Steel Shot

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Can I shoot steel shot in my shotgun?

A question that is very common is: can I use steel shot in my shotgun? But the answer is slightly more complicated. But to take this from the bottom:

A) One can in almost all cases shot steel loaded cartridges in all guns that has a valid smokeless powder proof - under some conditions: not all cartridges.

B) Steel pellets reacts a somewhat harder on choke, so even if you safely can use steel shot without damaging your gun - you might not hit anything since the pattern is so completely damaged that it is useless.

So to start with A. Steel loaded cartridges are made in three versions: one standard cartridge, one high performance and one magnum. Where the high performance cartridge is a “semi magnum” pressure level. See Steel shot proof. The magnum cartridges loaded with steel is loaded to the same levels as a magnum loaded with lead. See CIP.

So as long as one only uses steel loaded cartridges that is loaded to the normal cartridge performance - a valid Nitro proof is enough. But to add on B, one should think about how the shot performs. And since steel normally adds at least one grade in choke there’s normally not much fun to be expected from a fully choked barrel. When over choking a barrel pattern normally opens up and the percentage pellets in the circle gets lower even if the constriction is very tight. So to much choke is hopeless with steel shot.

So a wise thing to do is normally to open the barrels to below 1/2 choke, see Choke, if one expects more than just the sound and recoil.

1991 the Steel proof was introduced, see Steel shot proof but a gun with a valid magnum proof is also steel proofed as long as the barrels are strong enough so that they holds the Q-value - see Steel shot proof but only as long as the choke has less constriction then 0.5mm or 1/2 choke.


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Last updated: 2015-05-23