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John Singer
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:47 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 03 Sep 2014
Posts: 121
Location: Brooklyn, MI

I was never impressed with most factory steel ammo for the 16 gauge.

I reload my own and really like 7/8 oz of steel at 1550 fps.

The available factory load that performs well for me is available here:

https://www.sportingammo2.com/

I do recommend #3 steel if you are purchasing it strictly for pheasants.

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Hootch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:41 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 28 Mar 2008
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Location: Eagle, Nebraska

Now I might use that steel load for pheasants. But as long as I have good Bismuth and some Tungsten Matirx left, will use it.

I don't like steel for pheasants even in the 12ga. Especially later in the season.

Loved the nice shot and Tungsten Matrix, knocked pheasants cold.

But I might give the Sporting Ammo steel a try. Nothing else, #5 steel at 1450fps would be good teal load.
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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:39 pm  Reply with quote
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A fast stepping 3" 12 gauge load of #4 steel shot for pheasant? Yes. 1-1/4 ounces of #4 steel shot in a 2-3/4" 16 gauge load? No. Less #4 stel shot will result in patterns which will be far too thin out past 20 yards. Obtainable velocities won't be nearly as effective either. And you will stand a good chance of ruining a perfectly good 16 ga barrel trying it to boot.

Better to go w/ a 12 gauge magnum repeater w/ a barrel made for steel shot loads. You'll be far better off. So won't the pheasants, because you'll stand a much better chance of cleanly killing them w/ suitable steel shot loads.
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4setters
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:09 pm  Reply with quote
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16gg,
20 yards you say, on steel 16 patterns before they're too thin??

My favorite pheasant load in 16 gauge (in 35 years of pheasant hunting I've never shot one pheasant with a 12 gauge--except one cripple that I grabbed a buddies gun to dispatch) was/is a high velocity reload with 1 and 1/8 ozs. of #5s. Deadly over dogs and even on wild-flushing pheasants out to 40 yards or better. 1 and 1/8 oz of #5 lead contains 192 pellets.

In 16 gauge one has to go to #6 lead shot to greatly exceed the pellet count of a 15/16 oz steel load. A 1 oz. lead load of # 6 is 222 pellets and a 1 and 1/8 oz load is 250. I personally have never like #6 lead for pheasants, preferring #5.

Current 15/16 oz factory steel loads contain 180 pellets of #4 steel. Not a great difference from 1 and 1/8 oz of lead #5s (192). Several folks on this site shoot pheasants with 16s using 1 oz. lead loads. 1 oz of #5 lead contains 171 pellets, slightly less that 15/16 oz of #4 steel.

My guns pattern steel tighter than lead, so I am head scratching about "20 yard patterns." While I don't believe that factory steel #4s is a good 40 yard pheasant load, it has to do with a variety of things including pellet mass, faster velocity loss, penetration, etc, and not the pattern.

Over dogs, cripples are rare--whether using lead or steel.

I have no qualms about shooting roosters at 30-35 yards with factory steel #4s. With the new Bismuth loads on the market, if I had to go entirely to non-tox, that's probably the direction I would take however. Still got some Tungsten matrix and factory steel to use up first. My opinion. Others may have different experiences, particularly those that drive fields for pheasants.

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16s: 1954 Win M12 IC
1952 Ithaca M37 Mod
1955 Browning Auto-5 Mod
1940 Ithaca NID M/F
1959 Beretta Silver Hawk
Ranger 103-II M/F
Browning A-5 Sweet 16
Browning Citori Invector
Browning BPS Upland Invector
Rem 870 Remchoke
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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:40 pm  Reply with quote
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The thin patternshere are not from a lack of pellets. It's how well a particular 16 ga barrel handles #4 pellets.

Barrels with less than .664"-.665" bore diameters tend to struggle w/ patterning #4 lead shot well in my experience. The big pellets need all the bore size they can get to flow well through a 16 bore. I'm betting that trying to shove a 1-1/4 ounce load of #4 steel pellets wrapped in a typical thick walled steel shot wad through any 16 ga bore and getting useful patterns beyond 20 yards is going to be even more difficult. I'm also betting the choke ends of any 16 ga barrels not expressly made for shooting steel shot are in jeopardy--especially with these bigger pellets.

Of course, you are entitled to shoot whatever ammo you wish to through you gun barrels, but none for me thanks.
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4setters
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:52 pm  Reply with quote
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16 gg, Now you really got me scratching my head--both sides at once.

1 and 1/4 oz of steel down a 16 bore? Through interpolation, it would take a shell of somewhere between 3.5 and 4 inches in length to get that much steel in a 16 gauge shell.

Did you mean lead?

I through the subject was non-tox loads for a left coast dude needing recommendations.

In 12 gauge factory loads, it takes a 3 inch shell to arrive at 1 and 1/4 oz of steel.

The PT1680 (VP80) wad that I use for my steel 7/8 oz loads is only rated for 7/8 oz of steel, although one might get 15/16 oz. of small steel in it if he tried hard enough. This same wad is rated for 1 and 1/4 oz of lead. In fact, I use a shot measuring cup to get close to 7/8 oz, before getting a precise measurement on a scale (ah, retirement is nice!) and 7/8 oz. of #7 steel is almost exactly at the 1 and 1/4 oz lead marking on the shot cup, i.e., volume wise, 7/8 oz steel = 1 and 1/4 oz of lead. A 3 inch 20 gauge makes it to 1 oz of steel shot, and I suspect that if they made 3 inch steel 16 gauge loads they would come in either 1 and 1/16 or 1 and 1/8 oz loads.

Don't expect me to test any 1 and 1/4 oz steel loads in a 16 ga.! Ouch! Don't need any 1 and 1/4 oz lead loads either--1 and 1/8 oz is just fine with me.

I would agree with you that--at least in theory--putting large shot of any substance down a 16 bore could result in some pattern issues; however I do believe that modern wads have helped out a lot with that issue. (and putting large shot down a 20 or 28 bore--in theory--is even more problematic).

I've seen enough 16 gauge steel shot patterns on water while shooting at ducks--both #2s and #4s-- to know that I get good patterns out of my guns that I shoot steel in. (Out of an elevated blind of course--you don't think I would sluice them on the water do you?) And there are 4 modern 16 gauge guns listed in my byline above that are rated for steel.

My advice to you, buy modern bismuth!

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16s: 1954 Win M12 IC
1952 Ithaca M37 Mod
1955 Browning Auto-5 Mod
1940 Ithaca NID M/F
1959 Beretta Silver Hawk
Ranger 103-II M/F
Browning A-5 Sweet 16
Browning Citori Invector
Browning BPS Upland Invector
Rem 870 Remchoke
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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:39 pm  Reply with quote
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4setters,

Let's go back to a line in Hootch's reply for a moment: "Now I might use that steel load for pheasants". The question raised is how effective a 7/8 ounce load of steel pellets might be for taking pheasant. And let's assume out of common sense that the load has #7 shot (or even #6 shot).

As far back as I can remember, the rule of thumb, based on years of actual experience from very many experts using steel shot for a given size bird, is to go at least to pellet sizes up from lead shot. So using #7 steel shot would be like using #9 lead shot for pheasant. We'd need a load of #5 steel shot at minimum. I think #4 steel shot would be wiser yet.

Here is the opening line of my 1st reply:

"A fast stepping 3" 12 gauge load of #4 steel shot for pheasant? Yes. 1-1/4 ounces of #4 steel shot in a 2-3/4" 16 gauge load? No."

As you have so adroitly pointed out, it isn't even possible to stuff a 1-1/4 ounce of #4 steel pellets into a 2-3/4 inch 16 gauge hull (same 1-1/4 ounces of #5 steel shot). No argument from me here. You're spot on. It isn't even possible (unless some fool tries it by loading from the muzzle). Laughing

I'm also pointing out that 16 gauge barrels need all the bore diameter they can get to pattern a 1-1/4 ounce load of #4 lead shot well. This is based on my own experience from reloading and pattern testing that exact load in several of my 16 gauge guns with bore sizes from about .660" to .670" in diameter. I think that a hypothetical 16 ga. load of 1-1/4 ounce load of #4 steel shot would prove to be even more difficult in getting useful patterns, and that doing so would most likely ruin the barrel to boot. Thankfully, it isn't even possible.

I also agree w/ you regarding 16 ga 1-1/8 ounce loads of #5 lead shot for pheasant. It's a long proven excellent load. No argument here either. But once again, the original question is about using steel shot for pheasant. Essentially, we agree here regarding steel shot for pheasant don't we? I also do not think ground sluicing game birds is acceptable (unless it's for safely dispatching running cripples). So why are you scratching your head in confusion?

I'm saying to bring a 12 w/ a 3" chamber and some 3" 1-1/4 ounce #4 steel shot loads for pheasant, and to leave the 16 at home. I think that is exactly what you might do as well. If so, then we agree. Very Happy
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4setters
PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:26 pm  Reply with quote
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16gg,

We don't agree. 'Nuff said.

Mike

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16s: 1954 Win M12 IC
1952 Ithaca M37 Mod
1955 Browning Auto-5 Mod
1940 Ithaca NID M/F
1959 Beretta Silver Hawk
Ranger 103-II M/F
Browning A-5 Sweet 16
Browning Citori Invector
Browning BPS Upland Invector
Rem 870 Remchoke
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John Singer
PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:35 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 03 Sep 2014
Posts: 121
Location: Brooklyn, MI

7/8 oz of #4 steel has almost exactly the same pellet count as 1 1/4 oz of #4 lead. Google it. I do not think that anybody would argue that 1 1/4 oz of #4 lead lacks pellet density for pheasant.

Within 30-35 yards 7/8 oz of #4 steel @ 1400-1550 fps will pattern well through modified or improved cylinder 16 gauge bore to kill any pheasant that you place that pattern on.

Your experiences may differ from mine.

For longer shots I do prefer #3 or #2 steel.

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Dogchaser37
PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:51 am  Reply with quote
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Plus one on all counts John Singer.

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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:29 pm  Reply with quote
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John Singer wrote:
7/8 oz of #4 steel has almost exactly the same pellet count as 1 1/4 oz of #4 lead. Google it. I do not think that anybody would argue that 1 1/4 oz of #4 lead lacks pellet density for pheasant.

Within 30-35 yards 7/8 oz of #4 steel @ 1400-1550 fps will pattern well through modified or improved cylinder 16 gauge bore to kill any pheasant that you place that pattern on.

Your experiences may differ from mine.

For longer shots I do prefer #3 or #2 steel.


1-1/4 ounces of #4 lead shot is a marginal 16 ga. load for two reasons. First, 170 pellets isn't enough out past 30 yards (unless the pattern has an exceptionally tight core). second, 1-1/4 ounces of #4 lead shot stuffed into a 16 ga. plastic wad cup produces a very long shot column for the gauge.

These two combined negative factors are why a 16 bore barrel must have the highest expansion ratio it can get. This is why a .670 bore diameter can handle the load pretty well w/ the right choke selection. I've found that tighter Mod to looser I Mod chokes in a 16 ga. bore w/ enough diameter help the load pattern w/ a fairly tight core. That's when these loads can cleanly kill pheasant well past 35-40 yards.

Those barrels with bore diameters of .663" or less are usually out of the running. .007" more bore diameter may not seem like much, but it makes all the difference from what I've seen on paper and in the field in cleanly killing pheasant past 40 yards w/ a 16 bore.

170 #4 steel pellets have the same volume as 170 #4 lead pellets. Stuff every single one of these big steel pellets into a typically much thicker walled steel shot wad (a must if we don't want a ruined barrel), and the resulting shot column is going to be considerably longer. Trying to get that longer shot column of big steel pellets to flow well enough through any 16 bore in order to produce excellent patterns is going to be difficult at best. Increasing the velocity from about 1200-1250 FPS to 1400-1500 FPS in an attempt to increase the already weak carry up of steel pellets in comparison to lead shot certainly won't help matters here. And using #2 or #3 steel shot in a 16 is just out of the question IMO. These even bigger steel pellets demand both heavier loads than a 16 bore can handle to produce clean kills. Just how it is, but I don't think you are recommending it. I believe you are implying that it takes a 12 bore or bigger here. At least I hope so.

I love how well a 16 can reach out and cleanly kill pheasant and other similar bigger, tougher birds with the right loads. But pushing the bore past what it can handle is just asking for problems. Why ask it to. As others have already pointed out, there are much better non-toxic ammo choices available to take pheasant w/ the 16 bore. I'd stick w/ Hevi-shot, tungsten matrix, or bismuth loads if I must. But again, that's just me.

All I'm really doing here is asking folks to put some thought into making a wise choice when choosing the ammo. It's not simply about how much the ammo costs. That is a minor factor when considering how much we invest in a hunt over all. It's about having a successful hunt IMO. That means picking the best ammo available to do the job. Steel shot isn't high on that list here. Just sayin'.
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John Singer
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:19 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 03 Sep 2014
Posts: 121
Location: Brooklyn, MI

16gaugeguy, first off, I have to say that I love this forum. I do wish we could get together over a few beers and discuss but this is a fine alternative. Secondly, I get it. You do not like steel shot.

The original post is titled: Steel for Pheasants. I posted my responses based on my experiences both in the field and on the range with a patterning board.

It the title of this thread was Bismuth for Pheasants, I would not have responded as I have zero experience with bismuth.

Here are a couple of links that you and others may find interesting:

http://pointingdogblog.blogspot.com/2015/05/after-lead.html

http://pointingdogblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/kent-bismuth-ammo-delivers.html

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A5Mag12
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:42 am  Reply with quote
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If I have to shoot steel I'm taking the 12 gauge. If I was to shoot pheasants with steel it would be a 3" 12 ga. 1 1/8 oz load of 2's or 3's at 1550 fps+ . Any and all of the slow steel 1300 fps range is crap from any gauge. You need steel going at least 1400+ to be a fair hunting load. Most of the steel safe 16's don't really feel like a 16 so if you are going to be shooting steel you might as well just go with a 12. If you have a nice 16 of any make and/or type and can't shoot lead then you need to be looking at one of the soft alternatives.
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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:47 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
Posts: 564
Location: Hudson,Wy

4's work just fine until range gets past 35-40 yards. Then I like 3's. Not sure if those are available as factory loads. 2's have good punch but the pattern gets a bit sparse for pheasants. Your gun may or may not like them.
If you shoot a lot and hunt pen raised birds just use a skeet or I/C choke and #4's, you will like the combo. If you don't hunt very often, for pen raised or wild birds either one, just buy one of the bismuth or heavier alternatives and don't worry about the cost of buying only one or two boxes per year.

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16GAwaterfowler
PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:17 am  Reply with quote



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If I can kill large mallards with steel in the 16 ga out to 40 yards then pheasant should not be a problem at that range either. I've only shot lead at pheasants, however I wouldn't be afraid to try steel 3's or 4's on them, that being said most factory steel is Anemic at best, loading your own you can easily get 1600 fps out of 7/8 oz steel loads, 1550 from 15/16 oz steel loads and 1450 fps from 1 ounce loads. Doubt we will ever see this from the factories though. This the newest load I've been working on 1 ounce of 4 steel, 1450 fps at 40 yards, 3's work just as well
[img][URL=http://s1218.photobucket.com/user/Joe_Speroni/media/IMG_0063_zpszzhzy7mr.jpg.html] [/URL][/img]
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