Upland non-tox

It's coming to all of us, it's only a matter of time until non-tox is the rule.

My waterfowl holes are frozen, the big birds have apparently gone to big water. SWMBO has decreed several holiday tasks, so spending the day tying is not an option, and I try not to push the few remaining wild birds in my spots once it gets this cold. So I ponder the question of non-toxic shot.

As a waterfowler, I get it. For big birds, ducks, and pheasants, I've used steel for some time. But for the small, wonderful upland birds: quail, chukar, huns, large steel pellets don't seem proper. Blasting a quail with a 3 inch steel 4 is not consistent with my, ah, training. I've always liked 7 1/2's or 8's for these birds, and I've not seen fine steel or non-tox on the shelves. Any ideas from you folks?


Bird Dogs and Fly Rods
I generally hunt with 3" 3's or 4's for my pheasant and duck hunting and keep a pocket in my vest full of 2 3/4" steel 6's and 7's for the quail. As you mentioned 3" 4's are not an ideal quail load. This works pretty well as I am able to to swap out the big loads and chase the singles after the covey flush. Granted I know I miss some chances on the initial flush, but I am content to usually get just a few singles out of a covey. I think the 3" 4's are going to be my chukar and hun load as well since the ones I usually find are pretty skittish and often get up a ways out. I hope to test this theory around Christmas. It may be overkill and someone hunting over a pointer would likely get some closer shots. Those cheap steel 6's and 7's work well for quail though as they don't seem to be near as tough as a chukar or hun and don't require as much killing.

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
I use steel 6's in my 28 & 20 semi-autos & have done alright on Quail & Roosters using the IC choke tube where I have to use non-tox. Worked well on Doves last Fall, to; you just have to acknowledge the range limitations. I won't put steel thru my double guns. Bought a case of Winchester Xpert for the 28 & Kent for the 20 & even on-line it took some time to find them; almost impossible to find small steel for the sub-gauges locally.
I have considered getting another double my concern is non-tox. I have 5 euro doubles and an o/u is my only gun proofed for steel. I really want a hammer gun, but not a wall hanger.

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
I just ordered some Nice shot ammo on-line for my 20 & 28 doubles. Found a promising area with a fair Pheasant & Hun population & I want to use my double-guns. I'll see how it works.
We like to carry a handful of 2 3/4" small cap 6s for huns and quail. They might be a touch large for those birds but they seem fine to me. and they will absolutely knock down a pheasant if you get a good flush. since we generally jump the ducks I usually have time to switch out before we try to get them off the water, So if I know there could be huns/quail around I run the small cap 6 and then a 4 behind, and will only take one shot. which isn't a biggie cause we will watch um land and chase um down again!
And I prlly don't need to tell you gents this but BUNDLE UP. I got out of the truck on Saturday and it was 16 degrees at shooting light. I'm still cold 2 days later haha.


Active Member
I have considered getting another double my concern is non-tox. I have 5 euro doubles and an o/u is my only gun proofed for steel. I really want a hammer gun, but not a wall hanger.
FH - there are definitely non-tox options out there for vintage guns. Check out RST. Just order by the case and be done with it.

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
Great photo Blake! It WAS cold over the weekend . . . I actually had to forego my fingerless gloves for the full-finger deal for awhile (and I detest having the finger tips on my shooting hand covered, but actually being able to feel the trigger is a good thing.).