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Thread: Non toxic choices

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Baxter, MN
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    103

    Default Non toxic choices

    what does everyone use for their non toxic shells? I currently use federal blue box in 3" #3's or 4's or winchester xperts of the samething, about 10-$12/box. anyone else finding something better? i also do not want to spend $20+ a box

  2. #2
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    Oct 2016
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmnhunter View Post
    i also do not want to spend $20+ a box
    I get that you're not interested in spending the $$ for something other than steel. Maybe somebody else is interested though. Since Kent put the kibosh on 16 ga. Tungsten Matrix, I've switched back to bismuth 5's, also by Kent now. So far, so good.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by A5 Sweet 16 View Post
    I get that you're not interested in spending the $$ for something other than steel. Maybe somebody else is interested though. Since Kent put the kibosh on 16 ga. Tungsten Matrix, I've switched back to bismuth 5's, also by Kent now. So far, so good.
    you liking the bismuth and tungsten vs steel? I may have to pony up and try a box if its worthwhile, i'll do it

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmnhunter View Post
    you liking the bismuth and tungsten vs steel? I may have to pony up and try a box if its worthwhile, i'll do it
    Not tungsten....Tungsten Matrix. Yes, I prefer almost anything to steel, although I'll admit the other more pricey non-tox options aren't always necessary. I shoot the softer bismuth to be damn sure I don't damage my older barrels & because of the lack of 16 gauge steel options. If you're shooting a relatively modern 12 gauge, though, there's really no reason you can't hunt pheasants with steel, particularly if you've got a dog who knows how to deal with cripples. And you don't need 3"ers. I'd find a 2-3/4", 1-1/8 oz. load doing at least 1,400 fps.....#3's. Some guys like 2 steel. Lots of people shoot 4's (& even 6's) successfully, but there's something about 4's that makes them not perform quite as well as they should. 3's are (arguably) the best. Once you get into fast steel, though, it becomes even more important to pattern your loads & find one that performs well from your gun/choke combination. They vary wildly.
    Last edited by A5 Sweet 16; 10-20-2017 at 12:44 PM.

  5. #5

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    The only thing you might want to do is not use the #4 steel load and go with the #3 steel load or go to a #2 steel load! And, 12ga 3" loads aren't necessary for most pheasant hunting, a 12ga 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz load is all you really need if choked properly! I'm guessing you are talking about Federal 12ga 3" 1 1/4 oz steel loads so you'll have a hard time finding anything "better" in that price range!

    If you're having trouble killing pheasants with your loads you might want to make sure your shooting at birds within reasonable shotgun range and at distances you can reliably hit them, and go shoot some patterns at the distance you shoot your birds to make sure your load/choke combo if performing adequately to kill pheasants.

    Roster's steel shot lethality research on pheasants showed #2 steel to be more effective (at all ranges) than #6 or #4 steel. Yes, steel #4 or even #6 steel loads will kill'em too but a little extra pellet energy is a good thing on wild pheasants where many shots are going-away shots and can get on the long side. Roster's research showed #2 steel resulted in fewer cripples than either #6 or #4 steel loads and Roster concluded that the #3 steel pellet would be a good compromise between pellet count and downrange energy. You can google the research yourself and read the particulars. Here’s a link.

    https://www.ultimatepheasanthunting....t-on-pheasants

    When I use a 12ga with steel on pheasants, I go with 2 3/4" 1 1/8 oz loads of #2 steel. Here are a few of my pattern numbers to give you an idea of how these 2 3/4" perform, in my gun anyway!

    Patterning results from a 12-gauge Browning Citori with 28" Invector-plus barrels using Briley flush chokes (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).

    12 GA 2 3/4" REMINGTON SPORTSMAN HI-SPEED STEEL LOAD
    1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) @ 1,375 fps
    30 YARDS – SK / pattern 116 (84%)
    40 YARDS – M / pattern 114 (82%)

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Joe Hunter; 10-23-2017 at 05:40 PM.

  6. #6

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    I shoot a 16 gauge SxS and in the past few years, I have used nothing but nontoxic shot. Lately, I have found 7/8 oz of #4 steel @ 1550 fps to be very effective for pheasants.

    I like 7/8 oz of #3 steel for my left barrel. I have also recently purchased a box of 1 oz bismuth #5. I look forward to trying that in Iowa next week.

    I have read Roster's study and it is my understanding that his loads were 12 gauge, 1 oz loads at 1365 fps (or so).

  7. #7

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    Yes, they were using 1 oz 1375 fps steel loads but you can read the research for yourself on that topic. In the past, I also shot and killed some pheasants with 20ga 1 oz loads of #4 steel but I'll let the research speak for itself on the pellet size topic, here is one quote from the article link.

    "Bagging vs. wounding

    Of the three loads tested, No. 2 steel exhibited the highest B-1 bagging rate over all distances, at 76.9 percent. No. 4 steel was second at 65.7 percent, and No. 6 steel came in at 62 percent.

    At distances of less than 40 yards, where the hunters in this test, when not constrained to fire at certain distance increments, took most of their shots, 86.5 percent of birds bagged with No. 2 steel were B-1, dead or immobile within 30 seconds. At less than 40 yards, No. 4 produced a 73 percent B-1 rate, and No. 6 produced a 75 percent B-1 rate.

    What that means to hunters who need to make a choice between steel shot loads is that of all birds bagged, No. 2 steel produced a higher percentage of clean kills than the other two steel shot sizes tested.

    The other side of the equation is wounding loss, or birds visibly struck by pellets but not retrieved. All pheasant hunters have lost roosters that "hit the ground running" because the bird was not centered in the pattern (a nice way of describing shooter error), or perhaps because pellets did not penetrate to vital organs. All pheasant hunters who use steel shot and want to reduce the potential for crippling loss can tilt one factor in their favor by choosing No. 2 steel whenever possible.

    Of all birds struck with the No. 2 steel load, 108 were retrieved and 10 were lost, an 8.5 percent wounding loss rate. No. 6 steel produced a 13.6 percent wounding loss, and No. 4 steel came in with a 14.3 percent wounding rate. Interestingly, hunters lost only two of 68 birds hit at distances of less than 30 yards with all three loads combined, a wounding rate of 2.9 percent. All test loads together produced 15.1 percent wounding loss at shot distances of 40 yards or greater.

    For the entire test, wounding loss was 12.2 percent. "That's a pretty low wounding rate," Roster noted, especially when compared to findings of 15 shotshell lethality tests on waterfowl, some of which examined both lead and steel. Trained observers in those tests detected 30 percent or more of birds hit by hunters with either shot type were not retrieved."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    495

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    Iíll use Kent Bismuth (4s) in my 12 and Federal Heavyweight 7s in my 20. They seem to pattern well. See what hsppens.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Singer View Post
    I shoot a 16 gauge SxS and in the past few years, I have used nothing but nontoxic shot. Lately, I have found 7/8 oz of #4 steel @ 1550 fps to be very effective for pheasants.

    I like 7/8 oz of #3 steel for my left barrel. I have also recently purchased a box of 1 oz bismuth #5. I look forward to trying that in Iowa next week.

    I have read Roster's study and it is my understanding that his loads were 12 gauge, 1 oz loads at 1365 fps (or so).
    John, which brand of steel are you using?

  10. #10

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    I have been shooting my own reloads. It is a published recipe and it is available here:

    https://www.ballisticproducts.com/VP80%20data.pdf

    See load #50204

    Prior to using my own reloads, I experienced very good performance with Sporting Ammo 15/16 oz #3 steel at 1450 fps.

    They are available here: https://www.sportingammo2.com/steel-shot-shells
    Last edited by John Singer; 10-24-2017 at 01:24 PM. Reason: wrong content

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