View Full Version : Steel, Tungsten... Which is better?

December 25, 2006, 01:29 PM
I'm going Duck hunting again this year. I was self-taught last year after discovering that I own some pretty good habitat and now know how to cook a duck (pitiful I know) and make it taste good.

Last year I made several mistakes: I bought a super combo license. I went duck hunting (a couple times) and thankfully a friend who hunts ducks told me that I still needed a duck stamp, so this year I have it all, including fed stamp.

Next, I used some old lead shot and downed a good percentage of my shots until I learned that lead is also illegal and so I went to steel shot which seemed to not bring down much at all.

I am sure that perhaps it is a practice thing, but which type of legal ammo does the best to replicate lead shot? I have an 870 express w/ a 3" magnum chamber.

Thirdly: I was wondering what the waterfowling faux paus are? Is shooting a duck on the water considered to be "bad form" or is it OK?

Thanks for your info!


December 26, 2006, 01:31 AM
a few quick things i'm sure others will be more helpful but..

with steel you want the fastest speed possible and about 2 shot sizes larger than you would with lead. with that said, since the shot will be bigger and there will be less of them you prob want to increase paylaod as well.

people rave about 'hevi-shot' but it is very expensive. i beleive there are other metals out there that are far more dense than steel but are less expensive than hevi shot. bismuth/tungsten ect

shooting ducks on the water is looked down upon, but also the reason is that their wings are covering their vitals and it makes the probability of wounding them very high. best would be to take a bead on them and jsut spook them. once they start flying you have their vitals in their open chest exposed offering an ideal shot.

December 26, 2006, 04:47 AM
Off topic, but is there actualy any scientific studies showing lead shot is killing wildlife left and right? I can see the possibility of injestion of shot. But just how lethal is it? Elemental lead is not very toxic compared to some compounds that contain lead. I know that a large number of game birds are needlessly wounded because of steel shot.

With birds that are wounded, lead is basicly inert. Steel shot can rust, causing further health problems.

The only real "study" I can find is one from years ago where a biologist studied gizzards from harvested birds. It was limited in scope and seemed to be a preliminary study to show that more research was needed. I find others that are only found on anti-hunting sites. Is there any good research that shows that using lead shot is more dangerous that steel or other shot types (That seem to be made of gold, looking at their prices.)

I like to keep an open mind, but I am just not seeing the science to back up the banning of lead shot. If I am wrong, please correct me.

December 26, 2006, 05:02 AM
Lead in shallow waters is injested by the waterfowl ,it's toxic. The rules are there .We just demolished our old bridge here and great care was taken to keep old lead containing paint out of the water .Including a portable vacuum to pick up the paint chips !!....kjm , learn the effective range of the shot you are using .All too many birds are lost and eventually die because of wounds from being hit at too great a range !! I read a Winchester study which was interesting .Using mallards it showed that after about 44 yds IIRC the number of lost birds increases dramatically !!

December 27, 2006, 03:37 AM
There is a lot of B£%$^t talked and published on lead in wetlands, particularly coastal areas where it disappears out of reach of birds in minutes never mind days, but the ban is here to stay. Steel works ok on near shots under 30 yds , but the Federal tungsten / iron mix is the best, it is 95% weight of lead and I have had clean kills out to over 40yds on ducks without problems, it does cost a bit more than steel but you save on second/third shots so it is much the same at the end.