Pellet Count Vs Pellet Weight

Hey Bruce,

I have a friend who bought about 10 cases of this english ammo, Gamebore White Gold Diamond shot, I am sure you know the stuff. Anyway, its 1 1/8 oz loads, but it does not have a dram listing, but thats not my question. I decided to open a shell up to take a look at the components as I do with all shells. The shot was almost chrome looking, looked about as round as anything else I have seen, and felt pretty round as I rolled em through my fingers.My friend suggested that the load looked kinda light to the eye, so me, like an idiot started counting pellets one by one.

Now, I know that the average number of pellets in a 1 1/8 oz load of #8`s is about 460 pellets if memory serves me correctly. We weighed the charge and came up with just about what it is supposed to be, I think it was about 492 grains. But heres the thing, my pellet count only resulted in about 410 pellets, do you think I counted wrong, or does this have something to do with high antimony shot?

Any help will be appreciated.


Dear Rich,

Antimony weighs less than lead, so lead mixtures with high antimony (hard shot) will weigh LESS than low antimony lead mixtures (soft shot). Generally, if two lead pellets measure exactly the same size, the lighter one will be harder because it has more of the lighter weight antimony in it.

If you have only 410 pellets in a 1-1/8 oz load of #8s, something’s wrong. The book says that you ought to have 462 #8s in 1-1/8 oz and that 410 #8s come in a 1 oz load. Since even the cheapest target shot has 2% antimony and the good stuff has as much as 6%, the difference we are talking about is 4% antimony. I don’t know what the weight of antimony is related to lead (yes, I could look it up, but I won’t), but even if antimony only weighs 1/2 as much as lead, the weight difference would then be 1/2 of 4% or 2%. 2% of 462 is 9 pellets. That’s a long way from 462-410=52 pellets.

So if the numbers you gave me are right, you aren’t dealing with #8 sized pellets. They are larger and sound as though they are approaching #7-1/2 in size. Two minutes with a micrometer would save us all a lot of time. Remember the Rule of 17. Pellet size in hundredths of an inch is 17 minus the pellet number. 17-8=9. A #8 sized pellet ought to be .09″ in diameter.

I’ve been shooting Gamebores for a while and also marveled at the shiny shot. I think they are a great shell, especially the paper ones. Now I suppose I’ll have to go and mike some. See all the trouble you’ve caused.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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2 Responses to Pellet Count Vs Pellet Weight

  1. Spencer B. says:

    Tom Roster says this of Gamebore White Gold #8’s in a Shotgun Life article online –

    “The shot size in the one-ounce Gamebore White Gold lead target load sent me was stamped No. 8. They miced out an average diameter of .091 inch which makes them true to a U.S. No.8 (.090 inch). A 10-pellet sample measured for diameter revealed beautifully round and uniform, silver-colored lead shot called by Kent “Diamond Shot.” The silver color gives the appearance of nickel plating, but is actually just a coloring artifact from high polishing.”

    I suppose that, as with any ammunition, product may vary by case lot?

    Happy shooting, all!


  2. chris.g says:

    I hate to spoil the party, but an English sized 7# or 8# shot is not sized the same as an American 7# or 8# I suppose it depends which reference chart is looked at when comparing English and American sized shot for diameter. If memory serves correct, American shot is one size bigger than English shot.


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