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Steel Shot versus lead

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by mrskeet410, Jul 9, 2007.

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  1. mrskeet410

    mrskeet410 TS Member

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    Steel Shot versus lead $$$

    I guess I could do the math, and probably will. But until then, I'll just ponder this - At what lead price will steel shot become an economic alternative?
     
  2. jnoemanh

    jnoemanh TS Member

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    I don't see steel shot being a viable alternative. Steel has ruined barrels of hunting guns where 1000 shells/year would be a LOT of shooting. I wouldn't shoot steel in a trap gun if it were free.
     
  3. jnoemanh

    jnoemanh TS Member

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    Maybe there's a way to shoot steel safely, maybe not. Are you gonna save $1/box and put steel down the barrel of your fancy-pants trap gun? Not me, I wouldn't shoot it through an 870...unless I were shooting 200 snow geese a day during the SD no-limit Spring season. THAT'S worth converting a full choke to cyl with steel.

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>
     
  4. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Guys -

    To answer the original question, it's already cheaper. I just got prices for reloading components from our supplier and ran the numbers comparing my lead trap loads to my steel trap load. For those that don't know, our club in Naperville, Illinois is required to shoot steel.

    Here are the numbers:

    1 oz lead (1st shot of doubles): $3.70 box.

    1.125 oz lead (16 yard load): $3.98 box.

    1.125 oz lead (Nitro 27 clone): $4.15 box.

    1 oz steel (reloads using ballistic data obtained/paid for by our club): $3.66 box.

    Steel trap loads won't hurt your trap guns, at least the modern ones. We've got a couple of guys that have shot KX-5's for a couple of years with no problems. Ton's of BT-99's and XT's and other Citori variants with no problems. 90-T fixed-full choke, no problems. We're talking 10's of thousands of rounds thru these guns.

    We shoot #7 steel (roughly equivalent to #8 lead from a performance perspective). The issues with barrels bulging come not so much from the tight chokes but from the large size shot. With #7 (and even #6) there isn't the same issue with bridging as you have with the larger sizes. The wads are full cup (i.e. no spaces between the petals) and much thicker than a lead wad. We've retrieved bunches of them after firing and haven't found any that have been pierced (tests with lead wads confirm that the shot will pierce them).

    I still prefer shooting lead, but steel isn't as bad as everyone thinks it is. Most that complain or tell you how bad it is have never even shot it.

    We think that it's better to be shooting steel two days a week than not shooting at all.

    Scott
     
  5. jnoemanh

    jnoemanh TS Member

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    I'm sure you guys know best, Scott. I haven't shot enough steel to know for certain that it damages barrels. However there's one other point to consider - reclaiming. At our club, we reclaim lead every ten years. We'll reclaim again in 2008. If lead stays where it is today, we'll net in excess of $100K for the club. That helps. Steel shot on the ground rusts and has no value.
     
  6. mrskeet410

    mrskeet410 TS Member

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    Scott - "We think that it's better to be shooting steel two days a week than not shooting at all."

    Good point.
     
  7. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    Scott,

    Have you noticed a difference at long handicap distances, 25 to 27?

    That is, the lighter steel, even with bigger shot size, not carrying energy as far down range?
     
  8. Sgt. Mike

    Sgt. Mike TS Member

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    When steel replaced lead for waterfowl I saw hundreds of duck clubs in our area close up. Could the same thing happen to trap? The anti's have learned a lesson. Make the shooting expensive enough and most will quit. Michael
     
  9. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Timb99 -

    Good question - and the answer is absolutely! You think 27-yard handicap is hard now, try it with an ounce of steel. That said, you can break targets with it but there's a lot less room for error.

    The pellet count on 1 oz of steel is high enough, you just need to bump up the speed to counteract the loss of energy due to lighter pellets. My typical steel load is around 1325 fps, or about 100 fps faster than a Nitro 27. We don't shoot ATA so the speeds don't matter. Most guys reload around 1200 fps unless they are going to shoot yardage. The interesting part is that my steel reloads have less recoil than my lead reloads, and they are moving faster.

    Before we were able to reload steel (meaning before it became affordable - and it's a lot of work getting there) we were shooting factory STS Steel. They don't make it any more but it was a great load when they did. I had half a box sitting around and shot it the other night from 25 yards. They were 1 1/8 oz of 6.5's. My breaks were better with the STS than with my reloads - go figure!

    Factory steel is horrible to shoot - one of the main reasons new people who come to our range don't shoot more. Recoil is terrible because they are basically hunting loads. I'm not sure why Rem/Win's 1325 fps load has so much more recoil than mine, but it does. Almost all of the guys/gals who shoot regularly at our range are reloading steel.

    Scott
     
  10. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Mike -

    Regarding the expense - it doesn't have to be expensive but it takes work to prevent it from being expensive. Our club has expended lots of effort and some cash to come up with reliable sources of components (i.e. wads and steel) so that we can make shooting steel as affordable as possible.

    Scott
     
  11. bill1949

    bill1949 Well-Known Member

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    Can Registered Shoots be held with steel shot? Does the ATA have any shot size or speed requirements using steel for registered? Thanks, Bill
     
  12. mrskeet410

    mrskeet410 TS Member

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    It seems that if steel ever passes the economic tipping-point, ATA will take a serious look at ammunition specs and yardages. What works for lead, may not make sense for steel.

    Suspect skeet will become a 3 gauge game.
     
  13. smsnyder

    smsnyder Well-Known Member

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    how much cheaper is steel shot vs lead? how about copper or nickle shot?
     
  14. smsnyder

    smsnyder Well-Known Member

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    now may be the time for the ata to go to 1 ounce loads.
     
  15. jnoemanh

    jnoemanh TS Member

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    "When steel replaced lead for waterfowl I saw hundreds of duck clubs in our area close up. Could the same thing happen to trap? The anti's have learned a lesson. Make the shooting expensive enough and most will quit. Michael"

    That's just plain baloney. More ducks, and many, many more geese are being shot now than ever before in history. I know goose hunters who have shot in excess of 400 each just this Spring. That NEVER happened before.
     
  16. jnoemanh

    jnoemanh TS Member

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    "how much cheaper is steel shot vs lead? how about copper or nickle shot?"

    Copper is $3.50/lb, nickel is $25/lb. How about depleted uranium?
     
  17. KEYBEAR

    KEYBEAR Active Member

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    Scott you going to the Indiana State shoot ?
     
  18. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Keybear -

    I'll be there beginning Thursday. I'd look you up and say hi but I probably couldn't pick you out of a lineup. Stop me if you see me.

    Scott
     
  19. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    We pay $1 a pound for #7 steel and the price is steady. Like Scott said, a little more speed for yardage and you're good.
     
  20. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Bill:

    To answer your question, you can shoot #7s in steel for ATA. When we looked into holding ATA registered shooting, that was the first hurdle.

    To add onto what Scott Calhoun and Joe Kuhn said, some of us are actually going down an alternate path with steel (for practice, non-ATA). Myself and a couple others are shooting 3/4 oz steel using traditional wads and powder components. Understand these are light loads and have been tested by the Club for pressure.

    To be fair, the loads (or is it me) are dismal at 27 yards (17-18s), but at a $2.70/box its great cheap shooting. The light loads are fine up to about 22-23 yards and the occasional mid-yardage slider. Little recoil and nice patterns.

    Light loads, just another way to handicap!

    Jay Spitz
     
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