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 Post subject: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 10:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:38 pm
Posts: 2
I have a lot of steel shot shells left over from my duck hunting days. I was considering the idea of replacing the steel shot with an equal weight of lead shot. The lead would not fill the wad and hull as the steel would so I would have to trim both down somewhat. Once the steel shot was replaced with the lead I would then place a shot disk in the hull end and roll crimp the hull to retain the shot. I was wondering if anyone knows of any real safety issues with doing this.
Thanks much.




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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:25 pm
Posts: 553
Location: New Mexico
Generally, a really bad idea.

First, the factory ammo gives you no clue what components are in the load. So there is almost no way to verify that the replacement of steel with lead shot plus additional filler materials would be safe. The FIRST thing that professional shotshell testing services want to know is "what are the components you are using?" - so they can do a sanity check on safety to fire your test load in even their very heavy-duty equipment. You can't even get to first base on being able to do your own sanity check, and they can't either, and that would mean they would turn down doing such testing. Shouldn't you, too?

Second, the types of powder and wad are vastly different between steel loads and lead loads. Why would you guess that the components would work safely with lead? Powder is a special slow burn rate powder, not one of the conventional powders as used with lead shot. Wads are much thicker plastic to ensure steel shot does not gouge the barrel. Factories worked many years when they first started making steel shot loads. Even as experienced as they were in cooking up new shotshell loads, their first couple of years of production were pretty ugly.

Why not trade those steel factory loads to someone who has plenty of lead loads?

good luck, garrisonjoe


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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:32 pm
Posts: 734
I wouldn't swap steel for lead. Hypothetically if I did swap steel for lead, any filler wads would go under the shot.

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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 12:03 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:22 pm
Posts: 435
Location: NE South Dakota
Just a terrible idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 7:43 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:18 am
Posts: 67
I don't know that I would do that. I understand the normalization of the mass that you're attempting, and that it theoretically "should work", but all things are not equal in this equation. You're adding fillers, modifying wads, and changing crimp type. More than just a change in load volume, while maintaining mass.
Having taken apart a few shells in my day, it's a tedious pain in the butt, and the shell get kind of messed up, and may not crimp properly after that. Easiest way to empty a shell is to shoot it out. Reload it after that. If not, trade them for something you need.
I have a 1/2dozen boxes of steel shells that were inadverdantley purchased for me. My fault, I never specified lead, and the person that bought them for me as a kind gesture didn't understand the difference.
I'm going to be trading them for powder and hulls here soon, or just shooting them out at some fun hand trap sessions.


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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 10:27 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
Posts: 10785
It would be a pain in the butt, that's for sure. I would think you would need to trim the case mouth which won't be easy no matter how carefully you open the shells. You might as well trim the wad too, so long as you are roll crimping.

Would it be a safe load though? I think "probably". But lead shot will deform a bunch on setback, especially at the 1,400-1,500 fps most steel loads run at, and there is almost none to no cushion on most steel shot wads. An under shot wad might help some, maybe.

It would be much easier and probably cheaper to load new primed empties.

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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 10:31 am 
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Quote:
. The FIRST thing that professional shotshell testing services want to know is "what are the components you are using?" - so they can do a sanity check on safety to fire your test load in even their very heavy-duty equipment.


BS.

The only reason that the lab wants to know what is in the load is so they can correctly note the load on the lab sheet. That is why the lab generally asks for an extra round so they can verify the components. The lab sheet needs to be accurate......Period.

You can't load a shotshell hot enough to blow-up or even damage a pressure gun.
________________________________________________________________________


The OP's idea probably isn't well thought out, due to the logistics of actually swapping steel for lead of an equal weight. The pressure, in all likelyhood, will not increase, but possibly decrease in a bad direction. Giving poor ballistic consistency. Will the loads go bang, yeah but that is probably the only good thing that will happen.

Is it a good idea? Probably not.

I am suggesting that he continue? NO! Find a different way to waste your time.

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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:18 am
Posts: 217
Your steel loads are very salable, particularly just before duck season. I think that would be a smarter idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 3:22 pm 
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Bamaskeetshooter wrote:
Your steel loads are very salable, particularly just before duck season. I think that would be a smarter idea.
The market is even better during the season, especially when someone in the blind runs out and you have extra.....

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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 7:14 pm 
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Location: PA Dutch Country
I don't see what would be dangerous about replacing 1.25oz of steel with 1.25 oz of lead and do a proper roll crimp. A proper roll crimp being one that doesn't touch the wad fingers.

For what purpose it would serve, I have no idea. They would be loud and heavy recoil and faster than needed and deform the lead more than a proper 12-1300 fps lead load...patterns would likely be subpar.

Cutting up factory ammo just doesn't make sense to me except in the case of harvesting tungsten shot bought at a good price to use for other loads.

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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:38 pm
Posts: 2
Seems my simple minded way of thinking was on a very complex subject. Since posting this I have done a bit of reading and 'wow'. All the different components of shotgun shells... who'd have thought there could be so many variations. I appreciate everyone sharing their knowledge and ideas on this. I'm thinking I may just sell my steel shot shells and learn how to actually reload. Done correctly seems a bit safer than swapping shot.


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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 1:18 am 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:25 pm
Posts: 553
Location: New Mexico
Quote:
Done correctly seems a bit safer than swapping shot.


Yep, you betcha it is. Much safer.

Good plans about starting to reload, but a hard time to try to implement them. Reloading equipment and components are VERY hard to come by right now. The demand for ammo has probably 5 million+ folks thinking just what you are. In a year, it should be MUCH easier to find supplies.

If you are in a shooting part of the country and have time to check out estate sales, it is surprising what can still be found at private sales from hunting/shooting families.

good luck, garrisonjoe


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 Post subject: Re: Using lead shot in place of steel shot
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:38 pm
Posts: 2619
Location: San Jose, CA
Assuming these are factory steel. Just sell/trade them. Target loads are generally cheaper than anything steel. But even steel loadings have evolved, so hard to say if you have something someone wants. Some want the newest gen, some don't care, some may just want to shoot coots....or bunnies where non-tox is required.



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