Tungsten Alloy Shot

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Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by stokesrj » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:53 am

Have any of you tried any of the Tungsten Alloy shot, commonly called TSS for tungsten super shot? I've ordered some to try but don't have it yet. I first learned of it while looking into turkey hunting with a 410. While this has primarily been the realm of rabid fringe hanloaders it is becoming mainstream with several companies now producing loads, but mostly in mixes with heavy shot, lead or even steel that seem to really degrade the potential performance. But a few loads are available with pure TSS shot.

The only load I've seen in person is the 410 Federal Heavy load in 9.5 size shot which was simply amazing. It produced patterns at 40 yards equivalent to standard 12 gauge 3" #4 lead loads with the same number of hits in a turkeys head and neck. You might be thinking yea but it is a really small shot and it is but because it is denser it will penetrate to a greater depth than #4 lead, around 5-6" in 10% ballistic gel which means it will easily break a turkeys neck.

What really got me thinking about using this new shot is that I'm considering selling my 3 1/2" turkey gun and just using a standard 3" 12 gauge but didn't want to give up the performance I enjoy with that heavier payload. As you might recall I killed a gobbler at a laser range finder measured 61 yards earlier this year using my Remington 870 Special Purpose Turkey and Heavy Shot Magnum Blend 3.5" 2 1/4 oz loading #5,6 and 7 shot.

I want one shotgun to use as my general hunting shotgun for waterfowl, turkey, dove, quil, and deer. I have settled on a Benelli M2 with two barrels, a 28" and 21" both with vent ribs but the 21" with the addition of XS express sights https://www.xssights.com/Detail.aspx?PR ... 8&CAT=8263 . The version I settled on is the Optifade Timber with Tungsten Cerakote.
Benelli M2 Optifade Timber and Tungsten Ceracote.jpg
The M2 will shoot 3" shells but not 3.5" for that you have to move to the Super Black Eagle III which is also a great gun, my son has one, but it is heavier and I just don't like the styling. So since I will be moving back to 3" I began looking into the TSS shot and found that it had progressed at a faster pace than I had been keeping up with. Now Apex and Nitro both load 3", 2.25 oz loads of #9 TSS which will put twice as many shot in a turkeys head and neck at 40 yards with more energy than my current 3.5" Heavy shot Magnum Blend load. Of course I could use it in my 3.5" to produce even denser shot patterns with over 500 hits in a 10" circle at 40 yards but it seems that the 400 hits produced by the 3" is sufficient.

The downside, and there is always a downside, is the cost at $11 per shell. Pattern testing gets really expensive, I don't mind the cost for hunting as it is an insignificant expense in comparison to even driving to the hunt location. I have killed 18 turkeys from a single box of 25 Remington Nitro express loads I bought many years ago. Of course those cost me maybe $20 for a box of 25 back then, today a box of 25 3" TSS from Nitro costs $261. http://www.nitrocompany.com/ammunition.html#TSSTable

I'll do some testing and report my findings back here.
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by MM » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:15 am

Bob,
I have not heard of these shells,but they do look interesting. Very expensive but as you pointed out for turkey they would last a long time, in a good year I might shoot 4 shells.I had a Super Black Eagle and sold it and moved away from 31/2" shells about 7 years ago and have not looked back. For turkey I use my BBF 97 in Kentucky where legal and in Ohio I use an old Beretta Single shot 12 gauge both 3". I sold the Super Black Eagle and replaced it with the Ethos that shoots 3". For coyote I use 3" shells with my BBF 97. Except for the Ethos both guns have fixed chokes marked Mod. or half choke but when I use my little pocket gauge they are closer to full. I experimented heavily with different shells and shot because I was considering having screw in chokes installed. I came across turkey and coyote loads from Federal with their Flite Control wad and it made a huge difference in my patterns. I picked up a good 15 yards with the turkey loads and 10 yards with the coyote loads. That is with plated #5 lead for turkey and plated lead BB in the coyote loads. I am almost out of my turkey loads and Federal is using Tungsten shot now but retained the Flite Control wad and I have the shells I just have not patterned them yet. Perhaps the combination of the TSS heavyweight shot and the Flite Control wad will get you where you want to go for less cost. I like shooting 3" shells way better than 31/2" shells.

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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by stokesrj » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:03 pm

Federal had to change the design of their flite control wad recently. This may not have affected you, but when shooting ported barrels or choke tubes the flite control was would be retarded on one side or the other and exit the muzzle at an erratic can’t that would disrupt the shot string. Because of this problem Federal replaces the flite control with a version they call the flite control flex. It is reported to still have the issues with some guns but does well with fixed modified or light modified chokes.
I have some of the Federal TSS Heavy Weight Flite Control Flex 3” #9 coming to test along side of some T-316 loads from Nitro which are 2 1/4 oz #9 TSS 3” 12 ga. I expect these to romp on the Federal Heavyweight loads which are only 1 3/4 oz. However, it doesn’t matter how many start out, only how many end up in the turkeys neck and head. So we will see.
Another far cheaper alternative is the Winchester Long beard XR loading which uses copper plated lead. I’ve tested these and they are amazing compared to any other lead load I’ve tested, including the Federal Flight control. I cut one open to see what they meant by locked technology. The shot are glued together using a brittle clear glue. It produces a tight evenly distributed pattern putting around 20-25 #5 shot in a turkeys head and neck at 50 yards. That is about as far as I would trust a #5 to break a turkeys neck anyway. So I will also report how they do through the Benelli M2 with an Indian Creek .665” choke tube.
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by MM » Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:41 pm

The Flite Control wad was never recommended for ported or straight rifled choke tubes, and I hope the new version works as well as the original. I have not heard of any reported problems with screw in chokes as long as they are not ported or rifled. i tried the Long beard with the shot glued together and had high hopes for them but they just did not pattern nearly as well out of either of my guns. I would love to hear your results with the Nitro and Federal loads work out.
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by stokesrj » Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:53 pm

I don’t know how valid the reported problems with the old flite control was, you know how we hunters are, we sometimes find problems where none exist. I personally haven experienced any problems with them, but from my Remington with a .662 choke the Winchester LBXR patterns tighter. I’ll repeat all tests with my Benelli over the next few weeks.
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by SPEEDY » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:49 pm

Definitely expensive shells, but they do the job.
I've also found that tight chokes produce the densest patterns with smaller shot.
I'm thinking a. 662 choke and those shells would be absolutely devastating.
I'm soft and I don't care. :dance:

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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by stokesrj » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:30 pm

I've done some further testing with the Benelli M2 comparing the 28" to the 21" barrels with various extended chokes from .650 to .665 constrictions both ported and non ported. My testing has been mostly conducted at 40 yards which is the accepted ethical range for most common turkey loads and I agree with this if using traditional lead or copper plated lead loadings but if you choose to do so there are far superior options.
jVRTBZRXQTujI2PvWl5jjw.jpg
Most of the Turkeys I've shot have been inside that 40 yard range and mostly with #4, #5, or #6 lead shot over a time period spanning the 70s, 80s and 90s. However in 2001 I switched to HeviShot which is a Tungsten Iron alloy a little denser than lead at 12 grams per CC. These proved to be deadly out to 60 yards. I killed my gobbler this year with a 3 1/2" HeviShot 2 1/4 oz load of MagnumBlend which is a mixture of #5, #6 and #7 shot. It killed him instantly and completely penetrated his neck and head.

The National Wild Turkey Federation holds an annual still target championship every year in South Carolina and I pay attention to what shell and choke combination wins each year, especially in the 12 gauge hunter class. When HeaviShot was introduced no lead shot could compete and the HeviShot Heavi-13 #7 loading won every year until 2014 Then things changed again with the introduction of Winchesters Long Beard Extended Range loading. Lead shot again took over and has dominated ever since using Winchesters "shotlock" technology.

The shot lock technology is a liquid resin which is injected into the copper plated lead shot after the shot is loaded into the shot collar. The resin then fractures and disintegrates upon acceleration which in turn absorbs energy that would otherwise deform the shot. It definitely works and in my testing it has proven to validate Winchesters claim of twice as many shot in a 10" circle at 40 yards as compared the the same load of lead shot in their XX loading. Mine has worked out to almost exactly that. This load comes in #4, #5, and #6 sized shot and in 12 ga 3" has a payload of 1 3/4 oz at your choice of 1050 or 1200 FPS.
jTEpGGv9RWu7nc4Ur3OqOw.jpg
The 12 gauge 3" 1 3/4 oz #6 at 1200 FPS has repeatedly won the championship every year from 214 until the current. It is a fantastic low cost loading at about $2 per shell. However I have found that #6 lead shot fails to penetrate sufficiently beyond about 35 yards so I would choose the #5 loading as it is the better compromise of pattern density and penetration. I know from experience that #5 lead shot will completely penetrate a turkeys head and neck at 45 -50 yards. However beyond that the HeviShot is still a better performer as even #7 heavy shot will out penetrate #4 lead beyond 50 yards. But you pay for that performance with a 300% premium price at around $6 pers shell. It is well worth the extra cost to me to gain that 60 yard performance even if it is seldom needed.

Everyone has to make their own decisions to go with lead or HeviShot and for the vast majority of the Turkeys called in, 40 yards is all the performance you need so why spend the extra if not needed? That's a valid question that everyone should answer for themselves. However don't decide yet, the new kid on the block is an even denser shot material with even greater range and it has proven in my testing to deliver it.

If you are a serious Turkey hunter and want the maximum performance then TSS (tungsten super shot) is worth a look. First it is 18 grams per cubic centimeter compared to 11.1 grams per cubic centimeter of lead. This means that a number 9 TSS shot will retain the same energy as a #4 lead shot at range but deliver a whole lot more of them to the target. The problem with Tungsten is that it is expensive and China controls the world market and therefore the world pricing of tungsten. The TSS shot is expensive and gets even more expensive with the heavy loads typically used for turkey hunting. The Apex 2 1/4 ounce loading of #9 shot in a 12 gauge 3" costs about $11 per shell. Federal chose another approach utilizing their very thick walled flight control shot cup in a new material that allows it to perform better in ported choke tubes than the previous material. This new shot cup is called "Flex Flight Control" and it seems to work well out of my ported tubes.

The Federal "Heavy Weight" TSS turkey load carries a lighter payload of TSS shot, a full 1/2 ounce lighter than the Apex load at 1 3/4 ounces and 1190 fps. I rather like some things about it more than the Apex load, it recoils less, it costs less at around $6 per shell, and the thicker shot cup protects my barrel from the very hard TSS shot. In my testing it has proven to deliver 75 yard killing patterns with 5-12 hits in a turkeys head and neck and penetration of 3"+ in 10% ballistic gel. It is a somewhat accepted standard of 1 3/4" penetration in 10% ballistic gel is sufficient to insure the penetration of a turkey's head and neck. So this is around twice as much penetration as is needed. The Apex load delivers more shot on target, but in my opinion the Federal loading is a better compromise.
e+ey8Ul3Qrq9o0aS87hUpw.jpg
So to sum it up my findings are that the Winchester Long Beard Extended Range copper plated lead load delivers twice the number of hits in a 10" circle of previously available lead loads, it delivers more hits than even HeviShot but lacks the penetration at extended range. TSS delivers four times the number of hits of traditional lead loads with more energy at extended range, twice the number of hits than the long beard extended range with more penetration and energy, and more than twice the number of hits and more energy and penetration than HeviShot. So I just bought a case of the Federal TSS 3" loads from Rogers for $6.40 per shell. https://www.rogerssportinggoods.com/fed ... ot_size=13
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by SPEEDY » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:37 pm

I'm of two minds, it probably doesn't matter as we won't be able to get any of that ammo here, can't even get HeviShot here.
But if I was shooting locally and could pop out after work or on the weekend ect I'd definitely buy the new Long beard lead loads, but if I had to travel and only had a couple of weekends in a season then I would buy a box of the new TSS stuff.
One box might cost a heap, but it will also last for 3-4 seasons and give you a much better chance of bagging your bird.
I'm soft and I don't care. :dance:

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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by MM » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:55 am

Bob, what shot size did you settle on with the TSS loads? Why did you decide on that shot size vs. the other options? Thanks.
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by stokesrj » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:28 am

I settled on #9 for turkey because it produces the densest pattern yet retains enough energy to completely penetrate a turkeys head and neck. The other option is #7 in the Federal Heavyweight TSS loading but in my testing it proved to be overkill on penetration and underkill in pattern density. The #7 will penetrate a turkeys head even at 90 yards yet pattern density becomes too sparse beyond 65 yards to reliably hit with 5 or more shot in the head and neck. So my conclusion is that #9 despite being seemingly too small for the task at hand actually provides greater range.

That being said, the furthest I’ve ever tried a shot on a turkey was this year at 61 yards with my 3 1/2” chambered Remington 870 Supermag using 2 1/4 oz Hevi-Shot magnum blend #5, 6, and 7. It killed him instantly but since I’m moving to a 3” chambered gun i’m Looking only at what is optimum for that gun. If I were testing for my 3 1/2” it is quite probable that the heavier payload would prove to provide a sufficiently dense pattern to take advantage of the greater retained energy of the #7 size TSS.
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by stokesrj » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:16 am

Here is a pic of the new Fightconteol Flex I recovered compared to a power piston from one of the Remington Nitro Express loads I was testing. As you can see the walls of the flight control are much thicker and prevent any contact of the shot with the barrel and the power piston you can see where shot scrubbed through and did indeed contact the barrel. That isn’t too much of a concern with copper plated lead shot as the worst thing that could happen is that those shot that scrubbed the barrel are deformed enough to not fly true and leave the pattern. But with TSS which is sufficiently hard enough to score the barrel, permanent damage may result from thin walled shot cups or collars.
831F2DD8-D4C3-4232-BDDB-50EA55C05CC2.jpeg
1DAFD627-35CC-4FC2-A7DD-E56298FDB629.jpeg
The downside of the Flightcontrol cup is that it greatly reduces the available space resulting in a reduced payload. I have to constantly remind myself that it doesn’t matter how many shot start the flight, but rather how many end their flight after passing through the turkeys head or neck. And as my testing proves to me, the 1 3/4 oz of #9 TSS from this load is going to put more shot through the turkeys head at 40-70 yard than the heaviest possible lead shot load.
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by MM » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:05 pm

Thanks Bob. What are your thoughts about these loads for coyotes?
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by SPEEDY » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:06 pm

A lot of your findings reflect my view that patterns kill and not individual shot size.
As long as the pellets have enough energy for sufficient penetration then more hits are better then bigger hits.
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by stokesrj » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:39 pm

SPEEDY wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:06 pm
A lot of your findings reflect my view that patterns kill and not individual shot size.
As long as the pellets have enough energy for sufficient penetration then more hits are better then bigger hits.
There is no doubt in my mind at least that many hits from a smaller shot size that have enough momentum to penetrate the target animal will produce faster kills than fewer hits from a larger sized shot. I know from experience of recovering many deer with my dogs that were hit by only two or three 00 buck shot. While # 4 buck seems to kill much more quickly with 5-20 hits.
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Re: Tungsten Alloy Shot

Post by stokesrj » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:45 pm

MM wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:05 pm
Thanks Bob. What are your thoughts about these loads for coyotes?
Matt
I think it is a game changer, #2 tungsten is killing coyotes at 100 yards here in Arizona. I haven’t personally tested them yet but some of my serious coyote hunting friends claim they are using their shotguns loaded with these #2 TSS as often as their rifles now. They typically set up with a shotgun in hand and rifle laying beside them and previously killed 75% or more with their rifles but that has now changed.
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