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  #1  
Old 09-09-2019, 12:55 PM
120filmshooter 120filmshooter is offline
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Default Sub 12 Gauge Hunting Effectiveness with Steel

I just wanted to see what the opinions are on sub 12 gauge loads with the new lead ban in effect? It seems like there is quite a compromise in performance in a lot of the loads available over the shelf and reloading data is dismal for the 20 gauge. I have been kicking the idea around of getting a 20 gauge to lighten the load when chukar and quail hunting but it seems like a 12 gauge might be a more effective shell for killing birds at a distance.

I hunt over a flushing dog so need to reach out a little further than hunting with a pointer and honestly this season shooting steel for dove I've seen several less than clean kills even at 30 yard ranges with 1400fps #6 loads. it seems like any fast 20 gauge load is reduced to 3/4oz of shot but there is load data for steel loads in 12 gauge with 7/8oz or 1oz of shot that would be comparable to 20 gauge lead loads or far surpass as far as velocity is concerned
(I'm thinking Precision Reloading's "Lightning Steel" 12 gauge 2 3/4" load data manual). I'd love to have a sub 6lb gun but I don't want to sacrifice quality kills for it. I'm interested to hear thoughts and opinions on 20 vs 12 gauge and effectiveness with the steel requirement. Also I'm not spending 40 bucks on 10 loads of tungsten so that's a factor in my though process.
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Old 09-09-2019, 1:09 PM
tnlrat37 tnlrat37 is offline
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My son (12 years old) knocked down 9 birds on his first hunting trip using Kent upland 1500 FPS #6 steel, he lost 3 that he wounded and flew off but I was surprised how many he got.

He has a Winchester 120 pump and it is super light and swings very fast, my boy isnít even 90 lbs and he had no issues with it, I like shooting it a lot.
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Old 09-09-2019, 1:27 PM
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I hunted the dove opener and the day after with a Browning 20g over/under. I used Federal #6 steel shot. Last year, using the same gun and 7.5 lead shot I probably killed a few more birds on longer shots but not enough of a difference for me to notice. Once the birds started flying, I totally forgot I was shooting steel and everything went fine.
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Old 09-09-2019, 1:43 PM
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Reload (or buy) bismuth, it's right between steel & lead. I'm going out this afternoon and will be taking a 28 ga sxs, shooting bismuth.
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Old 09-09-2019, 1:43 PM
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I also used browning 20 gauge o/u.I shot 7 birds with 12 shots #6 Winchester steel.
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Old 09-09-2019, 1:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOBGBA View Post
Reload (or buy) bismuth, it's right between steel & lead. I'm going out this afternoon and will be taking a 28 ga sxs, shooting bismuth.
Thats definitely an option but still the Bismuth shot is expensive ... I was reading about HW13 which is some from of Tungsten that is effective and cost effective as well when compared to Hevi-shot and can be loaded using heavy-shot data... 21$ per pound of shot though is pretty expensive still when steel costs between 16 and 20$ per 10lbs. Hevi-shot is 80$ per 2lbs thats just ridiculous.
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Old 09-09-2019, 2:21 PM
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One thing to consider is patterning your shotgun when going from lead to steel. I only have experience with my 12 guage Citori and an 870, but when I switch from lead to steel during early teal here in Texas (when dove and teal are both on the menu) the 7-1/2 steel I shoot through a modified choke patterns more like like a full.
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Old 09-09-2019, 2:22 PM
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OP, I'll put my $0.02 in. When this non-lead ban was first talked about, I'm meaning state wide ban, a couple of us on this forum started testing different brands of steel shot thru 12 and 20ga with different chokes. I only tried a couple, Fed "Steel Game and Target" and Win "X-pert". I settled on #6 and 7 steel, 2.75", using I/C choke in both 12 and 20ga. These patterned better than I thought, so stayed with those choices. I don't shoot as much as some here, but, these worked well for me on dove the last three season's. I never got around to trying Kent Fast Steel[I think?], but, heard it works very good also. Hope this helps a little bit.
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Old 09-09-2019, 2:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pennstater View Post
OP, I'll put my $0.02 in. When this non-lead ban was first talked about, I'm meaning state wide ban, a couple of us on this forum started testing different brands of steel shot thru 12 and 20ga with different chokes. I only tried a couple, Fed "Steel Game and Target" and Win "X-pert". I settled on #6 and 7 steel, 2.75", using I/C choke in both 12 and 20ga. These patterned better than I thought, so stayed with those choices. I don't shoot as much as some here, but, these worked well for me on dove the last three season's. I never got around to trying Kent Fast Steel[I think?], but, heard it works very good also. Hope this helps a little bit.

I've been shooting steel out of my 12 gauge for upland birds a while now and #6 and #7 works for me on dove and quail just fine ... I agree with your assessment. That said I used the Kents this season and didnt like the performance so I guess that is the source of some of the cripples that my dog brought back ... the last 3 dove hunts I went on Wednesday, Friday, and yesterday evening I switched back to the federal speed shok 2 3/4 #6's and started seeing clean kills so I think as usual Kent isn't a good combo for my gun (the Kent fasteel waterfowl loads also aren't that great in my gun so it must be something with the wad they use). I'm more interested in if steel will still have effective kill ballistics in 20 gauge ... seems like it will based on the feedback so far but chukar are a heck of a lot more hearty of a bird than a dove is (obviously would have to use #4's or something around that shot size for them).

Last edited by 120filmshooter; 09-09-2019 at 2:54 PM..
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  #10  
Old 09-09-2019, 2:52 PM
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The Federal's I mentioned worked well for dove and quail. Both 12 and 20ga. Last season when I went Chukar chasing, I used Fed steel #6, I/C or Mod in 12 ga. Got a couple up in the rocky stuff. 6's seemed to be fine; I believe I used Mod more. Gad zooks, those damn chukar wear me out! I may not go after 'em this season. Getting too old for those steep, rocky chases. Fun tho.
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Old 09-09-2019, 3:58 PM
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Ive been shooting steel #7 out of my .410 for a few years. IC/Mod works great for everything so far. Only real problem is getting my gun back from my son after letting him use it on a pheasant hunt.

IMG_4573.jpg
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Old 09-09-2019, 5:15 PM
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FWIW, I have been using a 20ga Remington 1187 for waterfowl for over ten years now. I use the 3 inch 7/8 oz #4 steel 1500fps loads and I don't give anything up to my blind partners who use 2 3/4 12ga stuff.
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  #13  
Old 09-09-2019, 5:34 PM
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My 15yr old daughter shoots a 20ga SX3. For Dove & Quail, she uses #6 Win "X-pert" with an IC choke. Pheasant with a Mod. When she's on, she drops birds like rocks.

Last edited by XVIga_Rob; 09-09-2019 at 5:45 PM..
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Old 09-09-2019, 5:44 PM
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In short; your pellet count is reduced, your gun is patterning tighter than it used to with lead, and you are effectively using something that is ballistically closer to a 28 gauge shooting #8 or #7.5 (#8 pellet weight-wise, #7.5 pellet count-wise).

You can move up to a 16 or 12 gauge to make up some of the difference or improve your shooting.

No matter what, start with patterning your gun.
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Old 09-09-2019, 6:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
In short; your pellet count is reduced, your gun is patterning tighter than it used to with lead, and you are effectively using something that is ballistically closer to a 28 gauge shooting #8 or #7.5 (#8 pellet weight-wise, #7.5 pellet count-wise).

You can move up to a 16 or 12 gauge to make up some of the difference or improve your shooting.

No matter what, start with patterning your gun.

got yah that kind of confirms what I was thinking and 10-4 on patterning.
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Old 09-09-2019, 8:10 PM
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BTW, the 16 gauge comment was a little tongue in cheek. I shoot a 16 every once in a while; but I also load bismuth instead of steel. With non-tox (especially light/small pellet) 12 is the most versatile.
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Old 09-09-2019, 8:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
BTW, the 16 gauge comment was a little tongue in cheek. I shoot a 16 every once in a while; but I also load bismuth instead of steel. With non-tox (especially light/small pellet) 12 is the most versatile.
what kind of prices are you getting on bismuth shot per pound and from where? I'm just starting to get in to reloading 12 gauge but have been reading and studying a lot on it for the last couple of years. With the new background check nonsense it's really got me fired up about reloading. It took 45 minutes to buy 6 boxes of shells of two different types the other day at Turners .. first the guy didnt know how to do the DROS at all then he had to do it twice because I had two different types of Kent loads. Plus I used to be able to get deals from stores out of the state on a case of shells but that ship has sailed so it just makes sense to make my own loads and I can tailor them to specific purposes.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:24 PM
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Rotometals is where I buy bismuth. https://www.rotometals.com/bismuth-shot/

Get on their email list and you'll receive their sale emails, which are sent 4-6 (best guess) times a year. It seems pretty frequent to me. Basically, when it's on sale the discount is 10%.

I also watch Rogers Sporting Goods and Cabelas for Kent factory bismuth shells, but only buy them if they are discounted enough.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BOBGBA View Post
Rotometals is where I buy bismuth. https://www.rotometals.com/bismuth-shot/

Get on their email list and you'll receive their sale emails, which are sent 4-6 (best guess) times a year. It seems pretty frequent to me. Basically, when it's on sale the discount is 10%.

I also watch Rogers Sporting Goods and Cabelas for Kent factory bismuth shells, but only buy them if they are discounted enough.

Cool I did some googling on my own and found rotometal bismuth .. good price $149 for 10lbs ... still expensive but thats a lot better than heavy-shot prices. Good tip on the 10% off. thanks
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Old 09-10-2019, 5:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahansom View Post
Ive been shooting steel #7 out of my .410 for a few years. IC/Mod works great for everything so far. Only real problem is getting my gun back from my son after letting him use it on a pheasant hunt.
I think your son needs to go hunting again, so you can post a new picture of him holding birds. I'm pretty sure we've seen that picture before...
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Old 09-10-2019, 7:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 120filmshooter View Post
what kind of prices are you getting on bismuth shot per pound and from where? I'm just starting to get in to reloading 12 gauge but have been reading and studying a lot on it for the last couple of years. With the new background check nonsense it's really got me fired up about reloading. It took 45 minutes to buy 6 boxes of shells of two different types the other day at Turners .. first the guy didnt know how to do the DROS at all then he had to do it twice because I had two different types of Kent loads. Plus I used to be able to get deals from stores out of the state on a case of shells but that ship has sailed so it just makes sense to make my own loads and I can tailor them to specific purposes.
BOBGBA covered it. There are a couple of other suppliers for bismuth, I think Precision sells it as well, but rotometals seems to be the most reliable and inexpensive source.

My cost as of the last batch of bismuth I bought (and it's been a while) was around $1.60/oz so a little less than $2.00/shell IIRC. It used to be that I'd take my 16s out duck hunting a couple of times a year and would use lead #6s for rabbits and squirrels. Now with having to use non-tox for everything, I'm lugging around my 12 more often. In he 16 I'm shooting a 1 oz charge of #5 shot over longshot for about 1300 fps or so. I would prefer #4 but it always seems to be out when I go to buy it.
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Old 09-10-2019, 8:11 AM
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Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
BOBGBA covered it. There are a couple of other suppliers for bismuth, I think Precision sells it as well, but rotometals seems to be the most reliable and inexpensive source.

My cost as of the last batch of bismuth I bought (and it's been a while) was around $1.60/oz so a little less than $2.00/shell IIRC. It used to be that I'd take my 16s out duck hunting a couple of times a year and would use lead #6s for rabbits and squirrels. Now with having to use non-tox for everything, I'm lugging around my 12 more often. In he 16 I'm shooting a 1 oz charge of #5 shot over longshot for about 1300 fps or so. I would prefer #4 but it always seems to be out when I go to buy it.
I did some calculating based on the bismuth reloading data from the BPI status of Steel reloading manual and looks like with buying 10lbs of bismuth at a time (and getting the 10% off sale price) the cost to load using once fired cheddite hulls would be somewhere around $1.10 to $1.20 per round for 12 gauge 2 3/4 (could be as low as 1.05 per round for lighter powder charges). Buying Kent bismuth is about 1.36 per round. Not a ton of savings ... of course I haven't patterned Kent bismuth to see how it performs for my gun so there is also the custom tailored reload angle to consider. I guess on a larger scale 30 cents per round is 30$ savings per 100 rounds though so that would add up. this is all food for thought for me.

EDIT: Cancel that haha the Kent price for 16 gauge is for 10 rounds so the cost of reloading bismuth is CONSIDERABLY cheaper for you. And the 12 gauge Kents are actually about 1.60 per round and come in 25 round boxes. So yeah I have to correct myself and say saving 50-60$ per 100 is definitely worth it.

Last edited by 120filmshooter; 09-10-2019 at 8:30 AM..
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Old 09-10-2019, 9:00 AM
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Sounds like a good time to stack the bismuth deep again, woot!
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
Sounds like a good time to stack the bismuth deep again, woot!
yeah if you get the 10% off at rotometal it comes out to something like 135$ for 10lb of bismuth shot (normally $149)that will give you 160 1oz loads at a cost of about 84 cents per 1oz of shot. ... my estimate of 1.05 per round seems low but it's probably still around 40$ to close to $50 savings per 100 12 gauge reloads at that price. it must have been a peak in bismuth prices when you got it at 1.60 per ounce.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 120filmshooter View Post
yeah if you get the 10% off at rotometal it comes out to something like 135$ for 10lb of bismuth shot (normally $149)that will give you 160 1oz loads at a cost of about 84 cents per 1oz of shot. ... my estimate of 1.05 per round seems low but it's probably still around 40$ to close to $50 savings per 100 12 gauge reloads at that price. it must have been a peak in bismuth prices when you got it at 1.60 per ounce.
Yeah, bismuth was terribly expensive the last time I bought it. I bought a bunch before rotometals started carrying it and certainly paid for it.

You get an extra 8% off if you buy 2 or more 10lb bags, even more of a discount if you buy >4.

I'm going to get 20lbs and start using my 16s a little more again.

I also have this crazy idea to load black (or smokeless) powder in brass hulls with fiber wads and bismuth shot in a SxS so I can stop losing bits of plastic all over my favorite ponds, but I don't see myself doing that for a full year of duck hunting.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
Yeah, bismuth was terribly expensive the last time I bought it. I bought a bunch before rotometals started carrying it and certainly paid for it.

You get an extra 8% off if you buy 2 or more 10lb bags, even more of a discount if you buy >4.

I'm going to get 20lbs and start using my 16s a little more again.

I also have this crazy idea to load black (or smokeless) powder in brass hulls with fiber wads and bismuth shot in a SxS so I can stop losing bits of plastic all over my favorite ponds, but I don't see myself doing that for a full year of duck hunting.
Essentially cowboy loads for waterfowl?
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Old 09-10-2019, 1:06 PM
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Essentially cowboy loads for waterfowl?
Basically. I should be able to get a 1-1/4 oz load of shot moving 1000 fps or so with black or fake black in a magtech hull. Could make for a fun day of shooting, at least for everyone else seeing voluminous clouds of smoke coming out of my blind.
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Old 09-10-2019, 1:34 PM
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Basically. I should be able to get a 1-1/4 oz load of shot moving 1000 fps or so with black or fake black in a magtech hull. Could make for a fun day of shooting, at least for everyone else seeing voluminous clouds of smoke coming out of my blind.
it would take care of the mosquitoes LOL
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Old 09-10-2019, 8:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
In short; your pellet count is reduced, your gun is patterning tighter than it used to with lead, and you are effectively using something that is ballistically closer to a 28 gauge shooting #8 or #7.5 (#8 pellet weight-wise, #7.5 pellet count-wise).

You can move up to a 16 or 12 gauge to make up some of the difference or improve your shooting.

No matter what, start with patterning your gun.
Your pellet count reduced?? Steel has way more pellets per ounce than lead. #7 steel shot has 72 more pellets per oz than 7.5 lead shot. Yes the pattern is different, a mod choke with lead #8 in my gun is close to a Lt full with #7 steel.. I don't really notice a difference in my bag shooting steel shot over lead.

Last edited by Ahansom; 09-10-2019 at 8:48 PM..
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Old 09-10-2019, 8:44 PM
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Your pellet count reduced? Steel has way more pellets per ounce than lead. Yes the pattern is different, a mod choke with lead #8 in my gun is close to a Lt full with #7 steel..
right bro except we were talking about 20 gauge vs 12 gauge STEEL so there is a reduced pellet count right????

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Old 09-10-2019, 8:51 PM
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Yes a 20ga has less capacity than a 12ga but pellet count per oz is going to be higher with steel no mater how you divide it up. In my .410, 1/2 of lead #7.5 has 175 pellets compared to 1/2 oz steel #7 having 210. Even though #7's are larger. Best thing to do is pattern your gun, I have a fixed choke gun that actually shoots low with steel shot.

Last edited by Ahansom; 09-10-2019 at 9:06 PM..
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Old 09-10-2019, 9:02 PM
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Yes a 20ga has less capacity than a 12ga but pellet count per oz is higher with steel no mater how you divide it up
I think we are aware of that fact but since I was never discussing lead at all in this thread that point is moot. the discussion was/is about 20 gauge or lesser gauges being effective hunting loads now that non toxic is a requirement when comparing those lesser gauges to 12 gauge. I mentioned lead 20 gauge as a way to point out that I think 12 gauge can perform as well with steel as 20 gauge could with lead loads because of it's ability to hold a higher powered charge ... Precision reloading Lightning Steel manual has some 2 3/4" 12 gauge loads that are 1oz at 1700fps. 20 gauge steel cant do that unless you seriously sacrifice pellet count.

Last edited by 120filmshooter; 09-10-2019 at 9:06 PM..
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Old 09-10-2019, 9:07 PM
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Yes a 20ga has less capacity than a 12ga but pellet count per oz is going to be higher with steel no mater how you divide it up. In my .410, 1/2 of lead #7.5 has 175 pellets compared to 1/2 oz steel #7 having 210. Even though #7's are larger. Best thing to do is pattern your gun, I have a fixed choke gun that actually shoots low with steel shot.
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Old 09-10-2019, 9:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 120filmshooter View Post
Since i live and hunt in the condor zone, I have been hunting with steel for a few years. Hunting I normally shoot an O/U .410 with IC/Mod or a 20ga 870 with choke tubes. Pattern your gun, 1700fps sounds awesome but mine wont hold a pattern pushing loads that fast. they seem to fall apart at or above 1300fps. Maybe yours will be different. I personally haven't noticed much of a a difference using steel over lead. One of my comparisons to shooting in the field is shooting trap and sporting clays. Im not an expert but my scores don't seem to be much different using either lead or steel. Of course YMMV.

Last edited by Ahansom; 09-10-2019 at 10:02 PM..
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Old 09-11-2019, 6:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Ahansom View Post
In my .410, 1/2 of lead #7.5 has 175 pellets compared to 1/2 oz steel #7 having 210. Even though #7's are larger.
Are you buying steel .410 loads or reloading them? Do you have to go to a 3" shell to get 1/2 oz of steel to fit in the hull? If buying, where do you get them? What choke are you pushing them thru?

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Originally Posted by Ahansom View Post
Pattern your gun, 1700fps sounds awesome but mine wont hold a pattern pushing loads that fast. they seem to fall apart at or above 1300fps.
I've heard that anything over 1500 fps blows the pattern. I've shot some kent steel thru a 12 ga o/u (1 1/8 @ 1400) and they have some oomph. Maybe I should take my versa max out next time.
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Old 09-11-2019, 8:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Ahansom View Post
Since i live and hunt in the condor zone, I have been hunting with steel for a few years. Hunting I normally shoot an O/U .410 with IC/Mod or a 20ga 870 with choke tubes. Pattern your gun, 1700fps sounds awesome but mine wont hold a pattern pushing loads that fast. they seem to fall apart at or above 1300fps. Maybe yours will be different. I personally haven't noticed much of a a difference using steel over lead. One of my comparisons to shooting in the field is shooting trap and sporting clays. Im not an expert but my scores don't seem to be much different using either lead or steel. Of course YMMV.
I've heard that higher velocities can blow patterns as well but a guy I used to hunt with used the Remington hypersonic steel @ 1700fps on ducks and was killing them dead consistantly. I would definitely have to pattern the hand loads to see what gives the best performance ... it would likely take some trial and error between different loads in the manual to find the best pattern. a lot of people recommended the Precision Reloading lightning steel reloading manual so I think at least some of the loads do work at higher than 1500fps velocities. Every gun is different though. I patterned 3 loads a few seasons back Kent Fasteel #2 and #4, Federal Speed Shok #2 and #4 and Hevi Steel #3's and the kents were by far the worst performing in my gun which is why it was such a mistake on my part to hunt a few days with the new Kent upland steel without patterning (just didn't have time to get to the range or drive out the boonies to do it).
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Ahansom View Post
Your pellet count reduced?? Steel has way more pellets per ounce than lead. #7 steel shot has 72 more pellets per oz than 7.5 lead shot. Yes the pattern is different, a mod choke with lead #8 in my gun is close to a Lt full with #7 steel.. I don't really notice a difference in my bag shooting steel shot over lead.
You realize that in the same hull when you switch from lead to steel shot your payload weight is often decreased right?

20 Gauge steel #4s (ballistically equivalent to lead #6s) are maxed out at 1oz. 20 Gauge lead #6's (reduced pellet size since lead is ballistically superior to steel) are maxed out at 1-1/4 oz.

Let's see here, let's do the math.

Okay, carry the one...

192 pellets in 1 oz of steel #4 shot.

281 pellets in 1-1/4 oz of lead #6 shot.

192 < 281.

Seems like a reduced pellet count to me.

But, but, but, you said steel #7s!

Okay, steel 7s are ballistically equivalent to basically #9 lead shot. But, but, but steel 7s kill quail just fine?

Do they? Seems like a lot of people reporting more cripples; just like with ducks. Also just like with ducks steel 7s and lead 7s are not the same.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by 120filmshooter View Post
I've heard that higher velocities can blow patterns as well but a guy I used to hunt with used the Remington hypersonic steel @ 1700fps on ducks and was killing them dead consistantly. I would definitely have to pattern the hand loads to see what gives the best performance ... it would likely take some trial and error between different loads in the manual to find the best pattern. a lot of people recommended the Precision Reloading lightning steel reloading manual so I think at least some of the loads do work at higher than 1500fps velocities. Every gun is different though. I patterned 3 loads a few seasons back Kent Fasteel #2 and #4, Federal Speed Shok #2 and #4 and Hevi Steel #3's and the kents were by far the worst performing in my gun which is why it was such a mistake on my part to hunt a few days with the new Kent upland steel without patterning (just didn't have time to get to the range or drive out the boonies to do it).
For me, for ducks, if it's faster than about 1350 with a #3 pellet it'll cleanly kill ducks out to 40 yards. I shoot nearly all of my ducks inside of that. I found a load from Federal that shot 1-1/4 oz of #3 steel at 1400 fps or so that patterns really well. Very few cripples with that load, and most cripples have a broken wing or two so can't sail into the next blind and are easily retrieved. As long as it's 'fast enough', I'll take pellet density over speed any day. Seems they no longer make it, which makes me sad. I never intended to load steel 12 gauge...

In my primary duck gun with a mod choke anything over about 1450 starts blowing holes in my pattern, but that's fine with me.
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Old 09-11-2019, 1:09 PM
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Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
For me, for ducks, if it's faster than about 1350 with a #3 pellet it'll cleanly kill ducks out to 40 yards. I shoot nearly all of my ducks inside of that. I found a load from Federal that shot 1-1/4 oz of #3 steel at 1400 fps or so that patterns really well. Very few cripples with that load, and most cripples have a broken wing or two so can't sail into the next blind and are easily retrieved. As long as it's 'fast enough', I'll take pellet density over speed any day. Seems they no longer make it, which makes me sad. I never intended to load steel 12 gauge...

In my primary duck gun with a mod choke anything over about 1450 starts blowing holes in my pattern, but that's fine with me.
I've had really good luck with #3 Hevi-Steel it's only a couple more bucks than federal and is right at 1500fps. that might not work for your gun but I really liked the results of #3's it's a nice balance between 4's and 2's. I think I'm going to buy a box of Kent's new bismuth and see if I can get a decent pattern with that... I'm currently a student at UC Davis so the budget is a bit tight for me to be spending tons on bismuth though... practicality says I should stick with steel for the sake of putting food in my belly hehe.

Last edited by 120filmshooter; 09-11-2019 at 1:17 PM..
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Old 09-11-2019, 1:14 PM
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Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
You realize that in the same hull when you switch from lead to steel shot your payload weight is often decreased right?

20 Gauge steel #4s (ballistically equivalent to lead #6s) are maxed out at 1oz. 20 Gauge lead #6's (reduced pellet size since lead is ballistically superior to steel) are maxed out at 1-1/4 oz.

Let's see here, let's do the math.

Okay, carry the one...

192 pellets in 1 oz of steel #4 shot.

281 pellets in 1-1/4 oz of lead #6 shot.

192 < 281.

Seems like a reduced pellet count to me.

But, but, but, you said steel #7s!

Okay, steel 7s are ballistically equivalent to basically #9 lead shot. But, but, but steel 7s kill quail just fine?

Do they? Seems like a lot of people reporting more cripples; just like with ducks. Also just like with ducks steel 7s and lead 7s are not the same.
Even with dove I was getting cripples on steel #7 the first season that lead was required on the CDFW lands and I was living in So-Cal. I switched to #6 and it kills dove but #7 not so much unless they were 20 yard or under shots. and these were loads that I patterned in my gun. I think #6 is the smallest I'd want to go but I hunt with a retriever that's flushing birds up at 20 yards out sometimes ... if you are hunting a pointer and they are jumping up at your feet maybe #7's work for that.
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