No Lead For Me, Please
If you are a resident of the UK you will know it is illegal to shoot wildfowl using lead shot. Many people have said I need to buy a new gun then. I cant afford to shoot bismuth! Well, steel isn’t any good Copper….really?? Sound familiar? I just thought whilst the frost is still fresh and the day is bright I would do a little piece about what I use. No lead for me, please. Oh, and what other options are available.
Gamebore Super Steel
This is a bold move by Gamebore, in fact, it was a game changer! The cartridges are chambered 2 3/4 and come in shot sizes 3,4 and 5. The 4 shot and 5 shot can be used in any standard gun chambered for 2 3/4 inch cartridges. The larger 3 shot is recommended for guns that are steel shot proof. Yes. They say you can use them through that old side by side, you know the one you were going to have to replace before you could go duck shooting. I have and continue to use these through a 1/2 and 3/4 choke over and under not proofed for steel, 3 years down the line and not a single problem. For me, they are great for wigeon and teal shooting though I use a larger shot size for the geese.
Here is a quick note as to the speeds and so on.
Load 32 grams
Muzzle velocity 1400 fps
Shot size 3,4,5
Gamebore Mammoth Steel
These are the cartridges I use for goose shooting. They cycle faultlessly in my semi-auto Escort, they pattern well for me and hit hard. I bulk purchased a few slabs when at my local gun shop Rifleman Firearms last year. They come in boxes of 10 and at around £3.50 are plenty cheap enough, It is very important to wipe down any unused shells at the end of the session though as they seem to rust for fun.
Here is a quick note as to speeds and so on.
Load 36 grams
Muzzle velocity 1460 fps
Shot size 1,3,4
I know, I know, That really expensive stuff, the stuff only the rich can afford. Well actually over the years it has become cheaper and cheaper. I, as you can tell from above, don’t use it anymore however for a brief spell years ago I experimented with bismuth. Eley is the market leaders for bismuth in my opinion. Here is what they have to say about it.
Bismuth is the market leading alternative to lead shot when reducing the impact on the environment is required. The unique formulation of the Bismuth alloy has many properties similar to lead in density and hardness. The alloy mix also ensures there is a certain malleability to the alloy, which in turn transfers energy into the target to deliver good knockdown power. Bismuth has no toxic properties and is very safe to handle.
For me, the cost outweighed the benefits of just running steel through my escort and being frowned upon for using it on ducks. As I said I experimented with it and yes, it patterned well. The recoil wasn’t noticeably different and it did the job it was designed to do. I did, however, notice the barrels were dirtier, quicker than with lead.
Here are the quick notes regarding speed and so on.
Load 30-36 grams
Muzzle velocity 1328-1362 fps
Shot size 3,4,5
What To Use
What you decide to use is entirely your choice. I have tried to show you what I find is a great combination. I have by no means been sponsored to write about the cartridges in question, I just feel it is a case of praise where its due. Yes other brands of steel are available and they might pattern better for you but, Gamebore were the first to lay their name on the line with steel for non-steel proof guns. Give them a try and let me know what you think of them.