More Shotgun Loading ???'s

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More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby orhunter » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:41 pm

Lets keep it to Tungsten and 12 gauge only so there's no confusion on my part. I'm easily confused.... If you want to throw in some anecdotal info based on personal experience with the 28 gauge, feel free.

It appears many are using extremely small shot sizes which seems practical if they perform as we'd like. Are there any down sides to small diameter shot? I'm a firm believer in there being more to performance on birds than penetration. Big shot simply kills/immobilizes better when penetration remains somewhat equal. Any bird will come down with damaged wings but I'm concerned with what a bird does when broken wings aren't what ended its flight. I want a live bird to feel really bad to the point of not going anywhere. Shot size larger than 6 seems to have this effect on pheasants. Does a smaller Tungsten have the same effect and why?

More shot per ounce does have advantages for sure but how many holes in a bird is too many? If we reduce the size of the payload, we gain some control over this. Just how many solid body hits with smaller Tungsten shot is required to immobilize a Phez or waterfowl.

I can see how reduced payloads are practical from an economic standpoint but how is performance affected?

Lets get into pattern density. Any time we reduce the size (shortened shot column) of the payload, we tend to increase pattern density but at the same time reducing pattern size by eliminating flyers outside the pattern core. Through actual testing, I've gotten some 12 gauge 1 oz. loads to pattern near 100% through a modified choke @ the normal range for 12 gauge testing, 40 yards, by reducing muzzle velocity below 1300 fps. How does Tungsten react to velocity? How fast can we launch Tungsten and not lose pattern density? How much can we reduce the payload and not sacrifice pattern density? Lets consider pattern size to be irrelevant.

Maybe I just think too much.....

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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby jlw034 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:47 pm

Sounds like you're on a deep dive OR. Good stuff to ponder on, scary stuff to fund! Can't imagine loading 12ga tungsten, would have to eat ramen packets every night haha.

I'll only speak to what I know. Small tungsten (I use 9.5) WILL pinhole through bone. I can't imagine this feels good to the bird, but I don't think it crashes them like #2 steel demolishing bone.

That being said, how often do you find steel/lead in the vitals? It generally stops well before it gets there. Tungsten will easily pass through the entire body of a pheasant.

This is very anecdotal, but when comparing #2 steel (my go to 12ga non-tox shot) and #3steel/#9.5tung (go to 28ga non-tox shot), I absolutely get less cripples with tungsten. I also cap my shots to around 40 yards with the 28 so it might not be apples to apples.
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby AverageGuy » Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:02 pm

I have used Tungsten since it was first offered by Remington over 20 years ago. Turkeys, Geese, Ducks and Pheasants.

I hunted some public in Iowa this season which requires non-toxic shot and took some roosters cleanly with 11/4 oz 6s at 1300 fps loaded by Hevi-Shot through a mod choke. 45 yards is not unreasonable with that load. I shot a bunch of rooster this season elsewhere using Fiocchi Golden Pheasant nickel plated 5s 13/8 oz at 1485 fps. The hevi-shot seems to hit harder.

I am currently using Federal Heavyweight TSS 9s for Spring Gobblers. It is amazing stuff. The box label claims it carries twice the penetration energy as 5 lead at 60 yards. I believe it based on my use.

I have used Hevi-Shot 4s for late season Mallards it is highly effective. Much more so that the 2 Steel loads I shoot. More pellets with more energy.
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby J D Patrick » Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:34 am

I am a fan of heavyshot and TSS

use steel when appropriate (ranges etc) but will pull out the other two when warranted
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby orhunter » Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:56 am

Gone are the days when we walk into the local hardware store, grab a box of Remington Express number 6 and go hunting.

I currently have a wide selection of 12 gauge ammo in my stash for pheasants and various prairie birds. Some of it is that same speedy Golden Phez 1 3/8 5's that Kent mentioned. I don't think it's all that impressive. The HW Tungsten 15gcc is interesting. Not that a person can actually get any. I have tried some of the Winchester Lead, 1 3/8 oz of 4's, 1300 fps. It really smacks the birds but only because the pattern is so dense. I though penetration sucked. Makes me think the velocity isn't what it's advertised to be. The load I've mostly relied on is Winchester 1 1/4 oz. 5's @ 1400 fps. Don't think they make it any more. This is the load I'll try to duplicate when I start handloading again. I will chronograph some different loads when summer rolls around and try to determine why various loads do what they do. Should be interesting.

I don't know why I wanted this discussion to focus on 12 gauge because it seems somewhat impractical to handload the 12 with TSS shot when so much good factory lead is available. If we focus on waterfowl and non-toxic, everything changes. For ducks and small geese, I really like 1300 fps, 1 3/8 oz of 2's, steel through a Briley Mod. choke. Superior to any lead/steel load I've ever shot ducks with. I have no confidence in the high speed stuff so commonly used. I've shot quite a bit of it (No. 3 shot size) at Pheasants when non-tox is required and beyond 30 yards it's almost completely ineffective. Maybe I don't know how to shoot the stuff. I've been left scratching my head, why didn't I hit that bird, or why didn't it come down I know I hit it???

I think what I'll end up going to the 28 more and more. I don't have any expectations of turning it into a 12 gauge simply by switching shot type. That's ridiculous. I'd like to think a 40 yard gun is possible. I'm good with whatever.

I did shoot some paper with Golden Pheasant 3/4 oz of 5's and although the pattern appeared good based on pellet count inside the circle, there was a hole in the middle big enough to cause problems. A person could be right on and never kill anything or be a little off and kill everything. Unacceptable. I had some Federal 12 ga. ammo years ago that did the same thing. Frustrating. I blamed that on the shot not being hard enough to pattern well.

More rambling... I wouldn't go down this rabbit hole if I was satisfied with the factory 28 Hevi-Shot. I've got a bunch of it because I thought it'd be great stuff.....

I thank everyone for their input.
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Jan 18, 2021 1:50 pm

That Golden Pheasant load I mentioned smashes roosters for me. The velocity is very helpful to getting on the front of the bird and or breaking them down on going away shots at longer ranges. It will kill a rooster farther than I care to shoot through a mod choke, closer birds need to get out before touching off.

Lots of folks rave about Boss ammo in the copper plated Bismuth. They load it in 28 gauge. I bought some 23/4 5s in 12 gauge for non-toxic shot areas pheasants but have yet to shoot it. A Friend of mine is a waterfowl guide and he has been very impressed with the Boss ammo in 20 and 12 gauges.

Boss also loads Tungsten for the 28 in a 1 oz load going slow for turkeys in 7s and 9s. Likely very effective but $8 a shell.

Might want to check out the Boss loads.

Would be easy to sell that Hevi-shot in the current market where everyone is struggling to buy anything.

Edit:

I think to get a 40 yard gun out of a 28 on wild pheasants is going to require TSS shot which will allow the use of 7s or 9s and get enough pellet count to have a workable pattern at that range.

I have shot a bunch of released pheasants using my 28s and Fiocchi Golden Pheasant 7/8 oz of 6s. I favor 5s over 6s for wild roosters but with the small payload of the 28 I go with 6s to get a better pattern.
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby Willie T » Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:18 am

Orhunter, I’ve done a lot of testing loading lead # 4 & 5 for pheasants. My conclusion is that pattern trumps velocity with lead. Going up in shot size tightens patterns. Larger shot tightens patterns. More velocity degraded patterns. Shot buffer like grex evens out patterns. Copper plated shot tightens patterns. My go to 12 ga pheasant load is 1 1/4 oz of 8% antimony #5 @ 1160-1200 fps. It will reliably ball up a going away rooster @ 50 yards if you center it up. Loading 3” 1 1/4 #5 20 guage I had to add a shot buffer and go to copper plated lead to get the same patterns and performance. The same will likely apply to your 28 guage loads.
Shooting steel at roosters, #2 will substantially cut down on cripples. With steel in a 12, 1 1/4 oz @ 1400 fps is a good place to be. Hevi-shot hits harder than lead. In my shotguns I get more even patterns with a fairly open choke like IC with the hevi. When I tighten the choke up, the core is dense but the fringe has holes with more flyers. Unlike steel, you don’t need high velocities with hevi-shot. I don’t shoot a lot of the tungsten shots because of $. Bismuth is not as good as lead but better than steel and more affordable. It patterns like lead and hits like one size smaller lead. It is brittle though and my hunch is copper plating may mitigate that somewhat as well as tighten patterns.
Good luck with your hand loads.
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:59 pm

Round pellets tend to fly in the direction they are launched. Pellets with flat spots tend to start going off course due to wind resistance of the flat spots. The softer the shot the more easy it is to deform the shot and create flier pellets going out of the pattern. Hence the notion that increased velocity harms patterns.

This is why higher antimony, copper plated and nickel plated shot were invented and used. Each is harder than the other. Copper plated is rated a 3 and nickel plated is 4. That Golden Pheasant load uses nickel plated shot and that is why it is highly effective at velocities that would hamper the pattern of softer unplated lead shot.

Steel shot is even harder and that is why it also patterns well at higher velocities.

Not as simple as a standard claim higher velocities destroy patterns. The wads and shot being used are critical to the result.
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby orhunter » Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:35 pm

Kent: I misinterpreted your comparison of Hevi vs Fiocchi. Reading too fast, thinking too slow. Had a fellow over to the house yesterday, I was swapping rifle rifle primers for his shotgun primers. He mentioned BOSS ammo also. Says it’s really good stuff. I’ll look into it. When on Ballistic Products website, they show HW15 only in size 7 but like everything else, out of stock. As I see it now, I’m going to need another 28 shotgun, with screw-in chokes.

Willie: What brand is that 8% Antimony stuff? Reading Brister’s book, he really rags on the 3” 20, especially with steel shot. Don’t know what brands he was dealing with when doing his testing but your use of Grex with your lead loads is definitely the way to go. I had considered it so better get some. I’ve always coated the shot and wad with Mica but have no evidence it actually does anything. One thing Brister talked about that relates to the 3” 20 is how the payload fits the bore. Steel is pretty poor in any gauge because the shot column is so long. It would be reasonable to think the more dense the shot, the shorter the shot column, the better pattern control we get. His conclusion was the 3/4 oz. 28 payload was the closest to perfect of any of the gauges which is why it performs better than what we might expect. Honestly, I don’t think it’s any better than a 1 oz. 12 gauge load which is pretty darn good and the ammo I’ve tested shows that to be true.

I don’t go through a lot of ammo when pheasant hunting. With the 12 gauge I expect to drop a bird every time I pull the trigger if I pick my shots. I also expect that to change the more I use the 28 but hope not by much.

Just to keep up to date on things... My pup is due on the 22nd then 8 weeks till pick up.
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby Willie T » Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:42 pm

Congrats on the upcoming puppy. I would imagine the anticipation is building. Guessing you are going with a Griff?
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby Willie T » Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:30 pm

Lawrence magnum shot is the best you can buy. Greater than 6% antimony is considered hard shot. Lawrence is the best followed by Remington STS magnum shot. When looking at plated shot, electrolysis plating is what you want. For your 28 I would go with nickel plated as it is the hardest. Precisionreloading.com is where to get it. I believe they are in South Dakota but you can buy online. Some local turkey hunters really helped me when I was working out 20 guage loads.
Edit to add: most of the shot you can buy that is touted as plated is actually copper or nickel washed which amounts to painted and does little for hardness.
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby orhunter » Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:26 pm

Willie: From what I’ve read, Lawrence shot is said to be from 4 to 6%. It’s what I’ve always used. Yea, the plating method is what I wondered about. I’ll have see if what I have is what I want. The good Nickel shot is a two step process, a base coat of Copper goes on first. Thanks for the web link for components. I’ll check ‘em out. Harvey.
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Re: More Shotgun Loading ???'s

Postby Willie T » Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:34 pm

orhunter wrote:Willie: From what I’ve read, Lawrence shot is said to be from 4 to 6%. It’s what I’ve always used. Yea, the plating method is what I wondered about. I’ll have see if what I have is what I want. The good Nickel shot is a two step process, a base coat of Copper goes on first. Thanks for the web link for components. I’ll check ‘em out. Harvey.


Data I saw showed Lawrence to test out at 8 & Remington STS @ 7. The guys making the turkey loads fast tracked me somewhat. The link I sent you actually uses electrolysis to plate shot. I went way down that rabbit hole and kinda enjoyed it. I took the time to share because it sounded like you wanted to do the same thing. I chronographed and patterned everything I did. When I was done I felt confident I was making the best shot shells for what I wanted to do with my shotguns.
Again, good luck with your experimenting.
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Edit to add: for me it started out wanting to get some payback on squirrelly late season sharpies.
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