Dear Bruce:

You wrote that “A one ounce 1300 fps load of steel #6s equals a 7/8 ounce 1200 fps load of lead #7-1/2s in both pellet count and pellet energy.” I shoot international skeet using 24 gram loads. My questions are these:

1. Will a 1 oz. 1300 fps load of steel #6 break international skeet clays

2. Will the extra speed of the steel shorten the international skeet shooter’s apparent lead or does the steel load slow down by the time it gets to the clay because of its decreased mass making the apparent lead unchanged?

Regards,

Jerry

Amsterdam, the NL (where it just keeps raining and raining – sigh)

Dear Jerry,

I’ve never used 24 gram steel loads, but I have used one ounce steel and those loads were fine for longish clays, definitely longer than 21 yards.

Depending on which source you read, one ounce of steel #7s (not #6s) have 399 or 422 pellets. That’s something near what 7/8 oz of #8-1/2 lead has. The #7 steel has 1.39 ft/lb energy at 20 yards if started at 1300 fps. The #8-1/2 lead has 1.25 ft/lb at 20 yards if started at 1200 fps. The traditional #9 lead pellet started at 1200 mv has 1.00 ft/lb energy at 20 yards. By the way, when I use muzzle velocity I use it in the American sense of velocity taken at 3 feet from the muzzle, not directly at the muzzle. For true muzzle velocity add about 140 fps, depending on velocity and pellet size.

Therefore, at skeet distances, a one ounce load of #7 shot with a muzzle velocity of 1300 fps is fully the equal of 7/8 oz of #8-1/2 lead at 1200 fps mv. There is really no advantage of going to #6 steel as you lose pellet count and do not need the added energy.

The extra speed of the steel shot will not significantly alter the leads required in skeet, even the longer lead on the second bird at station four doubles. Shoot the steel just the same way as you would lead.

What will be different in using one ounce of steel at 1300 vs 7/8 oz lead at 1200, is increased recoil. One ounce of anything pushed at 1300 fps mv has 19.9 ft/lb recoil in an 8# gun. 7/8 oz of anything started at 1200 fps has 12.3 ft/lb in the same gun. The typical international load of 7/8 oz #8-1/2s at 1350 ft/lb has 16.9 ft/lb recoil.

The bottom line is that since you are forced to go to non-tox shot in the Netherlands, if you can use one ounce of #7 steel at 1300, you will give up nothing compared to a traditional IntSk 24 gram load of #8-1/2s at 1350 fps.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC