View Full Version : Steel shot for defense?

November 18, 2001, 08:19 PM
I've been thinking about the use of steel shot for anti-personnel applications. Steel shot wouldn't expand like lead shot, and would offer deep penetration, increasing the chance that the pellets would puncture a vital organ.

Steel shot would, AFAIK, offer better penetration through brush and light foliage.

The one downside I would see is that most steel shot loads are smaller than buckshot. The exception would be T sized steel shot, but I"ve only seen that in 10 gauge as of yet.

Any thoughts? Overpenetration might be a factor to consider, but I'm not sure.

November 18, 2001, 11:12 PM
stell is also less dense than lead, so a same-sized pellet would weigh less. It would speed up faster and slow down faster. Not being a ballistic scientist, I'm not sure how that plays out for wounding effect at HD ranges.


November 18, 2001, 11:37 PM
You Can Get 12 Gauge T Shot.

68 .20 Caliber pellets in each cartridge, almost .22 Cal Buckshot.

But I think bigger buckshot is better.

November 19, 2001, 01:01 AM
Living in an apartment, I switched to smaller shot for defense. The round in the tube of my HD shotgun is a 20ga 3" Magnum with #2 steel shot. Should do nicely with the close range.

Malone LaVeigh
November 19, 2001, 02:10 AM
On another thread (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=89000) I was warned against using steel in dense woods or around rocks. Problem seems to be rebound off of hard objects. I would think this might also apply to some interiors.

Dave McC
November 19, 2001, 05:26 AM
Sorry, but for inside use I want a pellet that will deform in the target, using up its energy and not exiting. Overpenetration is a hotly debated issue, but I doubt any possible advantages of steel would be more than offset by its various downsides. Like...



Progressive powders used in longer bbled waterfowlers mean lots of flash and blast.

Frankenstein has had lots of steel shot through it, oft BBs or Ts. Some friends have remarked on its blast in a goose blind,and not fondly nor favorably. Low light shooting means a nice 2 foot flame from the muzzle. Its 21" bbl is close enough to most HD bbls to ballpark what those would do.

BTW, have to check it out myself, but a correspondent mentions Estate 00 has a bit less flash than Remington 00 in his shorty Class III.

November 20, 2001, 04:54 AM
Steel shot, although harder than lead, does not penetrate better than lead shot of the equivalent size. The sectional densities of the lead pellets are much greater than those of steel pellets. Steel pellets can be propelled a bit faster than their identically sized lead counterparts because they are less dense/massive, but because they have much lower sectional density and horrid ballistic coefficients, they shed much of that velocity before reaching the target. So for a given shot size, they tend to deliver far less KE and penetration per pellet, and result in far more cripples than lead shot. It is for this reason that most shotgun shell manufacturers suggest that hunters use steel shot one or two sizes larger than comparable lead shot.

Those brave souls on TFL who have tested steel shot on body armor usually indicate that the pellets perform identically to lead ones (none penetrate) except for the fact that tend they bounce off the vest and hit the firer rather than flattening againts the kevlar layers and trauma plate. Sounds like a liability in a close range shooting scenario.

I'm thinking that underpenetration in tissue, reduced kinetic energy of each pellet, and the possibility of wounding the operator with bouncing pellets would negate any supposed benefit of penetrating brush and leaves. Has anyone suggested that #1 buck or larger is deficiant in penetration?

November 23, 2001, 01:37 PM
BBB used here. :)

Well atleast when I was down south, for use against 4 legged critters.