I'll add something to the discussion. When you look at an ounce of lead versus an ounce of steel in say #7 shot, you will find significantly more pellets. One ounce of lead #7 will have 297 pellets, one ounce of steel #7's contains 420 pellets!!! That is a big difference. You may lose a bit of energy in the steel, but you make it up in numbers. Now I would also think that steel may break a target better since it doesn't deform at all. You end up with much shorter shot strings (assuming the pellets start off round) than lead as well. I have compared both steel shells and lead shells and also noticed something of interest. The wads for steel loads have no cushioning section. I guess there is no need to cushion the shot since it doesn't deform. I haven't done any extensive testing for clay targets, but steel may be a good long range shot if you can hold tight patterns.