Waterfowl Hunting: Which Shotgun Pellets are the Best?

For the greater part of this month, one concern has stood out from my readers – the type of shotgun pellets that you can use to hunt a waterfowl. Luckily for most of us, today, I will address that concern.

So, what type of shotgun pellets are allowed for waterfowl hunting in the US? Previously, I have discussed so much about shotgun pellets. While I haven’t mentioned so much about the waterfowl hunting, I have given a pointer about them once in a while. Nonetheless, the one thing that will help us to understand the type of shotgun pellets for hunting a waterfowl is if we break it all down. And that’s what I will do here.

With that said, here is the best type of shotgun pellets allowed for waterfowl hunting in the US today.

  • Shotgun steel Pellets
  • Tungsten Pellets
  • Bismuth pellets

There is no shortcut around this. The US Fish and Wildlife Service recommends the use of the three types of pellets that I have listed right here. This is because these pellets are non-toxic. And this is what the responsible body directs the hunters in the US to use. The pellets must be non-toxic shots that are approved by the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service.

These are the pellets that I have included in the list above. The steel pellets have an overall copper, zinc, or even nickel plating that is less than 1%, which is within the recommended ratio too. The bismuth-tin shotgun pellets are considered non-toxic, and so is are the tungsten types of shotgun pellets. These tungsten pallets come in a variety and may include the following options for your shotgun.

  • Tungsten-iron
  • Tungsten-polymer
  • Tungsten-matrix

More importantly, the other thing that you must keep in mind is that the shot must again be a T-size of around 0.2 inches or even smaller.

So Why These Pellets?

The three types of pellets that I have listed above are considered to be non-toxic shots. These pellets are more expensive. However, they are worth it. They are much more accurate and, by every margin, quite effective too. Due to this, the non-toxic pellets will take fewer shells if you are looking at hunting for waterfowls cleanly.

This, on the other hand, will mean that you will save so much money when out to purchase new shells. For this reason, it is essential that you make use of these pellets and save the waterfowls from numerous deaths. Thanks to the clean shots of the non-toxic pellets, it is even easy to improve your shootings skill faster.

To have a better hunting experience with the modern types of pellets, you could do more research or even keep following our posts. With that said, let us take a look at every type of pellet for waterfowl hunting.

Steel Pellets

Steel shot pellets fall squarely among what type of shotgun pellets are allowed for waterfowl hunting in the U.S. They the most cost-effective option for the lead shots. They make the largest portion of the non-toxic shots are cheaper than several other nontoxic pellets for the shotgun or the waterfowl hunting.

From my research, I again noticed that steel pellets are low in carbon levels, which makes them ideal for the environment. As such, they are less dense, which causes slower velocity and more energy for the bullets. Luckily, several manufacturers have improved their velocity by increasing the size of the steel pellets.

Tungsten Pellets

These ones come with several modifications. Evens, so they are the best option for any hunter that isn’t satisfied with the steel shots or one that requires denser shots.  Nonetheless, because they are denser, tungsten pellets are more expensive.

Its varieties are equally many and will give you a better choice when looking at the best specialty shots. For instance, the tungsten-iron pellets are harder when compared to steel shots – they better pellet energy too.

The tungsten-matrix, on the other hand, are best for vintage shotguns. They are soft but will not expand uniformly like the tungsten-polymer, which is made of powdered thermal tungsten metal.

Bismuth Pellets

The final pellets for waterfowl hunting are the bismuth. This type of pellet provides the best of both worlds. Its density falls between that of the steel pellets and lead. They are fitted with a bismuth-tin alloy, which will ensure that these pellets gain better velocity than the rest.

Why Not Lead Shots?

While looking at what type of shotgun pellets are allowed for waterfowl hunting in the U.S above, you will notice that I haven’t included the lead pellets. Why is that so? Here is the one thing that you should know.

Lead is said to seriously affect not only the health of people around it but again that of the ducks, waterfowls, gooses, and coots. This means that if you feast on a waterfowl that is shot at with lead pellets, you will be affected, and your health could be compromised with time.

How Does The Effect of Lead Occur?

First and foremost, when you shoot at the waterfowl with lead pellets, the lead fragments are left behind in your juicy meat through the shots that were ingested by your waterfowl or the waterfowls within range.

When this happens, the ingested lead will weaken the immune system of these animals, which will make them sickly and cause death. This is later on transmitted to you when you eat the meat of an infected waterfowl. You could sustain lead-related illnesses too.


Now that you understand what type of shotgun pellets are allowed for waterfowl hunting in the U.S, it is time that you made your best pick among the choices that I have given you.

Even so, you can always go with bismuth as it provides the best of both worlds. But that can be the best option if you aren’t sure of where to start. Just remember that the most important thing is to take care of the environment and again your personal health too.

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