Shotgun Steel Shots

What is shot?
The bunch of little pellets a shotgun fires are collectively called “shot.” They are often pure lead, sometimes lead coated with another material like copper, or of non-lead components such as steel, bismuth, tungsten and other materials. The shot sizes are numbered beginning with the smaller “birdshot.” Eventually, the sizes are stated in letters. Finally, there are the largest “buckshot” sizes, popular for use on deer in the southern U.S., for hunting furbearing varmints and for self-defense.

Benefits of Shots:

  • 1. Manufacturers of highly polished, precision steel shot.
  • 2. Steel shot is up to 3 times harder than lead.
  • 3. It stays round and flies truer to the target.
  • 4. Deforms little upon firing, producing more even patterns.
  • 5. Increased velocities produce greater strike energy.
  • 6. Shorter, narrower shot strings.
  • 7. Higher pellet counts due to lower density.
  • 8. The cheapest, most widely used alternative.

What shot for what game?
Turkey, for example can be hunted with BB and # 2 and # 4 shot, with full or modified choke. Duck hunters prefer # 1 and # 2 shot using a modified or full choke. Pheasants are typically hunted with # 6 with a modified choke.
Squirrel and rabbit can be hunted with # 5 and # 6 with modified choke, keep in mind the damage to the animal and distance from it when deciding on choke. Larger animals such as deer can be hunted with a rifled slug or 00 buck.

Environmental Friendly

Steel Shot and Other Non-Toxic Shot Shells

Non-toxic shells are becoming more popular as the Environmental Protection Agency and conservation groups move to limit or ban the use of lead ammunition on public hunting grounds. Their argument is that residual lead poisons fish, waterfowl and predators. Likewise, some private hunting clubs prefer non-toxic shotgun loads.

The most popular non-toxic shotgun loads are packed with pellets made of steel, Tungsten (frequently alloyed with nickel, iron or bronze), Bismuth or combination of these materials. Non-toxic materials differ in their density, stopping power (energy) and velocity

Material AISI1010-1015
Diameter 0.08 Inch to 0.22 Inch (2.03MM to 5.58MM)
Hardness Soft Unhardened
Grade G1000
Condition Annealed, Zinc plated, Cooper Plated

Shot Size

Shot No. Inch. (mm) Shot No. Inch. (mm)
9 0.08 2.03 3 0.14 3.56
8.5 0.085 2.16 2 0.15 3.81
8 0.09 2.29 1 0.16 4.06
7.5 0.095 2.41 B 0.17 4.31
7 0.1 2.54 BB 0.18 4.57
6 0.11 2.79 TT 0.21 5.33
5 0.12 3.05 TTT 0.22 5.588
4 0.13 3.3

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