Five Things to Know About APEX Duplex Loads


In a waterfowl ammunition market that features countless dozens of nontoxic options, some of the most intriguing are what are called duplex, or blended, loads. These are cartridges that feature payloads consisting of a blend of distinct shot materials and/or sizes. APEX Ammunition, of Columbus, Mississippi, has taken the nontoxic world by storm, and the company’s line of blended ammo, which features a quarter-ounce of Tungsten Super Shot (TSS) added to a charge of zinc-plated Super Steel, is probably the best in the category. The company’s straight-up TSS loads are responsible for a legion of mind-blowing reports from the field, and its steel-only shot is of the absolute highest quality. Here are a few things to know about what happens when the two are put together.

1. They Are Great Multitaskers

Whether it be decoying geese at 25 yards or passing ducks at 40, blended loads are up to the task for most “traditional” waterfowling situations. For non-traditional situations, like small-gauge shooting or max-distance pass-shooting, straight TSS reigns supreme; but for all-around use in 12- and 20-gauge guns blended loads really shine, especially when compared to straight steel.

2. It’s in the Pattern

TSS cartridges have literally redefined what a shotgun can do on the duck marsh and in the goose fields, but if they have a shortcoming, it is that the patterns can be on the tight side for close-range shots. Conversely, steel shot has the dubious honor of being responsible for lower overall shotshell performance. However, one of the things that steel does do well is kill effectively at shorter ranges, thanks mainly to the fact that it throws relatively wider patterns. This, coupled with the extended killing range that the TSS pellets bring to the party, makes duplex loads the best option for a wide range of waterfowling scenarios.

3. It Won’t Break the Bank

Because APEX duplex loads contain less Tungsten—a very expensive metal—they cost a lot less. The average cost of a blended cartridge is about three times less than its straight-TSS counterpart. Are duplex loads going to outperform TSS loads when shooting geese at extreme distances? No . . . but they will demonstrate a huge performance advantage over just about anything else when used at more standard waterfowling distances.

4. Seeing Is Believing

Because of the lower price, the APEX line of blended cartridges is often a waterfowler’s first exposure to TSS. The patterning advantages of these loads help ensure that birds get hit, which is great, but the 1/4-oz TSS component has a great influence on the way birds are hit. Nothing results in more TSS converts than seeing an undeniably greater number of stoned birds along with a noticeable reduction in cripples.

5. There Is No Best

So of all the possible duplex combinations, which is the best? That question is hard to answer. When it comes to the “best seller,” every product APEX makes sells out almost immediately, rendering sales metrics unreliable. That leaves a wide range of anecdotal preferences. The combo of #2 or #4 steel with #9 TSS is great for ducks, and the BB steel and #7½ TSS blend is some serious medicine for geese; but those are just generalizations. APEX founding partner Jason Lonsberry likes blends that include #7½ TSS pellets for just about everything, because he feels the larger pellets really showcase the incredible shocking power of TSS. And currently, many in the waterfowling community point to APEX’s Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat Blend, which combines #3 steel and #8 TSS, as a favorite. The great news is that just about any APEX duplex combination is going to outperform non-TSS ammunition.

For more information about APEX Ammunition, visit the company's website at

Photographs courtesy of APEX Ammunition and @j_lewisphoto.

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