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Steel shot and Olympic Shooting

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by jhunts, Mar 13, 2012.

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  1. jhunts

    jhunts Active Member

    Aug 7, 2006
    Here is a copy of the ISSF rule on shell requirements. I could not find a approved materials list.

    Cartridge Specifications:

    Cartridges permitted in ISSF competitions must meet the following specifications:

    ? case length after firing must not exceed 70 mm

    ? shot charge must not exceed 24.5 g

    ? pellets must be spherical in shape

    ? pellets must be made of lead, lead alloy or of any other ISSF approved material

    ? pellets must not exceed 2.6 mm in diameter

    ? pellets may be plated

    ? black powder, tracer, incendiary, or other special type cartridges are prohibited

    ? no internal changes may be made which will give an extra or special dispersion effect, such as the inverse loading of components, crossing devices, etc.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ********************************************************************************

    Below are some excerpts from a E.U. report 2004, it quotes an opinion from the ISSF at or near the end of the 20 year test noted by Allen Chubb on another thread:

    Most ammunition used for sports shooting in Europe today is lead based. The main arguments from the point of view of the sport shooters are somewhat parallel to hunters [ISSF 2004a]:

    ? - Alternatives to lead, most notably steel, imply higher safety risks at shooting ranges due to ricocheting pellets; a ban on the use of lead based shotgun ammunition could require re-engineering of many existing shooting ranges;

    ? - A ban on the use of lead based ammunition for sporting purposes will imply that European shooters must compete on unfair terms when participating in international sporting events;

    ? - The financial impact on the average sports shooter would be more severe than for the average hunter because sports shooters generally use more cartridges (several thousands per competitive shooter [AFEMS 2004a]).


    Only Denmark and Sweden have a general restriction on the use of lead shot for clay target shooting.

    Denmark has a general ban which entered into force in 1994 on the use of lead shot for shooting, with an exception for 10 specified shooting ranges for the Olympic disciplines ’trap’, ’double trap’, ’skeet’ and ’automatic trap’.


    Substitutes for lead shot for shooting of clay pigeons

    It is the opinion of ISSF that lead shot is beyond discussion the best option for clay pigeon shooting and that steel shot suffers from being ballistic inferior and not reliable to the same extent as lead shot [ISSF 2004a]. In Denmark use of lead shot is restricted to a few shooting ranges and steel shot is actual the dominant ammunition used for clay pigeon shooting. The Danish experiences with steel shot for clay pigeon can be summarised as follows [Winther 2004]:

    ? - While a single lead shot typically will cause the clay pigeon to break, this is not the case for steel shot. Typically the pigeon must be hit by a number of steel shot before it breaks. A single steel shot may due to its hardness simply penetrate the clay pigeon without causing other damage than just a hole in the pigeon. Danish experience from shooting ranges where steel shot are used shows that clay pigeons frequently can be found on the ground penetrated by one or two holes but otherwise undamaged [Winther 2004].

    ? - For several brands of steel cartridges a problem of delayed ignition (2-3 seconds) seem to be occurring frequently and the Danish Shooting Federation has decided to warn its members of this problem.

    ? - Cartridges should generally be stored at a temperature of 10-25 degrees C. Cartridges stored at temperatures outside this interval may behave differently. This problem is more important for steel shot than for lead shot.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ********************************************************************************

    The 2011 World Championships in Belgrade did not allow Steel Shot:



    Most popular brands of shotgun ammunition such as Baschieri & Pellagri, RC will be available for sale at the Range, at the price of approximately € 5.00 to € 8.00 per box - 25 cartridges. The custom authorities will allow all participating shooters to import with them, all the necessary ammunition that will be used for the competition.

    "Note: The use of steel shot will not be allowed in the competition".
  2. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Jan 29, 1998
    Prairie State
    If we could shoot lead again, we would...

    I found the comment on "delayed ignition" of interest... in the 12 years we've been using factory and self-loaded steel shot ammunition, I cannot recall experiencing any pattern of delayed ignition.

    We shoot in sub-zero temperatures (F) into triple digits (F) with our shell inventory maintained in an uninsulated storage area, not temperature controlled (read Garage)...

    It must be that European Quality Control...

  3. Dr A C Jones

    Dr A C Jones Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    From my test experience they are (probably) completely wrong about steel pellets passing straight through the clays. The holes are more likely caused by spalling material off the back face of the clay to the extent that a hole appears on the impact side. This is the same break mechanism as with lead pellets, but if the pellets are underpowered (as with steel), the clays are less likely to break and therefore get recovered and reveal the effects of pellet impacts.

    Generally, lead pellets bounce off clays and I'd imagine steel is even more likely to do so.

  4. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Jan 29, 1998
    Thousand Oaks Ca
    The target break is caused by the target spin. If a target isnt spinning a pellet will just punch a hole in it.
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