5 Best New Shotgun Loads (2021)


Despite ammo being thin, manufacturers are tuning out new offerings this year. Here are 5 of the best shotgun loads for 2021.

What Are The Top Shotgun Loads:

Turkey Hunting


It could be argued that, during the past two decades, the most noteworthy firearm-related advancements have been with ammunition. Somewhat of an ammunition geek, every year I’m excited to see what new loads will be introduced. Right now, though, some folks could care less about new loads—they just want to buy one box of 9mm or .223 ammunition.

For 2021, things are going to be a little thin; the panic buying spurred by the pandemic and the election have manufacturers so busy trying to meet demand they have little time for new product development or introductions. In fact, some ammunition manufacturers never got around to distributing some of the loads announced for 2020.

Here’s a look at some new shotgun load offerings we hope make it to the shelves before some other tragedy hits and makes ammunition even harder to come by.

Best Shotgun Loads For 2021

New Shotgun Loads from front to back: Winchester Double X 3-inch .410 Turkey Load; Winchester AA Diamond Grade Elite Trap; Browning Wicked Blend; Federal/NRA 2¾-inch Buckshot Load; Federal 3-inch Heavyweight TSS 12-Gauge.
New Shotgun Loads from front to back: Winchester Double X 3-inch .410 Turkey Load; Winchester AA Diamond Grade Elite Trap; Browning Wicked Blend; Federal/NRA 2¾-inch Buckshot Load; Federal 3-inch Heavyweight TSS 12-Gauge.

Self-Defense: Federal/NRA 2¾-inch Buckshot Load

For self-defense applications, there’s a new offering from Federal. They’ve teamed with the NRA on a new Buckshot load. This is a 2¾-inch 12-gauge load that contains nine 00-buck pellets and the FliteControl wad to deliver tight and uniform patterns. A portion of the proceeds for every box sold supports the NRA’s mission to preserve and enhance gun rights.

Turkey Hunting: Winchester Double X 3-inch .410 Turkey Load & Federal 3-inch Heavyweight TSS 12-Gauge

Regardless of the situation, a year cannot go by without the introduction of new loads for turkey hunting. Winchester has a new 3-inch, ¾-ounce, .410 bore load, featuring No. 7.5 Diamond Grade shot at 1,100 fps for tight patterns. And Federal will be introducing a new 3-inch Heavyweight TSS load for the 12-gauge. It’s packed with 2 ounces of No. 7 and No. 9 shot and a FliteControl wad at an advertised muzzle velocity of 1,150 fps.

Clays/Upland: Browning Wicked Blend & Winchester AA Diamond Grade Elite

With regard to clays and birds, there are several new offerings from Browning, Federal and Winchester. Browning has rebranded their Wicked Wing line as Wicked Wing, Wicked Wing XD and Wicked Blend—now providing good, better and best options. In the Wicked Blend line, there will be four 12-gauge loads and a single 20-gauge load, all delivering precision round bismuth shot paired with precision round steel shot for ultimate pattern density. They also have two additions to the Upland Steel line, both featuring 1-ounce loads that are ideally suited to, and priced for, high-volume dove hunting.

There are a number of new shotshell offerings from Winchester, including a new 12-gauge 2¾-inch, 1⅛-ounce, 7.5-shot AA Diamond Grade load with a muzzle velocity of 1,250 fps, which is loaded with the hardest antimony shot available. There’s also a 16-gauge 2¾-inch 15/16-ounce load of No. 6 steel—perfect for clay targets or upland hunting.

The article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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