What I learnt about shotgun pellets

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mchughcb
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What I learnt about shotgun pellets

Post by mchughcb » Sat May 26, 2018 7:32 am

I have been experimenting with the 20g this year and was keen to test the trade off on foxes and rabbits between gauge, payload and pellet size. Tonight I decided to pull apart some of my current ammo to see how close the manufacturers spec they are. I know its not a big sample, like one shell of each but it revealed some interesting things.


First Shell

Make GB, 30gr load, 20gauge, BB
The load says 30grams but it was 28grams. The size said BB but it was 4.51mm on average, not 4.09mm that I thought and had 53 pellets.

Second Shell
Make Gamebore, 28gram load, 20gauge, #5
The load says 28gr but it was 27.3grams. The shots size says #5 and it was between 2.6 and2.8 should have been 2.79mm and had 218 pellets like it should.

Third Shell that is slaying the foxes
Make Clever Mirage, 28gr load, 20 gauge, #3.
The load was 28 grams. The pellet size was closer to european #4 than #3, ranging from 3.17mm to 3.34mm when it should have been 3.43mm. So its closer to a #3.5. It had 148 pellets instead of 106. The weight per pellet was 2.95grains. They are hardened lead and optimised for long distance patterning.

Fourth Shell

Winchester 32gram , 12 gauge #3.

The load was 31.22gr. There was shot size was extremely variable and I could see compared to the other shot it was more like ovoid balls than being spherical. The size ranged from 3 on the flat axis to 3.6mm on the long axis. The size should have been 3.12mm. The weight per pellet was 3.25grains. The pellet count was 148 pellets.


So the quality of the Winchester shot didn't impress me. The Spanish GB, BB size is bigger than I thought but short 2grams. The English delivers close to what it says on the cartridge and the Italians have the right weight but shotsize seems to be a lot smaller than advertised, but seem to do the job, showing patterning is more important than pellet size and weight.
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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by SPEEDY » Sat May 26, 2018 8:10 am

Been tearing a few 12ga apart to make slugs and found some similar variations in pellets and size.
Although I was comparing between different makes with the same size shot in BB.
I've found the remington pretty good for consistency and hardness, I guess the freedom group didn't ness with the ammunition.
I also fiund the #3 shot great on foxes, in a hunch I went from BB's to #3 shot with the thinking that twice the pellet count would make fuller better killing patterbs with the fixed IMP/CYL chokes. That actually seened to work, especially with the scope as it made finding the leed easy and put center pattern exactly where it needed to be. All the foxes I killed onbthe drive were 50 yards out when hit, it didn't kill them dead but they tended to sit or pull up making a second shot easy.

I'm now thinking that 42gm #3 or #4 shot will proove the best shells for 50 yard.
I was thinking 42gm #2 for similar pattern density to the 36gm #3 but give better penetration for cleaner kills, but I think much more shot on the kill zone will be better then slightly bigger shot.
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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by SPEEDY » Sat May 26, 2018 8:12 am

Its actually a real shame those 32gm loads don't have better shot, that would be a real killer in the 20ga.
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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by mchughcb » Sat May 26, 2018 8:15 am

Only two ways to test. Patterning, then hunting.

I see OSA has some FBI spec ballistic gel. I might make a video of that later tested out to 70m with different shot sizes. Have to find out where I can get it and how much.

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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by stokesrj » Sat May 26, 2018 8:18 am

I wouldn’t be concerned with the oblong shape of the Winchester shot. It isn’t the shape they start with that is important, it is the shape they are in flight. Generally speaking the harder the shot is the less round it is to start with but by the time it endures the ride down the bore it exits rounder than it’s softer lead counterparts. The exception of course being steel shot which is the least satisfactory shot of all.

When you see the hevi shot you will faint, some of it is figure eight shaped, yet the pattern board tells the real story, it is a much denser pattern delivered on target than lead

Now, imagine that #5 hevi shot will deliver more energy and more penetration than #3 lead at 40 yards and then ponder how many more shot there are to start with and then a higher percentage on target and it starts to paint a fuller picture.
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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by mchughcb » Sat May 26, 2018 8:35 am

Interesting. Its just a question of supply. Id be keen to try the clever 36gr loads in 20g as well but alas getting a few boxes to try is neigh on impossible.

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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by UPEgger » Sat May 26, 2018 10:34 am

If Tungsten shot is available, and you can get some, you will be at the top of the world. 18gm/cc TSS shot. Documented range and penetration figures are much better than lead as it is about 70 percent more dense than lead. I have been using it for coyotes/fox/bobcat for about 14 months. Other than cost, about 50.00 US per pound, there are no negatives. TSS shot is true dimension and ROUND.

Carl L.

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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by SPEEDY » Sat May 26, 2018 6:50 pm

Its getting any manure other then lead or steel shot in Australia thats the problem.
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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by stokesrj » Sat May 26, 2018 7:39 pm

UPEgger wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 10:34 am
If Tungsten shot is available, and you can get some, you will be at the top of the world. 18gm/cc TSS shot. Documented range and penetration figures are much better than lead as it is about 70 percent more dense than lead. I have been using it for coyotes/fox/bobcat for about 14 months. Other than cost, about 50.00 US per pound, there are no negatives. TSS shot is true dimension and ROUND.

Carl L.
Great info Carl, I was unaware of TSS. At18gm/cc that is really dense. The Hevi Shot performs really great and is only 12gm/cm, so that would mean you could drop down at least two shot sizes and gain a really dense pattern with the same penetration. Very interesting.

The heavy shot is a tungsten, iron and nickel alloy so that it can be constricted through a choke. The pure tungsten would not give, so how is that handled? Do you use a really thick shot cup like a flight control or similar?
Robert J Stokes

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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by SPEEDY » Sat May 26, 2018 8:30 pm

From what I can see they use steel shot cups for tungsten.
But now I'm curious to try it if it worked like Hevi-shot then a 42gm load of #4 birdshot would be the perfect Fox round for my imp/cyl shotgun.
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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by stokesrj » Sun May 27, 2018 6:14 am

SPEEDY wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 8:30 pm
From what I can see they use steel shot cups for tungsten.
But now I'm curious to try it if it worked like Hevi-shot then a 42gm load of #4 birdshot would be the perfect Fox round for my imp/cyl shotgun.
I would think you could even go smaller shot size for Fox. As I read more about Tungsten shot, people are reporting clean kills on turkey at 40 yards using #7 even from 410 shotguns. Turkey and fox are different I know, but I have killed a bunch of fox while calling turkey with my turkey gun and load. I can’t think of a single one that was not dead right there.

Carl, what size have you been using on coyotes?
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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pelllets

Post by mchughcb » Sun May 27, 2018 6:40 am

Maybe I got to get myself some reloads of that tungsten stuff. I've got a cracker of a video to show you a dead right there, not dead right there, dead right there video lol!

We need to investigate this tungsten angle more.

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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pellets

Post by SPEEDY » Sun May 27, 2018 6:55 am

That brings up the point about whats better, bigger shot or more shot.
What I'm thinking is in relation to fixed chokes, I think bigger shot worjs when you can choke up to nake tighter patterns with less shot.
But with Hevi-shot it seems you can get the best of both worlds by going with much more shot and a bigger pattern to make more hits.

Its a tricky problem to work out, although Hevi-shot and flitecontrol wads would make the best of both worlds.
But even a flitecontrol wad and hard tungsten shot would probably do a similar job. Although I'm not 100% on those wads anyway when you see some pattern testing on youtube although a lot is through either cylinder chokes or full/extra full chokes.
Neither are optimum fir flitecontrol wads apparently imp/cyl and light/mod are the best chokes for them.
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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pellets

Post by UPEgger » Sun May 27, 2018 12:28 pm

Bob; The current claim from the "brain trust" is that to equal TSS shot, in lead, for energy and penetration you go down four sizes. eg: #9TSS = #5 lead. (probably #2 or #3 in steel) I have been using #7.5TSS on Mallards this season. DEADLY. We jump shoot them so the ranges are in the 20 to 25yard category. This is out of my 28ga and is 3/4oz of #7.5TSS. 1200fps. Some of the other Tungsten Duck/Goose people are using #8TSS with fantastic results. Choice of chokes for me, using this load, are Cyl and Skt in my Beretta 687 28ga. I am not finding any pellets in the meat, so they are either pass throughs or went arounds.

For wads the Ballistics Products TPS wad is the wad of choice. I also use a single mylar wrap inside the cup. Because TSS is so dense you will use a lot of fillers. The TPS wad is made in every gauge except 20ga. Go figger. The days of TSS scoring shotgun barrels is pretty much over.

Also, TSS has made the 28ga and the lowly .410 real turkey, duck and goose killers at long ranges...... 50yds plus. I do not shoot that far!!!!.
TSS pretty much destroyed all my lead shot rules for hunting.

A look at the: TungstenSuperShots.com and Gobbler Nation.com sites will give a HUGE amount of info on the use of TSS.

Carl L.
Last edited by UPEgger on Sun May 27, 2018 12:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What I learnt about shotgun pellets

Post by UPEgger » Sun May 27, 2018 12:52 pm

Speedy; TSS would be fantastic. My normal coyote gun is a Browning Gold 10ga. I was using 2.25oz nickel plated lead BB at 1200fps and was a 100 percent killer out to 62yds. I am now using 2oz #4TSS at the same distances. My choke is the Browning Turkey Xtra full. I have been told a more open choke will produce tighter patterns. The Browning Xtra full choke is what came with the gun (used) when I purchased it. Therefore..... If it ain't broke don't fix it.

2.25oz nickel plated lead BB is 123pellets. 2.0 oz of #4TSS is 166 pellets.

Carl L.

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