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Steel shot cartridges

1047 Views 16 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  astomb
How good are they? Are they a viable alternative to lead?Noisier? Punchier? What about Timber damage? Environment pollution (rust in the water course)Cheaper?
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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.
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Actually, I think Brister's work done on steel is much outdated. We have come a long way in steel loads. Roster has stated that steel only becomes a threat to barrels with larger shot, heavier payloads and tight chokes. This is due to bridging. My father has a bulged 70's era Citori, but that was after shooting T shot through a full choke. I may be wrong, but I doubt a 1 ounce load of #7's through a Light Mod choke will do much harm. I have no doubt that steel would be equal to lead on skeet distance targets. What I'm interested to find is how it would perform on Fitasc targets. I think I will need to buy a couple cases of steel Clay Cartridge #7's and go shoot some longer edgy targets. From my testing of waterfowl steel loads, I found that the weakness of steel is holding patterns at distances past 40 yards. You tend to get a whiffle ball effect with steel. So what looks to be a great load at 40 yards ends up looking miserable at 50 yards. There are many very good alternatives to steel, but their cost will make your toes curl when thinking about the volume we tend to shoot at targets.
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