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Unintended Consequences

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Imagine you're a 12 year old boy, maybe you even remember that age, and you've just come back from duck hunting again, with no ducks over your shoulder. The real problem is that you know you killed some ducks but the “adults” in the crowd took credit for them and also took all the bragging rights. Now add to that the fact that no matter who claims the ducks and the bragging rights, your job is to clean them. What can you do?

A young boy in southern Louisiana, where duck hunting is a way of life, faced just that situation over and over. He knew he'd killed some of those ducks but never got to carry any home and show folks that he was also a hunter. As he cleaned those ducks he noticed that many of them still had shot in them and an idea was formulated. If he had shot that was somehow different than the other hunters, he could prove that he had killed the ducks. Years later that idea began to take shape.

It's funny sometimes how ideas come to us. Many people have good, maybe even great ideas but never do more than just think about them. Others may discuss them with someone they know or even put their idea on paper but do nothing more. For some however that idea becomes a real part of  their being. Developing it becomes almost an obsession but everything must come together at the right time and place to make it really happen.

When steel shot became mandatory for duck and goose hunting all over the U.S. in the 1991-1992 season, the waterfowl hunting world was changed forever. Hunters had to change their shooting style and in many cases their guns.

Firearms manufacturers teamed with shotshell makers and the 3.5” chambered 12 gauge was born to allow larger payloads of steel shot to be used. Frankly, the early steel shotshell loads were pretty ineffective and for hunters who'd shot lead for generations, it took some time for the adjustment to be made. Eventually, hunters adjusted to steel shot and manufactures improved its performance.

As these changes were taking place the idea of how to tell which hunter shot what still lingered. Now however those elements that must come together for any idea to develop into something more had come together. The need, the dream, the idea, the change and the right person had all come together.

Fast forward a few years and Spectra Shot is born.

“Spectra Shot™,  a premium shotgun shell made of the highest quality components. This shotgun shell is unique not only because of its top quality hull, wad, pellets, and powder, but also because the pellets are coated through a patented, proprietary process completed in the USA. The end result is a shell that provides optimal performance for hunting or shooting skeet.

The colored Waterfowl Shot allows for accurate kill identification after the hunt. We have all heard the phrases “Got ‘em™” and “I Got It™” multiple times in the field. Now we will know the truth.”










So, now it's possible to really know who shot what duck or goose just by looking to see what color shot is in it. That however is not the end of the story.

Most times when we speak of unintended consequences, it's because some well meaning idea, when put into practice, has consequences that are undesirable. We can all think of examples, maybe even in our private lives. Seldom are unintended consequences positive but in the case of Spectra Shot, the unintended consequences are spectacularly positive.

When Blair Michel, CEO of Sprecta Shot LLC, set out to build his waterfowl loads, he selected the very best components on the market including the highest quality round steel pellets. He had those pellets coated through a proprietary process that would allow the hunter to identify each bird he shot. That was the goal but he achieved something much more.

It turns out that the coating process increases the lubricity of the shot and greatly increases its level of penetration! Hunters in the field started reporting devastating results with Spectra Shot shells. Repeat orders from hunters reinforced those reports. Blair had also noticed the effect that Spectra Shot loads had on all types of waterfowl and that even a longer shot than he might otherwise have taken with standard shells, resulted in "... a very dead bird."

Curious about these results, he sent Spectra Shot shells to the testing laboratory for some penetration tests in ballistic gelatin. Testing Spectra Shot loads against standard steel shot loads revealed that penetration was 4” deeper than the competing loads, when all other factors were equal.

When testers placed a plywood partition in the ballistic gelatin at the distance standard loads penetrated and fired Spectra Shot loads into the gelatin, they not only penetrated the gelatin fully but also penetrated the wooden partitions!

What started out as an idea that would enable a hunter to positively identify the game he shot has become much more than that. A combination of very high quality components used throughout the shell plus a coating that makes the shot penetrate much more than standard steel shot has resulted in a real game changer for waterfowl shooting.

Sometimes unintended consequences aren't such a bad thing!

To learn more about Spectra Shot products, please visit

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