Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions
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Author:  ducksatfirstlight [ Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

New member here with questions about subsonic waterfowl loads.


I’ve been waterfowl hunting for 35 years, shooting my old reliable Benelli Nova 12 gauge pump for the last 15 years.

I also have an inertia cycling Stoeger M 3500 12 gauge with a 26” barrel that I bought to have a shorter, lighter swinging gun for early season fast and low wood ducks. This gun feels in the hand way lighter than my Nova. I have had some ejection issues with 3.5” shells so now mostly stick to 3” shells. Even then I have had some cycling/ejection issues with certain brand factory shells.

I hunt a lot with my dad and in his golden years he is shooting a Benelli Vinci 12 gauge, also inertia driven, light, and fast swinging.

Some of the areas we hunt waterfowl have large homes along the shorelines. This is an issue because there are some areas (mostly they are real honey holes) where though we could legally hunt (regarding distances to homes, property, etc.) we are denied access because our friends that control the hunting rights don’t want to upset the neighbors with shotguns going off at first light or whenever really.

Because we have numerous potential honey holes to hunt if we could just reduce the sound I bought some SilencerCo Salvo 12 shotgun suppressors. I have attached them to both my Nova and M 3500 and shot the Federal Top Gun subsonic target loads with the following specs:

- Shell Length: 2-3/4"
- Shot Weight: 1-1/8 oz
- Shot Size: #7-1/2
- Shot Type: Lead
- Dram Eq.: 1.6
- Muzzle Velocity: 900 fps

Shooting these loads though the suppressed Nova is unbelievably quiet with negligible recoil and of course cycling the rounds is not an issue with it being a pump. The only issue is the combined weight of the heavy Nova with the Salvo 12 hanging off the end. Heavier guns can “smooth out a swing” but this combo is boarder line heavy.

Shooting these loads though the suppressed M 3500 was also quiet with negligible recoil. The lighter gun with the Salve 12 hanging off the end was much more manageable than the suppressed NOVA. The issue was the action didn’t even come close to cycling. These guns have an optional recoil reducer you can install in the stock which I had installed at the time. I plan to remove it before the next round of testing but based on how little the bolt moved back after a shot I am guessing it will still not cycle these 900 fps loads.

I did not have my dad’s Vinci during the initial testing but I am guessing it will have the same cycling issues as it is also a light, inertia driven gun.

I do not currently reload. I will eventually get into reloading but I just don’t have the time right now with work, family, and other interests to research and buy all the equipment and then try to figure out how to use it on my own. I have a friend that hand loads who has agreed to try to help me create a subsonic waterfowl load that will cycle in my suppressed M 3500 and my dad’s suppressed Vinci.

I want to use a nontoxic shot with heavier density than steel and a larger shot size to maximize the downrange energy at slower speeds. I’m looking at ITX 10 #BB, ITX 13 #2 (they don’t offer in BB on the site I was on), and Tungsten #BB.

I want to keep the shell length at 3” or even 2 ¾” if needed to improve cycling (not worried about lower pellet count as we will be only taking closer, decoying shots)

I want to make the fastest possible subsonic load to maximize downrange energy and hopefully solve the cycling around 1025 fps


1. Recommendations on shot type?
- ITX 10
- ITX 13 (if #2 are acceptable)
- Tungsten
- or any other shot type

2. Recommendations on everything else needed?
- shell hulls
- primers
- powder
- wads
- anything else needed

3. Recommendations on the best place to buy the reloading materials?

4. Recommendations regarding guns?
- Is it even possible to develop a subsonic waterfowl load that will be able to cycle the suppressed, lighter, inertia driven M 3500 and Vinci?
- If not, should I just start hitting the gym to be able to muscle my Nova (HA) or should I sell the inertia M 3500 and by a gas gun?
- If so which gas gun?

Thanks for reading this and I’m looking forward to your recommendations and advice.

Author:  Jim Atlas [ Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

Get a shorter barrel for your pump--seems like the simplest way of sorting the weight/balance issue. Look goofy for sure, but...
I'd look into TSS. Real expensive, but for low fps application like you talking, it'd give the pelletcount and energy you're looking for.

Author:  Nebs [ Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

I can't help you with any of the issues you raise, just chiming in to welcome you to SGW. A thorough and well written first post.

Author:  wildflights [ Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

The 2-3/4 metro load will get you there.
2-3/4 Federal Top Gun hull (paper basewad)
--------20 gr. Herco put me right at 1,115 fps avg ES 5 SD 2
18.2 gr. Herco @ 1,050 fps
SAM1 wad
1-1/4 oz (540 gr) Hevi Shot #2

I'll second the recommendation for TSS. If you're willing to spend the coin, that stuff flat out kills at range.

edit to add- This is how I load it. The original recipe calls for "1 1/4 oz. T Steel(Goose) or BB Steel (Duck)".
The notes at the bottom of the data states-
"IMPORTANT! All of these loads are reduced-powder charges that are enough to allow for changes in wad, shot type, and under shot wads to adjust for correct crimp levels.

DO NOT exceed these powder amounts as it will greatly increase sound, and pressure will become unstable.

Be sure you understand the principles of handloading before you attempt to reload any ammunition. Any deviation from these principles can result in SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH!

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Metro Gun Systems
P. O. Box 529
Piedmont SD 57769
(605) 787-6321
Email: [email protected]"

Author:  la angler [ Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

Be sure that when you test your loads that sometimes what works in warm weather may not cycle in cold conditions. Also I once saw a video on YouTube where someone was using a 410 because of the noise factor not wanting to scare ducks.

Author:  derbyacresbob [ Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

The HW13 #6 shot from Bucks Run Sports Supply would work for ducks at 1,000 fps and the HW13 #2 shot at 1,000 fps would work for geese.

Just for the shot for 1-1/4 oz loads HW13 shot would be right at $1.80 per shell and TSS shot would be about $3.12 per shell.

One ounce of TSS shot is more than enough shot for ducks or geese but at 1,000 to 1,100 fps the shells may not cycle semi-autos.

With TSS shot at 1,000 fps #8-1/2 or #9 shot is good for ducks and #6 or #7 shot will work on geese.

Author:  Dave in AZ [ Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

Look up using search function, he has many posts on subsonic. I believe he is on the subject.

Author:  cookoff013 [ Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

ok lads. lets get this spanked.

subsonics can be of two ilk.
slow and loud and slow and quiet, even with the silencer... its to do with the gas volume equilibrating to the atmosphere before the shot leaves the barrel. mainly the silencers i talk about are full length bored holes down the barrel at intervals to bleed off in to the shroud.

idealy for "quiet" subsonics low powder charges, and abnormally high shot load for that powder, so that the powder is working hard and clean, but low gn of powder / small gass volume not to saturate the system (barrel and silencer.) a buddy of mine made subsonics by taking a standard load and reducing the powder. ended up loud, slow and very messy.

so the loads i`ve tinkered with recently are a 42gram 1,1/2oz 3" lead subsonic and a 42g /1,1/2oz hw13 load that just failed because the pressure varied too much. the speed was slow.

the thing that messes you up is the need to either have it punchy enough for cycling inertia, enough gas to overcome the dip in cycling because the gun may choke with limited gas loads. and after all those issues, you want decent speeds.

i can say, the pump deals with all those issues. second one of the loads i was previously talking about still may be powder heavy. and i dont know how efficient those silencos are.

i`ve made about 8 lead subsonic recipes ranging from 3/4oz to 1.5oz. not really done non toxic subs.

i hope i can be of help. but i think my projects are just not what you want,

Author:  ducksatfirstlight [ Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

Thanks for the info everyone.

Jim – I looked at the short barrel option for my Nova and the TSS density is impressive.

The 24” barrel Nova is 7.8 pounds and the 28” barrel Nova is 8 pounds….so the real benefit with the 24’ barrel is 4” less length versus less wright. That being said, I have the optional 14 oz recoil reducer in the stock which puts my 28” barrel Nova at 8.9 pounds.

A 24” Nova barrel is $320 in black and $395 in camo. At that price, I should probably just buy a new 24” barrel Nova with an MSRP of $569 to be a dedicated shorter/lighter, suppressed pump gun.

Before I buy another gun to save 1.1 pounds (every oz does count though) and 4” in length I’m going to see if I can get a subsonic load made that will cycle my M 3500, which it turns out has a 24” barrel vs previously stated 26” barrel.

The listed weight of the M 3500 24” barrel is 7.5 pounds. It came with a 13 oz recoil reducer that I had installed when I tested the subsonic Federal loads suppressed. As the M 3000 (3” shell version) 24” barrel has a listed weight of 7.3 pounds it’s safe to assume the M 3500 24” barrel weight of 7.5 pounds doesn’t include the weight of the 13 oz recoil reducer….which means my non cycling gun weighed 8.3 pounds.

I read up on some M 3500 reviews this am and there were a few that said they had trouble cycling light loads with the recoil reducer installed. So the next step is test the Federal subsonic loads in the non recoil reducer M 3500 and then my dad’s Vinci while gathering the materials to have my friend make some waterfowl hand loads.

Nebs- thanks.
wildflights – thanks for recipe and I’m going to do some more research on TSS. I guess you have to adjust the amount of powder and weight of shot for the different density shot, correct?

la angler – good point. Last season I hunted in below freezing temps with a friend whose Browning semi wouldn’t cycle due to the type of oil he used that didn’t like cold temps.

derdyacresbob – thanks for the HW13 heads up. I have been shooting the discontinued Ultra-Shok High Density Federal shells the last 5 years. I’m pretty sure they are HW13 and it is way better than steel. I saw my dad make one of the longest shots I’ve ever seen last season. He was “standing guard“ at the end of a cold, ice breaking hunt while the rest of us dealt with gathering the decoys…and he pass shot dead a stratospheric, huge bull drake black duck. I can’t imagine what TSS would do with a density of 18.

Cookoff013 – sounds like you are further down the road than me. I’ll keep posting my progress to compare notes.

And if anyone else has other recipes, opinions, insights please don’t hesitate to post.

Author:  derbyacresbob [ Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

derdyacresbob – thanks for the HW13 heads up. I have been shooting the discontinued Ultra-Shok High Density Federal shells the last 5 years. I’m pretty sure they are HW13 and it is way better than steel.

HW13 shot is very close to 12g/cc. If I remember correctly the Federal High Density shot is not as dense as lead, it is between steel shot and lead shot density wise.

The HW13 shot is close to being the same density as Hevi-Shot about 10% denser than lead. So the HW13 shot should out perform the Federal High Density shot by quite a bit.

Author:  Jim Atlas [ Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

I'd get a 18-20" bbl. It's not just the 2 pounds the supresser weighs , but the ballence. It's going to way a whole lot more way out in front of you.
As to price, get a used 870 with a "tactical" barrel and put the suppressor on that.

Author:  cookoff013 [ Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

You could always put shot in the stock to 're balance the weight

Author:  ducksatfirstlight [ Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

It turns out my reloading friend doesn’t want to actually do the reloading and was only offering basic help….so looks like if I want to shoot subsonic waterfowl loads during this upcoming season I have to learn to reload in a hurry.

Is there one or maybe two books out there that are considered the best beginner reloading instructional?

My friend has a new in box MAC Jr Mark V he picked up at an estate sale that he said he would sell to me for $70…which sounds like a great deal.

Is the next step to find a recipe based on the shot type I decide to go with? If so, wildflights Hevi Shot recipe isn’t usable if I’m not using Hevi Shot, correct?

derdyacresbob – good to know and I’m looking forward to shooting either the HW13, ITX, or TSS this season.

Jim – good point. I’m going to shoot some of the Federal subsonics at clays in the non recoil reduced, suppressed M 3500 tomorrow to see if it cycles and to get a better feel for the weight/balance.

cookoff013 – true, but I expect that might make it more difficult for the M 3500 to cycle.

Author:  Dave in AZ [ Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions


I commend you for your excitement and interest! And I always support folks learning, and trying to achieve some goal like yours.

The book you need to read is Lyman's 5th shotgun reloading, for all the how-to and basics-- it is always recommended as the core book you need to read to start.

The NEXT book you need to buy is the one with all the non-tox recipes: BPI's Advantages manual. This one will give you many datapoints to LOAD BELOW and give you a place to start so you're not spending thousands on load development.

HOWEVER, I must be honest here-- it really sounds like you have bitten off too much as an initial goal. My estimate is that even hard-core experimental reloaders with a strong scientific background and interest in ballistics, and non-tox, would be hard pressed to achieve what you're after without maybe $500 in testing costs. What you are asking for is like brain-surgery level work, and you are still trying to get your First-Aid skill award or merit badge, if you can see that analogy. No insult-- I'm just trying to convey the amount of learning and study ahead. Again, it is my belief that a huge amount of science and learning and progress have come from home experimenters who were all told by the standard pundits that they weren't experts and thus couldn't/shouldn't be trying... and we see that on this forum all the time also.

So, I absolutely can see a path forward to achieve what you're looking for, and can conceive roughly some viable parameters I'd be testing around to achieve your goals... but my rough cost/benefit analysis tells me that it totally wouldn't be worth it for myself. And I'm a guy that develops and sends in for pressure tests non-tox 28/20/16ga loads at my own cost, that truthfully are totally not "needed" if one is willing to shoot a 12ga for waterfowl-- I like the science, ballistics, and hobby of it and achieving some shooting goal, even if it's only useful to me and a few others.

So I'm trying to show support, even though I wouldn't do what you are. Here's my recommendations if I were doing it:
1. ABANDON any attempt to cycle a semi-auto gun!! Go with a pump or O/U.
-- many suppressors are made for o/u already
-- semi auto advantages not needed: you're trying to be stealthy, 3 shots isn't your prime goal; recoil reduction not needed, you will be shooting LOW RECOIL, low speed shells almost by definition. In general 1500fps 9/8oz steel in a duck gun will give 39 ft-lbs recoil or so, compare that to these loads below at 10-20 ft lbs!
-- length/balance/weight issues with a suppressor, so you need a short barrel lighter gun, as already recommended a tactical pump, cheap, is most likely to meet your goals.
2. Low speed shot, < 1125 fps (speed of sound) so actually around 1025 or less usually I believe. This drives pellet size to be larger to achieve penetration, which in turn forces payload to be larger to contain the required consep numbers of pellets for lethality. This in turn LEANS you towards shot density higher than steel shot.
3. DO NOT try for some long-range load! This is not your goal. I would look for a 35 yard solution that would put 120 pellets in a 30" pattern there (lethal for med/large ducks but not small), assume I would be able to achieve 85% patterns at this slow speed and closer than 40 yards range. This means I need 141 pellets to start with. Even if I relaxed it and went for 115 pellets in the pattern, and thought I could get 90% patterns (maybe at 30 yards, which is your actual target range goal I believe), that would drive 128 pellets in the load.
4. Here are some basic calculations, using 1.5" ballistic gel penetration as the driving goal (decent approximation of what's needed for large ducks), and 90 pellets for large ducks, 120 for med ducks in a 30" pattern. Muzzle velocity for all is 1025fps, sea-level, 32F. Assumed 8.5 lbs total gun/suppressor weight for recoil calcs:
a. STEEL #1, 1-1/4oz, 127 pellets, 38 yds, 18.4 ft-lbs recoil
-- this would fit in a 3" hull, or possible the 2.75" Federal 0.090" integral clear hull supplied by BPI. I have no idea what powder would give that speed within pressure limits and deliver minimum gas. But the load itself is the best steel-shot I can see being made at this MV for penetration/pellet-count.

b. BISMUTH #4, 1oz, 154 pellets, 37.8 yards, 13 ft-lbs recoil
-- this load achieves the range and pellets needed, and because it's only 1oz you are much more likely to be able to drive it with the low-gas desired to make suppressor function well. Also, there are many more recipes for bismuth than steel that use faster powders that (per cookoff013 basic directions) are much more likely to successfully create a good suppressor load. You could bump to 1-1/8oz if needed, but at 35 yards and this low speed I think I could get enough pellets for small ducks, 140ish in the pattern.
c. BISMUTH #3, 1-1/8oz, 139 pellets, 46.8 yards, 15.6 ft-lbs recoil
-- this is what I'd use if I wanted more than 35 yards. In absolutely NO case would I try to bump up beyond this pellet size and yardage, 47 yards is well more than enough even if you're NOT trying to be sneaky and shoot close to houses!
d. HW13 #6, 7/8oz, 166 pellets, 53.6 yards, 10.63 ft-lbs recoil
-- Plenty of pellets and range for all goals, low payload means low gas-charge to absorb. Probably most likely to succeed. You could even go with 3/4oz and 143 pellets.

Best of luck ;) My best advise though is this: put in one day of work or so and find a better place to hunt where you don't have to do all this, or risk irking all those neighbors or the guy with the land access.

Author:  OnHoPr [ Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

Interesting concept, as well as presented well in your OP. This is the type of concept that gets shot shell wildcatters noodles twitchin. There may be many synopsis on developing such a load with most likely a number of failures. Weather or temps may be a concern especially considering actions used.

Derbyacresbob gave a suggestion

cookoff013 & Dave in AZ gave good info on the subject. One thing is, a number of these reloaders have been consuming data for decades and have been playing around reloading in their own spectrums of interest. The newb reloader really should not be delving too far off published loads. Now, if you find decent load data to your interest, go for it. It might take a little time and funds even for the experienced to find the specific loads desired.

“I’m going to shoot some of the Federal subsonics at clays in the non recoil reduced, suppressed M 3500 tomorrow to see if it cycles and to get a better feel for the weight/balance.”

Now, to come up with something a bit easier if these loads work, your reloader friend may be able to help. Rotometals has bismuth that is very close to lead properties. You could take the lead out of these shells noted above and replace with the Bismuth. You may be able to exchange one of the other nontoxic shot forms as well without a whole lot of brain numbing ponderance.

Author:  ducksatfirstlight [ Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

Well, the M 3500 didn’t even come close to cycling after taking the 13 oz recoil suppression weight out of the stock. It actually made the suppressed gun even more unwieldy with more of the weight balanced towards the front. It was still fun to be breaking clays with a gun making barely any noise. I also had a 28 gauge double I was shooting and the suppressed 12 gauge with super light loads had much less recoil than the 28 gauge. Next time I make it out I’m bringing the waterfowl shells I’ve been using the last few years to compare the suppressed and unsuppressed noise levels.

I’m going to a gun show this weekend and will check out prices on used 870s with the shorter, tactical barrel. I also emailed SilencerCo asking for the weight and average noise reduction for the Salvo 12 in the 10”, 8”, and 6” configurations. You can actually reduce the length of this suppressor which of course would reduce the weight but increase the noise level….so hopefully down the road I’ll be able to find the best suppressor size configuration and gun combo to end up with a more balanced and reliable suppressed pump gun. Until then I’m going to start reading up on reloading and research the higher density shot types and costs.

Dave in AZ – thank you for the info! The Lyman’s 5th and Advantages Manual are in the mail to me. I hear you regarding the brain surgery/first aid skill award analogy and understand your point that developing a load or loads is a long, potentially expensive process. I’m just hoping to make one subsonic, higher density 12 gauge load for ducks right now….so if after doing the research I have to buy the materials and send it off to a lab to get a pressure test done to ensure it’s a safe load, then I plan to do that.

I am actually very fortunate to have some great duck honey holes where I don’t need to worry about shooting quietly. So in theory yes, I could just hunt those holes versus going through this process to be able to hunt in the more urban honey holes….but being able to shoot quietly can also benefit the hunting in spots where I don’t actually need to be quiet. Ducks often come in waves. There typically is a flight at first light and then at some point later in the day within 3-4 hours of sunset. The leading edge of a strong front can stir ducks up. If your hunting during the cutting edge of a migration you can have back to back flocks of fresh ducks dropping in from a high, long flight. I’ve had numerous hunts over many seasons where I had ducks or geese decoying but then there is another flock that’s lining up right behind them or perhaps looks promising and is within gunshot noise range. You have to make a decision. Should we shoot the bids in hand or wait for the next group to get within range as well. If you shoot the birds in hand with loud shotguns you most likely are not going to get shots at the group behind them or maybe off in the distance that’s looking good. The big exception is windy days. Wind can really help cut the noise down and I try to hunt the weather but somedays you just end up hunting on those light wind days.

OnHoPr – thanks for the suggestion of potentially being able to just substitute bismuth for lead in the factory Federal subsonic loads I already have. I would of course do a bunch of research before ever trying this to make sure it was safe. There is also the issue of being checked by game wardens. I expect a game warden (that I didn’t know) would probably just write me a ticket if I had a pocket full of shells that looked like lead target loads. I’m sure I could ultimately get out of a ticket for shooting migratory birds with lead if I had the shells in question examined/tested by a third party but I’d rather avoid the hassle if possible. So that brings up another good question because new reloading hulls probably don’t have anything on them…so I could potentially have an issue if checked by a game warden regardless.

Author:  cookoff013 [ Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

OnHoPr wrote:
Now, to come up with something a bit easier if these loads work, your reloader friend may be able to help. Rotometals has bismuth that is very close to lead properties. You could take the lead out of these shells noted above and replace with the Bismuth. You may be able to exchange one of the other nontoxic shot forms as well without a whole lot of brain numbing ponderance.

now i have direct experience with this concept, last year (and this year) i got results from a variety of loads i tested. here is what i did, i made a lead load and had it tested, i came up with a donor load. this was "powder", 1,1/4oz lead shot, 3" hull. hardly rocket science. so with this data i reloaded 60 more, switched out the "lead" shot and replaced it with the same volume (dropped from a 1,1/4oz mec lead bar) and adjusted up to the nearest metric gram.
i swapped out the lead load for, lead, pure copper shot, itx10, steel, bismuth, niceshot, whatever, i forgot the list, it was a year ago....

anyway, i made these loads, and sent them to be tested by a national body (aka the official testing place. i got to point out that i elected tier 2 / HP testing so the pressure limits are different / higher than sammi.. its a europe thing. lets leave it at that.)

so apart from the agonising torment of the 2 month wait, the £200 i sank into testing reloads, and the £100 i sank into actually making the reloads.
eventually the data arrived.

it actually was a phenominal test. i added some control loads to the group of testing and a silly fast wildfowling load (well silly for me).
as the density / payload increases so does pressure.
as the payload decreases the speed increases.
dont forget its the same powder charge.
the only thing that stood out was the ITX10. which is now my best friend forever. it rocks.
(well internal ballistics it does.)

cracking through the statistics. i also did a energy calculations as "what payload extracts the most energy ?" well as it turns out the higher payloads extract the most energy, and from the latter part of the test only 2200ftlbs are available. this was calculated from the highest density stuff that failed and the special load i added, which aided as a total calorific burn test. i got the same ftlbs from these (give or take some small units.)

the second stats is that i back calculated the stats to the powder charge to work out how many ftlbs per grain of powder. and i think itx came really good, but the heavyer shot charges dominated the energy stakes.... but itx10 is amazing, fast and carries energy.

so my overall testing actually says to me yes bismuth is safe per volume to switch out of a lead donor load. so that is a lead donor load 1,1/4oz replaced with 1,1/8oz bismuth. (shot dropped from a mec 114 bar) and i got lower pressures with a target style powder. that was with all the components and gubbins i used.

what i`m actually trying to say too is, certainly research and maybe get stuff tested.

i was thinking about one of the subsonic loads , i reloaded it to have a long range subsonic load, its fibre so was designed to be a long range high bird english shooting load 1.5oz of #2 should take care of highbird shooting. simple components too. and can be reloaded on a machine, i dont reload that much now, i dont shoot that much either. i just like testing loads.

My bottom line is , do some research, get stuff tested

Author:  cookoff013 [ Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions


if you were to reload bismuth in the first instance at subsonic speeds, you`d need to think about shotsize, because it is less dense than lead, would need to go up one size to be equivalent to the lead (subonic load), however as its a game load and alot of variables, as a no-nonsense load , use #2s just to hold on to what little energy you give it. as for chokes, they normally dont matter with subsonic lead loads. any choke gets the same pattern.

Author:  ducksatfirstlight [ Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

Shot Shot Order Shot Order Cost Source
Type Density Amount Size Cost Per 1
(Ounces) Ounce

TSS 17.5 g/cc 16 4mm(#1) 93.40 5.84
TSS 17.5 g/cc 16 2.5mm(#7) 89.90 5.62
TSS 17.5 g/cc 16 2mm(#9) 112.10 7.01
ITX 13 13 g/cc 24 #4 47.59 1.98
ITX 13 13 g/cc 24 #6 47.59 1.98
HeavyWeight 13 g/cc ? ? ? ?
Hevi Shot 12 g/cc 24 #6 76.99 3.21
Nice Shot 10.2 g/cc 167 #6 39.60 2.40
ITX 10 10 g/cc 112 #4 153.90 1.37
ITX 10 10 g/cc 112 #6 153.90 1.37
Bismuth 9.7 g/cc 112 #4 149.97 1.34
Bismuth 9.7 g/cc 112 #6 149.97 1.34

Author:  ducksatfirstlight [ Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Subsonic Waterfowl Load Questions

I tried posting a shot type cost comparison but the table didn't post with the spaces I it's hard to read.

If you're able to read the table it appears ITX 13 is the highest density/lowest cost shot type. For a 13 g/cc density shot the cost is $1.98 per 1 once load. This is much less costly than the less dense but comparable Hevi Shot. RSI/Buck Run Shooting Supplies doesn't list prices for the HeavyWeight 13 g/cc on their website so I don't know how the cost compares to ITX 13. After reading about both it seems ITX is harder than HeavyWeight so from what I’ve read:

ITX = harder so harder on barrels and chokes and not to be used in older guns but will maintain shape better

HeavyWeight = softer so easier on barrels and chokes and can be used in older guns but there could be more pellet deformity

I think TSS at $7 per 1 ounce load for 2.5mm (#9) shot is too costly to use while learning to reload. Unless I can find it less expensive than this I’m going to focus on ITX 13 or perhaps HeavyWeight 13 depending on the cost. Though, down the road, I am interested in creating a 3” pig load out of TSS. I’ve shot feral pigs from a tree stand at 15-20 yards with 00 lead buck shot from the M 3500 every year over the past three years. I’m purposely only shooting single pigs that are under 100 pounds because their growing bones and cartilage are softer and because they haven’t yet developed the protective scar tissue layer that the older pigs have. I only take really close shots because I’m hunting at night and I’m trying to avoid having to track wounded pigs in the dark. With the penetration you get from TSS I could use a much smaller shot thus increasing pellet count and perhaps be able to get a double if I lined a couple heads up. It would also give me the confidence to increase my range.

Do any of you have experience with ITX 13?

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