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No problems loading steel shot shells

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by AKA Bert, May 31, 2008.

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  1. AKA Bert

    AKA Bert TS Member

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    Finally got all the parts together to load steel loads. I dug out my old Mec 600 Jr. and set it up; no extra or special parts were needed. One thing nice about loading steel is how easy it is to separate shot from powder, just stick in the magnet and watch the shot jump out.[don’t ask] I weighed the powder for each of the first 25 shells and they were accurate each time. So reloading steel for trap shooting is as easy as loading lead.
    When I shot, a box of Winchester steel-trap loads they left a lot of plastic build up in the barrel, I loaded with Sam1 wads and what a surprise when I checked the barrel, it was very clean, no burnt powder and no plastic. I used Alliant Steel powder and Sam1 wads, 1oz of #7 steel and they broke targets from the 16 as good as any lead shell. Next, I will try them from the 27. So to sum it up, my gun did not blow up, no barrel bulge no scratches in the barrel and the targets broke. I will get out to the patterning board and run them across my chronograph next week.
     
  2. AKA Bert

    AKA Bert TS Member

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    The "Skyway Gun Club" in St. Petersburg Fl.can only shoot steel [EPA]and that is where I will be shooting next winter so I decided to learn what I could and do some reloading. I have already decided that I like my reloads better than factory, much cleaner than the ones I bought. I bought 25# of #7 steel shot for $25 at the gun club while I was there this past winter, they buy by the 55gal drum. although the Sam1 is a nice wad it is a bit pricey at six and a half cents a wad. I shot the Winchester shells in my nickle steel M12 my reloads went through my 3200,so far so good.
     
  3. tomk2

    tomk2 Member

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    welcome to the club.
     
  4. Pull & Mark

    Pull & Mark Well-Known Member

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    AKA Bert, I did some talking to the shooters out at Silver Dollars fat the state shoot 6-8 weeks back as well. The shooters out at that club do have to use Steel shot, as thats all that they can shoot. If I remember correctly they were useing their normal wads and loading 7/8 oz. of steel in it and useing current loading data for 7/8 oz lead loads with their favorite lead load powder. I would talk to someone from that club to verify that this info is correct, but I'm pretty sure that is what they were telling me they were doing. If true could save you some money on those expensive wads and special powder. Hope this helps you out. Break-em all. Jeff
     
  5. AKA Bert

    AKA Bert TS Member

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    Jeff, the guys that shoot at Skyway are super friendly and very helpful. What you have been told is the truth, they do load a common load, the only difference is they use steel shot instead of lead and they have shot tons of it with no problems. I am new to steel and I want to learn slowly so I won’t make any mistakes. The “Alliant Steel” powder and the Sam1 wads will allow me to experiment with velocity, patterns, ect. The makers of the Sam1 wads sell a manual with published loads. Until I talked with the guys at Skyway I didn’t think I wanted anything to do with steel, I had read much about how you had to be very cautious with steel, it could only be shot in barrels made to shoot it and every load had to be hand weighed, and barrels would bulge , ect. However, I sure don’t think they are talking about steel-trap loads using #7. I know clubs are being forced to go to steel if they want to stay open and some like Skyway and Naperville Sportsman have been shooting it for years… Therefore, it’s nothing to fear, steel works just fine.
     
  6. maclellan1911

    maclellan1911 TS Member

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    Suppliers of steel shot, any in massachusetts?
     
  7. tomk2

    tomk2 Member

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    The Naperville reloaders followed pressure tested data for steel reloading from a US wad distributer for years. Then they imported some european wads in bulk to save money, but first got sample wads and had various loads pressure and velocity tested. Initial test recipes were best guess, but they were fired at the testing facility, not through someone's gun. I suggest you do the same (for pressure testing).

    Once you have a recipe that is known to have an acceptable velocity and pressure, reloading steel shotshells is worthwhile and satisfying, especially if components are ordered in bulk. I have tens and tens of thousands of rounds fired with no problems.
     
  8. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Bert...

    Not sure what you mean by the steel-trap loads/#7 comment, but it is our intention to bring registered shooting using steel-only ammunition, online later this summer at Naperville IL using #7 steel which has been approved.

    Our shooters use a mix of steel and lead wad-based recipes using mainstream powders such as Longshot, Universal and Clays. We've used the Guilandi wads and now are using the Vagner Plas wads as well as the AAs/Clones. We stick to the required velocities.

    Jay
     
  9. culverken

    culverken Member

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    I shoot at Skyway on a weekly basis and purchase all of my reloading supplies from them. I know myself and several others there have had good results from using the brown Federal wads. They are only $0.03 ea.

    Regards,

    Ken
     
  10. 100straight

    100straight Member

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    I have a curiosity question concerning internal ballistics and steel shot. Can someone explain to me why the loading data, or type of powder, is different for steel loads? How does the internal ballistics "know" whether it is pushing 1 ounce of lead or 1 ounce of steel? Seems like, from a physics standpoint, 1 ounce is 1 ounce no matter what the material, but apparently not. Thanks.

    Shoot well and often,

    Mark
     
  11. oletymer

    oletymer Member

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    Well everyone skipped around it. Where can you buy the #7 steel shot other than at the club?
     
  12. AKA Bert

    AKA Bert TS Member

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    Mark,I wondered that myselfe and the best that I can come up with is that lead will compress upon it's selfe on set back and steel being much harder will not, and that causes the pressure to increase.Not much of an explanation but the best I can do.You do have to know who you are getting the steel shot from as all steel shot is not the same. Maybe someone can explain that to us also.
     
  13. dverna

    dverna Active Member

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    Mark,
    I was thinking the same thing.

    Why would the powder burn rate matter if shot weight is the same?

    Do they load a higher shot shot weight (lower density requires - larger shot - resulting in less pellets) to get the same number of pellets in a shell?

    Don
     
  14. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Gents:

    What I say is strictly from my personal experience and not an endorsement.

    When I first started self-loading steel ammunition, I was not willing to spend $0.04/wad and buy slower burning powders just for steel. The change to slower burning powders, as I understand it, is to compromise on the fact that an equivalent weight of steel is 30% larger by volume, one that does not yield or is malleable. But I had all these lead wads and Clays powder.

    With many of the same questions, I reasoned that if I took out the lead of my usual recipe and swapped in an equivalent "volume" of steel, the pressure that everyone was warning about had to be similar or less. I also reasoned that keeping components uniform - AA/clone in compression formed hull (AA, STS or RTL) would keep all things equal. The swap of similar volume proved to be correct, resulting in a drop of psi from 8500 to 6300 psi.

    As for the steel itself, We buy from Irwin Industries in MN I believe, 2000# a barrel, $2000 incl shipping to IL.

    I hope this extra info was of use, respectfully offered,

    Jay
     
  15. 100straight

    100straight Member

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    Jay,

    Have you ever checked the diameter of the shot you get for consistency? Is it a true .100"? I have made a few calls and it seems that .100" is an odd-ball size for steel shot, but .110" is one of the most common (but that would be #6). Just curious.

    Shoot well and often,

    Mark.
     
  16. Pull & Mark

    Pull & Mark Well-Known Member

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    The one reason for the different pressures and speeds it seems to me after talking to the gentleman out at Skyway is you are shooting a 7/8 oz. load using the l l/8 oz. wad (30% larger by volume). Reload data is gotten using a different size wad to get the same loads.Also from what little I know about shooting steel loads, you have to make sure that your chokes for whatever gun you are shooting from will handle the steel loads. A large number of target grade chokes are lead only. Steel will damage lead chokes. Not only that but steel will choke differently that lead. From what I understand steel will pattern full in a modified choke. So if you use a full choke and use steel you might split the end of your choke open or worse. So bottom line if you shoot steel make sure your chokes are correct. Hope this helps someone out. AKA Bert, your are right about the shooters at Skyway. I wished I lived a bit closer. I know you will have a great time out there next winter. Break-em all. Jeff
     
  17. tomk2

    tomk2 Member

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    Mark -

    I quickly measured 10 pieces of shot. 8 were between 0.099 and 0.101 . Two were 0.102 .

    I would like to try some number six steel shot, I think it would help out with longer yardage.
     
  18. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    I may be wrong but I do know lead is melted and dropped through a small orfice. Steel shot is cut for a rod and rolled between steel plates to give it roundness. Same as ball bearings
     
  19. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    100...

    While smaller steel is available, #7 appears to be the mainstream shot size, evidenced by Winchester, Remington & Federal continuing to offer their various steel "target loads" in #7. Both the Winchester and Remington had originally introduced high-end product, but AA Steel and STS Steel were both expensive and short-lived. The STS was also available in a #6.5 shot variant.

    Naperville did take advantage of the end run clearance a few years back to wipe out remaining inventories (and collect the STS hulls!)

    As for #6, it is available through our vendor, but most of our shooting is done at singles and doubles. While I think it would be interesting to load #6 and shoot it at yardage, I don;t know how many folks would actually support a purchase for the relatively little handicap we do shoot?! For me, I buy a few boxes of factory at Gander Mtn using a "bucks" card, whenever I anticipate shooting some games.

    Pull...

    I'll take it a couple of points further. My load is actually under 3/4 oz - 0.74 oz using a Winchester WT12 wad/clone.

    Originally, our guys were using reload recipes using a Guilandi wad (MG42 - straight walled hull, sold by Ballistic Products) in a compression formed hull - essentially shoving a square peg into a round hole and the buldge at the base didn't look right - I have to believe that increased pressure alone... the danish wads we now import work well in compression formed hulls.

    Powder was originally IMRs 4756. Now most are using one or more of the Hodgdon products - Universal, Longshot, Titegroup or Clays. Except for Clays, the others are all slower burning powders. I use of a small drop of Clays in my specific recipes, tested safe for pressure, although the use of leads wads still bring questions.

    Regarding choke, the first recommendation is to always check with the manufacturer. That said, the next step is the patterning board. Again what I offer is based upon experience and not an endorsement...

    Most of us started with Brownings, BTs & Citoris. Browning doesn't recommend steel through a #1 choke, but after numerous patterning and squads, I wasn't getting the breaks with the #2 (IM). I threw in the #1, patterned and Voila, #1 was the charm and so were the breaks and scores.

    After 1000s of rounds, my experience (our Club's experience) has shown that original theories about choke and steel need to be re-thought and re-researched. Larger shot and faster loads may require more open choke, but smaller shot and slower loads appear to work well in tighter constrictions.

    Jay
     
  20. Pull & Mark

    Pull & Mark Well-Known Member

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    Jay, Thank You for all your info.
     
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