Question for those who were able to shoot lead...

Discussion in 'Shooting - Reloading Forum' started by Northhunter, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. Northhunter

    Northhunter Refuge Member

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    Jul 9, 2001
    Location:
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    What was your first season like shooting steel?

    For us it was 20 years ago this season.
    We knew it was coming, but didn't make the switch until '97. With lead we shot 1 1/4oz 5's. Everything we read was to go up 2 shot sizes. 3's weren't available (not here anyway) and to avoid "sticker shock" we were buying 20 round boxes of 1oz Win. Dryloks for like $9 a box... 125 pellets @ 1375fps (2 3/4" 1 1/8oz loads were over double the price).
    Our first season was a learning experience to say the least. Ringnecks are the bulk of our bag up here and the patterns just weren't dense enough for the speedy little diving rockets. Especially if you tried to water swat. It was cripple city.. we cursed steel. 1375 was fast enough for the pellets to penetrate but even then it killed differently. We had squarely hit "dead" birds get up and fly away, and we cursed it some more.
    After that we got into shooting full payloads of 4's, and had much better luck. I started reloading after that (when Winchester Supremes were the fastest factory shell on the market with a box vel. of 1450) and factory shells became history. 20 years later I have steel loads that I'd put up against the old 1 1/4oz #5 lead load... what I often used as a bench mark when trying to work up viable loads. Curious to hear from anyone who had to make the switch before that, when steel was really primitive...
     
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  2. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob Elite Refuge Member

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    Washington
    I honestly didn't notice any real difference shooting 2 sizes larger steel. I went from 2 3/4" 1 1/4 of lead 4's or 7.5's to 2 3/4" 1 1/4 oz of steel 2's or 4's. I did have to choke differently but I can't remember the exact change I made. I always would hear the stories of shot bouncing off of birds and every bird being a cripple but never experienced any of that myself. But, I was never a long range shooter and even 30 odd years ago as a kid I tried to land every bird I shot at 30 yards or less. I think what it amounts to is the guys that had issues didn't do their homework, like patterning and practicing to learn how steel shoots.
     
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  3. NWRINGNECK

    NWRINGNECK Elite Refuge Member

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    Feb 14, 2001
    Location:
    Spokane,Wa.,USA
    I grew up shooting a Mod 97 16ga for everything. 1oz of lead 6's. In 1968 fresh out of the SVC I upgraded to a 12ga 870. Shot everything with lead 2 3/4 in 1 1/4, 6 or 7 1/2. Grouse, pheasants, doves, snipe, ducks....everything. No geese where I was back then.

    Steel came out and factory stuff was barely ok but like BB I was/am a short range guy. After a couple of years I began reloading steel when RSI came out. 1 1/8 of 3 or 4 at 1425 was a killer. That load still is a killer but when Kent put that out I stopped reloading. I still shoot that type of steel load 90% of the time. I kept track (shooting log) back then. Range finders had made the scene. One year my average dead duck was on the water at less than 20 yards. I never was a consistent long range shooter even with lead. I have used 3" steel in a few specific times like Geese in Canada or sea ducks but my shell stock is still 80% of that 2 3/4 inch load
     
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  4. duckbuster5901

    duckbuster5901 Senior Refuge Member

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Location:
    maryland
    Cursed the switch. In md. we could opt to shoot 16,s or 20,s first couple years with lead and many did after a brief introduction to the new steel. Still have my first bx. half full of Winchester steel 3" 2,s I bought. You were better to throw the shell at the bird than shoot it past 25 yds. Mant times my waders were stuffed full of my reloaded 2 3/4" 1 1/2 oz. #5 lead and the steel out where it could be checked. After a few close calls I switched to a BPS 10 and got basically killing range of moderate 12 guage lds. Can still remember centered birds just flying off at 35 yds to die somewhere else from shooting with those first steel lds. Hard to imagine with the great steel lds. that are available today. Choked right the 3" lds. now will kill at 45 yds and a little further with a head shot. No where near as good as hevi shot or other options but still the best of steel will kill birds as far as the old best 2/34 in. lead lds I use to favor.
     
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  5. Vahunter

    Vahunter Senior Refuge Member

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    Virginia
    The first steel was terrible. Then I guess we remembered Energy = mass X velocity^2. I noticed faster factory loads were /are more effective. There was a guy named Ned who reloaded fast,fast steel and talked about it a lot.
     
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  6. Ravenanme

    Ravenanme Elite Refuge Member

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    Close to where I hunt
    Some of us that hunted with Lead for 15 or so years before Lead shot was outlawed , it was tough to convert us into using steel shot .
    I had the opportunity to use some of the earliest steel shot experimental loads , some were junk while others were ok at close range .
    The norm out of our fixed choked barreled 870's and AL2's was , weak patterns , so , birds that were squarely hit inside of 35 yds drifted off with
    their wings stretched out , glided to the ground and died in that same position some 50 to 75 yds out .
    Now when the shot size was increased to 3 ,2's or even 1's along with bumping the velocity up from (Leads) 1325 fps to 1375 fps , is
    when we could see the effectiveness of steel shot but this was only achieved through more open chokes ( like .020 ) and even worked
    with constrictions as open as Skeet choke (.005)

    Todays Factory Steel Shot loads have come along way and they are very effective at distances waterfowl should be shot at !
    So if you want to shoot farther , you'll have to venture into Higher Density shot materials.....but make no mistake about it ,
    they're a lot better and require you to dig deeper into your wallet !
     
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  7. Dogface

    Dogface Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    SE PA
    Terrible. The factory stuff available then was junk. Most of the experts said you could not reload steel. A friend decided that was bull and he started reloading steel. His reloads were vastly superior to any factory ammo then and we all started to reload steel.
     
  8. egadwall

    egadwall Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    I'm a short range guy, and although I noticed a difference, my main problem was that I had a BPS built before adjustable chokes. Had trouble hitting anything until I realized that the modified choke was so tight that I couldn't hit. Completely blew a wing off a mallard at 25 yards and realized the issue. I actually loved the beginning in that I was hunting the Rainwater Basin in NE, one of the first areas to require steel, and I had the pheasant shooting all to myself on the WPAS because most didn't want to shoot steel.

    The biggest problem was that in the mid 80s, lead loads had really improved in about a 10 year period with better wads, buffering, and better shot than the 70s, and it was hard giving that up. I was reloading a hot ounce and 3/8 load in 3" shells that was great, and reloading wasn't an option for a while, at least safely.

    AA shells, buffering and shotcups were so much better than fiber wads.
     
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  9. theduckguru

    theduckguru Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    ohio
    I strarted shooting some steel in the 70s and by 87 there was good stuff to be bought. Never seen the need for steel velocities >1400 fps.
     
  10. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Flyway Manager

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    Location:
    JeffcoMO
    Shooting ducks wasn't really a big problem with the first steel loads, there was a difference but we could kill them as long as we kept the ranges close. The real problem came in when we tried shooting geese, the going up two shot sizes thing didn't work especially with the ultra slow loads back then we would hit them and they would just keep on flying if they weren't in your face when you shot. With lead 2's or BB's bringing down Canada's was not a problem not even when you started pass shooting them at 55 to 60 yards. I pretty much gave up on geese for a few years till faster and better steel loads were available which was around 3 or 4 years when we could load better than factory ammo.
    My opinion for what it's worth or isn't, I'd still take a heavy load of lead BB's on geese against anything offered today even tungsten shot, I still haven't found anything that kills geese better.
     
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