Federal Premium’s New 3rd Degree Turkey Ammo
Russ Chastain 01.27.15
Last week, I wrote about the new Winchester Shot-Lok ammo for turkey and pheasant, which patterned great for me at close range and farther out at SHOT Show Range Day. That’s not the only new turkey ammo on the block, however. Check out 3rd Degree, from Federal Premium.
3rd Degree is so named because it uses three different sizes of shot in an attempt to perform well up close, far away, and in between. It’s an interesting approach to an age-old problem: tight chokes typically used for turkey hunting can allow hunters to miss close-range shots because the shot pattern is so tight at short range. But without the tight chokes, a hunter’s effective range is often shorter than the distance to the birds.
Turkey shells with multiple shot sizes are nothing new; I bought my first ones more than twenty years ago. But 3rd Degree does something new by stacking up three different sizes and types of shot–all intended to do something unique.
On top of the shot charge and intended to enhance close-range performance, we find No. 6 Flitestopper nickel-plated lead shot. The “deadly cutting ring” on these pellets causes them to disperse quickly to create a wider pattern in a hurry, and is claimed to cause more damage per pellet to any critter you hit. These Flitestoppers make up 20% of the shot charge.
In the middle of the shot charge and making up 40% of the total shot weight is No. 5 copper-plated round lead shot, intended to perform well at medium range.
Finally, the last 40% of the charge consists of No. 7 Heavyweight shot, a tungsten-iron material that should carry more energy farther than lead. In fact, Federal tells us that the smaller No. 7 Heavyweight pellets have more energy than hefty No. 5 lead shot at 40 yards and farther.
Another key to performance, they say, is the Flitecontrol wad. This wad is designed to open from the rear and stay with the shot column longer than other wads, with the notion that this will cause tighter patterns at longer range.
Advertised muzzle velocity is 1250 fps, and Federal says that “a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this product will be donated to the National Wild Turkey Federation.”
It’s an interesting idea, and I hope to try some of this ammo alongside the new Winchester stuff to see just how well they do at close range and farther out. With any luck, I’ll be able to report those results here soon.
Federal Premium 3rd Degree ammo will initially be available in 3-inch (1.75-ounce shot payload) and 3.5-inch (2-ounce shot payload) versions.