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Dahitman44

steel vs lead

57 posts in this topic

Called the DNR and they said you can use lead as long as you are not near water. What about federal land? What is the difference between federal land and state land?

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Federal Land you can not use lead at all. You must use steel or an alternative (bismuth, matrix, tungsten ect...). I think that is where hunting is going - getting away from the lead.

I personally like to use non-lead bullets for hunting big game as well. Besides, if you use non-lead in your shotgun you might have a chance to kick up a duck or two. Some dove fields owned and managed by the state say you can not use lead.

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I don't even buy lead anymore, for what it's worth. I shoot steel at everything.

Using steel all the time has made me a better shot, also. No more asking myself if it's steel or lead and how far to lead because of the different shot type.

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Quote:

I don't even buy lead anymore, for what it's worth. I shoot steel at everything.

Using steel all the time has made me a better shot, also. No more asking myself if it's steel or lead and how far to lead because of the different shot type.


Excellent point. What I have been doing is buying a box or two a week of alternative shot... bismuth, tungston, kent matrix etc... during the year. If I come accross a deal after season I buy em up.NUmber 6 shot in matrix is easy to find later in the year and cheap. Heck I found Bismuth for $8.00 a box last January.

I like the knock down power and actually think it is better then lead.

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WPA land requires steel only. (Waterfowl Production Area)

Bob

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I'm with you boilerguy, all steel all the time for me, usually 2 steel, sometimes 4 steel over decoys. I also think it helps my shooting plus I don't have to worry if I go onto a WPA whether I have lead shot. And if those roosters are getting up a long ways out, I let them go, I'm at the age and have shot enough birds where I don't have to shoot at everything I see.

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I totally agree with only steel. People talk of this issue so much. Once I had knocked down a few birds with steel, I never went back. I think it was a confidence thing for me. I don't shoot alot of trap but when I do I still shoot steel. Usually the left overs from last year.

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my problem with steel is that it just doesnt kill like lead. with a new puppy, it is hard to retrieve birds that arent hitting the ground dead. I have shot hundreds of birds with lead and prolly over 50 with steel and there is no comparison between the two (I have started keeping track of kill percentages). I think the alternative nontoxics are the way to go if you can afford it.

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Quote:

my problem with steel is that it just doesnt kill like lead. with a new puppy, it is hard to retrieve birds that arent hitting the ground dead. I have shot hundreds of birds with lead and prolly over 50 with steel and there is no comparison between the two (I have started keeping track of kill percentages). I think the alternative nontoxics are the way to go if you can afford it.


Like I said - buy one box a week or every other week during the entire year. Buy more when you see a great sale. You will not run out of shells.

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That is prolly true I don't know cuz I've never really used the "Other" non-toxic shot types. The thing for me is I'm used to steel so that's what I use. If a person is used to tungston maybe that's what they should use all the time?? I dunno, I'm far from an expert.

Using steel all the time has made ME a better shot, however. I had to adjust, I admit, and it was not easy. Now that I've got it down I'm not so bad.

Remember fellas, shoot em in the lips and not the butt!!! grin.gif

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Saw this while reading News of the Weird this week:

"The Entrepreneurial Spirit!

Sometime next year, if all goes well, Brett Holm of Chaska, Minn., will begin selling his Season Shot, an improvement over current shotgun shells because its pellets dissolve on contact in the game meat and, more important, automatically flavor it for cooking. Holm told the Chanhassen (Minn.) Villager newspaper in August that he will initially offer lemon pepper, mesquite, Mexican, and Creole flavors, but, he said, chemists are at work right now to expand the selection."

Any thoughts?

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The name of the game is density. I would want to see some stats before I tried that. Cool idea, but if it doesnt work, then it is worthless. If it does work, then he is on to something. However, I just wonder how he is going to provide the energy and knockdown power. I hope he does.

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I have the feeling there will be a lot of well seasoned cripples out there.

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I also made the switch to steel only this year... It is going to happen sooner or later anyhow so why not get use to it now???

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That cool that some of you want to use steel only, but not me. I use steel when it is required, waterfowl and WMA/WPA pheasants. But if im walking through the northwoods grouse hunting or trapshooting, I am going to use lead. Not for the "knockdown power", just I simply like to save money. Less than $3 per 25 shots of lead and usually more than $10 for 25 shots of steel. At my age I want to save the extra $ for something else that I want in the future. Maybe someday I will join the steel only group. smirk.gif

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I love using lead so i use it whenever i can. This past sat-mon I pheasant hunted back home before coming back out to school monday afternoon. I used lead all three days because we hunt private. I got my 2 birds all 3 days and every single one of them came down stone dead with all shots being 30-45 yards. I have been duck hunting out here in south dakota all fall and I bet 1/4 to half of the ducks i have gotten haven't been stone dead, the reason for this is steel. I've shot lots of ducks through the breast at under 30 yards and they do not die right away, some of them sail quite aways. I've even shot lots of feathers out of a couple and they somehow managed to keep flying. Personally i think that we would be much better off perhaps losing a few ducks to lead poisoning instead of losing hundreds and hundreds of ducks as cripples per year. This isn't only with ducks, it can be just as bad or worse with pheasants. 3 or 4 years ago in Iowa we had to use steel the whole time and we lost 15 birds over the course of 4 days, even with 2 very well trained dogs we could not find them because they hit the ground running. Nothing against u guys who use steel for everything I just think we would be much better off if we were able to using lead for everything instead of using steel for everything like the feds are planning to eventually go to.

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I think the main problem that a lot of you "lead lovers" have is you are either not sizing up on shot and are prob. not shooting out of the correct choke. Don't get me wrong, I too liked shooting lead at upland game but the time is going to come when we are all going to be forced to shoot steel only... If you size up on the steel and then change to a less restrictive choke, I bet you will find that steel can "kill" just as good as lead... Another thing that one has to keep in mind when switching form lead to steel is the speed...

just my 2 cents...

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I dont hate lead, and I dont love steel. The other non toxics out there I have only used some.. with about the same results as lead or a quality steel shell for killing power. I am not talking about 100 yard shots at geese here, I am talking pheasents, ducks over the decoys, or even grouse... all in a reasonable range.

I found the tougest thing is the transition of changing from lead to steel, or steel to lead, or anything to a non toxic. I burned a lot of steel shells trying to lead birds and kept missing at close range until I learned the steel is much faster and requires less to no lead. If you hit a bird in respectable killing range with a good shot, its going to kill the bird clean most of the time.

Lead has an advantage over everything on killing power when its not a clean shot because even hit with fewer pellets, the pellets expand and create much more shock even though they move at a lower velocity.. the same shot with steel the pellets may just go right through the bird. An advantage of alternative non toxics is you can use a smaller shot size similar to lead, so more pellets should hit the bird within the same spot within the pattern(better to get 14 pellets vs 6 in the bird), and the alternative shells also carry more energy at a longer range than steel shells... this is great if your depending on dropping most of your birds 50 yards+ out. A high velocity(1500 fps+) steel shell at the same range will knock a bird down as well, and is usually easier to hit the bird with a faster velocity shell.

Either way a good shot with an adequit(sp?) shell of any type is going to kill a bird.

My problem is changing from one type of shell to another.. you cant kill a bird if you cant hit it! I scare the heck out of a few birds before I get the feel of the ammo I am using, then birds drop.

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Quote:

I found the tougest thing is the transition of changing from lead to steel, or steel to lead, or anything to a non toxic. I burned a lot of steel shells trying to lead birds and kept missing at close range until I learned the steel is much faster and requires less to no lead. If you hit a bird in respectable killing range with a good shot, its going to kill the bird clean most of the time.

My problem is changing from one type of shell to another.. you cant kill a bird if you cant hit it! I scare the heck out of a few birds before I get the feel of the ammo I am using, then birds drop.


You hit the nail on the head for one of the main reasons that I shoot steel all the time, missing easy shots sucks!! Wing shooting is tough enough without trying to figure out how much to shoot ahead of a bird - in a nanosecond- depending upon whether you're shooting steel or lead.

I think one of the main reasons for cripples is people taking long shots, they seem to feel if they can see it they can shoot it. And heaven forbid if they happen to connect on one of those long shots, it just encourages them. Pace off the distance sometime from where you shot and that cripple hit the ground, you'd be amazed. And then you wonder why its a cripple??!

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A thought occurred to me. If lead is so toxic to animals that ingest it, how about the occasional lead pellet that I failed to remove from a breast before I cook it? Does this expose one to lead poisoning?

Also, when you say upsize for steel, what do you recommend. For example, I like to use 12ga., #6, 1-1/8oz., 2-3/4" lead for pheasant. What would I upsize to? #4, 3", 1-1/4oz?

Bob

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Bob T

#4 or #2 in a high velocity (1500 fps) steel load is a good choice depending on your choke preference. If you shoot a more open choke(imp cyl), the #4 would probably be choice, if your shooting a mod choke, I would go with #2. Less gaps in the pattern with the smaller shot.

The only other factor is your comfort range in shooting at birds. If you commonly take longer shots, stick to the larger shot size because it will be more efficent at longer range(hit harder).

You will not be happy with any size steel shot on lower velocity shells for killing power. The length of the shell is not important. The 3" shell is only going to give you a little more shot... 2 3/4" loads can be just as fast, or faster than 3" because you can only use so much powder in a shell and still be safe, and the weight of the shot the powder charge is pushing is what alters the velocity. The same powder charge will push 7/8 oz of shot at 1900 fps as the same powder charge will push 1 3/8 oz 1300 fps.

Steel weighs far less than lead so you dont need as much weight in shot to achieve the same pattern density(more shot per oz with steel).

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Bob T,

I wouldnt even think about #4 steel. I have seen by far the worst results with that. #2 is the smallest I would go and dont be afraid of BBs. Also, for all those out there talking about high velocity steel at 1500 fps, my 1 3/8 oz of lead goes 1500 fps. So out the window with all of the faster steel arguments.

i have not seen one study yet that subtracts the wounding rate of game from the deaths due to lead poisoning. Hopefully i wills someday, and if anyone knows of such a study, i would love to read it.

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My opinion on this is simple. Wait for the birds to decoy and show their feet before you shoot. As far as pheasants go...if it jumps at 50yds wave at it and loook for another one. It makes me sick to lose birds...so I try not to take that borderline shot, because it often will be a cripple that gets away. Everyone you pass on will be there the next day, so get him then.

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CodyDawg, may I ask what kind of lead shells you are shooting to get 1500fps??? That seems to be a bit fast... There is a huge difference from steel to lead on speed, so that argument is a valid one. (unless everyone shoots lead that is 1500fps) grin.gif

one side note: For pheasants I shoot 4 shot steel (1560fps) and have had great luck shooting out of a i/c choke.

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Fiocchi Golden Pheasant is 1 3/8 oz and goes at 1485 fps. Don't get too hung up on speed. Speed is okay up to a certain point. Too much speed can blow your pattern.

Folks get too hung up on technical details. The important thing is to shoot straight with the load you have. Years ago 1 1/4 oz of 4 or 6 at 1200 fps was the standard pheasant load and it worked well and still should today.

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