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  #1  
Old 02-11-2013, 2:37 PM
dbaz dbaz is offline
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Default Tell me about steel shot

New to shotguns and want to do a lot of practice shooting. Is steel shot dangerous if shooting toward a natural backstop, i.e. the typical dirt bank with possible rocks and stuff, or a sheet of plywood? Will it damage a barrel over time?
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Old 02-11-2013, 3:06 PM
mcmikeblues7 mcmikeblues7 is offline
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Won't damage most (i think all, not sure) current production barrels. Older guns were only made for lead, though you can shoot other shot out of it, just not steel. What shotgun are you planning on shooting? A solid dirt bank is good. You aren't asking about a piece of plywood as a backstop are you? I don't think you are, but plywood is not a suitable backstop.
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Old 02-11-2013, 3:13 PM
dbaz dbaz is offline
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Thanks. I've got two Remington 870s, an early 70's Wingmaster (which my stepdad gave me, and got me started down the shotgun road) and a new 870 Express. Possibly different metallurgy on the Wingmaster?

Regarding plywood, was thinking of targets taped to a thin plywood sheet, with a dirt bank as the backstop. The question comes from some online reading that stated steel shot is more elastic and prone to ricochet.
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Old 02-11-2013, 3:24 PM
cgates cgates is offline
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steel would be fine for that case you have described. Should be ok for the wingmaster too, as long as you are using smaller shot in a proper wad.

any reason in particular you will be using steel?
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2013, 3:40 PM
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lead shot performs better but the issue with that is , with dove hunting in particular the birds eat the shot off the roads and places like that, to put in their craw, which they used to grind up seed and things like that. Well the birds were eating the lead shot and dying from lead poisoning.
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Old 02-11-2013, 3:44 PM
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The only reasons I'd use it would be cost and availability. Newb that I am, I didn't realize it existed until looking for ammo over the weekend. Made me curious so thought I'd come to you guys for help.

Is it just an environmental thing? Or is it a good low cost load for skeet or something?

I may just stick to lead.
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Old 02-11-2013, 3:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuchaka View Post
Well the birds were eating the lead shot and dying from lead poisoning.
Ah...I see.
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Old 02-11-2013, 3:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbaz View Post
The only reasons I'd use it would be cost and availability. Newb that I am, I didn't realize it existed until looking for ammo over the weekend. Made me curious so thought I'd come to you guys for help.

Is it just an environmental thing? Or is it a good low cost load for skeet or something?

I may just stick to lead.
Lead is much cheaper and more readily available. The only reason to use steel is for hunting or shooting in lead free zones, which is all duck hunting and some upland areas as zuckaka mentioned.
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Old 02-11-2013, 4:05 PM
dbaz dbaz is offline
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Thanks all.
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Old 02-12-2013, 9:17 AM
uw06670 uw06670 is offline
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Glad you opened the question as I'm new to shotguns as well (mine is in pre-jail after an online order).

I understand that lead shot can be bad for animals in certain situations. I'm not an enviornmentalist, but don't want to cause unintentional damage to animals/people.

My question is: Is lead shot a REAL health concern when shooting it into the hills and what not while target shooting?

Not trying to kickoff a political discussion or anything, but I haven't found a web site that I trust the answer to (enviornmental sites have one opinion, most shooting sites another). If someone can point me to a definitive reference I'd appreciate it.
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Old 02-12-2013, 3:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uw06670 View Post
My question is: Is lead shot a REAL health concern when shooting it into the hills and what not while target shooting?
Probably a difficult question to answer. From what I can find online, plus what others have said in this thread, the biggest danger seems to be to waterfowl and maybe some ground-nesting birds. Here are a couple articles if you're interested:

http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_inf...ead_poisoning/

http://www.parislanding.com/toxic_shot.htm

Somehow I came away from my last ammo search thinking the steel shot was cheaper...must not have been comparing apples to apples somehow. I think I'll stick with lead unless I'm in an area where it's banned.
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Old 02-12-2013, 3:50 PM
sargenv sargenv is offline
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If I were shooting it for target use, unless it was mandated, I'd shoot lead shot.. It is cheaper to buy, easier to load for, and is more effective.. This coming from someone who loads several cases of steel shot per year (because I am forced to use it for target shooting and hunting).
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Old 02-12-2013, 4:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmikeblues7 View Post
Won't damage most (i think all, not sure) current production barrels. Older guns were only made for lead, though you can shoot other shot out of it, just not steel. What shotgun are you planning on shooting? A solid dirt bank is good. You aren't asking about a piece of plywood as a backstop are you? I don't think you are, but plywood is not a suitable backstop.
Why would steel be bad to use in an older shotgun? The shot stays in the cup until it leaves the barrel, right? Soy there's no contact. Shotgun shouldn't know the difference.
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Old 02-12-2013, 4:26 PM
Oneaudiopro Oneaudiopro is offline
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As a rule of thumb, if your shotgun has screw in choke tubes you can use steel shot. If you have fixed choke barrels, steel shot will damage your barrels and cause a bulge to appear near the end of the barrels. I don't believe this would be a dangerous situation, although a bulge in an older shotgun would drastically reduce it value. I hope this helps.
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Old 02-12-2013, 8:21 PM
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I believe the thought is that lead is compressible where as steel is not.
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Old 02-13-2013, 1:11 PM
uw06670 uw06670 is offline
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I'll add my ignorance/here-say (because I think it makes sense). Older shotguns have thinner barrel material? Combined with the hardness of steel seems like it can put a lot of pressure on the barrel that wasn't intended/foreseen.
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Old 02-13-2013, 2:17 PM
sargenv sargenv is offline
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uw06670:

Pretty much... Most of the older guns were not made with steel shot in mind..
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  #18  
Old 02-16-2013, 6:55 AM
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Non toxic shot (non-lead) was mandated around 1990 nationally for waterfowl as the belief was the ducks and geese were picking it up off the bottom of ponds and getting lead poisoning, the the raptors that ate them. The lead ban in the condor area is an idea piggybacked off this but no proof was ever put forth that I am aware of to justify banning lead ammo b/c condors were eating carrion and dying. IMO it was a gun control/anti-hunting issue.

Shoot the lead and if you have a 70's 870 you may want to buy a new barrel. If not just beware.
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