Kent Bismuth Ammo Review.

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Kent Bismuth Ammo Review.

Postby chiendog » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:50 pm

Just before the 2016 season opened, I managed to get my hands on a good supply of the new Kent Bismuth ammo in 12 and 20 gauge loads. Now that the season is over, I've finally had the time to write a review of it. You can read it here: http://pointingdogblog.blogspot.ca/2017 ... ivers.html

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Re: Kent Bismuth Ammo Review.

Postby orhunter » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:38 pm

Thanks. I like these personal experience field tests. Far better than some expert claiming this or that ammo should do a particular job as opposed to what it will do.

One important bit is shot choice. Only shoot at birds you can kill.

The one thing I take exception to is the killing ability of No. 2 steel. Although penetration tests say it's finished at 41 yards, being hit with something that large in diameter has a certain way of adding additional killing power. Well past 41 yards.... in my field experience.
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Re: Kent Bismuth Ammo Review.

Postby bullfrog » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:56 pm

Thanks for the detailed report. I tried some of it in 12 gauge #5 and 6 this year. It's a good option for my fixed choke sxs when I'm hunting a refuge that requires non-tox. Unfortunately all I was able to test it on was quail. Not exactly hard to kill. It was late in the season and the roosters were extremely wary.
While it's half the price of hevi-shot, I still hope the price comes down as it becomes more available. I was only able to find it at Cabelas.
Oh...and sweet shotguns!
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Re: Kent Bismuth Ammo Review.

Postby 3drahthaars » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:16 am

orhunter wrote:Thanks. I like these personal experience field tests. Far better than some expert claiming this or that ammo should do a particular job as opposed to what it will do.

One important bit is shot choice. Only shoot at birds you can kill.

The one thing I take exception to is the killing ability of No. 2 steel. Although penetration tests say it's finished at 41 yards, being hit with something that large in diameter has a certain way of adding additional killing power. Well past 41 yards.... in my field experience.


I used to roll my own steel loads around '02-'04, and I toyed with the fast stuff... reloading upwards of 1700fps #3s (until Kent started making a decent load off the shelf).

Though I could never get them to pattern consistently or very well for that matter, I had two memorable shots with them.

One was a woodduck that my dog bumped off of a beaver pond, and I pass shot as it came down the creek.

Immediately after I folded it, it hit a tree and dropped straight down. I paced it at 45yds, GPS said 40yds... it had 6 pellet holes, 3 in and 3 exiting (i.e. all pass thrus).

Pass thrus at 40 yards! And, moreover the duck was pole-axed dead on contact.

Penetration tests are OK, but insitu tests are the reality. KE = 1/2 mv² Velocity kills!!!!

So, anecdotally I agree with orhunter.

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Re: Kent Bismuth Ammo Review.

Postby stubblejumper » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:13 pm

I used the Kent Bismuth loads in my 16 gauge for hunting sharptails where non toxic shot was required. I didn't kill a lot of birds with them, but I saw no difference between the bismuth and lead with the birds that I did shoot.
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Re: Kent Bismuth Ammo Review.

Postby blue04 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:38 pm

stubblejumper wrote:I used the Kent Bismuth loads in my 16 gauge for hunting sharptails where non toxic shot was required. I didn't kill a lot of birds with them, but I saw no difference between the bismuth and lead with the birds that I did shoot.


Thanks stubblejumper. Bismuth is pretty good.

For those who may be interested, here's a quick overview of some common non-toxic alternatives to steel shot.

Bismuth was the only alternative to steel shot during the early years of the non-toxic shot era. It's not as dense as lead, but it's enough better than steel that waterfowlers took notice of it's knock down advantage over steel when it first came out. The knock on it at the time was the cost. It's now cheaper than most of the other non-steel options. It's also a lot softer than steel so (as you noted) it can be used in older guns. Currently about $1.60 per shell in 12 ga 2 3/4 MSRP in boxes of 10.

Kent makes a product called Tungsten Matrix that's about the same density as lead, and is soft enough to be used in older guns. It's virtually identical to lead in performance. Pure tungsten is quite a bit denser than lead, and too pricey to make shot out of it alone. They blend the tungsten with (believe it or not) plastic to get the hardness down to something that can be shot in older shotguns. This yields shot that is similar in hardness and density to lead. Currently about $3.80 per shell in 12 ga 2 3/4 MSRP in boxes of 10.

Hevi-Shot is a blend of tungsten, nickel, and iron. It's about 5.5% heavier than lead. In my experience, standard Hevi-Shot hits harder than anything I've used and patterns well in all the guns I've shot it through. Regular Hevi-Shot is too hard to be used in older guns. But they've more recently come out with a Hevi-Shot Classic Doubles line of shells that is more like Tungsten Matrix and is targeted at guns with softer steel barrels. Currently about $4.20 per shell for 12 ga 2 3/4 MSRP in boxes of 10 for standard Hevi-Shot waterfowl loads. Currently about $3.80 per shell for 12 ga 2 3/4 MSRP in boxes of 10 for Classic Doubles.

The Hevi-Shot folks also have a line of shells called Hevi-Metal that is a mix of standard steel pellets and tungsten+nickel+iron Hevi-Shot pellets (roughly 50/50 of each by weight). The advertised advantage of these shells is that the Hevi-Shot pellets are two sizes smaller than the steel pellets, which allows for matching of velocity between the two pellet types and also gives quite a bit more pellets per shell than standard steel. It can be considered a compromise to get some Hevi-Shot performance at a greatly reduced price. I have used these with good results on big Canada geese. There is no doubt in my mind that they hit harder than regular steel, but they're not as good as full Hevi-Shot or Tungsten Matrix. Currently about $1.04 per shell for 12 ga 3" MSRP in boxes of 25.
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Re: Kent Bismuth Ammo Review.

Postby stubblejumper » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:02 am

blue04 wrote:
stubblejumper wrote:I used the Kent Bismuth loads in my 16 gauge for hunting sharptails where non toxic shot was required. I didn't kill a lot of birds with them, but I saw no difference between the bismuth and lead with the birds that I did shoot.


Thanks stubblejumper. Bismuth is pretty good.

For those who may be interested, here's a quick overview of some common non-toxic alternatives to steel shot.

Bismuth was the only alternative to steel shot during the early years of the non-toxic shot era. It's not as dense as lead, but it's enough better than steel that waterfowlers took notice of it's knock down advantage over steel when it first came out. The knock on it at the time was the cost. It's now cheaper than most of the other non-steel options. It's also a lot softer than steel so (as you noted) it can be used in older guns. Currently about $1.60 per shell in 12 ga 2 3/4 MSRP in boxes of 10.

Kent makes a product called Tungsten Matrix that's about the same density as lead, and is soft enough to be used in older guns. It's virtually identical to lead in performance. Pure tungsten is quite a bit denser than lead, and too pricey to make shot out of it alone. They blend the tungsten with (believe it or not) plastic to get the hardness down to something that can be shot in older shotguns. This yields shot that is similar in hardness and density to lead. Currently about $3.80 per shell in 12 ga 2 3/4 MSRP in boxes of 10.

Hevi-Shot is a blend of tungsten, nickel, and iron. It's about 5.5% heavier than lead. In my experience, standard Hevi-Shot hits harder than anything I've used and patterns well in all the guns I've shot it through. Regular Hevi-Shot is too hard to be used in older guns. But they've more recently come out with a Hevi-Shot Classic Doubles line of shells that is more like Tungsten Matrix and is targeted at guns with softer steel barrels. Currently about $4.20 per shell for 12 ga 2 3/4 MSRP in boxes of 10 for standard Hevi-Shot waterfowl loads. Currently about $3.80 per shell for 12 ga 2 3/4 MSRP in boxes of 10 for Classic Doubles.

The Hevi-Shot folks also have a line of shells called Hevi-Metal that is a mix of standard steel pellets and tungsten+nickel+iron Hevi-Shot pellets (roughly 50/50 of each by weight). The advertised advantage of these shells is that the Hevi-Shot pellets are two sizes smaller than the steel pellets, which allows for matching of velocity between the two pellet types and also gives quite a bit more pellets per shell than standard steel. It can be considered a compromise to get some Hevi-Shot performance at a greatly reduced price. I have used these with good results on big Canada geese. There is no doubt in my mind that they hit harder than regular steel, but they're not as good as full Hevi-Shot or Tungsten Matrix. Currently about $1.04 per shell for 12 ga 3" MSRP in boxes of 25.


We have one sharptail hunt that takes place on a military base where non tox shot is required, or I would not bother with it, but I would rather shoot bismuth through my SxS shotguns than steel. That being said, we only fire a few shots each during that hunt, so a box lasts years.
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Re: Kent Bismuth Ammo Review.

Postby ReefWhooligan » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:35 am

I've been using only Bismuth for pheasant hunting the last 3 years. I started with Rio and switched to Kent when it became available. I was using 3" shells with #5 shot out of an improved cylinder choke. I know that's a heavy load, and they do hit a bit too hard over a pointer unless I give them a second or two to fly, but I use it due to only hunting pressured public land and often with a flushing dog in the mix. I see no difference between these shells and Prairie Storm that I used to use. They are a little bit more expensive but I continue to use them so I don't have to switch from lead to non-tox when going onto federal land and I just feel better not spreading lead everywhere.
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Re: Kent Bismuth Ammo Review.

Postby JONOV » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:22 am

My wife wanted to join me duck hunting one day this year, which meant she was carrying my 28 gauge, which meant I bought a box of the Kent Bismuth.

I told her, wait til they seem to stop moving in the air over the decoys.

She got two Blue Bills that hit the water dead.
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