterproof primer and crimp to prevent moisture from entering shells under the most extreme conditions. Available in 10, 12, 16 and 20 gauges and in loads ranging from BBB to No. 4 shot, waterfowlers of all stripes will find a load to their liking.

Price: $20.99-$28.99

Rio | Bismuth

Rio recently entered the non-toxic shotshell market with the introduction of Bismuth shot. It's perfect for vintage shotgun fans who fear barrel damage from harder steel pellets. In fact, bismuth is 86 percent less dense than lead, offering ideal penetration and knock-down power. Rio offers a variety of shot sizes (No. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauges and even .410. Velocities range from 1,175 fps in .410 to 1,400 fps in 3-inch 12-gauge loads.

Price: $18.99-$26.99

Winchester | AA Steel

Although Winchester's new AA steel target loads may be geared toward the sporting clay, skeet and trap market, there is a growing number of non-toxic shot-only hunting areas. As such, shooters looking for the perfect non-toxic dove, quail or even rabbit load would be wise to check out AA steel loads. These loads are available in 2¾-inch, 12-gauge 7½ or 8-shot and are packed with 1 ounce of shot.

Price: $94.99-$119.99 per case

Winchester | Blind Side Magnum Pheasant

Made with the same lethal, non-toxic pellets as Winchester's popular Blind Side waterfowl loads, the Magnum Pheasant load is the ideal choice for the countless mandatory non-toxic hunting areas scattered throughout pheasant country. The hexahedron-shaped pellets are stacked in the wad cup, allowing up to 15 percent more shot and additional powder in each load. Available in 2¾ and 3-inch loads, both options are packed with 1 3/8-ounce of No. 5 shot.

Price: $199.99-$219.99 per case

Winchester | Rooster XR

Late-season roosters can be cagey birds. Winchester's Rooster XR can bring down those pheasants that refuse to hold tight or that have an extra layer of late-season fat. These hard-hitting loads aren't just for late season, though. They'll knock down birds from opening day to the final sunset. Made with Winchester's patented Shot-Lok technology, which prevents misshaped pellets and poor patterns, Rooster XR is available in 12-gauge 2¾ and 3-inch shells in No. 4, 5 or 6 shot. It travels at a capable 1,300 feet per second. Available in 15-round boxes.

Price: $21.99-$23.99

Winchester | Long Beard XR

Is there anything more frustrating than a gobbler that hangs up just beyond range? Thanks to Winchester's new Shot-Lok technology, that range just got extended a few more yards. This load sends twice as many pellets into a 10-inch circle at 60 yards as traditional lead turkey loads. Long Beard XR is available in 3- and 3½-inch 12-gauge loads in No. 4, 5 or 6 shot. The 3-inch shell has 1¾ ounces of shot and moves at 1,200 fps. Ten rounds per box.

Price: $18.99-$22.99

Recommended for You

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results. Clothing

Field Tested: Cold-Weather Boots

Kali Parmley - April 22, 2019

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results.

Hunting in Quebec offers plenty of quality outfitters, affordable hunting options, great fishing and plenty of bears. North America

Bear Hunting Makes Quebec the Ultimate Springtime Destination

Lynn Burkhead - February 01, 2019

Hunting in Quebec offers plenty of quality outfitters, affordable hunting options, great...

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench. Ammo

Roll Your Own: Best Reloading Supplies

David Draper - April 19, 2019

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Have a freezer full of ground elk venison from your fall hunting trips? Never fear, the folks at Camp Chef have a great SHOT Show recipe that is lean and mean, easy to prepare, and a crowd-pleasing favorite!

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 13: Forest Buffalo

Craig Boddington returns to Mozambique's fame Coutada 10 for a shot a forest buffalo that's eluded him for 10 years.

Cheeseburger Poppers

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223 Ammo

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

Joseph von Benedikt & David Faubion

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are created equal. Recipes

How to Properly Grill Venison Steak

Hank Shaw

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are...

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

See More Stories

More Ammo

With spring turkey season just around the corner, OSG senior digital editor Lynn Burkhead was all ears as Steve Nelson of Winchester Ammunition talked about the new Winchester Xtended Range Bismuth turkey load Ammo

First Look: Winchester Xtended Range Bismuth Turkey Shotshell Load

Lynn Burkhead - January 25, 2018

With spring turkey season just around the corner, OSG senior digital editor Lynn Burkhead was...

Whatever your hunting philosophy, there's a capable deer bullet that fits your needs. Here's a look at a handful of the finest available today. Ammo

The Best Deer Bullets Anywhere

Joseph von Benedikt - January 22, 2019

Whatever your hunting philosophy, there's a capable deer bullet that fits your needs. Here's a...

With new loads like Federal Premium's Heavyweight TSS in #9 shot, the right .410 shotgun can Ammo

Old School .410 Bore Shotgun Offers New Spring Turkey Hunting Options

PH Online Editors - February 21, 2018

With new loads like Federal Premium's Heavyweight TSS in #9 shot, the right .410 shotgun can

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.