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Old Boggy

Steel shot query

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Oh, not this old chestnut again I hear you cry !

Now I know that this has been raised many times before, so I apologise for being too bone idle to wade through previous PW posts.

I have just been told by a farmer, that if I wish to shoot the pigeons currently attacking his peas, I will have to use steel shot. I know that this is not a DEFRA directive, purely the farmer's choice to obviate the possibility of lead entering the food chain ! The fact that this would leave plastic wads on the field (I always use fibre wads) seems not to bother him.

The peas were drilled about two weeks ago and are just coming through, with pigeon numbers steadily building up.

Not wishing to miss an opportunity for possible shooting this field through to harvest, my dilemma is whether the guns that I have are suitable for use with steel.

Apart from my older English side by sides which I would not consider, I have a 12 gauge AYA 25 boxlock ejector with 2&3/4 inch chambers choked 1/4 & 1/4.

Another possibility is a 20 gauge Macnab Highlander ( Rizzini) over & under choked 1/4 & 1/2.

I have been told, rightly or wrongly, that the pressures would be greater in the 20 bore and also I know that anything above 1/2 choke should not be used, but does this also include 1/2 choke ?

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated,

 

Many thanks,

 

OB

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I would use either gun if they are both in sound condition.

The size shot you will be using 5/6/7 will be fine through 1/2 choke

Edited by AberFowl

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I've yet to meet an arable Farmer who is concerned about lead shot fallout from pigeon shooting? If you are decoying at sensible range, then a 28 gram load in 7.5 is perfect, I've tried bigger shot sizes and they do not kill as well.

 

Cat.

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Would second the 7 1/2 route, just keep ranges down to 35 yards with your aya or mcnab.

 

Landowners set the rules, i am afraid.

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As stated either gun should be fine, for the AYA to keep costs down, you could use Gamebore super steel clay loads the 28 gram load is the best in my opinion the lighter 24 gram acctualy being slower than the 28 gram offering.

In the highlander again gamebore super steel use the 5s for decoying, or if you can get them try RCs.

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I've yet to meet an arable Farmer who is concerned about lead shot fallout from pigeon shooting? If you are decoying at sensible range, then a 28 gram load in 7.5 is perfect, I've tried bigger shot sizes and they do not kill as well.

 

Cat.

I assume steel can be removed during processing with a magnet. Unlike lead.

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Many thanks for all your replies which seem to indicate both guns are suitable.

 

I do appreciate that this farmer wishes to remain `Green` on various issues, so I am going to abide his wishes in this instance, as he is good enough to allow me to shoot over his land.

 

Thanks again for the advice on make and shot sizes etc. as the use of steel shot is new to me, having used only lead over the last 50 years and Bismuth for very occasional duck shooting.

 

OB

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I'd but a cheap steel proofed semi auto and enjoy myself.

+1

I don't know which would upset me more, damaging the AYA or the two Churchill XXVs.

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Well i agree get a cheap semi auto, new escort, 295 brand new they have rem choke tubes now lots of good aftermarket options available.

Or if semi is not your style, there is a 50 quid baikal 611 in the clasifieds some where saw it a day or so ago. that will be ok for steel.

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I've yet to meet an arable Farmer who is concerned about lead shot fallout from pigeon shooting? If you are decoying at sensible range, then a 28 gram load in 7.5 is perfect, I've tried bigger shot sizes and they do not kill as well.

Cat.

Well I'm thinking of banning lead shot on my land. It just doesn't make sense to me to be broadcasting lead over land that's growing food. I am also concerned that wild birds will pick it up in mistake for grit, though I've no proof this happens, other than with waterfowl.

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Well I'm thinking of banning lead shot on my land. It just doesn't make sense to me to be broadcasting lead over land that's growing food. I am also concerned that wild birds will pick it up in mistake for grit, though I've no proof this happens, other than with waterfowl.

This aspect regarding lead shot was mentioned in the early days of non tox, i am suprised its took this long for people to adopt this approach. Fair play to you. :good:

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buy a cheap pump action, they are cheap as chips and usually steel shot proofed 1050bar proffing.

 

there are some stellar bargains. do not be put off, a good 100 clay day and you will be shooting as fast as a semiauto.

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As for birds picking up lead shot to use as grit, have you ever seen lead shot on top of the ground or soil unless it's been baked hard and pancake smooth it goes deep below the surface.

 

Not that many wildfowl pick up lead shot from the bottom of ponds or streams either for the same reason it sinks well into the mud and silt.

 

Your choice to choose to shoot steel over your land but the bird excuse is a poor one. Lead oxidizing and being picked up in plants maybe a better reason and just not wanting heavey metals contaminating your soil.

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I can't see lead shot entering the food chain through this process anymore ( or less ) than I can see steel shot entering the food chain ( or plastic wads for that matter, as the OP mentions ) but I can see the farmers point of view if it has been mentioned to him by a buyer, such as a supermarket.

The fact that lead content in our food has been shown to be negligible seems neither here nor there.

People seem to over-react concerning food scare stories. There is nothing wrong with horse meat for example, but many recoiled in horror at the thought, whereas the only problem really was that it was being labelled as beef.

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