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What non-lead shot patterns most like lead?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Porcupine, May 5, 2013.

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  1. Porcupine

    Porcupine Active Member

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    Is there a 'best patterning alternative' for lead rounds for those of us with really old shotguns? In other words, what non-lead shot patterns most like lead? Thanks!

    LA in MA
     
  2. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    It's a great question, LA, and I'll be amazed if anyone knows and has the data to prove it.

    The first question is, of course, how does lead pattern? Hot in the center, as a general rule, the higher the pattern percentage, the hotter the center relative to the periphery.

    Do non-lead pellets act in any way differently?

    I hope somebody has some answers.

    Neil
     
  3. 1perazzi

    1perazzi Member

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    Gold would work just fine. But it has to be pure, none of that 14k crap.
     
  4. Gapper

    Gapper TS Member

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    Bismuth.
     
  5. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    In what way is it similar, Gapper? Specifically, of course. And in what way is it more similar to lead than other non-toxic shot? Again, specifically.

    Neil
     
  6. Jon Reitz

    Jon Reitz Well-Known Member

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  7. bossbasl

    bossbasl Active Member

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    I have no scientific evidence for support; only observed performance on game and some elementary patterning as well as observing that bismuth has density similar to lead. Would this theory stand up to hard scientific study? I certainly don't know but it would be interesting to know if such data exists. As for non-toxic shot used in older doubles, I can say that Bismuth is the only thing I shoot in my London doubles including those with Damascus tubes using low pressure loads.
    Lyle
     
  8. b12

    b12 Well-Known Member

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    Whatever it would be you won't be able to afford it. The greed for quick and larger profits will kill the product. Bill
     
  9. Gapper

    Gapper TS Member

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    I googled lead shot substitute and bismuth seems to be the consensus.

    The guy asked for "Best patterning alternative" to lead in really older guns.

    "What patterns most like lead".

    Steel can do the job, but in older guns -eh- everyone is reluctant.

    I kinda figured in the cost, availability, performance, opinion, etc.

    Just shooting the breeze, you can run the patterns, though I think it's all been done thirty or forty years ago.

    Knock yourself out. GAP
     
  10. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    I remember a Federal demo (plates, not shooting) at the Grand when their tungsten matrix shot came out.

    The plates were steel, let's say thinner than 1/16 inch. The lead pellets made a deep dent; the Federal tungsten made holes like a .22 had been shot through, and there were dark smears which the Federal guys said were bismuth, No dent, nothing but a spots that looked like a grease rag had been pressed to the plate.

    My brother, a fanatical duck hunter and Parker fan, shoots Federal Tungsten and says the the birds drop dead from the sky. He shoots the end off a Parker every now and then and considers a new one the price paid for what he calls phenomenal performance.

    I'd love to test 7 1/2 Hevi-Shot, but at $230 for seven pounds of it, I'll leave it to someone else.

    Neil
     
  11. timberfaller

    timberfaller Well-Known Member

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    Funny thing is, back in the 70's 3 inch 12 gauge 00buck knocked them out of the sky like nothing available to use today.

    But the liberal greenies got their way. Of course with the help of bought off politicians.
     
  12. Dr A C Jones

    Dr A C Jones Member

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    I don't have my test results with me right now, but as I recall the relative pellet distributions for HeviShot were similar to those of lead pellets. Ditto steel.

    Since a pellet doesn't know from what it is made, it just has density, shape, and dimensions, Bismuth seems to be the closest to lead and so the most likely candidate to match the performance of lead. It's a little less dense so will lose velocity quicker (all else being equal), a little harder and stiffer so might deform less when passing the chokes. You won't know for certain unless you pattern test, but since there is no rationale for markedly different pellet distributions, all you need to measure is the pattern spread. If it's a bit wider than lead, then it's a bit more suitable for close targets. Shotshell Ballistics for Windows includes Bismuth as I recall, and I think Lowry included Bismuth in his lethality tests (but I can't remember the outcome).

    Bismuth is used a lot in the UK as a non-lead alternative. I have some Eley Bi in 12 and 20-gauge, and both loads are pretty thumpy compared to most lead loads, so, I'd be a bit cautious about using it in old guns until the velocity and ideally pressure had been determined in a more modern gun.

    I just remembered that BASC also tested Bi and did 10-sample patterns too:

    http://www.basc.org.uk/download.cfm/docid/14C9E34E-6F19-47F3-9AD65ADFC04125A4

    A little bit about why Eley use Bi (note that they say it is suitable for older guns and all chokes):

    http://www.basc.org.uk/download.cfm/docid/6B41ECCA-4743-4854-A5444FC83ECA504E


    Andrew.
     
  13. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    When our Club received its NPDES permit to reopen and we were confronted with the non-Tox requirement, we had a management decision to make in re-working our business plan. It's been a dozen years since...

    Steel was always understood to be a compromise material... as was said, very hard iron is incompatible with many vintage firearms - personally, I've had to keep the my Belgium Brownings in the safe when I go out to Naperville; steel also requires newbies to deal with the steel "dynamic" (patterning and choke) while overcoming wide-spread prejudice concerning performance and safety.

    Tom Roster in a recent issue of Shooting Sportsman discussed the rampant proliferation of really poor information concerning steel shot, tight chokes and barrel damage. We're still wrestling with pellet energy in current posts.

    Early on, in managing the range, I had to deal with high cost and limited availability of a target-type recipe. Many may recall the AA Steel Load and STS Steel loads.

    Tungsten-Matrix and Bismuth shot, although available, were and are still pretty much limited to hunting applications. Today, we have the Hevi-Shot, but its cost as well as the cost and/or availability of any of these alternatives will preclude their use on the trap field with the vast quantities we use... especially when compared to $1.20/# bulk steel shot, I can buy and reload with.

    I'll look forward to a comparison, but if it's not commercially viable on the trap field, does it matter?!

    Respectfully offered,

    Jay
     
  14. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Hunted waterfowl for 3 years with a Parker. Did some extensive pattern board work and found Bismuth patterned a bit better than tungsten matrix when comparing #2 bismuth to #3 Kent tungsten matrix out of a full choke at 40 yards.
    I shot patterns out of modern guns with .745 bores and .724 bores as well. Bismuth shot better pattern percentages.

    In comparing a payload weight in the 30" kill zone at 45 yards The Bismuth also delivered more weight when using shot loads of similiar weight. However a #2 bismuth shot averaged 5.0 gr and a #3 TM only weighed 3.56 gr each. Tungsten Matrix would often blow through a bird, where is wasn't uncommon to find bismuth pellets while cleaning birds.

    Bismuth pattern was 74% and the TM averaged 65%. Of course every gun is different unto itself.

    While hunting, I would shoot birds with both loads and saw no evident difference in performance. Both will do well.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Shooting Sailor

    Shooting Sailor Well-Known Member

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    Bismuth is, I believe, right next to lead on the periodic table. Perhaps someone can confirm this? If it is next to lead, it should, I think, also be the closest thing that would pattern like lead does. It is a little lighter than lead, so would probably take a slightly larger shot size to impart the same energy downrange.
     
  16. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    When we cleaned birds, we would see some fragmentation of Bismuth shot after impact. Some small splinters around the shot in the meat. This was a few years ago, so I don't know if it's improved or the same.

    After 3 years, the 2 3/4" hot loads shot the old Parker loose. I didn't trust the lock up, so I "parked the Parker", but it was an old gun.
     
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