I get that you're not interested in spending the $$ for something other than steel. Maybe somebody else is interested though. Since Kent put the kibosh on 16 ga. Tungsten Matrix, I've switched back to bismuth 5's, also by Kent now. So far, so good.i also do not want to spend $20+ a box
you liking the bismuth and tungsten vs steel? I may have to pony up and try a box if its worthwhile, i'll do itI get that you're not interested in spending the $$ 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.
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.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
John, which brand of steel are you using?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).
Ahhh. That's precisely why I started shooting factory shells when I got my first 16 ga. about 20 years ago. Didn't want to buy a 16 ga. press & have another portion of my house filled with components. I could also see the writing on the wall. I was newly married; kid on the way; new home owner. I wasn't going to have the time to devote to hand loading, patterning, chronographing, etc. that I'd had in the past. I may look into the "Sporting Ammo II" thing though. If nothing else, it's intriguing. Thanks for the info!I have been shooting my own reloads. It is a published recipe and it is available here:
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
I have read Roster's report....many times. I printed a copy of it several years ago.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."
Years ago after rebates you could get a box for $15. I kept thinking as I shot, buck and a half, buck and a half, as the bird flew away. Now that sounds cheap.