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General info about loading steel trap loads

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by joe kuhn, Apr 23, 2013.

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  1. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    You can get 10 pounds of steel from Ballistic Products Inc. for $20. The trick is to get wads with thicker petals specifically for steel. This protects your barrel from scratches. See link above for a 1 oz steel wad. Ask for recipes for trap if you order from BPI. They have some in the 1200 fps range that are very usable. Many guys shoot faster steel, but I don't feel it's necessary. Here's why.

    I load steel #6 which has the same pellet energy as lead #7.5. It's allowed at our club because #6 target loads were about the only shell (Remington) we could buy commercially years ago when our club went to steel. Here's a copy of an old Remington web page showing the pellet energy for lead versus steel. Look at the top two lines. I believe this is valid for slower speeds as well. Notice the pellet energy doesn't decrease faster for steel. Some guys will try to tell you slows down faster. Don't believe them.


    [​IMG]


    Your reloader will need some tweaking in a couple of areas. The wad push rod will need to be set deeper because the shot cup is longer - cushion area smaller. Why? You get more pellets in 1 oz of steel than you do in 1 oz of lead - of the same size. You may also need to tweak the crimp tools on your reloader and the charge bar bushings will need changing because the recipes are different. Just follow the recipes, use a scale and you'll be ok.

    The days of bulging your barrels with #4 high powered steel hunting loads are over as far as I know. I shoot an 870 fixed full with no issues. I shot a Mach 1 with a steel rated choke which is a good idea. Chokes not rated for steel can stretch over time. That's about the only real danger I know of now that everybody went through that initial learning phase of what NOT to do with steel. Follow the recipes, use a scale and you'll be fine. If I had aged SxS guns, I think I'd pick a more modern gun to shoot instead.

    Heavy-shot is supposed to be great for long range geese, but we're talking trap here and dove loads. Bro in law loves heavy-shot, but some days he only shoots a few times at geese. BPI is the hunting reload resource for steel.

    Did I suggest you follow the recipes and use a scale?
     
  2. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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  3. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    You're getting robbed at those prices. See link above.
     
  4. southjblue

    southjblue Active Member

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    We don't want steel shot in our trap field since we harvest lead for reclaim.
    Not necessary yet----SJB
     
  5. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    When Naperville reopened as a steel-only facility, the Club with our attorneys and engineering firm did a trajectory study and concluded that the range would contain up to #6 steel without issue, that's why the range rules allow #6.

    The first commercial ammunition we contracted for was the AA Steel Target Load which was a full 9/8oz #7 load, but unfortunately as many may recall the price was $9-10/box in the early 2000s.

    We have since purchased 1000s of cases of #7 from any number of manufacturers including Remington's STS in 9/8oz #7 & #6-1/2, Remmy's Sportsman Steel, Rios and the Federal Duck and Game in 1oz #7s as well as their recent Steel Target load in 9/8oz #7. Most often and presently we're offering the Winchester Xpert Steel in 1oz #7 at 1325fps.

    The only problem I see with the above Steel v. Lead comparison is the velocity... hopping up the load to 1365 makes any load, not just Steel Shot, an illegal non-trap recipe and if we were to lower the velocity to 1290/1325 for 9/8oz or 1oz of Steel #6 respectively, that will only skew the numbers back toward lead...

    ATA rules stipulate #7 as the biggest size steel shot allowable... so that's what I shoot and practice with...

    Jay
     
  6. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    southblue - I agree and won't shoot steel at clubs that allow lead for just that reason - I wouldn't want steel shot in re-used lead from those clubs if I were to buy some.

    Jay - I stand corrected on the reason our club allows #6 steel. However, I believe the pellet energy is comparable between 6 steel and 7.5 lead, even at slower speeds as long as the two loads have the same velocity to start with.

    I have asked our state rep for the ATA to investigate allowing steel #6. Haven't heard back from him yet.
     
  7. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    Jay, 1 oz of steel has the same energy as 1 oz of lead, but since you get more pellets in the steel, each single pellet packs a little less wallop. So if you want the same wallop as lead, go with a little larger steel pellet.
     
  8. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Joe:

    You bring up good points I'm not educated about to comment on, but if I go up a size, until the ATA allows the use of #6, I'm precluded from using #6 in the league (as I register those targets) and/or registered shoots.

    My concern about using #6 in practice is the old adage about "practicing as I compete"... with #7s, my scores do not seem to be disadvantaged... the birds I miss, I miss due to indian error - not because I had more smaller pellets...

    Considering the increase in size, the drop in pellet count and at the distance we take our targets, does an increase in pellet size really matter or is it more of a comfort and/or mental support issue (if I have more confidence in the ability of #6 to break 16 yard birds, I will?!)...

    #7 - 1oz = 423 pellets, 7/8oz = 370, 3/4oz = 317

    #6 - 1oz = 317 pellets, 7/8oz = 277, 3/4oz = 238

    For my regular practice I'm throwing 317 pellets (3/4-7); by staying at #7 I gain 33% pellet count over #6... that seems a bigger variable to lose. For registered events, I up the load to 7/8oz which gives me an additional 17%.

    In my mind, I have more confidence in higher pellet count than individual pellet energy at my 16-21 yards... NOW, at 27 (effectively 50 yards) or games out to 60+ yards, I think the larger shot size might be justified as would 7.5s over 8s... but you've shot the Dove and witnessed some of the great results using factory 7s...

    At 16 yards, I've only shot 8s, and isn't a #7 Steel pretty much the equivalent to a #8 lead at 1200-1325fps?!

    Respectfully responding,

    Jay
     
  9. Dr.Longshot

    Dr.Longshot Banned Banned

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    I think of my gun too much to shoot steel shot, I have seen the Bbls os the Winchester Range guns that shot only steel at the Old Winchester Gun Club just east of Reynoldsburg Ohio in the 1970s, they looked like they had straight Rifling in the Bbls,

    These guns had 1000s of rounds shot through them, they were all Winchester Shotguns Model 1200s and 1400s, they sold cheap and most bought new Bbls for them and shot LEAD SHOT.


    Gary Bryant
    DR.longshot
     
  10. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    Jay,

    Yes, and you have those options available to you so you can choose what you prefer. I'd like to see the same range of choices, in pellet energy, available for those who shoot steel, as for those who shoot lead. Looking at the pellet energy research done by Remington and allowing #6 in steel makes the same range of options available. I tried to argue this point and I suppose the ATA guys in charge are reviewing.
     
  11. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    Gary - our barrels don't have scratches in them because we shoot a wad with thicker shot cup petals. Don't know why those scratches were produced in the 70s, but I suspect they used wads for lead and the harder steel pellets poked through the plastic, if they used plastic in those shells. That's just a guess.

    I used a Mach One with these steel wads and sold it to another shooter in CA with no qualms at all because there were no scratches in the bore. None.
     
  12. southjblue

    southjblue Active Member

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    Just wondering----Why would anyone want to use steel---We aren't at a point to have that worry yet----If you will only shoot at clubs that don't use lead,I'd think you'd have to do a-lot of traveling---There are no steel ranges in my area---I will be happy to change when the time comes---JMO---SJB
     
  13. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    Our club has some history where we were closed and one of the stipulations for re-opening was that we would switch to steel. Not sure about the details, but that's where we ended up.

    I have two reloaders, one for steel and one for lead. Depending upon where I'm going the next day, I bolt the right one to my bench and go.

    I prefer lead, but the club with steel is my home club from when I was a kid and it's very close to my house. Great guys too!

    Some clubs have been restricted to steel for EPA reasons. I know there's a club in FL like this. We monitor run off from a pond next to our range for lead from years ago. No problems yet!

    Joe
     
  14. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    SJB...

    We shoot steel shot only because we're required to... we'd rather shoot than not shoot.

    We chose steel, because at the time, it was and still is the more cost-effective non-tox shot material and it's easy to manage - originally with a hand-held magnet, now with electronic shot detectors.

    Today at $35/25# its not such a bad deal on the pocket book either. Wads are a bit pricier, but Joe has managed to snag us some good deals on bulk buys...

    If we could go back, we would... many of us continue to shoot both at multiple range locations...

    best regards,

    Jay
     
  15. tomk2

    tomk2 Member

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    What is the lifespan of a steel pellet on the ground exposed to the elements? I am just wondering if the "contamination of lead shot recovery" argument is valid. Perhaps it's time to dump a bit in my back yard and make periodic observations. However, I can't think of anyone who would CHOOSE steel over lead of their own accord, so no prohibitions would be required to keep steel off a range where lead was permitted.
     
  16. brdslayr

    brdslayr Well-Known Member

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    Joe, would these wads work for steel trap loads? I filled one with steel 3's and it held exactly one oz. They only have 2 petals and are very thick. I've got an unmarked bag of about 500. $5 plus cost to send if anybody can use em. JW
     
  17. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    JW - do you know the source. There would need to be recipes for that specific wad for it to be of any value. I've never seen that wad.
     
  18. brdslayr

    brdslayr Well-Known Member

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    I think it may be Herters Vandalee. Made for 1 3/8 to 1 1/2 of lead shot.
     
  19. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    Sure makes me wonder what happened to the molds to make those. 1-3/8 is the magic number that translates to 1 oz of steel. How well do they fit in an STS or AA hull?
     
  20. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    tomk2, I've often wondered about rust...
     
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