How much lead to give a goose and the variation of lead between lead and steel.
A constant question from new wildfowlers that I remember asking is ‘how much lead do I have to give a goose?’ Well with all the variables, interpretation and knack most people have develop over the years it can be hard to quantify. The typical answer that my father gave me was ‘Give it a good lead’, very helpful.
In my head I know with my preferred 3” load of lead #3’s I give an average speed and height goose 2 x it's body length and adjust for height and speed as I deem fit but I can’t explain how. Bum, beak… keep swinging… that'll do... bang. Even with this though I miss more than I hit.
During an extremely bored and unproductive morning at work today I sat down to work out a few differences between the lead load I use in my 12g and the steel load in my 10g.
Please accept that these figures are ballpark and it is the comparison between the lead required for lead vs. steel that I was most interested in. However the results proved interesting with a larger variation than I initially expected.
My comparison is for 12g Eley Alphamax 3” lead #3’s and 10g Winchester Drylok 3 ½” Supreme Steel #2’s.
First of all though how fast does a Goose fly? The most credible information I could gain came from the world wide web and is the rough speed for a Canada goose but sounds about right to me.
Canada Goose Speed
Cruising and preparing to land 30 mph or 13.4 m/s
Travelling distance / en route to feeding 40 mph or 17.9 m/s
Max speed / evasion 60 mph or 26.8 m/s
And what sort of velocities are my shell’s producing? The velocities used are the speeds recorded at 20 and 40m with the specified muzzle velocity being discarded. The velocity results are from a third party however I have accepted them as a true and accurate value for the purposes of this and also lack of anything better. For 0 – 20m the speed at 20m is used, for 20m to 40m the speed at 40m is used, the sum of the two results being used for the time to travel 40m. I know this is not the most accurate granted but the comparison is consistent over the two loads and is like I said a ballpark figure aiming to describe the variance the amount of lead required.
12g Eley Alphamax Magnum Lead #3s
Observed Velocity (seconds) / Time (seconds)
0 – 20m 272 m/s @ 20m / 0.0735sec
20 – 40m 203 m/s @ 40m / 0.0985 sec
Total time to the 40m mark / 0.1720sec
10g Winchester Drylok 3 ½” Steel Supreme #2s
0 – 20m 396 m/s @ 20m / 0.0505sec
20 – 40m 304 m/s @ 40m / 0.0657sec
Total time to the 40 yard mark / 0.1163sec
So by knowing the speed of the quarry and the speed of the payload at a given range we can calculate how far the goose can travel in the time it takes the shot to reach the goose which can in turn be interpreted as required lead.
12g Lead #3’s
Goose speed / lead required
Lead required @ 20m
Preparing to land / 0.98m
Travelling distance / 1.32m
Max speed / 1.96m
lead required @ 40m
Preparing to land / 2.30m
Travelling distance / 3.08m
Max speed / 4.61m
10g Steel #2’s
Lead required @ 20m lead required @ 40m
Preparing to land / 0.67m
Travelling distance / 0.90m
Max speed / 1.35m
lead required @ 40m
Preparing to land / 1.56m
Travelling distance / 2.08m
Max speed / 3.11m
So the results? A slow goose shot with steel at 20m needs about a goose length, a goose shot at 40m with lead which is going like the clappers needs 4-5 times a goose length, and everything else some where in the middle!
Feel free to take this with pich of salt but I do hope it helps somebody out whether it be a new comer to wildfowling or someone trying steel shot for the first (and probably last) time.