View Full Version : Bismuth Shot Complaints

November 19, 2000, 04:58 PM
I picked up some bismuth shot shells so I could hunt with a couple of old favorites on state land (non-tox only). These are older guns not meant for steel shot.
Had a good hunt and shot 2 pheasants with the "sweet 16" and #6 shot but when I cleaned them, some of the shot had shattered/fragmented into flakes and tiny frags. I've not had this problem with lead or steel.
Anybody else had this problem?? It made cleaning them very tedious and altered my plans for cooking the birds. (what became pheasant stroganoff was very tasty anyway)

November 19, 2000, 09:14 PM
Gun Tests ran an article on the bismuth shot. I believe it was over a year ago. Their recommendation was that it not be used on game that one intended to eat...due to shot fragmentation and shatter.

November 19, 2000, 10:59 PM
That's lame. What's the point of using bismuth if you're not going to eat the game? The only thing most people use bismuth for is water foul,(wait, did you say pheasant?!?!) since it's expensive and non-toxic. I think most states have laws about wasting game meat. King: Why weren't you using lead for pheasants? Were you also hunting waterfoul?? Some states say that if you're hunting waterfoul you can't even have lead WITH you. In Idaho we used to go pond jumping and would often hit a covey of quail, or run into some pheasants, and they wanted you using steel shot. To make things worse, now we were shooting quail with 2's or BB's,(3 inch mags:)) when they should be shot with 6's or 71/2s. So then you had to go and buy the more expensive, less preforming Steel, for upland game!!!! Needless to say, we BENT the rules regarding that:)

November 20, 2000, 07:09 AM
BadMedicine, I hunt state land which is non-tox only for all game species and I sometimes like to carry one of several older shotguns. I have not had any problems with the tungston-poly lead substitute in 20g and 12g, but the only non-tox loads I found in 16g was the bismuth.
MFH, I wish I had seen that article before dropping almost $30 on a box of 16g shells! Thanks for the info, anyway.

November 20, 2000, 12:39 PM
Kingcreek - As part of our statewide steel shot program we did some pattern testing with bismuth shot at 30 yards. We found that the stuff is so brittle that you can hardly get a decent pattern, fragments spraying all over. We opened up a couple rounds to look at the shot before firing and there were already fragments present just from manufacturing. And we discovered one other problem that I don't know if they fixed or not. They were using a large, cushioned wad that didn't quite fit in the shell casing when crimped, so they sort of just mashed down the top of the wad cup into a crimp. On 2 of maybe 10 rounds we fired the shot NEVER LEFT THE CUP! We put 2 sideways .50 caliber holes in our plywood sheet at 30 yards. I wouldn't waste any more money on that crap. What make/model/choke of shotguns are you shooting that you're concerned about damage from steel shot?

November 20, 2000, 07:23 PM
Field-dressed, On this particular occaision I hunted with my late father's 1954 Browning auto5 "sweet 16". I believe it is full choke.
I have other shotties, some newer and some older. It's not that I HAVE to use Dad's old favorite. I have avoided steel shot in the doubles and use mainly tungston poly when I can't use good old lead shot.
I really do try to stay informed, but I hadn't heard of these problems before.
I think I'll shoot no more of this stuff. Maybe trade it off at the next gunshow.
Thanks for the info.

November 20, 2000, 07:33 PM
OOoooo, nice gun!:)There is the potential to get a ring bulge in a full choke with larger steel shot sizes AND with large, buffered lead loads. Even though a ring bulge is basically a cosmetic change (doesn't get any bigger and doesn't change patterning), you're right to be careful what you shove through it.