I tested out Hevi-Shot during two different hunts in the 2001/2002 Duck/Goose seasons in Texas and Arkansas, and must say I was extremely impressed.
I am not one to be taking wild, long-range hail mary shots at ducks and geese - I value my money too much to waste steel shot on poor shot opportunities. Still, even though most of my shots are 30 yards or less, I have a lot of birds that do not go down cleanly when hit, are cripples and have to be shot again on the water. I was very eager to see if Hevi-Shot lived up to the claims of the manufacturer. I am very happy to say that it more than met my expectations.
On the Arkansas hunt we were hunting mallards in flooded green timber, and the shots were very close. I missed quite a few shots with the Hevi-Shot that I had made the day before with steel shot, and it became apparent that the Hevi-Shot really does pattern quite a bit tighter than steel, as the manufacturer claims. I was shooting 2.75" #7.5 shot from my Browning A-5 12 guage. It was not until I had a chance to do some long range dispatching of birds crippled with steel shot, that I saw how powerful Hevi-Shot is. I shot several cripples on the water in the 40-50 yard range and they immediately stopped swimming and moving, just slumped over dead. If I've ever seen that with steel, it was definitely the exception. Towards the end of the hunt a bird that was partially crippled attempted to fly away and at 50 yards my load of #7.5 Hevi-Shot brought it down like a ton of bricks. Very impressive performance by the shot.
On the Texas goose hunt I started out using steel shot and was doing pretty poorly, even at close range. Then I discovered that I had a stray Hevi-Shot in my bag, a 2.75" shell in #2 shot, so I loaded it up and waited for the next group to come to the blocks. Shortly a big group of lesser Canada geese came through, but they wouldn't commit to the spread, hovering on the outer edge. At that point I decided this would be a good test for the killing power of Hevi-Shot. I aimed at one goose by itself and shot. Because of the distance of approximately 50 yards, it took a second to see a reaction, but when the shot hit that bird it flipped it completely around in the air and then it hit the ground dead. I was very pleased, to say the least. I tried Hevi-Shot on a few more hunts here and there last year, and the results were very consistent.
The price tag on a box of Hevi-Shot is considerably higher than on a box of steel shot. Hevi-Shot may just be more affordable, though, when you take into consideration all the steel shotshells you spend winging/tipping birds, and shooting cripples on the water. I probably average 2-3 steel shotshells to dispatch every cripple cleanly, and how many times have each of us seen a bird react to our shot but not fall, or hit the water 1/4 mile away, too far to retrieve? Even an average shooter would no doubt use less shells shooting Hevi-Shot than shooting steel. The price you pay up front may seem heavy, but in reality Hevi-Shot is a better deal for you, and it's by far a better, cleaner killer for the ducks than steel shot.
Incredible killing power, head and shoulders above steel shot