Shot

Three general types of lead shot have been made: drop or soft shot, which is essentially pure lead; chilled or hard shot, which is lead hardened by the addition of antimony, and plated shot. The last is lead shot coated with a thin coat of copper or nickel to minimize distortion on firing, thereby maintaining a good aerodynamic shape and increasing the range. Winchester-Western sells their copper plated shot under the trade name of Lubaloy® shot.

A fourth category of shot is now widely available. This includes steel, bismuth, and tungsten shot. These were produced because of government regulations prohibiting use of lead shot for migratory bird hunting. In the case of steel shot, the pellets are made of softened steel; weigh less than comparably sized lead pellets, lose velocity quicker and thus have less range. Steel shot may be copper plated or in the case of Remington zinc galvanized. Winchester manufactures shells loaded with bismuth pellets; Federal tungsten-iron and tungsten-polymer pellets.

Shotgun pellets fall into two general categories: birdshot and buckshot. Birdshot is used for birds and small game; buckshot is used for large game such as deer. Shot size generally ranges from #12 to 000 Buck. The smaller the shot number, the greater the pellet diameter. Table 8.1A gives the diameter, weight, and number of pellets per ounce for various lead birdshot pellet sizes; Table 8.1B, the diameter and pellets per ounce for steel shot.

Table 8.1A Standard Lead Birdshot: Sizes and Weights

Diameter

Average Weight of Pellets

Approximate

No.

(in.)

(grains)

(milligrams)

Number per ounce

12

.05

.18

11

2385

11

.06

.25

19

1750

9

.08

.75

49

585

8 1/2

.085

.88

57

485

8

.09

1.07

69

410

7 1/2

.095

1.25

81

350

6

.11

1.95

126

225

5

.12

2.58

167

170

4

.13

3.24

210

135

2

.15

4.86

315

90

BB

.18

8.75

567

50

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