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Possible Blasphemy - Steel vs. Lead

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by GrandpasArms, Jul 11, 2011.

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  1. GrandpasArms

    GrandpasArms Active Member

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    Don't hate me. I'm compelled by an unknown force to open this can of worms.

    Someone told me Saturday that he shoots steel at another club and doesn’t see much of a difference between steel #6 and lead #8. I’m sure that there are all sorts of reasons why lead is superior, including wear on the gun and chokes, not to mention that steel shot is so much more costly than lead. The cost issue must be a big one, based on some of the dialogue I’ve read on this board alone.

    That simple conversation set my gears whirling and it seems that there may be a net cost benefit is everyone switched to steel shot. I may be all wet, but as I look around I see a lot more steel that lead. Heck, practically everything has some steel in it. The production aspects are worked out because steel shot is available everywhere, but not in quantities that lead is.

    What would happen if the market shifted? What if there were incentives to use steel - other than the wacko environmental fears? Would a shift from massive amounts of lead to massive amounts of steel also shift the cost factors?

    Maybe we’d need different barrels and chokes. Maybe long-held scores would drop - only to be replaced with new records. Maybe the games would get tougher - or easier. I know for a fact that clean-up of spilled steel shot would be a heck of a lot more convenient that using strips of tape to pick up spilled lead BBs. I think steel shot would deform less than lead, possibly offering more BBs into the shot cone - few potential fly aways..

    Everything about shooting sports would change if non-lead became the major player and I think most of us assume/believe they would be worse. I suggest, though, that there is scant evidence that non-lead ammunition would unhinge the world. Is it possible that we’d all be happier living in a different world?

    This discussion is probably blasphemous and I might have the whole issue backward, but I would like to see a rational, mature discussion on the merits and faults of switching all shooting to steel - or a similar non-lead substance.

    In the meantime, I plan to get a few boxes of steel shotgun ammo and give it a trial. If nothing else, I’ll add to my personal knowledge - which will likely be far different from what opinion and beliefs I might have now.

    One final question...Naperville requires steel only, so I’ll plan to shoot my trials there. Would other clubs, the lead users - object if I shot steel over their lead fields? I’ll ask.

    Larry
     
  2. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Larry -

    Where would you like to see a rational discussion? Because if you think it will happen on here, well . . .

    Also FYI, steel shot is not so much more costly than lead. In fact when purchased in quantities similar to lead it is less expensive.

    Scott
     
  3. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    Two things that aren't open for discussion here 1. Any political opinion other than Rush Limbaugh's 2) The mandatory use of steel shot for target shooting.

    Seriously
     
  4. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    If you're going to purchase some steel ammo... consider testing some or all of the following for performance...

    Winchester Xpert and Winchester Western Steel
    Federal
    Rio
    Remington Sportman's Steel

    Naperville is presently stocking Federal...

    Jay
     
  5. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    There are a few things wrong (at this point) with steel being a 1 : 1 substitute for lead in the games:

    - the ballistics of #6 steel and #7½ lead are what & what, however in ATA, NSSA and NSCA, #7 steel is the largest allowable size, and it is NOT as good a long range load as #6. At 16yds and doubles, I doubt it is possible to tell any difference, but back from oh, say, 23-24-25yds lead rules, especially with #7 steel being the largest allowable size.

    - Steel does not hold as tight a pattern as you think it would, and should. I'm not sure of the dynamics there, but the fringes get REAL fringey quicker than lead. This may be related to ...

    - The state of the art in chokes is nowhere near as refined as it is in lead. The name barrelsmiths will build you a choke for lead that is repeatable and specific. Steel requires a different design, and the demand for a 27yrd choke is just not there, yet.

    I've played a lot with steel, albeit for hunting more than games, and it is just different. It is hard to compare without a lot of qualifications and exceptions.

    When demand increases, the above issues will be solved, I'm sure.

    Bob
     
  6. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Ive shot steel in a 90T full choke and at singles it works fine. I havent seen any damage to the barrel or choke. Im not a fan of steel but its comeing at many ranges if they want to stay open.
     
  7. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Grunt:

    90Ts for both You and me...

    Jay
     
  8. mrskeet410

    mrskeet410 TS Member

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    Steel and lead are different. I can see no way there can be registered shooting with some shooting steel and some shooting lead. Either we all go to steel, or we cling to lead and club after club closes or switches to steel and drops registered shooting.
     
  9. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    You can shoot steel in an ATA shoot if you want, But you would be at a disadvantage if the others shot lead.
     
  10. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    joekuhn_2008_030329.jpg


    Take a good look at the top two lines above. Based on the data, which came from Remington, I'd argue we should be able to shoot #6 steel shot at ATA events. Why wouldn't we allow folks to shoot the same pellet energy in steel that's allowed with lead? We should so steel shooters are not at a disadvantage.

    Our club allows steel shot #6, so that's what I used to win this at the club yardage contest with my 870. We shot 1 round at each distance: 21, 23, 25, 27. My load isn't nearly as fast as the load in the chart. It's much closer to 1200 fps, plenty for yardage in my opinion.


    joekuhn_2008_030328.jpg
     
  11. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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  12. mrskeet410

    mrskeet410 TS Member

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    Grunt - My point exactly. So who will play ATA games if they are at a disadvantage? I'd bet very few. ATA will get smaller and smaller as more and more clubs are forced to go to steel. What happens when a whole state is forced to go to steel? What if it is Ohio, or Pennsylvania, or Illinois, or one of the other big trap states?
     
  13. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    I would bet on Commiefornia to be first. They already have placed bans on bullets that contain lead just in case a condor would gobble one up.

    HM
     
  14. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Guys... the sky ain't fallin' - just yet.

    The Industry is committed to traditional lead ammo, but ranges that have water and/or wetlands are going to be put under pressure to conform and switch or STOP.

    Shoot enough steel and the numbers are there. The real issue is that the folks (myself included) don't pull the numbers like competitive lead shooters do.

    Steel #7 is plenty effective out to 27 yards and beyond - Having ran 'em out at 27 and the number of games we shoot out to 60 yards... YES - 60 YARDS...
    if you practice and commit to shooting steel ammo competitively - you can win with it...

    Joe won our event shooting with #6... but that's not why he won - he won because he was on the targets a little bit better than the rest of us.

    If the argument is then... well #6 can make a difference over number #7 - maybe... but would you make the same argument about #7.5 over 8s even at 21 or 23 yards?!

    Equipment is no substitute for a skillset.

    I shoot steel and I'd shoot my steel against a lead shooter and ask for no handicap...

    regards all,

    Jay
     
  15. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

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    What are the comperable sizes of steel-vs-lead? #7.5, #8, #8.5, #9 lead is the same size as what for steel?


    Eric
     
  16. Dickgshot

    Dickgshot Well-Known Member

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    If we all had to shoot steel shot the sport would still be fun and the good shooters would still be the good shooters.

    It's like when we try to argue that limiting shells to one ounce loads would benefit the sport in many ways and people argue that one ounce isn't as good as one and an eighth. Duh! That't not the point.

    As far as shooting steel shot at a club where lead shot is permitted - not a good idea for one reason. It makes harvesting the lead a lot more expensive because there is another step that is required in separating the lead shot
    from the steel shot.
     
  17. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Eric:

    There isn't an apples to apples comparison... its all based upon pellet energy. The old adage was go up two sizes... although early on Remington was marketing their STS Steel load in #7 and #6.5 . Since then I've yet to see another #6.5 load from anyone. Then there is the matter of increased velocity to "up" the energy. Also, "open up a choke" because steel patterns tighter.

    As far as Steel use to register targets, it's #7. While it may be available, no one seems to be marketing anything smaller... AND in my book use a "full" (#1) choke...

    regards all,

    Jay
     
  18. steveziv

    steveziv Member

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    I forwarded this notion on SGW a while ago and two reasons not to switch most often cited were "because steel is too expensive" and "because I don't have to".

    As far as the second reason goes, it is more intelligent and constructive to imagine a scenario where we might WANT to switch to steel.

    I think if clays shooters moved to steel the component parts' price would drop and reloading would once again offer significant savings over 12 gauge Wal Mart ammo.

    The raw materials difference between steel and lead are so great that I'm confident any addition processing needed to make steel shot could easily be absorbed.

    And how many clubs have been closed or threatened because they contaminate a nearby body of water with lead? No longer a problem. Steel shot has less range than lead so the chance of a range dropping shot on its neighbors would be reduced.

    There are a lot of good reasons to switch to steel for target shooting and few if any good reasons not to.
     
  19. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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  20. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

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    We shoot over a man made pond and County range management says that steel shot will rust and cause pollution issues. Apparently the 25 years worth of lead shot & broken targets in the pond don't.


    Eric
     
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