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Thread: Guide: How much lead to give a goose (steel vs lead)

  1. #1

    Guide: How much lead to give a goose (steel vs lead)

    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 ” 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 ” 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.

    Last edited by aliS; 05-12-2011 at 17:20. Reason: formating

  2. #2
    Very good. Now just the throw a cat amonst the erm geese, are these calculations for the front, middle or end of the shot string?
    Below is a link to my website.
    Quad sticks

  3. #3
    I wouln't know where to start with regards to the length of the string, how could you quantify how long the string would be? But to answer your question the front. In reality I don't think it would be string shaped just oblong or squashed circle but thinking of it like a string does make it easier to visualise. Maybe I'll make a wide patterning plate one day and swing through and see.

  4. #4
    I think at 40m the 'string' length is about 10ft.
    Below is a link to my website.
    Quad sticks

  5. #5
    10'? I suppose now I think about it thats not completely out of the question.

    It's just a rough (albeit calculated) guide anyway.

    I mainly sat and worked it all out so I could get a better idea of the lead required from my 10bore in relation to my 12 as I'm still new on the steel and 10g combo but I'm bomb happy with lead in my 12.
    Last edited by aliS; 05-12-2011 at 18:10.

  6. #6
    I'm pretty sure your wide pattening plate wouldnt work as the shot leaves the barrel in an instant. Your pattening plate would have to be travelling at about 10m/s show the effect. ( I suppose some sort of barrel set up spinning at a given rate would work) There is a video somewhere showing shot leaving a shotty and impacting a clay in super slow motion where you can see this effect.

    either way your calculations might encourage folk to shoot well ahead. I know I'd hit a lot more if they flew backwards!

    Being left eye dominant I have to close my left eye prior to the shot, I pull through the goose and once it disappears in my right eye, i.e. the barrel blots out the target, I pull the for me.
    Below is a link to my website.
    Quad sticks

  7. #7
    Yeah I don't really think it would work either.

    I'm pretty sure 99% of my missed birds are because I'm not giving enough lead.

  8. #8
    OH boy you must do a job you really do not like to do that sort of thing.

    All I know about goose shooting is if you concentrate on the head and keep swinging they often fall down
    someone once told me that every flap of the wings is 30yards.
    Best I have ever done was 9 one morning using no5 lead including 3 rt&lefts(when lead was legal.)
    alking yesterday 3 flights want over us well in shot.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by aliS View Post
    Yeah I don't really think it would work either.

    I'm pretty sure 99% of my missed birds are because I'm not giving enough lead.
    Ali dont dwell on this. I did a little while ago and it wrecked my enjoyment. As said before pull through block the bird out keep swinging and bang. The biggest tip I can give you is focus on the head and forget the calculations you have done, you are already doubting yourself before you mount the gun and that is bad mumbo mate. That was what i was doing, everything was over thought and too purposefull and that leads to more misses.

    Ive shot my fair share of Geese in the past either over deeks or flighted on the shore. A goose is fast alot faster than it looks, off the top of my head around 50mph in straight flight, 1 wing beat is around 8' travelled. If you want to try and judge lead then pace 30 yds from a 12' field gate and use your pinky and index finger to illustrate the distance then find a double gate and do the same, youll be amazed at what it is. Memorize this and its a good start. I use this method as it was showen to me by an expert driven Pheasant shot many years ago. He used this a high fast Pheasants Ok not Geese but about the same in speed especially when off a high bank 40yds up.


  10. #10
    i think your missing so many because your so obsessed with how much lead to give them,forget about your gun and cartridge combo and just shoot,if it helps ignore the body and treat the head like a doznt realy matter if you miss just being out on the marsh is enough.a bad day on the marsh is still better than a good day at work. ( just out of intrest are you confident with your range i.d )

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